Thin and fit

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Hybrid hulk

TicWatch Pro

The Galaxy Watch Active is one of the most compelling wearables on the market right now, with a low price and a fairly complete smartwatch feel despite its clear fitness tracking focus. This lithe, luxurious-looking watch fits in at the gym or at the gala.

$200 at Amazon

Pros

  • Wonderful AMOLED display
  • Qi charging
  • Excellent notification management
  • Comfy, lightweight design

Cons

  • Tizen OS not perfect
  • Lower-end battery life

I wish all watches had dual-layer screens because of the Pro. The LCD "always on" layer is great for battery and functionality alike. That still doesn't make up for the fact that it's bigger than every spy watch ever and only looks half as cool.

$250 at Amazon

Pros

  • Dual layer screen is awesome
  • Beastly battery
  • Ruggedly handsome

Cons

  • it's a kaiju on my wrist
  • Last-gen processor

There are a few very niche areas where you could argue that the TicWatch Pro is still worth buying over the new Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. However, the Galaxy Watch Active is cheaper, lighter, thinner, and doesn't look like some white collar convict's house arrest monitor.

Go faster, lighter, fitter with the Galaxy Watch Active

Watch Active

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active may be positioned as a fitness tracker in the more convenient shape of a smartwatch, with a design that's classic, thin, and light on your wrist. It's available in four colors and sports a wide variety of watch faces and apps courtesy of the Galaxy Apps store. Sure, the Active doesn't have the fancy rotating bezel that I want all smartwatches to have, but it's also $100 cheaper than the Galaxy Watch's starting price and $50 cheaper than the nearly year-old TicWatch Pro, a fact I know intimately because I've worn the Pro for most of the last year.

The TicWatch Pro is a beefy brute of a watch with battery for literal, actual days and the best "hybrid" rendition I've seen to date. But looking at the Pro's specs next to the Galaxy Watch Active paint a pretty clear picture: the TicWatch Pro is twice as heavy as the Active and nearly 15% larger in size while featuring lower waterproof and durability ratings.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active Mobvoi TicWatch Pro
Price $200 $250
Dimensions 39.5mm x 10.5mm 45mm x 12.6mm
Weight 25g 58g
Colors Black
Silver
Rose Gold
Green
Black/Black
Silver/Black
Button configuration Two button right Three button right
Display 1.1" AMOLED 360 x 360px 1.39" OLED 400 x 400px
FSTN display
Storage 4GB 4GB
GPS GPS
GLONASS
GALILEO
BDS
GPS
AGPS
Connectivity Bluetooth v4.2 Low Energy
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
NFC
Bluetooth v4.2
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 Ghz
NFC
Payment system Samsung Pay Google Pay
Battery 230mAh
Up to 2 days
415mAh
2 days on regular Wear OS
30 days on Essential Mode
Charging Qi wireless charging Proprietary charger
Durability 5ATM waterproof to 50m
MIL-STD-810G certified
IP68 dustproof, waterproof
Not recommended for swimming
Sensors Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyroscope
Heart Rate
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
PPG Heart Rate sensor
Magnetic Sensor
Ambient Light Sensor
Low Latency Off-Body Sensor

As I said earlier, there are a few very specific cases where the TicWatch Pro makes sense over the Galaxy Watch Active, and the first of them relates to battery, which is one of the few places where the Active falters. Now, both of these watches will easily last you through the day, but the Galaxy Watch Active will struggle to go two full days while the Pro can go 2–4 without even touching Essential Mode, which can sip battery for weeks by turning off Wear OS and doing only basic fitness tracking and timekeeping.

The other case for wanting the Pro over the Active relates to the software. Wear OS has come a long way in the last two years. If you're not already a Samsung ecosystem user, you might prefer to stick to the TicWatch Pro's Wear OS and Google Pay over Tizen OS and Samsung Pay. Tizen OS can be a bit odd to newcomers, but it's easy enough to adapt and the health and fitness tracking Samsung has crammed into this tiny watch is more refined than the TicHealth and Google Fit offerings on the Pro.

For most of us, the choice is pretty clear: buy a less expensive, less bulky, higher quality Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, or spend more on a year-old hulk of a smartwatch with a great battery and cool screen that's powered by a last-generation chipset. My Galaxy Watch Active is on order right now, and it will be retiring my Pro once it arrives.

Thin and fit

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

The clear winner

Samsung has made and remade some of the best wearables of the last three years and the Galaxy Watch Active is one of its best yet. While it lacks that sweet rotating bezel, this petite tracker has the fitness, fashion, and sensible functionality we need in a perfect size.

Hybrid hulk

TicWatch Pro

For a big man who needs a big watch to go the distance

The TicWatch Pro's battery will never leave you hanging, and its hybrid display will help you see your steps, time, and heart rate even in the hot midday sun. However, it's just so freaking huge and already getting long in the tooth that it's not hard to go for the Active instead.

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