Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
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.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
Thin and fit
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.
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
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.
|Header Cell - Column 0
|Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
|Mobvoi TicWatch Pro
|39.5mm x 10.5mm
|45mm x 12.6mm
|Two button right
|Three button right
|1.1" AMOLED 360 x 360px
|1.39" OLED 400 x 400px
|Bluetooth v4.2 Low Energy
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 Ghz
Up to 2 days
2 days on regular Wear OS
30 days on Essential Mode
|Qi wireless charging
|5ATM waterproof to 50m
|IP68 dustproof, waterproof
Not recommended for swimming
PPG Heart Rate 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
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.
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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Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.