Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Stands Out From Any Wear OS.
, by Sona, 11 min reading time
The first edition, Galaxy Watch Active was the smaller and cheaper young brother of Samsungs flagship Gear Sport smartwatch series, launched globally in the first quarter of 2019. At a lower price, it was as rich in features as any premium smartwatch offered by Samsung in the Galaxy series, except possibly Samsungs signature rotating bezel - which was excluded during its release for some reason.
While the amazing Bezel was badly missed, Galaxy Active had just about everything right to make it stand out from any Wear OS smartwatches, or its market competitor, the Fitbit Versa series. Light on the wrist, solid fitness tracking features and a tempting price - it beat all its competitors hands down. One downside was that it did not offer a variant with LTE/4G, but considering the fact that it was supposed to be a cheaper, yet premium variant of its big brothers, we really cannot complain. Galaxy Active was well received by users and that might have tempted Samsung to push Galaxy Active 2 just a few months later the same year. This model outdoes its predecessor in many ways.
Users now have a variant with LTE/4G connectivity, and a choice of limited editions like Under Armour Edition that lets you extend the watchs capabilities. One bump in this feature-rich ride is unfortunately the price. Galaxy Active 2 (40mm model with Bluetooth only) costs 27,000 INR, while the 44mm model will set you back by 27,000 INR. Adding LTE/4G connectivity would cost you an additional 15,000 INR for each model.
Galaxy Active 2s Design: the Light, Slim Young Brother
When it comes to size, if youre someone who loves something that is slim and not bulky, youll instantly fall in love with Galaxy Active series. The original Galaxy Watch Active did not offer us a choice in sizes, thats something new with Galaxy Active 2. The size difference between the 40mm and the 44mm models of Galaxy Active 2 might not feel too dramatic, but definitely it is a step up from what we had earlier in its first edition.Both sizes offer you a streamlined design, with an ignorable bezel and a circular, comfortably softer frame which rests on your wrist smoothly.
The 40mm Bluetooth-only Galaxy Watch Active 2 looks more like its predecessor, Galaxy Active Original. The small changes to the design make it more comfortable on the wrist as well as give it an added elegance. The sensors have moved a bit to make space for a small mesh on the side to accommodate the new speakers - something we missed badly in its predecessor.The showstopper when it comes to design is the return of the rotating bezel. Samsung seems to have heard the user reviews of Galaxy Active loud and clear that they have included a touch-sensitive bezel this time around. It may not exactly be like the one we see in the Galaxy Watch series, but its definitely a feature we were looking forward to.
The new bezel keeps in line with the new streamlined design, too.The AMOLED 1.2 inch touchscreen display with the 40mm model and 1.4 inch touch screen with the 44mm model is also worth mentioning. Corning Gorilla Glass DX+ protects the watch from scratches. Samsung brags of a 5ATM + IP68 certification, and that this model has withstood the US Military grade testing for durability. Apart from the bezel, Galaxy Active 2 feels very similar to the original Galaxy Active. The really comfortable watch band comes with a ton of customization options to match your taste.
A Fitness Tracker which Motivates you to Keep Moving
The wellness tracking features are a lot similar to other dedicated fitness trackers and smartwatches. The sensors, the software UI on the watch as well as the phone works in harmony to ensure that you are mindful of your step count and keep moving when you tend to go idle during peak hours. The heart shaped riff which made Apple Watchs Rings a lot attractive had made its way to the first Galaxy Active.This useful feature remains as such in this upgraded Galaxy Active 2. The watch tracks three main segments: calorie burnt, continuous workout minutes and active hours through the day - details of which are summarized in numbers in the main widget. A simple tap takes you to an extended report, including data on your weekly progress. The user interface is simple and intuitive and its comparable to Apple Watchs UI, a gold standard at this moment in the smartwatch market. Samsungs strategy to keep you healthy is by keeping you on a move around the clock, just like other trackers out there in the market.
If you have been idle for a long time, a small animation flashes on the screen and the watch guides you through a set of short exercises. If you really manage to drag yourself out of the bed or chair, it congratulates you for taking a quick break. This is an impressive addition, helping you to be more mindful of your health, as well as keeping you motivated through the day.All these goodness in the first edition of Galaxy Active is retained in the new one. Its good that the watch keeps you active around the clock, not just during intensive workouts, and keeps you motivated with words of encouragement. When you are not moving for a long time, Galaxy Active 2 counts it as bedtime. It is automatically detected. While you can check last nights sleep data from your watch, you might want to check the Samsung Health app on the paired phone for deeper insights.The sleep data on Samsung Health app on the phone is worth your attention. It tracks your sleep consistency, generating sleep quality data using data from the onboard heart rate monitor. You can also look into data like sleep trends, average bedtime/wake up time, and average sleep time in the current week.
Users can also enable weekly insights on sleep via notifications.Managing the device from a paired phone is seamless from any Samsung smartphone as Galaxy Wearable app and Samsung Health app comes pre-installed in most devices, or it can be installed with a few touches on other Android/Apple devices. Galaxy Wearable app gives you granular control over your smartwatch, with the option to personalize, install/manage watch apps etc from your phone itself.It is a great companion if you find the watch screen too small for such tasks. Samsung Health App also tracks your data from your phone. While the watch has many features to keep you motivated as discussed earlier, another feature worth discussing is the Together tab in Samsung Health App. With a huge user base and community to share your fitness activity, and badges you can win by participating in monthly global challenges, it keeps you motivated to stay on top of the game. Samsung Health app is also customizable, with many other features like voice-guided breathing exercises.
Faithful Active Tracker for Sports Tracking
Be it a high intensity interval training workouts or your daily jog, this watch got you covered. The watch inherits every sports tracking mode its predecessor had. It supports two satellite positioning systems, GPS and GLONASS. It is 5ATM waterproof, has a swim proof design and comes with stroke tracking features, making it a great swimming companion.There is even a dedicated underwater mode to avoid accidental touches and for better display underwater. It is easy to get the sports tracking started. A simple swipe takes you to the workout tracking screen. Scroll down the list to spot your activity and youre all set. The metrics are neatly presented on the sharp display, which also houses controls for your favorite music app. It is possible to quickly pause the session using the physical button, and clicking Finish syncs it to Samsung Health.Another great feature is automatic exercise recognition. For example, if you go on a longer walk or a run but forgot to start workout on your device manually, the watch will automatically identify the activity and start tracking some basic metrics like workout duration and calorie information.
The Upgraded Heart Rate Monitor and Its Accuracy
Flip the watch and you will notice a whole different look to the heart rate monitor compared to the first edition of Galaxy Active. Right now, the sensor continues its duties it had in its predecessor. The improved sensor with eight photodiodes looks like Samsungs plan to extend this functionality in future. For nominal daily usage as well as during high intensity workouts, Galaxy Active 2 showed consistent readings.
The Hidden ECG Sensors and Fall Detection
Inspired by Apples latest installment in Watch Series, the device packs an ECG, to give a medical grade monitoring for cardio activities. While the sensor is in place, it is not usable yet as Samsung is still carrying out the trials in an attempt to get approval from respective regulatory boards across the globe.Same is the case with Apple and Withings - devices are packed with sensors which will be activated in future, possibly through a software update once it gets the government's nod. There were suggestions that the feature will be turned on by early 2020. It might take longer depending on the approval process in different countries. Samsung also promises a fall detection module.It would detect if the user takes a serious fall, alerting emergency contacts and setting off an alarm. It could be seen as an extension to the already existing emergency mode, triggered by triple hard key presses. But this feature is again not ready yet, and will be released through a software update in future.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Smartwatch
Having established Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2s health and wellness tracking capabilities, its time to look at its smart features. The watch is powered by Samsungs own in-house Tizen OS. Tizen OS brings the goodness we are familiar with in other Samsung smartwatches like notification handling, music controls, streaming from online platforms, a selection of apps in Galaxy Store, payment support and LTE/4G if you opt for the higher model.In the light of ease of use and the goodness of interface, Tizen OS is the closest competitor to Apples watchOS, even overtaking Googles own Wear OS. It might not come with the huge library of installable apps, but it overpowers Wear OS in many ways when it comes to user friendliness.
Its also worth noting that Android Phones work better with Tizen OS smartwatches than Wear OS. Samsung avoids cluttering the main screen with notifications by simply placing a small dot to indicate new notification. Notifications are a swipe away.Its a really nice approach compared to many of its competitors. Quick responses eases the pain of typing messages on the device, which packs a T9-like keyboard as well as a handwriting keyboard or an option to send voice messages. The touch bezel improves navigation through the circular app drawer compared to its predecessor. Information is well spread across dedicated screens, making the learning curve lighter on new users.
The watch comes equipped with a decent collection of watch faces, some which simply tells you the time, while some neatly spreads the fitness data or weather data on the main screen.There are many more available in the Galaxy Store. You can alternatively manage them through the Galaxy Wearable app on the paired watch. Samsungs own Bixby, introduced with the first edition of Galaxy Active lives in the heart of the watch. It surely is a competitor to Apples Siri, Google Assistant and Amazons Alexa, and simplifies many functions including notification handling on the watch. This smart assistant is still in its infant stages so keep your query simple, avoiding the need for contextual interpretation.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Battery lifeThe 44 mm model comes packed with a 340 mAh battery as opposed to the 40 mm Galaxy Watch Active 2 which comes packed with a 247 mAh battery. The battery drains as fast as within two days with moderate use. It is possible to save more with the power-saving mode and the watch-only mode.It will supercharge the battery life, at the cost of restricted functionality. The watch takes around two hours to charge from 0-100% with its wireless charger. The watch rests easily on the charging puck; the magnetic clip does the magic.
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