It is quite surprisingly that we write a review about Samsung Galaxy Watch Active before we write one about companies other, better and higher-end smartwatches. In our mind it makes sense, as it is way easier to read tons of reviews about S3 and well, S3 is considered one of the best available smartwatches, as long as you can afford it’s price tag. Don’t be afraid, that review is still coming and will be up in the coming weeks.
The Galaxy Watch Active was launched together with S10 in March, 2019 and was immediately touted as Samsung’s budget smartwatch, building on the huge success Galaxy Watch S3 had over the higher-end smartwatches. It trims some higher end features and comes with smaller screen, but sports a very affordable pricing.
The official retail price of the watch is $199, however it is often found at lower prices, there are regular discounts making it $179. In case you don’t remember the price of the Galaxy Watch S3 at launch was $329 or $349, depending on how big the screen is. With Galaxy Active there is only one variant available – 40mm, so the only big choice before you purchase is gonna be the color of the watch. The available colors are four : black, silver, blue and pink.
Personally I am happy with the decision of Samsung to stick with circular watches, however there are people who would prefer the square watches. The main design difference between the two Galaxy watches is that Active does not have a rotating bezel, which makes navigating a bit harder, but I feel it gives the watch a bit more sporty look. Overall it is a very light watch, while still managing to keep it’s premium look.
The watches’ body is made of metal and has a centered screen with two buttons on the 2 and 4 o’clock. The buttons are a bit hard to press , however it gets better, once you get accustomed.
The default strap is made of silicone, which comes in handy when exercising and does not irritate your skin. However if you don’t like it uses a regular 20mm strap that you can change with another one, available from both Samsung and other third-party stores. We are currently working on a shop section on this site, focused mostly on smartwatch accessories like straps, cables and protectors. But that’s also a topic for another day.
In the middle of the watch there is a decent 360×360 resolution, powering the 1.1inch screen. Despite not being the best screen on the market it is usable and you can navigate the menu easily without clicking wrong buttons. The screen is bright enough and its full-color one. To top it up the watch is waterproof and IP68 certified, which means you can take it to record your swimming workouts.
Samsung hasn’t made any huge trimming of the internal power of the smartwatch and it’s powered by some heavy hitters Exynos 9110 dual-core chipset and it’s clocked at 1.15 GHz. This is literally the same internal power that is available in Samsung’s other smartwatch.
There is also 750MB RAM in the watch which is more than enough to run all of the Tizen Apps the watch comes with. We didn’t notice and lag while navigating and using the smartwatch, even when the watch was under heavy load.
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By default the watch comes with 4 GB memory, but after installing basic apps we noticed that you will have only 1.5GB to play with. This is a bit on the lower side, especially if you want to upload some songs on the watch and listen to them outside if you ever have to go out without your phone.
The watch does not support LTE, so you will not have internet without your phone nearby. If the LTE is important you will have to pick a Samsung Galaxy Watch S3.
As of the software powering the watch, the OS of choice is, of course, Tizen. The OS has improved a lot and is now a decent competitior to both Googles and Apples OSes.Some mainstream software that is available is MapMyRun, Uber, Spotify All the notifications you get on your phone will also show on your watch.
Some specific features supported by the watch is the heart rate monitor and the stress level tracker. Combined they track when your heart beat peaks and watch can suggest performing some breathing exercises to calm you down. You get a very detailed sleep tracking feature, too. The Galaxy watch Active will automatically trigger the sleep tracking the moment you fell asleep, which is a very nice touch.
The watch comes with its own GPS integrated, with decent accuracy. It connected very fast and was ready to record in just couple seconds.
Android 5 and iOS 9 are the minimum requirements to make this watch working with your phone, which is basicly any modern phone from the last couple years.
Samsung promises 45 hours of battery life, which makes sense and is a number just above our requirements for minimum battery life, as it provides you with enough juice for 2 days and 1 night. You probably can get it even more – up to 72 hours as long as you don’t fiddle too much with the watch.
There is a small wireless charged provided in the package and it goes from 0 to 100% in around 2 hours, or you can use your Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus to charge your watch or any other powershare phone(except Huawei P30 Pro for some reason?) In this mode it is gonna take around 3 hours to fully charge the watch, but it is more than enough to boost the watch’s battery so it can live through the day.
Overall, we are very happy with this device and believe Samsung has done a great job in building a lightweight, entry-level of a watch without trimming too much important features of their bestselling model, which is a product we recommend highly as well.