When Samsung launched the Galaxy Watch Active last year, it was aimed at people who want to track their active lifestyle. The watch tracked our workouts, sleep, and steps pretty well when we put them to the test. Samsung has now released a successor to the smartwatch, which is aptly called the Galaxy Watch Active 2. The device is now bigger and also offers 4G connectivity, which means it stays on the network all the time. While these features make it interesting, does it justify its Rs. 35,990 price tag? We put it to the test to find out.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G design
When testing the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, we wished it were bigger. The new Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G fulfills this wish. At 1.4 inches, the display is easier to read, but still not as big as that of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4G (test). The familiar design is stylish and you have two options to choose from: tough stainless steel and lightweight aluminum. The stainless steel finish variant is set at Rs. 31,990, while the aluminum variant is priced at Rs. 25,990. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 also has a 4G variant, although you can only get it with the steel case at a price of Rs. 35,990. Our test device is the 4G version made of stainless steel in silver, which looks very high quality.
The 1.4-inch AMOLED display is sharp and offers good viewing angles. Samsung kept the screen resolution unchanged at 360×360 pixels, but we didn't notice any pixel formation. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G has an automatic brightness so that the brightness of the display is automatically adjusted to the ambient light.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G has two buttons to the right of the dial, the speaker is on the left. The keys are slightly raised, but offer good feedback when pressed. There is a microphone at the top that you can use to answer calls on the watch. The 44mm case has tabs that expand slightly and are suitable for any 20mm bracelet. Samsung offers a black leather strap in the box that fits very well with the silver dial. The strap quality is quite good and it feels comfortable when worn. The traditional watch clasp is easy to use.
On the back you can see the hardware for wireless charging and heart rate tracking. Samsung ships a wireless charger in the box, which is attached to the back with magnets.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G specifications, software and features
Samsung has retained the same core hardware for the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G as for the predecessor, especially the in-house dual-core SoC Exynos 9110. This is paired with 1.5 GB RAM and 4 GB storage. Tizen OS 4.0 with One UI 1.5 runs on the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G. Samsung claims that this watch has IP68 protection, which means that it should be water resistant to 5 ATM. This makes it swim safe, so you can take a bath without worrying about this watch.
The larger size helped Samsung pack a bigger 340 mAh battery. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G supports Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi 802.11 b / g / n, NFC and GPS. It also has an embedded SIM card that allows the watch to be integrated directly into 4G networks.
Since the Galaxy Watch Active 2 runs 4G Tizen, it is compatible with both Android smartphones and iPhones. We tested the smartwatch with a Samsung Galaxy S10 + (test) for this test. You need the Galaxy Wearable app to pair this watch with your smartphone and set up 4G on it. Another app, Samsung Health, is required to check details such as the number of steps taken and the quality of your sleep. Both apps worked as promised and we had no problems with it, but a single combined app would have been more practical.
The Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G's interface is similar to that we used on previous Samsung wearables, and navigating was a breeze. Samsung has a lot of ready-to-use features, which is good because Tizen OS has a limited number of apps. By default, sleep tracking and heart rate tracking are enabled, and the watch can track several different workouts.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G performance and battery life
We found the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G to be light and comfortable to use. Swiping right from the home screen on the watch will take you straight to your notifications. Samsung also offers an always-on mode in which the dial always stays on. The watch beeps for incoming notifications and you can reply to them from the watch. You can use speech, handwriting recognition with a finger, or a numeric keypad on the T9 prediction screen to compose answers.
Because the Galaxy Watch Active 2 has a speaker, you can answer calls on the watch. This also works without setting up the e-SIM on the watch. The speaker is loud, but you need to hold the watch close to your ear to hear a caller clearly. We took a few calls on the clock and had no problems. Our callers didn't notice that we were talking to them about a smartwatch.
We tested the Galaxy Active 2 4G's tracking capabilities by running exactly 1 km, and the watch reported 0.99 km, which is an acceptable deviation. The watch is set to GPS very quickly and accurately reflects the route we took on a map. We tested the pedometer on the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G by manually counting 1,000 steps while walking. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G counted 1,008 steps. We used fitness trackers that are absolutely accurate. However, if you want to have a clear idea of how many steps you took at the end of each day, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G isn't that bad.
Sleep data collection with the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G was accurate, and the data in the Samsung Health app showed a correct breakdown of waking hours, light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. The heart rate measurement was also accurate, and we found that the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G outputs measurements in the same range as an Apple Watch Series 4.
The Samsung Galaxy Active 2 4G has a larger battery than its predecessor. However, due to the larger display, it has a battery life similar to that of the Galaxy Watch Active. The smartwatch with activated notifications, heart rate tracking and sleep tracking took three days. Activating the always-on display function reduced the battery life to two days. With the 4G e-SIM card activated and the display switched off, we managed to make this device work for a day and a half.
If you want to actively track workouts with the watch, you should expect the battery life to decrease even further. However, charging the watch is straightforward and all you have to do is drop it onto the included holder. The watch takes about an hour to reach 50 percent and almost two hours to fully charge.
Samsung has been developing Tizen OS for its wearables quite actively for a few years now and it seems to be fresher than Wear OS. However, don't be surprised if you don't find a native version of your favorite Galaxy Watch 2 4G app, as support is still quite limited. On a positive note, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G does not contain any useful functions, as Samsung offers many functions on the device.
Since the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G with fitness tracking is good, a simple watch is recommended. Android users will be happy with the price the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G offers, as there aren't many Wear OS options on the market. If you want longer battery life, you should check out the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4G. If you're an iPhone user, you can consider the Apple Watch Series 3, a good alternative for about the same price.