Editor's choice

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

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9.5
Expert ScoreRead review

Samsung Galaxy watch active specifications

  • Casing: 40mm
  • Strap: 20mm
  • Dimensions: 39.5mm x 39.5mm x 10.5mm
  • Weight (without strap): 25g
  • Display: 1.1-inch OLED (360 x 360)
  • Processor: Dual-core Exynos 9110 1.15 GHz
  • Storage: 4GB
  • RAM: 750MB
  • Battery: 230mAh
  • OS: Tizen OS 4.0
  • Bluetooth: 4.2
  • NFC: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Water resistance: 5ATM and IP68
  • Ruggedness: MIL-STD-810G
  • Wireless charging: Yes (limited compatibility)
  • Works with Android, iOS

The Galaxy Watch Active contains its primary purpose in its name, exercise tracking. The watch also comes with GPS built-in, and features automatic workout-tracking, along with sleep tracking, water, food, and caffeine consumption tracking, sleep tracking, this small daily habit tracker is to establish a data or record on how you can improve your overall health, sleep, and exercise needs.

If you mainly want a smartwatch for smartphone extension such as notifications, the Galaxy Watch Active delivers there, too, with excellent support for Android’s notification system, letting you also reply using your voice, or the built-in keyboard, or with one of the many quick replies available.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active hardware, features, and design

Straight out of the box the first thing that grabs your attention is the modern, sleek design. It’s a complete departure from what Samsung has done before. It is comfortable on the wrist, with its rounded edges and smooth surfaces. YOu could quite easily put it on and forget you are wearing a watch, especially as it weighs just 25grams.

In terms of exterior functionality, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active features some side-mounted buttons. It does not feature a rotating bezel, like previous Samsung smartwatches. That will take a while to get used to if you have owned the previous model, but with the new model, you obviously won’t miss it.

It does make navigating the interface on the 1.1-inch display quote fiddly at times. However, with no major frustrations. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active comes with a single size, with overall dimensions of 39.5 x 39.5 x 10.5 mm. It is quite nicely proportioned and it can fit both small-large and small wrists

There are versions in black, rose gold, and blue. It has enough space for a 230mAh battery inside, which almost half the size of the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Of course, it has no match for the larger Samsung Galaxy Watch, which can last around five days. So if the battery is your priority, then go for the larger and more expensive model.

Finally, in terms of hardware, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active features the same dual-core 1.15GHz chipset and 4GB of internal storage space like the Samsung Galaxy Watch.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is waterproof up to 5 ATM and rated IP68, so you can use it to track your swimming sessions.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active features and OS

As the name suggests, health is a major focus for the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, and as such Samsung Health is now expanded with new stress management and breathing features, as well as a collection of 21 indoor exercises and 39 tracked workouts. You can easily switch between the various tracking functions and modes by flicking through the new UI. It will track these pretty accurately, although, it is no competition for a Garmin running watch id you are training for a marathon.

In a first for smartwatches, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is also capable of Blood Pressure Monitoring. All you need to do is download “My BP Lab”, the research app jointly developed with the University of California, San Francisco, directly to Galaxy Watch Active to monitor blood pressure and keep better track of your physical health every day. However, the BP app is currently available in the US only.

In other feature news, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active features Bixby, Samsung’s AI voice assistant. Bixby was quick to activate and has pretty accurate voice recognition, but requests took a long time and often resulted in an error message. It is a very frustrating experience, and for us, we would prefer it if the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active made use of the excellent Google Assistant.

In terms of OS, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active runs Tizen, now in its 4.0 incarnation. This is compatible with all Android phones that are running Android 5.0 and later, and it will also work with any iPhone running iOS 9. It does feature a new UI, our overall impression of which is positive. Some icons are a little too small, but apart from that, it is a very smooth experience. It is worth noting that the app selection is poor compared to watch OS and Wear OS, but Samsung’s standard apps do almost everything you would want of a smartwatch, and there is support for Strava and Spotify.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active overall review

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is the best smartwatch Samsung has ever made yet, even better than the more expensive, technically more advanced Samsung Galaxy Watch. It is far more stylish than the previous incarnation of the smartwatch and comes packing some neat new abilities such as Blood Pressure monitoring and competitive water resistance, making for a compelling package.

The new watch faces give the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active a modern edge, while it is sleek, the comfortable design will help it appeal to more people. Unfortunately, it is not a perfect smartwatch, as small icons make some aspects of the UI fiddly, and voice control with Bixby is a frustrating experience.

9.5Expert Score
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is everything you need from a Smartwatch, it is comfortable, it is both classy and modern in design.
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PROS
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Lightweight design
  • Reliable battery life
  • Good fitness-tracking features
CONS
  • Bixby is a poor voice assistant
  • Clumsy to use with non-Samsung phones
  • Fewer third-party apps than other smartwatches