Product Name: Samsung Galaxy 2 Active
Overall Rank: 4.5/5
Best Place To Buy: Amazon.com (Amazon’s Choice)
Guarantee: 1 year
After only six months after the release of the Samsung Galaxy Active, the giant multinational is coming back with a ”pimped” version of his smartwatch, trying to keep his fifth place in the wearable world (sold worldwide). Some new changes have been implemented with the Galaxy Active 2 including the ability to navigate through menus with a touch bezel. So, forget about the rotating bezel that came with the previous version.
The design looks pretty similar from his predecessor but you now have the LTE option, better heart rate accuracy and ECG sensor like the Apple Watch 4/5 that gives real deep insights about your heartbeat and analyze it for potential issues.
But does this new smartwatch is the best choice Android’s users have? You will know all the ups and downs with my Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 Active review. Let’s go!
What’s in the Box?
Pretty basic stuff inside the box like most of the smartwatches and fitness trackers in the market.
You get three things inside the box:
- Samsung Galaxy Active 2 Watch with the band/strap
- Small User Manual
- Magnetic Wireless Charger (USB)
I would have suggest including a replacement band and a screen protector for this expensive watch. Unfortunately, you need to purchased them separately from Samsung web store or Amazon.com.
Here’s some links suggesting the replacement parts (screen protectors and bands)
Hardware and Design
Credits: Samsung website
Coming with a 30 mm (1.2”) circular Super AMOLED (360 x 360) display it is packed with a 16M color depth. Once you look at the display you will be happily charmed with his brightness. We can definitely compared it to the Apple Watch 4 or 5 display that also includes always-on technology. The Light sensor allows the display to automatically tune itself based on the outside or ambient light.
Designed with beautiful round case the Galaxy Active 2 has a bigger screen/body ratio, making it more appealing visually and at the same time you get more info on the screen.
Robust (military grade) and Anti-Scratch
Made with Corning Gorilla Glass DX+, the screen is one of the best in the industry. It will endure bumps and knocks while delivering excellent scratch resistance to potential damaging impacts. With this technology you will be sure that the display will last a long time. Galaxy phones and even Apple Watch 4 and 5 are using the same Corning glass in their devices.
No More Rotation Bezel
Samsung has replaced the old school rotation bezel (on the side of the watch) by a built-in bezel that is located on the edge of the screen. To navigate in the menus or to control the functions of your Galaxy Watch 2 Active, you must swipe clockwise or counter-clockwise on the edge of the screen. Thanks to the Tizen OS capabilities.
If you want to access a widget (e.g.: Weather or Phone Notifications) you need to select the specific widget by touching the edge of the screen and then swipping left or right to navigate in the widget. The navigation flow feels smooth and sharp thanks to the Dual-Core 1.15 GHz processor.
The two buttons on the side of the watch are the Back and Home keys. Holding the Home Key will also turn on or off the watch.
Customize it with your own watchface
Beside having some cool but limited pre-installed watchfaces (click here to see a video showing them) the watch allows you to take a picture of anything you want and use it as a background image. It may sound childish but it works like a charm. That way you can customize your watchface and match it with a custom strap/band.
Another thing to add is that you can purchase a new strap and you can scan the QR code from the package to get a link to download a watchface that matches it. Please keep in mind that you can also install third-party watch faces that you can find on the web.
Lightweight and Waterproof (IP68)
Weighted at only 30 grams the Galaxy Active 2 watch is super lightweight making you forget that you are wearing it. It is also waterproof with an IP68 grade that let you use the watch on any conditions. Adding the ATM5 water resistance you can swim with the watch and it will also automatically record your swimming session.
Battery that last 3 days
With is 340 mAh battery you will get around 3 days of typical usage before you need to recharge it again. Expect even less if you use most of the sensors (more specifically GPS and Wi-Fi), it can go down to 2 days at maximum.
You can charge the Galaxy Watch 2 active with the original wireless charging pad that comes in the box or with another wireless pad due to his built-in wireless charging coil. It takes around 2 hours to fully charge the watch. Another cool way to charge the watch is to use the wireless Powershare technology. If you have a device/phone with the same technology it will act ”like a wireless charging pad” it will charge the watch!
This is a great feature if you don’t have your charger with you and you need a quick charge on the go! If you are looking for a bit more of juice you can buy the 44 mm model that has a bigger battery capacity.
Accurate Heart Rate sensor (8 photo diodes)
If you are looking for a watch that calculate heart rate beats correctly, this one is great pick. Compared to an Apple Watch 5 they give almost the same results. Still, it could fluctuate when compared to a watch that uses a chest-strap (the best way to monitor HR).
Calorie Burn and Step Counter
Another feature that we love to check is the calorie burn. With the Galaxy 2 Active you will get decent accuracy but not perfect. Step counter is also accurate more or less a couple of foot.
Automatic Activity Tracking
After spending around 10 minutes doing your workout the watch will auto detect the type of workout you are doing. There’s a bunch of workouts/activities available on the watch. Running, cycling, climbing just to name a few.
Running Coach and Built-in GPS
The Galaxy Active 2 includes a Running coach that can help you stay whit in the pace that you have preset by prompting an audio sound or notification directly on watch’s screen. The built-in GPS is pretty accurate due to his capability to track GPS, Beidou, Glonass and Galileo satellites. This helps the watch to acquire a position faster and more precise. This is definitely a feature that I love! Thumbs up!
ECG and fall detection embedded but…
Being able to monitor if your heart is pumping too fast or slow could help diagnostic a potential health issue. Like the Apple Watch 4/5 this feature could save lives. But it is still under development for Samsung and they should be releasing a firmware update activating the feature by 2020. Too bad!
Software and Connectivity
LTE enable (option) and Wi-Fi connectivity
The Galaxy Watch 2 Active comes with Wi-Fi to help you transfer your files or stream your music/playlist from Spotify. The LTE function is great to have if you want to make calls directly from your wrist. You can also reply to emails and text messages. Take note that not all phone carriers are compatible with this watch. Click here to see the list of compatible carriers all around the world.
Samsung Pay (with NFC only)
This feature lets you pay your stuff (e.g.: at the grocery store) with your watch. Make sure that the store you are getting in have NFC (near field communication) payments available since MTS (magnetic secure transmission) is not compatible with the Active 2.
With this new watch Samsung added their own digital assistant, Bixby. It sounds a bit robotic compare to Siri (Apple assistant) but it does the job.
Store Music on your wrist
With his 1.4Gb of internal storage the Galaxy 2 Active lets you store transferred music. This can be helpful if you don’t want to use Spotify or other streaming music services.
Apps like YouTube, Spotify or Twitter are all available with this watch and you can also install many fitness apps like Endomondo, Strava and My FitnessPal are all compatible.
Pros and Cons
- Awesome display and great design
- Accurate GPS and HR sensors
- Ability to customize your watchface and your strap are almost limitless
- Reverse Wireless Charging and Bixby assistant are great additions
- The virtual Running coach is handy
- The new rotating bezel is surprisingly easy to use
- ECG and fall detection is lacking (only available in 2020)
- Health insights are limited (compared to his competitors)
- Battery Life (2-3 days) can be a pain for some users (like me!)
The Final Verdict
With this watch you get all that you need: beautiful watch, robust screen, bright display, high-end technology and accurate sensors. The Samsung Galaxy 2 Active Watch is definitely a good competitor against the Apple Watch 4 or 5. Even if some new features are still ”pending”, this watch got all the bells and whistle to make you happy on the long run.
Instead of getting the LTE version (that will drain your battery in 1 day) we suggest you go for the 44 mm model that includes a bigger battery capacity, that way your watch will last a bit more. Also, having a virtual running coach that monitors your runs is a plus that I loved since I am a big runner.
If you are using an Android phone, you won’t be disappointed with this watch. Is it the best available in the market? I think so. It is overall the best smartwatch (including the price) out there. But things can change quickly in the wearable world…
I hope you enjoyed my Samsung Watch Active 2 review! Make sure to drop a comment if you have any questions or if you already own this smartwatch.
Thanks for tuning in! Stay active !
Al ”Alvaro” Paez