We bought the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 so our reviewer could test it. Read our full product review.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is an impressive sequel to the original Galaxy Watch Active, whose lightweight and stylish design was intended for active users to use 24/7. The Active2, while slightly larger and heavier than its predecessor, is a very comfortable and easy-to-use wearable with a powerful multi-day battery and the connectivity features you’d expect from the best smartwatches, including receiving and sending calls and messages. And separate use with LTE connection.
Other exciting improvements include advanced health and fitness features that rival Apple and Fitbit models. Wellness enthusiasts and runners will love the new VO2 max feature, running analysis and ECG monitoring support, and all users can boast peace of mind with fall detection. While iOS users with an iPhone 5 or later will find compatibility, it’s more limited than Android or Galaxy users.
Design: stylish and easy to use
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is slim, sporty and easy to navigate. It features a vibrant 1.2-inch 360 x 360 SUPER AMOLED display that’s easy to see in all lighting conditions with adjustable brightness levels, the option to wake up with a flick of the wrist or tap, and an always-on screen.
This screen has intuitive inputs in each direction and two convenient buttons that double as the back and home buttons. The home button also takes you to the root of the app and acts as a power button. You can switch between selections by touching each element or by using the digital photo frame function, which is just as efficient as the physical mechanism.
New: New Dimensions, Connectivity and Fitness Tracking in Active2
While the overall look and feature set hasn’t changed dramatically, the Active2 has some obvious differences from the original Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. The Active2 enlarges the screen by 0.1 inch or 0.3 inch in a new larger housing that is more attractive for more wrist sizes.
In addition to the aluminum stand that comes with it, Samsung has also added an updated stainless steel version with an LTE connectivity option. This second generation model has a favorite feature of the fans of Samsung wearables: the ring. Active2’s digital photo frame allows users to scroll through all screens and widgets by tapping and rotating the edge of the screen for faster navigation.
Active2 also offers easier connectivity by remembering text history and providing quick responses, including Bitmojis and preset responses right from the watch. In addition, it supports fitness and wellness technology by improving running analysis and offering ECG monitoring and fall detection. These features put it right in the company of the Apple Watch and Fitbit and Garmin smartwatches that increase the focus on fitness and wellness.
Comfort: ideal for all-day wear
Active2 offers a comfortable fluoroelastomer spring that flexes easily and repels sweat and moisture, yet easily traps lint. Thanks to the 5 ATM water resistance, the device can be safely taken to the pool for laps or quiet baths. The water seal function was foolproof and easy to turn on and off at will. You can also count on Gorilla Glass DX+ and MIL-STD-810G durability ratings for easy routine use and maintenance.
In addition to the larger wrist size, the Active2 feels almost weightless, despite being slightly heavier than the 40mm Active (0.91 oz vs. 0.88 oz). The thin, flat shoulder strap ensures a good fit without extra material getting in the way during exercise or when you are stationary. The lightweight design and flexible structure have given this device an almost weightless feel in everyday use, even while sleeping. Unlike some wearables, I didn’t get heavy marks when I woke up from a night wearing it to track my sleep.
Performance: A significantly improved fitness meter
A device called Active2 should have the capabilities to track exercise and well-being, and this watch does even better than the original Active. Like the first generation model, the Active2 tracks 39 different types of exercises, including automatic recording of popular exercises like running. While running on Active, I encountered disappointing and slightly inaccurate GPS and heart rate reading compared to the Garmin device. This has not been my experience with Active2.
Compared to one of Garmin’s newest and sportiest smartwatches, the Garmin Forerunner 745, I was pleasantly surprised at how the Active2 performed. Active2 was only slightly ahead of Garmin in all areas and by a negligible margin. Over several 3- and 4-mile runs, the average pace was a few seconds, the average heart rate was reduced by just one beat per minute, and the cadence also dropped by one point.
I was also happy to see the VO2 max analysis. Although the scales differ from Garmin’s brackets, they both put me on the same level based on my age and other stats. The Active2 also offers a significant advantage over most Garmin smartwatches and other fitness-focused smartwatches with built-in gait analysis.
Battery: no shine, but low
The claim that this is a multi-day device is true. I’ve seen a steady run time of 2.5-3 days depending on how I’ve used it. Streaming Spotify music or turning on the always-on display during activity drained the battery predictably faster.
If you want to extend the battery life, you should use the power saving mode. The wireless charging tool conveniently displays the expected charging time based on how low the battery is. From completely empty to 100 percent, I recorded a solid charging time of 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Software: Tien OS offers a versatile smartwatch experience
Active2 runs on Tien OS, which offers a wide range of watch face customizations and even greater access to the Galaxy Store or other gaming, productivity or entertainment applications. For virtual assistance, there’s Bixby, which has been significantly improved from its active version, and Samsung Pay for quick payments without a wallet.
Active2 also comes with Spotify, which you can enjoy with or without headphones, thanks to the surprisingly loud and decent built-in speaker. With a premium Spotify account, you can also download playlists to your device to use as a separate music player.
Android users enjoy the convenience of replying to emails, calls and messages directly from Active2 (when nearby and connected) with ready replies, emoticons, and even hand drawn voice and replies. There is also a new SOS function that allows you to alert a contact if you have fallen. All these features are made easier to use in stand-alone mode with the LTE model. Samsung Galaxy smartphone users will enjoy even greater symbiosis with their phones with features like Wireless Power Share and ECG monitoring in the Samsung Health app.
Versatile Fitness Forward smartwatch for Android users.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 lives up to its name as a wearable device that helps promote and connect an active lifestyle with a stylish and durable design, advanced running stats, ECG monitoring, and a rich selection of connected apps and features. The full customization available on Android and Samsung Galaxy smartphones in particular makes the Active2 an attractive smartwatch choice for non-iOS users.