Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active isn’t trying to top the Galaxy Watch, and that’s a good thing, as it probably won’t do so. Not much stands out on the wearable, but it does feature a high-end design, a large display and some new exciting health features. Perhaps the best news, though, is that it comes at a much lower price.
- Premium feel design
- Tizen software has matured
- No rotating bezel
- Only one size
Samsung is giving smartwatches another shot with its new Galaxy Watch Active.
The new wearable sits just below the existing Galaxy Watch in the company’s lineup and it tries to take much of what made that device the best smartwatch in the world – according to TechRadar – and give it a bit of an extra sporty edge.
That means a slimmer design, and a few extra features to ensure it’s offering you a full picture of your health. We’ve had time to try out the watch at the Galaxy S10 launch, and here are our first thoughts.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active release date and price
The price for the Galaxy Watch Active is set at $199.99 or £229 (about AU$420). If you live in the US or UK and pre-order the wearable directly from Samsung you’ll get a free wireless charging pad too.
Those in the US will get the watch on March 8, while the UK has to wait a while longer with the release date set for March 2. We currently don’t know if the watch will be coming to Australia as so far the company has yet to announce its plans for that market.
Design and display
This is another round smartwatch from Samsung. Unlike on the Galaxy Watch, there’s no rotating bezel here in what we assume is an attempt to make a sportier design for the wearable.
It feels a lot lighter than the last-gen watch, but if you’re used to using the Galaxy Watch you may not be pleasantly surprised that the most intuitive way to navigate around has been dropped.
There are four color choices for the Galaxy Watch Active: black, silver, blue (technically sea green) and pink. The pink band comes with a rose gold body, while the rest of the watches just come with the same color as the body.
It’s also a 20mm strap too, which you can swap out for your own strap if you want to.
On the right-hand side of the watch you’ll find two buttons to turn the watch on. In the middle is a 1.1-inch 360 x 360 resolution display, while the body of the watch only comes in one size.
That’s 40mm, and while it sits between the 38mm and 42mm Galaxy Watch variants it’s a shame you won’t be able to pick out of two choices for this edition. In our limited testing time we found the watch to comfortably sit on the wrist, but it doesn’t look as high-end as the Galaxy Watch.
It’s also IP68 water resistant meaning you’ll be able to wear this when you head into the pool for a dip.
The watch comes sporting the latest version of Tizen, which means it has extra watch faces we haven’t seen before on the Galaxy Watch and a slightly refined design.
It still works with a spinning wheel of apps around the outside of the display, and there’s still a limited selection of third-party options, but it looks to have matured and may be even easier to use than on previous Samsung watches.
That’s only if you’re navigating around the screen though, as there’s no rotating bezel here for you to quickly spin around the display.
The Galaxy Watch Active comes with a heart rate monitor like your average smartwatch, but it’s also capable of measuring your stress levels.
It notices when your heart rate peaks, and from there it’ll tell you to take some time to monitor your stress and even recommend breathing exercises for you to undertake.
This isn’t a groundbreaking feature, as we’ve seen it on other products before, but it’s a helpful addition for those who want to monitor their overall health away from just fitness.
The watch also comes with a blood pressure monitor, which we weren’t able to try out during our hands-on time. It’s capable of monitoring your blood pressure through a service called My BP Lab, but we’re not currently certain as to exactly how this works – it’s something we’ll be sure to dig into more during our full review.
Fitness fanatics are catered for here though, with GPS tracking and auto-fitness modes for 39 different activities – which include the big hitters like running and cycling – as well as support for third-party apps like Strava.
Battery and specs
There’s a 230mAh battery inside the Galaxy Watch Active, which makes sense as it’s a touch smaller than both versions of the Galaxy Watch. It charges through wireless charging, which means you can boost it up with Qi charging pads or your new Galaxy S10 with its two-way charging feature.
Under the hood is a dual-core Samsung Exynos 9110 with 768MB of RAM, which is a similar setup to what worked well on the company’s last generation watch.
The Galaxy Watch Active isn’t the most exciting smartwatch money can buy, but it’s cheaper than the Galaxy Watch was at launch and it looks to offer an improved experience for those interested in fitness.
This probably won’t be a must-have wearable for those who already own a modern smartwatch though.