Galaxy Watch Active 2 Review: Improvements Across Many Aspects

Karamchand Rameshwar - Nov 06, 2019


Galaxy Watch Active 2 Review: Improvements Across Many Aspects

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 arrives with many improvements across many aspects over its predecessor. However, it might be not worth upgrading.

Much better design

At first glance, users will think that this Watch Active 2 is no different from the previous Watch Active. Because the design of Watch Active is already quite good, so Samsung has no reason to change the design in this new model. However, because it is a smart wearable of the 2nd generation, this smartwatch also has notable upgrades. 

Galaxy Watch Active 2 1  Galaxy Watch Active 2 3

Galaxy Watch Active 2 4

The Active 2 is made of aluminum. It is available in multiple colors such as Cloud Silver, Aqua Black, Pink Gold.

Galaxy Watch Active 2 2

Galaxy Watch Active 2 6

Samsung this time added a size option of 44mm alongside 40mm. This is a good move as the 40mm size may be small for many people. Moreover, the 44mm version is not too big because the border has been shrunk, plus a larger battery inside. The first merit about the Watch Active 2 is the larger screen size, to 1.2 and 1.4 inches compared to 1.1 inches in the old version. The number sounds small but makes a difference when putting two generations together. However, only the 44m version is available in India, and we are not sure whether the brand will release the other model any time soon.

Galaxy Watch Active 2 10

Galaxy Watch Active 2 11

The Watch Active 2 still has 2 physical buttons on the right side: Back button on the top, Home button at the bottom. When you press the Home button twice, it will activate the virtual assistant Bixby, press the Back button and hold for a while to open the Samsung Pay app.

A small change on the Galaxy Watch Active 2 that may not be a common wearer, but for those who exercise, especially jogging, it is very practical: the upper hardware key has been changed from circle to oval shape. With a larger and longer key area, runners can easily press the LAP switch without slipping / missing due to sweaty fingers.

Galaxy Watch Active 2 7

The resolution of the screen is 360x360 pixels. The SuperAMOLED panels are good: Bright colors, high brightness, and comes with a light sensor. You only need to adjust the brightness indoors, but when out in the sun or at night, the screen will adjust itself enough to see. This is a very smart feature from Samsung, and you'll almost never have to adjust the brightness manually in any case.

A significant difference in Active 2 is its touch-sensitive capacitive ring around its display. Users can drag their fingers around the display to scroll through many apps and settings, helping them move menus and icons faster, without having to swipe their finger one page at a time.

Galaxy Watch Active 2 8

Galaxy Watch Active 2 9

The feeling of wearing Galaxy Watch Active 2 on the hand is very comfortable because it is gentle, the rubber strap is soft and firm. One small minus point is that Samsung does not offer extra bands of different sizes. If you have a small wrist and want to use the 44mm version, then chances are high that you have to buy an extra cord yourself.

Galaxy Watch Active 2 14

Galaxy Watch Active 2 supports all the necessary connections, from Bluetooth 5.0 to Wifi and GPS. You can only receive calls through the speaker of the watch but the volume is not too loud, enough to answer the phone when in a closed room but out on the street or in a noisy place, it will be hard to hear the other end of the phone.

Previously, I was very frustrated with the Music Tuning Widget on Watch Active 1 because it was very laggy, sometimes the music ran for 10 seconds and the watch screen still did not show the new song. This affects many times when running but want to adjust through quick post or adjust the volume. Fortunately, Watch Active 2 with Bluetooth 5.0 has fixed this part, everything is synchronized very quickly.

The wifi connection is still stable. Auto Wifi mode saves battery power by turning on the network only when you open an app / widget that needs a fast network, such as streaming music via Spotify, chatting with Bixby or getting weather information. However, you can turn off Wifi and use the network via Bluetooth, which is good enough.

Galaxy Watch Active 2 16
Battery life up to 2 days, suitable for many levels of use

This is the most different aspect between the 40mm and 44mm versions and can make you change your mind. The Galaxy Watch Active 40mm has a 247 mAh battery, which is higher than the old one, but the battery life is only up to nearly 2 days for each charge, while the 44m version with a 340mAh battery is good for two and a half days. It doesn't sound like much, but the difference in the half-day will make the 44mm version much more attractive.

Above is the test result when I only turned on Bluetooth connection, turned off all Wifi, NFC, GPS and enabled touch sensor, manually adjusted screen brightness and touch screen light. If the screen is always bright, the 40mm version will last for about one and a half days, and the 44mm version is two days - not bad at all.Galaxy Watch Active 2 15

If you regularly use Wifi or GPS, the battery life will drain very quickly, only about 1 day of use. So, if you only use Watch Active 2 to receive notifications, control music, watch the weather or receive calls, you should turn off other connections, leaving only Bluetooth is enough. Unfortunately, the charging time for both versions is quite long.

Galaxy Watch Active 2 does not support fast charging and it is understandable. However, the device takes too long to fully charge. Tested with 44mm version, it took 30 minutes to charge from 15 to 33 percent and 60 minutes to 58 percent. In total, the watch takes at least 2 hours to fully charge. The smaller 40mm battery, on the other hand, charges faster, but it is not that much.

The device is equipped with an Exynos 9110 dual-core chipset 1.15GHz, 768MB RAM, 4GB of internal memory. The operating system of this smartwatch is Tizen with Samsung's unique One UI interface. 

Galaxy Watch Active 2 12

Galaxy Watch Active 2 13

However, the Tizen operating system still does not support good third-party apps. Users can only use pre-installed apps. They work very well and are stable with many features like replying to messages or interacting with emails that appear in notifications.

The Active 2 is IP68 certified for dust and water resistance. Water Lock mode disables the touch and vibration features of the watch and it will be automatically activated when it comes into contact with water or liquid environment to prevent water from getting in. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Review Samsung Healt Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Review Samsung Healt

Fitness apps and features related to Active 2 have not changed much with 39 different tracking modes and many exercises such as running, walking, cycling, swimming, and more. The device provides detailed, easy-to-understand metrics regarding the amount of time users have spent on practicing.

More specifically, it also has the ability to automatically monitor the sleep quality of users. They just need to wear on the wrist and sync the device with their smartphone and go to sleep ... leaving everything measured and monitored. After waking up, they can check the Samsung Health app for more details.

This Samsung Health app has a simple, detailed interface with lots of useful information divided into different sections. Users can easily keep track of what they have achieved on a day. Besides, this app also integrates many interesting social features with appropriate instructions if users want to improve an activity.

Screenshot20191101 114454samsung Health Side 15727

When connecting the Active 2 to a smartphone for the first time, users need to download 4 different applications, which are Galaxy Wearable, Galaxy Watch Active 2 Plugin, Samsung Accessory Service, and Samsung Health. These apps will be automatically downloaded during the connection process, all users need to do is connect to a Wi-Fi network and a few more steps to finish.

Verdict:

For now, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is only available in a single 44mm variant with Aluminium in India and it is retailed at Rs 26,990.  If you're using the previous generation, chances are you will not find anything too interesting or outstanding to upgrade; But if you're using an old smartwatch or want to experience above-average smartwatch for the first time, Watch Active 2 is not a bad choice. It has everything you need in a smartwatch, plus a luxurious round design, a variety of control software, easy personalization and more-than-a-day battery life.

Hasp Ss Galaxy Watch Active2 23

If you like the Watch Active 2, just go for it. The only thing to consider carefully is whether the size of 44m would fit your wrist or not.

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