What do you get if you pared down the regular Samsung Galaxy Watch and then market it towards those with an active lifestyle? Hint: It’s the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active.

Smaller, lighter, cheaper…the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active seems like it’s a great buy. Is it though? Read on and find out.

What is the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active?

galaxy watch active
Samsung’s loaned us the Gold and Silver Galaxy Watch Actives.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is a SGD$368 smartwatch with a 28.1mm display. It comes with 1.4GB of memory, a 1.15GHz processor, alongside a 230mAh battery and is 39.5 x 39.5 x 10.5mm.

It uses Samsung’s Tizen 4.0 as its OS, which is compatible with both Android and iOS phones. However, users of Samsung smartphones will definitely have a much smoother experience with it, as you’ll need to download less stuff from the app store to get the smartwatch configured.

The Samsung Galaxy Active comes in Gold, Silver and Black, with two different length straps packed in. Other straps are available for sale if you’re interested in customizing yours.

Here are the specs in a more compact form.

Main Display (mm)28.1
Memory1.4GB
ProcessorDual-core Ezynos 9110 at 1.15Ghz
Battery230mAh
Dimensions (mm) 39.5 x 39.5 x 10.5
Price (SGD)$368

If you’ve been keeping up with Samsung’s Galaxy Watch lineup, the first thing you’ll notice about the device is that it’s missing the regular Galaxy Watch’s rotating bezel.

That’s gone the way of the dodo, which results in the watch’s more compact size and lighter weight.

Simple and elegant.

galaxy watch active

Visually, there’s very little to make the Galaxy Watch Active stand out.

The main display isn’t ostentatious, and the buttons aren’t obtrusive. It looks rather plain in that regard, but we’re a fan of its refined looks. The watch unit is housed solidly in aluminium, with the watch display rounded at the edges. It gives the watch a very smooth appearance and makes it incredibly great to touch and feel.

These buttons. They blend in pretty well with the watch. Won’t snag, yet register button pushes well.

The display resists fingerprints and other stains very well too, remaining clear even after repeated and heavy swipes, with sweaty fingers. That’s definitely a great selling point for those who plan to use the watch in the gym or while exercising. In fact, it’ also a boon for regular users too since you’ll barely need to maintain a clear display.

On the Galaxy Watch Active, navigation is handled entirely by swiping or by the two buttons (Back button at the top, Home button below) at the side. These give you access to your apps, as well as allow you to delve into the watch’s settings to configure it to your liking.

Navigating just via swipes works for the most part, though I’ve found that some icons can be a bit too small to accurately tap with. Most of the time it works fine, even with my stubby fingers, so unless you have sausages for fingers, you’ll be able to tap away with very little issue.

Great watch, not so great size.

Like any modern smartwatch, the device has a variety of watch faces to choose from. New ones can easily be downloaded via the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app; some of them are free, others cost money.

The bezel around the display is our main gripe. This The Division inspired watch face shows the thick bezel.

Sadly, there’s a very obtrusive bezel around the watch, making the already small display look even tinier.

It’s more pronounced with certain watch faces (especially those with borders) and it’s one of the biggest disappointments I have with the watch.

The Galaxy Watch Active comes pre-loaded with a bunch of health tracking software but if you desire, you can also download some off the app store. Popular health apps like MapMyRun, Endomondo and C25K are all compatible with the watch.

You can easily have your favourite apps on shortcuts to make accessing them easier.

However, we found apps already on the watch more than adequate for health monitoring needs; steps, heartbeat, breathing, stress level, steps taken, distance covered and more.

Pretty much everything you can think off can be monitored without using extra software.It can even monitor your sleep and give you feedback on how well you slept.

Fast and responsive.

You can even find out about the weather.

Notifications also show up on the watch, so you don’t need to keep referring to your phone if you don’t want to. You can also respond to messages via pre-selected responses, which is great if you don’t want to get out your phone just to say ‘Yes’ or something similar. Typing is hellish even though it smartly eschews a keyboard and instead uses old mobile phone way of typing.

The Galaxy Watch Active performs spectacularly whenever we used it. Swiping and button presses are all registered with no issues and swapping apps done without any slowdown. It’s all responsive and speedy and I had no issues with stuttering.

I also want to point out how sharp the display is. Watchfaces look great on it (despite the bezels) and even tiny details are easily visible in bright light. It shines in the dark too, with vivid colors and illumination.

Based on our usage, the watch lasted over two days on a single charge. It’ll recommend a power saving mode when the battery hits a certain threshold. We kept the settings on default, with only default apps running so if you’re a heavy app user (or one who barely uses any of the apps), your mileage may vary.

However, more than two days on one charge is pretty decent, especially if you’re one who monitors your health stats obsessively. It’s not as robust as some of the other smartwatches out there but that’s a trade off that we’d gladly make for the device’s lower asking price.

The wireless charger. It has a magnet in it that secures the watch to it when charging.

The watch charges wirelessly so you can just slap it on a wireless charger (or its own) and have it power up while you’re bathing or doing something that doesn’t require it.

It takes about 150 minutes to get it to 100% from 0% with its included wireless charger, so the charging time might be an issue if you’re needing it charged quickly.

The bottom line.

Our verdict? Get it.

If you’re in the market for a smartwatch, you could do much, much worse than the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active.

Sure, it might be smaller and not as robust as its bigger brother, the regular Galaxy Watch, but it makes up for it with a lower price, lighter weight and being more fitness focused.

Hell, even if you’re not a fitness buff, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is still a great smartwatch. The drawbacks (shorter battery life and smaller display) can easily be overlooked, especially if you’re on a budget.

TLDR:

Great smartwatch for those on a budget and fitness buffs. Responsive, light and comfortable to wear, only drawbacks are its smaller display and battery, when compared to the regular Samsung Galaxy Watch.

The Good.The Bad.
– Great feel and looks.– Small display with obtrusive bezel.
– Very responsive.– Battery lasts only two – three days.
– Tons of fitness feature.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.