August 10, 2022
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G Review

When Samsung launched the Galaxy Watch Active last year, it was targeted at people who want to track their active lifestyle. The watch did a pretty good job of tracking our workouts, sleep, and steps when we put it to the test. Samsung has now launched a successor to the smartwatch, called the Galaxy Watch Active 2. The device is now bigger and offers 4G connectivity as well, which keeps it on the grid at all times. While these features make it interesting, does it justify its Rs. 35,990 price tag? We tested it to find out.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G Design

When we reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, we wished it was bigger. The new Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G fulfills that wish. At 1.4 inches, the display is easy to read but still not quite as big as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4G (Review). The familiar design is stylish and you have two options to choose from: tough stainless steel and lightweight aluminum. The stainless steel finish variant is priced at Rs. 31,990 while the aluminum variant is priced at Rs. 25,990. There is also a 4G version of the Galaxy Watch Active 2, though you can only get it with a steel body, which costs Rs. 35,990. Our review unit is the stainless steel 4G version in silver that looks very premium.

The 1.4-inch AMOLED display is crisp and has good viewing angles. Samsung has kept the screen resolution unchanged at 360×360 pixels, but we didn’t notice any pixelation. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G sports auto-brightness so the display brightness is automatically adjusted based on ambient light.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Dial Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G Review

Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G has a 1.4-inch display

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G has two buttons on the right side of the dial, while the left side houses the speaker. Buttons are slightly raised but respond well when pressed. At the top, there’s a microphone that you can use to take calls on the watch. The 44mm case has lugs that extend slightly and can accommodate any 20mm strap. Samsung offers a black leather strap in the box, which looks great with the silver dial. The quality of the strap is quite good and it feels comfortable when worn. The traditional watch clasp is convenient to use.

On the back, you’ll see hardware for wireless charging and heart rate tracking. Samsung ships a wireless charger in the box, which is affixed to the back using magnets.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G Specifications, Software & Features

Samsung has stuck with the same core hardware for the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G as its predecessor, most notably its in-house dual-core Exynos 9110 SoC. It is paired with 1.5GB RAM and 4GB storage. Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G runs on Tizen OS 4.0 with One UI 1.5 on top. Samsung claims that this watch is IP68 rated, which means it should be water-resistant up to 5ATM. This makes it swim-proof, so you can take a dip without worrying about this watch.

The increased size has helped Samsung pack in a bigger 340mAh battery. Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G supports Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, NFC and GPS. It also has an embedded SIM that allows the watch to directly latch onto the 4G network.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Heart Rate Tracker Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G Review

Heart-rate scanner and wireless charging mechanism at the back

Since the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G runs Tizen, it is compatible with both Android smartphones as well as iPhones. We tested the smartwatch with the Samsung Galaxy S10+ (Review) for this review. You will need the Galaxy Wearable app to pair this watch with a smartphone and set up 4G on it. Another app, Samsung Health, is required to check details like the number of steps you took and the quality of your sleep. Both of these apps worked as promised, and we didn’t have any problems with them, but a combined app would have been more convenient.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G’s interface is similar to the one we were used to on Samsung’s previous wearables, and navigating through it was a breeze. Samsung offers a lot of features straight out of the box, which is a good thing as there are a limited number of apps for Tizen OS. Sleep tracking and heart rate tracking are on by default and the watch is capable of tracking several different workouts.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G Performance and Battery Life

We found the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G to be lightweight and comfortable to use. Swiping right on the watch from the home screen takes you straight to your notifications. Samsung also offers an always-on mode that keeps the watch face on at all times. The clock echoes for incoming notifications, and you can reply to them from the watch itself. You can use the on-screen number pad to write answers with speech, handwriting recognition, or with T9 predictive input.

Since the Galaxy Watch Active 2 has a speaker, you can answer calls on the watch. It works even without setting up e-SIM on the watch. The speaker is loud but you have to hold the watch close to your ear to hear the caller clearly. We made a few calls using the watch and there were no issues. Our callers didn’t notice that we were talking to them through the smartwatch.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Button Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G Review

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G has two buttons on the right

We tested the Galaxy Active 2 4G’s tracking capabilities by walking exactly 1km, and the watch reported 0.99km which is an acceptable deviation. The watch connects to the GPS very quickly, and accurately reflects the route we take on the map. We tested the step counter on the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G by manually counting 1,000 steps as we walked. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G counted 1,008 steps. We’ve used fitness trackers that were completely accurate, but if you want a more accurate estimate of the number of steps you take at the end of each day, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G won’t be too bad.

Sleep tracking with the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G was accurate, and data from the Samsung Health app showed us a proper breakdown of wake time, light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. Heart-rate tracking was also accurate, and we found the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G to give readings in the same range as the Apple Watch Series 4.

The Samsung Galaxy Active 2 4G packs in a bigger battery than its predecessor, but due to the larger display, it delivered the same battery life as the Galaxy Watch Active. Using a smartwatch with notifications, heart rate tracking and sleep tracking enabled, it lasted us three days. Enabling the Always-On Display feature reduces the battery life to two days. With 4G e-SIM enabled and always-on display turned off, we managed to get about a day and a half of usage from this device.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Charging Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G Review

Samsung Galaxy Active 2 4G charges using a magnetic pad

If you’re actively looking to track workouts using the watch, expect the battery life to shrink even further. However, charging the watch is straightforward, and you just have to drop it on the supplied cradle. It takes about an hour for the watch to reach 50 percent, and about two hours to fully charge.

Decision

Samsung has been actively developing Tizen OS for its wearables for a few years now, and it seems to be fresher than Wear OS. However, don’t be surprised if you can’t find the native version of your favorite app for the Galaxy Watch 2 4G, as support is still pretty limited. On the positive side, you’d be hard-pressed to find any useful features missing from the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G, as Samsung offers a lot of functionality on the device.

Since the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G is good with fitness tracking, it’s an easy watch to recommend. Android users will be happy with what the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G has to offer as there are not many Wear OS options in the market. If you want better battery life, then you should take a look at Samsung Galaxy Watch 4G. If you are an iPhone user, you can consider the Apple Watch Series 3 which is a good option at almost the same price.


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