We lately discovered that Google has acquired Fitbit for $2.1 billion, an enormous increase for the tech big’s floundering Wear OS and its health cred. It stays to be seen how effectively the following technology of Google’s watches carry out, however as of now, Samsung’s Tizen-based watches stay the kings of Android. Much like the Apple Watch, the OS is easy, intuitive and an aesthetic winner, whereas hardware designs usually outshine the Android competitors. Following the primary Galaxy Watch Active from earlier this yr, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 now is available in two sizes (and two metals) with an LTE possibility and exterior speaker, rising from a compelling smartwatch to the Android watch of the yr. From a design perspective, it’s a minimize above the Apple Watch with a glossy spherical kind issue and conventional lugs, trying extra like an precise watch than a slab of tech. If you happen to’re an Android consumer and need one of the best wrist-worn expertise, that is positively it. Let’s take a more in-depth look.
The Galaxy Watch Energetic 2 is available in two sizes, corresponding to the Apple Watch, with 40mm and 44mm instances. The 40mm mannequin (the one I’m reviewing) sports activities a 1.2-inch OLED show, whereas the 44mm mannequin has a 1.4-inch show. It may not sound like an enormous distinction on paper, however the bigger display screen is far more expansive. The smaller display screen isn’t cramped, nonetheless, and is definitely the identical measurement as that on the sooner 42mm Galaxy Watch. The brand new fashions additionally deliver again the rotating bezel, a differentiating characteristic on many Samsung fashions, however this time it’s capacitive. As an alternative of turning a bodily bezel like earlier than, you merely glide your finger across the outer fringe of the display screen to navigate. It really works surprisingly effectively and I’m torn as to which technique I desire. It additionally ends in a cleaner, less complicated aesthetic, though I personally desire the look of the older Galaxy Watch 42mm (beneath at proper).
The show decision is 360 x 360 pixels, leading to a really sharp 364 ppi. It’s additionally very shiny and simply seen in direct daylight. I set the brightness degree at 4 (out of 10) and by no means felt it was too dim. Like all fashionable OLED shows (this one is Samsung’s Super AMOLED), colours pop and blacks are tremendous deep, and the always-on show subtly shifts round to keep away from burn-in. There’s a thick border across the show, which was successfully masked by earlier bodily bezels, nevertheless it leaves needed area for the digital counterpart. The aluminum case is available in black, silver and gold with silicone straps, and there are chrome steel fashions coupled with leather-based straps that add a little bit of luxurious. Within the US, solely the LTE fashions are chrome steel, however that’s not the case in all markets. The face is sturdy Corning Gorilla Glass DX+ with a wonderful oleophobic coating. All fashions are additionally IP68 rated for water and mud resistance.
There are two buttons on the proper aspect with the highest serving as a again button and the underside both sending you again to dwelling or to the app drawer (maintain for a second to energy off). A microphone sits between the 2. The elongated prime button can also be used for an ECG operate (electrocardiogram), which is one thing solely the Apple Watch sported till now. Working in tandem with the underside coronary heart price sensor, it signifies when you have a traditional sinus rhythm or atrial fibrillation (coronary heart beating in an irregular sample). Sadly, the characteristic isn’t but activated and received’t go reside till early 2020. If you happen to maintain the highest button, it’s going to additionally pull up Samsung Pay (you’ll be able to pay straight from the watch through NFC). An exterior speaker is centered on the left aspect and permits for telephone calls straight on the watch and different advantages, resembling listening to Spotify (you need to most likely persist with bluetooth earbuds) and audible notifications.
The again of the watch incorporates a coronary heart price monitor and the included charger fills the tank through a wi-fi magnetic puck. Remember that a wall plug isn’t included, only a charging cable with a normal USB-A finish. You possibly can both plug it into a pc or use your telephone’s wall adapter. The strap additionally options fast launch levers for simple removing with out instruments.
|Samsung Galaxy Watch Energetic 2|
|Show||1.2″ Tremendous AMOLED (360 x 360), 364ppi|
|Charging||Wi-fi magnetic charging puck (no wall plug included)|
|Software program||Tizen wearable OS 4.zero|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.zero, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, NFC, GPS, optionally available LTE|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyro, coronary heart price, barometer, mild sensor, pure language instructions and dictation|
|Measurements||40mm diameter or 44mm diameter|
|Colours||Black, silver or gold (in aluminum or chrome steel)|
Software program and Efficiency
Much like Put on OS, there’s not a lot that differentiates one Tizen-based watch from one other. My older Galaxy Watch 42mm gives an virtually equivalent software program expertise to the brand new Galaxy Watch Energetic 2. As talked about earlier, this one does pack in additional options than the Galaxy Watch Energetic it replaces, together with an exterior speaker to take/obtain telephone calls, an possibility for LTE connectivity and an ECG monitor. An possibility for a bigger 44mm mannequin additionally brings it according to Apple’s twin choices. Navigating the software program is fluid and intuitive, and there are sufficient options in Tizen 4.0 to eclipse Put on OS.
Merely swipe to the left for notifications, which you’ll reply to through voice, keyboard or handwriting recognition. Swipe to the proper for a number of useful widgets you’ll be able to place, together with a calendar, climate, contacts, well being and health, alarms, app shortcuts, music and extra. Similar to in your telephone, you’ll be able to faucet a widget to dive deeper into the app. It’s also possible to slide your finger across the display screen’s outer border to navigate with the digital rotating bezel.
Urgent the underside button (from dwelling) will launch the app drawer, which is organized across the display screen’s perimeter. You possibly can swipe proper or left to flick thru your app pages, or use the capacitive bezel. Swipe down from any display screen to disclose fast settings and push and maintain on the house display screen to alter/customise your watch face. And between what’s preinstalled and the Galaxy Store, you may have a seemingly limitless quantity of watch faces to select from. There’s additionally a brand new characteristic known as My Fashion that may match your outfit with the watch face. Taking an image of your shirt, pants, and many others. through the Galaxy Watch app will create a handful of patterns matching the colour. It’s a enjoyable concept, however I actually by no means used it.
Well being and health are an enormous focus for the brand new watch (there’s a motive it’s known as Energetic). Frequent staples are right here, like step counting, coronary heart price monitoring and energy burned. There’s additionally a exercise monitor to trace actions like operating, swimming, biking and extra. Seven workouts are mechanically tracked, together with strolling, operating, swimming, biking, rowing, elliptical coaching and dynamic exercises. I used to be capable of precisely monitor reps of a number of exercises – bench presses and bicep curls, for instance. An audible ping sounded after each rep, holding me on monitor and surprisingly extra motivated. Sleep monitoring and water consumption monitoring are additionally onboard. There’s built-in GPS and Spotify, and music may be saved straight on the watch. Each are perfect for exercises, notably strolling, operating or biking.
Along with Spotify, third-party apps are first rate if not scattershot. There are each YouTube and Twitter apps that work pretty effectively, though each are restricted in performance. You possibly can solely like and retweet in Twitter, for instance. There’s additionally a completely practical Samsung internet browser, permitting for internet variations of Instagram, YouTube, Google and extra, amongst different shopping enjoyable. It’s tiny, laborious to see, ridiculous and superior all of sudden. I’m an enormous fan.
With the optionally available LTE enabled, you’ll be able to go away your telephone behind and keep fully linked. Calls, texts and emails are straightforward, whereas maintaining with social media is doable, if not a bit cumbersome. You’ll most likely miss the large display screen, however the truth that it’s not wanted may be sensible (principally). If you happen to’re occurring a hike or spending a day on the mall, the Galaxy Watch Energetic 2 with LTE will monitor your steps and different health targets, can help you pay with NFC, take calls and reply to texts/emails, and Google which product has one of the best critiques, all with out your telephone. Oh, and there’s Bixby to deal with voice instructions. It really works fairly effectively, however delays and misinterpreted phrases are a bit too widespread. Keep on with comparatively quick phrases, textual content messages and e mail replies, and it’s a satisfying expertise. Put on OS with Google Assistant has the sting on this one.
Battery life is usually a low level with smartwatches, however the 247mAh battery in Galaxy Watch Energetic 2 shines. If you happen to’re not a health buff, dealing with notifications, taking some calls and taking part in Spotify received’t kill the battery in a day. Two-day battery life isn’t out of the query and truly widespread with mild utilization. If you happen to monitor train for an hour or extra, and/or rely closely on LTE, it ought to nonetheless get you thru a full day and evening. After all, it’s potential to kill the battery in lower than a day, however I believe most customers received’t expertise that.
As talked about earlier than, charging is completed through a wi-fi puck, however any suitable Qi wireless charging pad will work. Samsung’s Wireless Charger Duo is a cool choice to cost each your telephone and watch concurrently. And when you have a Galaxy S10 or Observe 10 variant, you’ll be able to wirelessly cost the watch from the again of your telephone. Cool stuff.
Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Energetic 2 works on iOS, however performance is proscribed. You possibly can’t even reply to notifications. If you happen to’re rocking an iPhone, get an Apple Watch. Plain and easy. If you happen to’re an Android consumer (you have to be, after all), the 40mm or 44mm Samsung is one of the best smartwatch you should purchase. There are compelling Put on OS fashions on the market from luxurious watch manufacturers like Fossil and Skagen have very good, inexpensive choices. None of them, nonetheless, can match Tizen’s fluid, cohesive expertise. And the slick simplicity of this hardware is the closest factor you’ll get to an Apple Watch, and it’s even spherical in addition. When evaluating Android tablets to iPads, Apple usually wins, however that’s now not the case with smartwatches. Samsung’s newest can go toe-to-toe with one of the best from Cupertino. Couple this with a Galaxy S10 or Note 10, and also you arguably have one of the best twin cell expertise out there.
Taking a look at costs, WiFi variations retail for $279.99 (40mm) and $299.99 (44mm), whereas chrome steel LTE variations retail for $429.99 (40mm) and $449.99 (44mm). Evaluating this to the Apple Watch 5, WiFi variations retail for $399 (40mm) and $429 (44mm), whereas chrome steel LTE variations retail for $699 (40mm) and $749 (44mm). The variations are each substantial and eye-opening, and reinforce how all the way down to earth the Galaxy Watch Energetic 2 costs are. Apple’s 44mm LTE variant begins at a whopping $300 greater than its Samsung counterpart. That distinction alone would purchase a 44mm WiFi Galaxy Watch Energetic 2. Wow!
You should purchase WiFi and LTE fashions at Samsung.com, Best Buy, Amazon and taking part carriers (amongst different retailers). You’ll should pay a month-to-month price of round $10 for LTE entry, nevertheless it’ll be well worth the freedom for a lot of (see your provider for particulars).