A new Strategy Analytics study showed a year-on-year increase of 42 percent in global smartwatch shipments. In Q3 2019, it achieved a total of 14.2 million units. Brands such as Amazfit, Huawei, Honor, Fitbit, and more are releasing their affordable smartwatches in India, and why not? We recently reviewed the Galaxy Watch LTE, which, along with fitness functionality, brings standalone connectivity.
The Galaxy Watch saw the departure of the active design, where Samsung ate the physical rotation bezel for a full touch display. Because it does not do well with consumers, Samsung has added a touch-based, capacitive ring to the Galaxy Watch Active 2. It mimics the rotating bezel and you also get good hyperactive feedback when scrolling through the menu. However, I like the optics to be a little stronger.
The Galaxy Watch Active look and feel has not changed much. You get a 1.4-inch AMOLED screen with 360 × 360 pixel resolution. It is very crisp and provides punch color reproduction. It is also bright and even sharpening under direct sunlight is not a problem. The touch response of the screen is also very good and I have not encountered any problems navigating through the UI.
Notable changes come in the form of buttons. On the right side, you have a button on the back and the ECG is slightly longer than before to start reading. Just below this, you have the menu button and a nice red ring indicating the LTE model. There are two microphones – one between the two buttons on the right and the other on the top. The speaker is on the left.
Another important change follows. The Watch Active 2 now comes with a total of eight LEDs, compared to the four in the Galaxy Watch Active. These can help you measure your pulse more accurately, especially during workouts (later). And then, there’s the ECG sensor, too. There is still time until Samsung is activated as it waits for the necessary FDA approval.
The Galaxy Watch (46mm) with a 472 mAh battery lasts about 4-5 days. On the other hand, the Watch Active 2 4G has a 340 mAh battery, and it lasts for two days. And if you always turn on the display and turn on 4G connectivity from time to time, it will take you a day to complete.
I start my day with 100% battery and get notifications on social media, Slack, WhatsApp, and more. By the time I got home, the watch had 60 percent battery left. Then, I go for an hour on GPS and listen to streaming music via 4G (Spotify) and Bluetooth. By the time I got home, the watch had an 18 percent battery, which by the next day was pretty good.
If we leave out the music streaming component, single-use provides two full-day battery lives, which is longer than the Apple Watch Series 5. And full charging takes an hour and 30 minutes, which is a lot faster than the previous generation model I used. It also supports wireless charging, which means you can use your Galaxy Note 10 or S10 reverse wireless charging feature to charge the watch.
The name “Active” is one reason. The smartwatch focuses more on fitness enthusiasts. It can track a total of 39 exercises. Of these, activities such as running, cycling and swimming are automatically tracked. For the rest, you have to manually select from the list. These include squats, crunches, lanyards, burp tests, deadlifts, circuit training, slabs, pull-ups, push-ups, and more.
I’m not a perfect fit, but often, I do some squats, squats, and star jumps. And while doing the sets, I noticed that the reading was very accurate. I travel 4-5km every alternate day. Go on foot, and even pedometer logging with distance and GPS location is very accurate for minimal error.
Now talking about the eight LEDs on the back, I found the readings on the Watch Active 2 to be more accurate. Most of the time, on the Galaxy Watch and previous Gear Smartwatches, the watch skips the heartbeat reading. This happens most often when you exercise and when your hands are sweaty. This is not true in the case of the Watch Active 2, which is an improvement.
The smartwatch also improves the heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. I am not a good sleeper, and often I get sinus problems many times. All of that data is properly tracked and the clock tells me about light sleep, deep sleep, and how many REMs each night. In the case of heart rate monitoring, you can set it to measure every 10 minutes or manually.
There is also the option of continuous heart rate monitoring, but this increases battery consumption. All this data is logged in to the Samsung Health app. You can access it at any time and compare it with the previous day, week, and month.
For Android owners, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G stops short of becoming a full smartwatch. This brings in crucial enhancements from the previous edition. Any of the pros are 4G networking, improved heart rate control, and health tracking, and increased battery life. Production is no concern.