The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 LTE was launched only six months after the Galaxy Watch Active, but some updates made it apparent that Samsung should have released only the Watch Active 2 smartwatch or fitness tracker in 2019. Two sizing variants, an LTE variant, upgraded sensors, a slightly larger touchscreen, a newer iteration of Bluetooth, audio Running Coach, and touch-based revolving bezel navigation were among the enhancements.
I’ve never used the Galaxy Watch Active, so I can’t relate about personal experiences with the changes, but from what I’ve read, the original model’s firmware has been upgraded to fit the Active 2 user interface, so the hardware is the distinguishing change. I went for the stainless steel black 44mm version with LTE support. On the Samsung platform, there was a $30 sale, bringing the total to $419.99. The WiFi edition, which comes with a range of color choices and has an aluminum watch body, costs $269.99.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 LTE Software:
You can press and hold the top back button to open Samsung Pay. Double-press the Home button below to enable Bixby or you can set it up for another function in Settings. Press and hold the home button will turn you off the clock or turn on the touch sensitivity.
By default these include power saving mode, aircraft mode, the toggle for ringtone management, disturb, not always display, and brightness level. Swipe up to see more control buttons, including one, to access all settings.
Settings are available about Clock Face, Sound, and Vibration, Display, Advanced Options, Connection, Application, Security, Account, Access, General, Battery. You can scroll down to connect to other phones, including the iPhone.
Swipe left to right to see your notifications from the watch face. It takes a little practice but is also fun to navigate.
The Galaxy Store has incredible optional watch faces. Watch Face is an area of the Galaxy Watch Active 2 that has beaten all the other smartwatches I have tested so far and honestly it’s a great thing to have custom options so people are currently using their watch.
Another area I enjoy on the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is automatic activity tracking. I walk a mile between my office and the train station and usually do not track except for these steps. Watch Active 2 categorizes these as a walk so that I can easily see and track attempts at Samsung Health. I know Apple now has this capability for some operations as well, but Samsung is improving its tracking.
Most people give Samsung a stock for Bixby, but I use it mostly on Samsung devices. It is accurate to me and answers most of my questions promptly, even on LTE connections in standalone mode.
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It is much smoother than the Galaxy Watch with the glass display, which bends into the edges of the watch. The Watch Active 2 does not have a spinning bezel, as it is copied with a digital bezel and you activate it by rotating your finger on the outside of the display.
Previously, the Galaxy Watch and Gear Frontier S3 were very chunky large watches, so showing great performance on the body is comfortable to wear for a long time and looks great. The Watch Active 2 is also easy to sleep on with the 44mm stainless steel model.
There are two physical buttons on the right, like the back button at the top and the home button at the bottom. There are mic openings on the right and top and speaker openings on the left. This is great when you do not like to listen to music on the speaker for long periods, for phone calls and you do not have headphones.
Compared to GPS sports watches there is a comfortable optical heart rate monitor on the back. The standard 20mm band can be used with the Galaxy Watch Active 2. This box has a black leather band, but no silicone band. Since the watch focuses on extreme functionality, I don’t know why there isn’t even a silicone band in the box. I have 20mm bands, so I use them when running with the Watch Active 2. Switching bands is quick and easy.
The Galaxy Watch Active 2, Polar Vantage V, and Garmin Forerunner 945 were my running companions. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 didn’t have as many custom data options as dedicated GPS watches. But it did a decent job monitoring GPS and heart rate. It’s ideal for the average athlete looking for a great smartwatch, and I’m considering wearing it alongside my GPS sports watches for the workout
Although I enjoy hearing the status of my progress through my Bluetooth earbuds while running. I considered the coaching opportunities to be too limited to be of much assistance. Again, a casual runner could benefit from the coaching options for around six different styles of running.
I’m not sure if I’ll return the Galaxy Watch Active 2 because I like being able to use it for short calls and messages without having to take out my cell. I can scroll and screen whole long messages and emails on this large, beautiful Super AMOLED monitor, unlike most watches.