Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 vs. Watch Active: Spec comparison

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 vs. Watch Active: All the differences explained

Samsung has taken just six months to improve on the original Watch Active with the Galaxy Watch Active 2. Once again it’s a fitness-focused device, but this time around there are two size options and they boast a range of improvements inside, including more sensors and bigger batteries. There’s also an LTE variant for those of you who want to leave your phone at home. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what sets the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 apart from the original.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
Display size 1.2 inches/1.4 inches 1.1 inches
Body size 40mm: 40 × 40 × 10.9 mm

44mm: 44 × 44 × 10.9 mm

40mm: 39.5 × 39.5 × 10.5 mm
Resolution
360 × 360 pixels
360 × 360 pixels
Touchscreen 40mm: 1.2-inch Super AMOLED display

44mm: 1.4-inch Super AMOLED display

1.1-inch Super AMOLED
Wireless interface Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, NFC, LTE Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, GPS, NFC
Depth 10.9mm 10.5mm
Accelerometer Yes Yes
Gyroscope Yes Yes
Ambient light sensor Yes Yes
Heart rate sensor Yes Yes
Barometer Yes Yes
GPS Yes Yes
Water-resistant Yes Yes
Battery life 247mAh/340mAh 230mAh
Price From $280 From $200
Availability Samsung Samsung
DT review Hands-on 4 out of 5 stars

Design and display

We loved the minimal design of the original and it’s retained in the sequel. There’s still no rotating bezel, just two buttons on the right, but the Watch Active 2 does support an edge-based gesture that emulates the rotating bezel. While the original Watch Active had an aluminum case, the Watch Active 2 comes in aluminum or stainless steel.

Although even the smallest Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is bigger and heavier than the original, Samsung has made the most of the additional real estate, shaving down the bezels and packing in a bigger screen. The Super AMOLED is vibrant, sharp, and legible even in direct sunlight. Samsung hasn’t upped the resolution, but the extra space will be appreciated, particularly if you opt for the larger model.

There’s no difference in water resistance, with both models scoring 5ATM and IP68 ratings, but one potential durability benefit for the Watch Active 2 is the Gorilla Glass DX+ which is specially formulated for clarity and scratch resistance. The original Watch Active makes do with standard Gorilla Glass 3.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Fitness and health-tracking features

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung has doubled the LED sensors in the Galaxy Watch Active 2 which are used for monitoring your heart rate. There were four in the original Watch Active, now there are eight. Samsung has plans to add an ECG function like the Apple Watch has, but it’s still being tested right now, so we don’t know when, or even if, it will be rolled out in the Watch Active 2.

The accelerometer has also been doubled, so the Watch Active 2 can measure up to 32G’s, whereas the original only went up to 16G’s. The fitness tracking features are much the same as the original, including step counts, run tracking, and sleep tracking, and all of your data still goes into the Samsung Health app. While the extra sensors and added sensitivity don’t herald a lot of new features, they should ensure that the Watch Active 2 is more accurate than its predecessor.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Battery life

samsung galaxy watch active
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

While the battery capacity in the Galaxy Watch Active 2 has been increased, the new watches have slightly bigger screens to power, so that may not translate into a real-world difference. We found the original Watch Active could go a day with the always-on display enabled and we’re expecting similar performance from the Watch Active 2. The LTE variant, which allows you to make and receive calls on your wrist, is likely to have less stamina.

Winner: Tie

Special features

samsung galaxy watch active 2 news 9
Corey Gaskin / Digital Trends

The option of an LTE version will be welcome for some people, but beyond that, the Watch Active 2 offers mostly iterative improvements like the enhanced sensors, bigger batteries and screens, and refined designs. We’re delighted to see more app integrations, including YouTube and Twitter browsing direct from the watch, and also Google Translate if you have an internet connection, but presumably, these will come to the Watch Active too via a software update. While Samsung has stuck with a dual-core Exynos 9110 processor and 4GB of storage space, the Wi-Fi version of the Watch Active 2 has 768MB of RAM and the LTE variant has 1.5GB of RAM.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is great value at $200, and it’s widely available. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 starts at $280 for the 40mm model and costs $300 for the 44mm model, which is quite a jump. The LTE versions will cost even more.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Unsurprisingly, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is better than the original. It actually has more in common with the superior Samsung Galaxy Watch than it does with the original Watch Active. A bigger display, a refined design, more options, greater fitness and health tracking accuracy, and LTE connectivity are all desirable, but they inevitably come at a price. If you already have a Watch Active, then there really isn’t enough here to persuade you to upgrade, but if you’re in the market now and you have the budget, then the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is the one to pick.

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