Technophile

Review: Samsung's Galaxy Watch Active is elegant, but packs a punch

Jinoy Jose P | Updated on August 15, 2019 Published on August 15, 2019

The smartwatch is smooth on the wrist and delivers an eclectic mix of useful functions

India’s wearables market is exploding and there are a clutch of players, from Samsung and Xiaomi to Garmin, Fitbit and Apple, trying all tricks to dominate the space. Even though Xiaomi leads the basic wearables segment, the truly smart premium segment sees a lot of action with Samsung wrestling it out with the mighty Apple. Clearly, the battle is all about form and function.

Samsung’s wearables have been offering excellent form factor blended with smooth performance and cutting-edge specs. Adding to the line-up is the latest Samsung Watch Active, which at a price tag of ₹19,900, caters to the mid-range wearables segment, locking horns with the likes of Huawei, Garmin, Fitbit, etc. (Not exactly with the Apple Watch that is a lot more expensive.)

Elegant and chic

 

The Samsung Watch Active is a delight to wear. It looks elegant, chic and hugs the wrist so smoothly that in a matter of seconds you’d forget its presence on your arm. The watch is swim-proof (we used it for under-water activities thrice and it worked fine) and has built-in GPS. We tested the black variant, but the watch comes in gold, silver and green colours as well.

The watch’s inside-folding strap is a nice touch of comfort and gives it a frills-free form. The watch has a screen size of 1.1-inch and it weighs around 181 grams. The circular display is Super AMOLED (360 x 360 pixels) and the dial is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. The watch face doesn’t get dirty easily, it’s finger-mark free and scratch-free too.

The Samsung Watch Active runs on Samsung’s own Tizen-based Wearable OS 4.0. Tizen is basically a Linux-based OS, which has a lot of advantages over traditional mobile operating systems. It starts up fast, allows for smooth scrolling, supports 3D, multi-touch, and even 64-bit processors. Android doesn’t match up to open source Tizen on many of these departments.

That said, pairing the watch with the smartphone took us some time as the OS just refused to connect to many of the Android smartphones we tried to link it to. Even though the device pairs easily with Samsung smartphones (we used a Samsung M40), it still seems to have issues with the others. Some initial patience is required.

Multi-functional abilities

 

Once paired, the device is a charm to use. An interesting fact about this watch is that it not only tracks your fitness data, but also acts as as companion of sorts by recommending exercise regimes and sleep patterns. If you are a regular at fitness activities, these tips are quite useful. For instance, the Daily Activity feature offers suggestions that might help you achieve your daily health goals through the right modes of exercise. There are about 39 built-in exercise modes available with this watch.

The Galaxy Watch Active features customisable watch faces; to be frank, most decent smartwatches now have changeable and adjustable watch faces. But in the Watch Active, Samsung has taken away the rotating bezel and has entrusted software with the job, offering a notification and settings panel that users can touch and spin. You can view your health ‘bulletin’ on the screen and access several tools that help manage your health and fitness.

The motion sensors are an affair in perfection. In almost all scenarios we tested them in, the results were more than satisfactory. The sensors automatically track with impressive precision, six-seven types of activities, from walking to sleeping. Another interesting faculty is the stress meter. This heart beat tracker can send real-time alerts to the phone or a third party if and when it spots an alarming heart rate. The stress test programme is also cool. It helps you take deep breaths and count your stress levels.

The device is synced with Samsung’s Health app; as we said above, but this is much easier on a Samsung device rather than on any Android phone. Another interesting feature is that you can use the watch without pairing it with a smartphone. The device has built-in WiFi and can be connected to any regular WiFi points and can be linked to your Samsung health account.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active has a good battery; it lasts for a full day and a little more. If you are a moderate user, it can easily last two days. There is a convenient power-saving mode as well for better energy efficiency. Promotional literature says the watch supports wireless charging but we received a separate wired charger along with the device that worked efficiently. The watch also allows you to send replies using speech-to-text (you can customise them).

A lot of fans may be uncomfortable seeing the watch without the marquee rotating bezel, but to us the current face of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is just kosher and personally, I find the present compact, elegant form more appealing than the earlier versions. Now that Samsung has announced an updated variant, Active 2, of the Galaxy Watch Active, which reports say will feature the same form, it is nearly certain the rotating bezel is history.

Blending elegant looks and several interesting features to track fitness and to enable smart communication, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is a useful addition to your smart fitness kitty.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
  • Price: ₹19,900
  • Pros: Impressive form, smooth performance, affordable price, frills-free software, water-proof
  • Cons: Slippery, can fall and damage screen if you are not being careful`, battery drains fast

Published on August 15, 2019
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.