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Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review – a handy companion to track exercise and your wellbeing

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  • VERDICT

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is an excellent companion device that is not too big but still packs plenty of features to keep track of your activities, exercises and your important notifications.

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active is another exciting addition the Galaxy ecosystem that is both a smartwatch and a wearable fitness device at the same time.

The Samsung watches of the past have been larger and more complicated but the new Galaxy Watch Active has a smaller and more subtle design to attract a lot of new customers including women.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch has an attractive design but is a little larger and chunkier for a female’s wrist.

Even some men would say it’s just too big.

And that’s where the Galaxy Watch Active comes into play.

It has a 1.1 inch display that’s sharp and clear and has a “less is more” look to it.

The watch comes in four colours – silver, black, green and rose gold and can also be mix-and-match with eight different coloured sport straps.

For us, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active looked a little small on our thick wrist but we didn’t mind it.

It was thin and light and unobtrusive.

What you won’t find on the Galaxy Watch Active is the rotating bezel found on the earlier models of the Galaxy Watch.

This could be used to scroll through the screens and apps.

Instead with the Galaxy Watch Active, users can simply scroll through the screens by swiping left and right.

The user interface is simple and easy to navigate.

There are also two physical buttons on the right side which allow you to access apps and get you back to the home screen.

And of course, there are hundreds of watch faces you can download for the device.

When connected to our smartphone it gave us all the notifications we asked for and even alerted us when we were receiving the call or had a calendar appointment coming up.

But where it comes into its own is as a fitness device and its smaller size just means it fades into the background while still providing all the information you need.

The device keeps track of your daily activities and can even detect up to six types of exercise automatically.

Users have the choice of several workouts including walking, hiking, swimming (which means the watch is waterproof) and can even track you on an elliptical trainer, exercise bike, stair machine and treadmill in the gym.

You can also keep track of your squats, star jumps, circuit training, weight machines, bench press, lat pull downs, deadlifts, back extensions, shoulder presses, front raises, lateral raises sit ups, cools, plank, push-ups, leg press, leg extensions, leg cools, pullups and leg raises.

So as you can see from that list, the Galaxy Watch Active can comprehensively track your exercise whether you’re out on the road, in the gym, doing a weight session, using a machine, doing a circuit class or even in the pool.

The watch will let you know how much time you spent on each exercise but also track your heart rate before saving that information for you to refer to later.

But the simplest tracking is with the Daily Activity app which monitors your activities, how long you are active, how often you stand during the day and also your heart rate.

And all this is integrated in the Samsung Health app which can also track how many calories you burned, how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed and your step count.

But the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active takes it even further than that by even monitoring your stress levels.

Thanks to the built-in heart rate monitor, the device can send an alert if it detects an abnormal heart rate.

The watch can tell you may be under stress and takes you through some breathing techniques to settle you down.

There are even meditation programs Galaxy Watch Active can take you through if you really want to get in the zone.

For our review we connected the Galaxy Watch Active to the Samsung Galaxy S10+ as well as to an iPhone (yes it works with iOS).

And we also had a connected to other Android smartphones and it was all powered through the Galaxy Watch app.

When we were not exercising, we found the watch to be really handy to ensure we didn’t miss any calls and also found it helpful to reply to text messages with customised replies and emojis. And all without having to take a phone out of our pocket.

Another advantage of the Galaxy Watch Active’s smaller size means you will be able to sleep with it as well.

And if you do this you could also track your sleep so you get a clear look at your sleep patterns which is sensitive enough to be broken down into REM, light and deep sleep.

There are lots of apps that will run on the Galaxy Watch Active including third-party apps like MyFitnessPal, Endomondo, Strava and MapMyRun.

There is even a Spotify app which gives you full access to your account via your connected smartphone.

But anything you’re listening to on your mobile device can be also controlled on your wrist including podcasts and audiobooks.

You can also use a variety of other apps including Golf Navi Pro and Smart Caddie to score and track your round and Swim.com to accurately record your laps in the pool.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active can only connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth and does not have an e-SIM version which can connect and stream data on the move on its own.

For that you’d need to move up the Samsung Galaxy Watch.

But the Galaxy Watch Active will still track your exercise and heart rate without your phone.

There is a 4GB memory on board as well and you can use this space to upload playlists to listen to on the move without your phone.

But you don’t get the entire 4GB of space. After apps and the operating system, you get left with just over 1GB of space which is still enough room for plenty of music.

Battery life is outstanding and we were getting nearly three days of use between charges.

Of course, this will depend on how much you do with the watch like exercising and using it to track your sleep.

But overall we thought the battery life was quite impressive and it didn’t need to be charged every day.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is available now and is priced at $349.

VERDICT

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is an excellent companion device that is not too big but still packs plenty of features to keep track of your activities, exercises and your important notifications.