New 2019 Samsung Watch Active review

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Erin Lawrence

smsung watch active, review, how to, different, new, bestLet’s be honest—smartwatches didn’t receive the warmest welcome most manufacturers anticipated. Since their inception, they’ve been lambasted for being bulky, complicated to use, poorly designed, and plagued with poor battery life. Even some early adopters feared they’d be merely a fad and even folks who wanted to be like Dick Tracy watch were put off by the exorbitant prices.

New 2019 Samsung Watch Active review

But Samsung has stuck with the Watch category, making improvements to its galaxy Watch pretty much every year. Now they’ve brought out the 2019 Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, which has taken design cues and sturdiness from its previous smart watch iterations like the Samsung Watch, Samsung Galaxy Gear S3 Frontier and Samsung Galaxy Gear Sport.

Looks, Comfort & Styling

Where the Watch was available in two sizes the Watch Active comes in just one size; it’s a 40mm case, making it much slimmer and less bulky than previous iterations.

Having tested out the Samsung Watch last year (read my review of the previous device here) I can already say it’s much more comfortable, and less manly looking than before. Samsung’s been listening. I got to try the rose gold case with pink band, and already it feels like more of a ladies watch.

Another key difference in Watch Active, compared to other smart watches, is the round face screen. The display is a fully customizable Super AMOLED touch screen display that measures just over 1” in diameter. The screen is definitely bright, colourful and vibrant, and looks super crisp.

This version of the Watch is also missing the rotating bezel design which has been standard on many Samsung watches. But in my opinion, you’re not going to miss it, since you can navigate just fine using the touch screen.

There are two buttons on the right side of the case; the top one turns the screen on or calls up Samsung Pay, while the bottom one dives into your apps.

Health & Fitness data & tracking

smsung watch active, review, how to, different, new, best

Watch Active, not surprisingly comes with plenty of built in health and fitness tracking and data. Samsung touts the watch not as a timepiece but as your ‘wellness partner’. It can track steps, calories burned, your exercise time and send you motivating messages (I often got nudged for sitting too long and motivated to do some ‘Torso Twists’).

Heart Rate monitor with gauges

It also measures heart rate constantly and can keep it displayed on the watch face, depending which face you choose. Otherwise you can dive deeper into the Heart rate to see what yours is and where it ranks with your Average.

Plus it’s water resistant to  50 metres so you can wear it swimming or playing around in the pool too.

You can also sync it up with health favourite apps like My Fitness Pal, Map my Run and Spotify for the ultimate on the go training tool.

Stress & Breathesmsung watch active, review, how to, different, new, best

A kind of neat feature is the Stress app. It uses your heart rate to tell how stressed you are, then it offers deep breathing exercises to help calm you. This exists on other wearables already so it’s not groundbreaking, but it does make you think about what you’re doing.

Does Samsung Watch Active have Sleep Tracking?

One of the Samsung Watch Active’s key competitors is still missing sleep tracking, so it’s good to see it here. Galaxy Watch Active tracks four stages of sleep and sends you your report. Get data on Awake minutes, REM sleep, Light sleep and Deep Sleep.
This is one of the features I really loved when I was using a Fitbit on the regular. I find it handy to really see how well I’m resting. The sleep tracking feature seems to work really well. It tracks your total hours of sleep then breaks it down by REM sleep, deep sleep and light sleep, and shows you what times you were in each state.

Samsung Health app

All your data lives in Samsung’s Health App.
The user interface is easy to follow, it’s well laid out and tracks everything from how many floors you climb, to your weight, to steps and even how much water or coffee you’re drinking (those you add manually). It’s customizable so you can add or delete things from the app dashboard as you want them.

Battery Life & Wireless Charging

The battery life on this Watch is outstanding, and probably among the best of any smart watch I’ve ever tested. You get about 45 hours on a single charge, and I can definitely say I was only charging it up every couple days. You get an alert when the power runs low so you have time to juice it up.. which you can do using Samsung’s new Wireless Power Share on the S10 or S10+.

You can now charge any Qi wireless device by placing it on top of it, though it will be it pretty slow.

smsung watch active, review, how to, different, new, best

How to use Power Share

All you need to do is place the two devices together.
Wireless PowerShare works with most Qi-Certified devices. You do need a minimum 30% battery to share and to activate it, swipe down from the top of the screen using two fingers to open Quick Settings.
Touch Wireless PowerShare, and then follow the on-screen instructions to use it. When charging begins, you will receive a popup notification and hear a chime.

Alerts & Watch apps

You can choose which apps to display, and which ones to have as shortcuts. You can also add Widgets to display other info like Weather info
Calendars, Alarms

Does Samsung Watch Active work with Pixel3 & iPhone?

The short answer is, yes!  Even if you don’t have a Samsung Phone, you can use this watch. Some of the functions are more limited (read more here) but you can still get about 90% of the functionality.

smsung watch active, review, how to, different, new, best

Overall review of Samsung Watch Active

Overall, if you’re in the market for a smart watch and have been waiting for prices to fall, now’s your chance. The Watch Active has all the functionality and tools of any other smart watch, but in a smaller profile and at a lower price point.

The 2018 Watch sells for $419 CAD, so the Watch Active’s price of $299 means there’s money left over for more gear.. maybe like the Samsung Buds… which I reviewed also and you can check out.

Overall if you want a chic and stylish smart watch that does everything you need it to do, you won’t be sorry about choosing the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active.

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