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Our Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is the spiritual younger sibling of the company's flagship smartwatch, and retains most of the software features and battery life but skimps out on the iconic rotating bezel. However, considering that the Watch Active is significantly cheaper than most full-fledged smartwatches, and has ample fitness-related functionality, it’s difficult to find anyone the Galaxy Watch Active isn’t suited to.

For

  • High-end design
  • Competitive price
  • Lots of features
  • Good for slim wrists

Against

  • Lacks rotating bezel
  • Smaller app selection due to no Wear OS
  • Can look childish

Smartwatches have been having a tough time, especially in markets like India. Google tried for a while to bring standardization to the mix but Wear OS failed to take off, leading OEMs to try their own hand at creating an operating system for their own offerings. Samsung was one of the more notable participants in this trend who went ahead with Tizen OS and, over time, brought watches that excelled at hardware as well as software.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is an attempt by the manufacturer to bring more users into its ecosystem with a watch that is significantly less expensive than its own flagships as well as the competition

It’s undeniably a pared-down version of the Galaxy Watch as it’s lacking a few features, but it sports a smaller design and a more affordable price tag that will definitely make it a more attractive option for some. 

Does the Galaxy Watch Active live up to the original Galaxy Watch? Read on for our full review to find out.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active price and release date

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Image Credit: Samsung

In India, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is priced at Rs 19,990.

There’s only one size of the Galaxy Watch Active (that’s 40mm) so you’ll only have to choose your colour when picking which variant to buy. It's available from a variety of retailers as well as directly from Samsung.

Design and display

Round smartwatches always look a lot more like a conventional timepiece than one with a square display, and the Galaxy Watch Active scores extra points for that. With a screen spanning 40mm, it is much smaller than other smartwatches that range between 42 and 46mm, plus the thicker bezels around it. For me, that is a good thing as my wrists are slim, but can look like a toy on those with bigger forearms. 

But the sheer amount of weight that Samsung has been able to cut on this watch is commendable. It's really easy to forget you even have it on most of the times. 

Samsung as positioning this as a fitness wearable, and for such products, being discreet is always better. While I missed the rotating bezel a little bit, the trade-off is worth the reduction in size.

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Though, the lack of an input mechanism means you will have to rely on swiping across that tiny glass, which can be a little obtrusive or feel archaic, but it didn't take long to get used to it. The screen was plenty sensitive and the touches would always be registered accurately.

The watch body itself is made of metal and it looks high-end. It’s relatively featureless with the main screen centred in the middle and two buttons at the two and four positions on the right-hand edge of the watch. We wish that the buttons were a little more pronounced.

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The Galaxy Watch Active comes in four colours— black, silver, gold and green, with complementing bands that are made of silicone. These are 20mm straps which are pretty common to find, so you should be able to replace them according to your taste.

The display in tow is a 1.1-inch 360x 360 AMOLED panel, making it one of the sharpest smartwatch displays around. Thanks to the AMOLED construction, the colours pop out really well. Tizen has a black background for the most part, which adds more meaning to AMOLED choice.

It can feel a little small, especially if you are coming from a bigger smartwatch.

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Sometimes we did find the watch difficult to read from certain angles, but it’s not anything that would put you off using the watch altogether.

I would have liked the display to turn on more often, as the raise-to-wake sensitivity seemed pretty low unless the hand was raised rather dramatically.

It's also water-resistant to depths of 5 meters (as well as being IP68 rated), meaning you'll be able to wear this when you head into the pool for a dip, and there’s swim tracking included here too to help you make the most of that.

Image Credit: TechRadar