Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review

A beautiful yet functional smartwatch

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
Image Credit: TechRadar

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Specs and performance

With the Galaxy Watch Active you’ll be getting top-end internals to power your watch. Inside there’s an Exynos 9110 chipset which is a dual-core processor clocked at 1.15GHz.

It’s the same tech that was inside the Galaxy Watch, and is paired with 750MB of RAM.

This setup powers along the watch smoothly, and it’s particularly fast when you compare it to some Wear OS watches that sport the older Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset.

Whatever apps you’ll want to use on the watch will load up as quickly as they will on other smartwatches, and we never found any lag moving around the interface of the watch.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Spotify running on the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active.

There is 4GB of storage on the watch, but that will get used up quite quickly. After installing the basic software, we found it had 1.5GB of space leftover. 

That’s not a huge amount of space for extra apps and games on your watch. It’s especially difficult to work with if you’re downloading music to your watch. That may mean you have to change up the playlists downloaded to the watch quite often.

You can then listen to that music with Bluetooth headphones, so you can head out to exercise without having to bring your phone along with you.

It’s worth noting that there isn’t an LTE-supported variant of the Galaxy Watch Active, so you won’t be able to get phone calls or internet away from your smartphone. If you do want that, there are LTE-compatible versions of both sizes of the standard Galaxy Watch to choose from. 


The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active comes sporting the latest version of Tizen, which a few years ago was one of the more limited smartwatch operating systems. It’s still not as perfected as watchOS (that’s what the Apple Watch uses) or Wear OS (that’s what was previously called Android Wear) but it has matured a lot.

It’s an enjoyable and easy to comprehend experience. Tapping the display or pressing on the top right button will bring up your watch face, and from here you can see your past notifications by scrolling left or widgets if you scroll right.

All notifications that came through to our iPhone while using the Watch Active appeared on our watch, but there’s not much functionality apart from reading what they say. Instead, you’ll just be bringing your phone out to interact with them.

You can customize the widgets you see on the watch and what order they come in. For example, we had a fitness widget on one screen, allowing you to start a quick workout with a few taps.

Other options include a quick menu of different apps, your heart rate, the weather, breathing exercises, and a variety of other widgets.

To see the full plethora of apps you have on your device, you can press the bottom button when you’re on the home screen. This will bring up a circular menu of all the apps you’ve got.

This doesn’t work as well as it does on previous Samsung watches with a rotating bezel as it’s not as smooth to flick through the variety of options. Instead you’ll be using your finger to select each individual app, but that’s still easy enough to do.

Samsung has had an improved amount of third-party app options in the last few years too. For example, Spotify is now a mainstay of the Samsung Galaxy Watch family, so you’ll be able to download playlists and listen to music directly from the watch on the streaming service.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Although the amount of third-party apps isn’t huge, there are options like Uber, Map My Run, Flipboard and others.

Will the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active work with your phone though? It’s likely it will, if your phone’s not particularly old. It will work with all Android devices that come with Android 5 software or higher and sport at least 1.5GB of RAM.

If you’ve got an iPhone, you’ll need an iPhone 5 or above. You’ll have to have iOS 9 or higher software as well. 

Image credit: TechRadar

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.