Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review

A beautiful yet functional smartwatch

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
Image Credit: TechRadar

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The Galaxy Watch Active comes with a heart rate monitor like your average smartwatch, but it's also capable of measuring your stress levels.

It notices when your heart rate peaks, and from there it will tell you to take some time to monitor your stress, and even recommend breathing exercises for you to undertake.

We’ve used a variety of breathing exercises, and we found them to be useful. These aren’t as relaxing or as comprehensive as paid for services such as Headspace, though.

This isn't a groundbreaking feature, as we've seen it on other products before, but it's a helpful addition for those who want to monitor their overall health away from just fitness.

The watch also comes with a blood pressure monitor, which we weren't able to try out during our hands-on time. It's capable of monitoring your blood pressure through a service called  My BP Lab, but we haven’t been able to get this running during our review.

We’ll be sure to update with this in the near future when we can get it running. 

Everything else is pretty much covered with this watch, as it comes with a GPS tracker that we found to connect easily and quickly. It remained connected during our entire workouts as well, which was useful.

There are auto-tracking modes for 39 different activities – which include the big hitters like running and cycling – as well as support for third-party apps like Strava. We found it easiest to manually start workouts within the widget we had set up.

After your workout, all of your stats will be provided to look through on the watch’s display and in the Android or iOS app once you’ve synced your device.

The watch is also capable of sleep tracking too. It'll give you stats such as duration and REM. We found the tracker to work well for this, and it'll automatically begin tracking when you fall asleep.

Battery life 

Samsung expects you to get over 45 hours - a very strangely specific number - out of a single charge of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, and the good news is that is quite reflective of the performance we saw.

You may get a little bit less if you’re constantly fiddling with features on the watch, but in an average two-day stint we found it would last long enough. Taking the watch off charge at 7AM on Monday meant we were able to get through until 11PM on Wednesday evening before placing it on a charger.

You could probably get this to last a full 72 hours with limited usage too, but you should expect two days to be the average amount of time it will last.

There’s a low battery mode that you can activate at any time but it will prompt you to turn it on when your watch hits the 20% mar. You can then expect it to last for quite a while in this mode.

There’s a small wireless charging pad in the box, which you can use to recharge the watch. We found it took around two hours to go from zero to 100%.

The watch will also work with other Qi wireless chargers, including phones that include the power share feature. That means your Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus will be able to charge up the watch and we found this feature to work well.

Other Qi wireless chargers were also capable of charging it up, but it didn’t work with all devices we expected it to. For example, the Huawei P30 Pro comes with a powershare feature but we couldn’t get it to work for the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active even though it did for other devices such as an iPhone XR and Samsung Galaxy Buds.

This is seemingly just a weird quirk, and when we did find it to work on the S10 Plus we found it to be slightly slower than the charging pad included in the box. The watch took 39 minutes to charge up 25%, so you should expect it to take over two hours to go from 0% to full.

Image credit: TechRadar

James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at 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.