The only standalone cellular smartwatch option for Android users
The Apple Watch looks the most sorted in the smartwatch segment with a large app ecosystem and also one key benefit – a cellular version, that allows you leave your phone behind and still stay connected. This is a big deal for active users at the gym or during a run who can stay connected with urgent calls or texts. But you need to be an iPhone user to connect to an Apple Watch. So what if you seek the same flexibility and if you’re an Android user. The latest Fitbit Versa 2 is one of the best options for Android users and yet you still need to hook with your phone for phone and GPS connectivity.
It’s been a few months since we reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Watch and just recently Samsung also unveiled the Galaxy Watch Active 2 in India. It’s taken Samsung a while to bring the 4G version to India but it’s finally here. It’s circular unlike its key rivals like the Versa 2 and yet it feels lighter on your wrist than it looks. There are two iterations – a 42mm version and a larger 46mm version that we tested. Samsung’s displays are truly vibrant and the Galaxy Watch reaffirms this. The 1.3-inch Super AMOLED circular display (360 x 360 pixels) packs an impressive 278 Pixels per inch. The colours are sharp even under sunlight. The Galaxy Watch’s circular design mimics a conventional circular watch. In fact you can use conventional 20/22 mm watch straps for the 42 and 46 mm sizes. This is a key win for the watch, and allows you to accessorise without a fuss.
Our favourite feature of this watch is the Tizen UI that uses intuitive navigation driven by the dial. You won’t miss your conventional watch with this circular navigation that allows to scroll effortlessly through menus and sub menus. And then are the watch faces that take you closer to an old school watch experience – you could opt for the always-on display (at the cost of battery life). There’s a range of free watch faces that include dials modelled on real watches like Tissot. While you will be spoilt for choice on the store for watch faces, there are not a tonne of Apps available for the watch
Just like the exteriors the 4G version shares the same fitness creds and hardware as the regular version. It automatically tracks six of the most popular exercises— walking, running, cycling, elliptical machine, rowing, and dynamic workouts — and features 21 new indoor exercises from a selection of 39 activities. The companion app is thoughtfully designed, setting up and pairing the watch is a breeze. The watch works with both Airtel and Jio (that we tested). The Galaxy Watch never stutters, thanks in part to a zippy Exynos dual-core 1.15 GHz processor, 768MB of RAM and 4GB of Internal memory. Call volume and call quality is quite good – Callers didn’t realise that I was speaking into my watch.
Battery life has been one of the biggest deal breakers for the smartwatch category and one reason why many Android smartwatches have floundered. This is one area where the Galaxy Watch has an edge. The 472 mAh battery on the 46mm version delivered three – four days of battery life in our tests. This is one of the key reasons to consider this device and if you’re an Android user looking for a stand-alone 4G smartwatch, your search might begin and end here.