This was the product that Samsung should have released a while ago. The concept of an LTE/4G smartwatch that lets you break free from your smartphone – especially at the gym or a run, really took off in India in end 2018. That’s when the Apple Watch 4 (GPS + Cellular) began to see wider adoption with support from Airtel and Jio. In November 2019 we checked out Samsung’s Galaxy Watch LTE, the brand’s standalone watch, but it was essentially a 4G version of a watch that had already spent a long time on store shelves across India. It’s why we’re excited about the new Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2.
For starters, this one’s a good looker. In a smartwatch planet where mostly square-shaped watches hold sway, Samsung manages to stand out with its circular design that can pass off for your everyday (at least a couple of years ago) watch. At a touch over 40 gm, you can barely feel the Watch Active2 on your wrist. It’s not just light, it’s elegant and still solid, crafted with stainless steel (we reviewed the silver variant) and accessorised with a soft leather strap. It’s not just the design, the 1.4-inch Super AMOLED (360 x 360 pixels) is easily one of the most vibrant on any smartwatch.
Many die-hard Samsung loyalists might miss the physical rotating bezel but I’d settle for a less clunky watch. This bezel rotates too; you have to find your way along the edges of the screen and it’s mighty cool. There are tonnes of watch faces in the App store and some that are actually very well put together. But the coolest option is the custom watch face that the watch puts together with a snapshot of your outfit (a watch face to match your clothes!). It’s one that I enjoy using even at the risk of being vain.
Fitness creds are a given for any smartwatch especially for one with an ‘Active’ suffix. This one comes with all the usual bells and whistles – it’s swim proof, offers heart rate and sleep tracking and also comes with automatic tracking for seven exercises (including rowing and elliptical training). Samsung does a good job with breaking down the data for all those who need the extra validation after a gym workout. But even more than that, is the ability to carry your music with you. While you can transfer music tracks or pictures seamlessly (even easier with a Samsung smartphone; the watch also pairs with iPhones), it’s Spotify support that is the killer punch.
The Watch Active2 worked really well on ‘standalone’ mode (I set it up on Jio) with good call clarity and impressive download speeds. I was able to tune into Spotify playlists on the cloud and also download my favourite tracks on to the watch with its data connection. It’s the lack of a wider set of Apps that is probably the Galaxy Watch Active 2’s biggest stumbling block. Samsung’s watch App store doesn’t do justice to the watch’s groovy design and hardware. Battery life is acceptable too – I managed a clear day with the always-on display and significant Spotify usage. But ultimately, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is about its 4G-enabled standalone creds. If that’s the primary purchase driver for your next smartwatch and if you own an Android smartphone, don’t look any further.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 costs Rs 35,990 and comes in three colour variants (all steel) – black, silver and gold