Samsung Galaxy Watch Active – all you want in a crossover fitness/smart watch
4.4Overall Score
Name: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active Model SM-R500NZKAXSA
Price (RRP): $299
Manufacturer: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active offers a comprehensive suite of smartwatch and fitness tracking (via Samsung Health) at a budget price of $299.

In many respects, the Galaxy Watch Active is the new breed of Samsung smartwatch. At last, we have Qi wireless charge, swim protection and not the huge proportions of the Galaxy Watch 42 or 46mm (from $499-649) with their now famous rotary bezel interface (GadgetGuy review here). While the latter has a specific market apple – especially the LTE ‘Dick Tracy’ version – the Galaxy Active is hard to beat.

Galaxy Watch in 42 and 46mm are certainly not svelte

The hardware and Tizen operating system used on the Galaxy Watch Active as well as the Galaxy Watch, Gear Sport, Gear S3 and even its Gear Fit2 Pro is extremely polished, well tested and works flawlessly. It is hard to go past any of the Samsung wearables range.

And perhaps the best feature – Samsung Health is way more functional than most ‘dedicated’ fitness apps. All devices work with it, and it aggregates data from all including your smartphone.

Let me explain why Samsung Health is a great fitness app

I now own Gear Fit2 and Fit 2 Pro (and an original several-year-old Gear), a Gear S3 Frontier and a new Galaxy Watch 46mm LTE. I also have two homes – one in Sydney and one on the Central Coast.

So, I wear the svelte Gear Fit2 Pro for my morning walk and to bed at night to record sleep. I wear the Gear S3 Frontier when I am working at the Central Coast and the Galaxy Watch LTE when I am out and about or working in Sydney. It is a real hoot to answer the phone on your watch!

Not only does Samsung Health aggregate the data, but it de-dupes all sources as well as the phone data (accelerometer) if you are carrying that in your pocket. Add to that the chargers are compatible within models.

But I digress – the Galaxy Active Watch may be the one smartwatch you need to own.

Review: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active Model SM-R500NZKAXSA

Website here.

It is available in black, teal green, gold or silver (stainless steel and ceramic case) with a matching 20mm coloured Fluoroelastomer (silicon) strap for $299 (on special – was $349 at launch). The strap also has an extra big strap arm for different sized wrists.

You can get an array of coloured, quick-attach, straps costing $69. I think the silver body is the most neutral and flexible as it tends to go with any band colour. And because it uses standard, non-tapered 20mm watch bands there are thousands of third-party ones you can buy too.

Galaxy Watch Active

Design wise it has a 28.1mm, 360 x 360, 463ppi, round Super AMOLED, Gorilla Glass display. It has lost the rotating bezel, but the user interface is the same – just use touch to access the app circle and initiate actions. That means a 39.5mm round and 10.5mm thick and 23g watch (plus band weight). Its new shape and size will appeal to women and those with smaller wrists.

You can download thousands of free and paid watch faces – analogue, digital and icon – as well as a huge range of apps that work with the entire Samsung Watch range. If you have already bought apps for a previous Samsung Watch, it will install them again at no extra cost.

It works with Android 5 or iOS 9 or later.

In summary, all it lacks over the Galaxy Watch is LTE (it has a mic but no speaker) for making phone calls independent of a smartphone. However, it notifies you of an incoming call, and you can answer it on the watch and continue on the phone.