PS – some reviews mention a speaker – we certainly could not find it!

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active sensors

It and most other Samsung watches have an accelerometer, barometer, gyro sensor, HR sensor and light sensor. This is way more than most fitness/smartwatches that’s use a single 3-axis accelerometer. It also has haptic feedback.

By combining various readings in Samsung Health, it can more accurately display data that is relevant and actionable. The barometer, in particular, is useful for knowing if you are flying, diving or even providing data to help correlate the impact of altitude on performance.

The HR sensor is a new single green LED and four receivers enables accurate heart rate detection.

With My BP Lab 2.0, you can connect a Galaxy Watch Active to the app and measure your blood pressure straight from your smartwatch in just a few quick touches. You can now download the My BP Lab 2.0 app to estimate blood pressure, but you must have a Samsung Galaxy S9/Note9 or later. We did not test it, but we understand it is still early days for this developing app.

Battery

It has a 230mAh battery. Standby – no use is around five days.

If you are just using it minimally Samsung quote up to 90 hours – 3.75 days. If you use it flat out with GPS, then 15 hours is max. We have only been reviewing it for a few days but as a watch, with notifications, sleep monitor (uses about 10% of battery each night) and more, two days is doable.

Charge time is quick – on the mini 5V/1A (5W) wireless charge pad supplied it is around an hour. And it may work with standard Qi wireless charge pads. We say ‘may’ because that is what we found.

If you have a Samsung Galaxy S10, you can use its reverse Qi charge feature to charge the Galaxy Watch Active. Here it was about two hours to charge fully.

Galaxy Watch Active

Music

I have never had issues pairing Bluetooth buds or cans of any make to a Samsung watch. This is perfect too using BT 4.2 LE (with SmartThings support). It has about 1.5GB memory for at least 300 MP3 songs, and it handles MP3 and AAC (as well as many more types).

I think anyone who has had issues has tried to use the same BT Buds one too many times. Typically buds allow pairing with two devices before you have to reset them and start again.

It supports A2DP (stereo music stream), AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile) and HID (touch on the watch) profiles and uses a standard SBC CD standard codec.

We tested with Spotify on a Galaxy S10+, and it accesses downloaded playlists from the phone. It displays the song name but album metadata. You user the Gear app to load on device tracks. It apparently can access your Spotify account over Wi-Fi – it is doable, but you need more screen real estate to be useful.

NFC

It has NFC that supports the PayWave style of Samsung Pay (and Google Pay if you are using another brand of Android phone).

GPS

It is a world standard with GPS, Glonass, Beidou, and Galileo. The screen does not show maps, but you can use it in the Samsung Health and other apps to see your exercise routes.