The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is the least costly watch in the Samsung family, but its popularity speaks for itself. Mostly, it’s a fitness watch, but it has some strong smartwatch capabilities to boot. Now they have released the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, and you might be confused about which one you should buy.
This is the Android users’ equivalent of deciding if you want an Apple Watch 6 or an Apple Watch SE.
And how do you go about comparing the two? What do they do? What will you gain from one and lose in another? Don’t worry; we’ve compared them in every way you need to make an informed decision.
Here is our comparison of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2.
These watches both offer something in terms of design; they’re both unique. Starting with size options. The Samsung Galaxy Active two comes in 40mm or 44mm, and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 comes in either 41mm or 45mm.
These recent versions are closer in size than any of their predecessors have been, and we think that’s a good thing.
Navigating the software is done via two buttons on both models. However, these sit much more flush on the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, so it looks a lot more sleek and streamlined.
Looking at the touchscreen displays, Samsung always delivers quality. Which you’d expect from one of the producers of the best TVs in the world. With both models you get 360 x 360 resolution which is bold, bright, sharp and colourful.
Talking of size, each of the bigger sizes in either model comes with a 1.4-inch display whereas the smaller ones come with 1.2-inches respectively.
Looking at rotating bezels, this feature was removed on the first Watch Active, but it’s back again now in a slightly different way. You get a touch-sensitive bezel rather than one you can physically move. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, however, has a rotating bezel which looks slimmer than the first model.
If you prefer a ‘real’ rotating bezel and a bigger watch, here is where the Watch 3 will be your best shout. However, if you want something smaller and lighter, go with the more streamlined Active 2.
If the thickness is something you consider, the Samsung Galaxy Active 2 is chunky but lightweight, which is a great combination for a smartwatch. Also, it comes in stainless steel or aluminium, whilst the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is a stainless steel only option.
For colours and models, a lot is going on here, especially for the Active 2. You’ve got your pick of silver, black and gold in both size options for the Bluetooth and LTE varieties.
As for the Watch 3, the bigger 45mm version comes in silver or black. The smaller 41mm version comes in bronze or silver. All models have interchangeable bands. The smaller of both take 20mm bands whereas the larger take 22mm.
If that wasn’t enough, Samsung offers a few different variants of the Active 2. For example, golfers can get a dedicated golf edition, which has a unique strap and golf-related features. There’s also the Under Armor edition which has a branded face and dedicated fitness apps pre-loaded.
All models boast 5ATM waterproof rating, which means they’re suitable for swimming up to 50m. Handy, because you can track swims!
As such, you can enjoy a smooth experience with all models. Both have enough RAM not to allow any lagging but note the Watch 3 offers 8GB to the Active 2’s 4GB.
The Galaxy Watch 3 does have a few more features than the Active 2. For instance, it’s smarter; you can reply to messages with better contextual pre-loaded responses. That’s not to say you won’t see this feature added to the Active 2 in time.
The Active 2 is the stronger fitness tracker of the two, and this is in part because it’s lighter and slimmer. It’s perfect for those into HIIT, swimming and running. The smaller version of the Galaxy Watch 3 is good, too, though. So it depends on how important those smart features are to you.
Both Samsung watches have built-in GPS, heart rate monitors and accelerometers. There’s round the clock fitness tracking, guided breathing sessions, stress tracking and some quirky motivational features to keep you going.
If you’re after more in-depth data than just steps and sleep, how about automatic activity recognition? There are sports modes for common activities like swimming, cycling and running. This is where the Active 2 offers a little more, but we’d bet good money we’ll see the sports modes added to the Galaxy Watch 3 during one of Samsung’s frequent software updates.
In fact, Samsung is teasing us with some new features on the Watch 3, including better running metrics and workout modes that rely on the heart rate monitor to display real-time data. So, once this feature is rolled out, there won’t be much in it in terms of fitness tracking between the two, so it may come down to price for you.
Of course, both watches are on Tizen OS and this is compatible with Android and Apple smartphones. They’ll deliver your notifications, the weather, Spotify music, and have Bixby smart assistant to help you along the way.
The user interface is the same for both, and best navigated using either version of the bezel.
Samsung became interested in health monitoring, and now we see a blood pressure monitor on both models. Both the Active 2 and Watch 3 also have an ECG sensor, which is becoming more commonplace now. Additionally, the Watch 3 can take a blood oxygen measure. (see why this is important)
Like Apple Watches, you can use the new safety feature, fall detection. More, you’ll be able to once it’s been FDA approved and they turn it on. In terms of health monitoring, they’re pretty evenly pegged and have exciting features in their future.
Battery life is always a priority to consider. As with any smartwatch, things could be better. Here, the likes of Garmin and Fitbit lead the market, where you can go almost a week at a time between charges.
Looking at the Active 2, you can get up to 4 days from either size version. This always depends on how much you’re using it or how many apps you have going.
As for the Watch 3, Samsung doesn’t purport a battery life, officially. Users have commented that it typically lasts just shy of three days. Still better than any Apple Watch. Of course, you can extend this using ‘Watch Only’ mode, but that means using your smartwatch on the bare basics only.
Hopefully, this has helped you to understand the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 versus Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. So which should you choose? The answer is… It depends! They’re incredibly similar and with the promise of new features in future software updates, it’s likely down to your preference on size and weight, as well as your budget.
Both designs are gorgeous, so you can’t make a bad decision there. The Active 2 is a really popular watch for a reason, so you can buy in confidence that you’ll get a great user experience. In fact, it speaks volumes that Samsung have modelled the Galaxy Watch 3 more closely on the Active 2 than vice versa.
Good luck and happy shopping!
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Last Updated on March 23, 2021