When the Samsung Galaxy S10 series was announced back in March, Samsung also announced a slew of accessories. One of it is the new Galaxy Watch Active – a variant of the Galaxy Watch that I would consider as “budget” but still packs with the core essentials.

The new Galaxy Watch Active is smaller and yet still packs the features that we’ve come to expect from a Samsung smartwatch.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

The entire Galaxy Watch Active comes with the required accessories to get started. You get the watch itself, a shorter wrist strap, a magnetic charger, and also the Galaxy Watch Active itself.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Instead of having just one long wrist strap and have the extras coil around the wrist, Samsung included a shorter one instead. To swap between these two wrist straps are easy – there’s a latch at the back that releases the strap. You can even buy third party straps if you like.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Its elegant design

When compared to the Galaxy Watch (not Active), the main differences here are two things – its size and the lack of a rotating bezel. In turn, this makes the watch smaller and has a more elegant look, suitable for those who have a small wrist.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

It comes in a total of 4 different color variants – black, silver, rose gold, and green. The biggest difference here is the non-removable metal frame around the watch itself which is also colored. As for the included straps, once again – you can swap them out for whatever design or size you want.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

There are also two buttons on the Galaxy Watch Active, a back button at 2 o’clock and also a home button at 5 o’clock. Honestly, I’d much rather have the home button placed at 12 o’clock as it is a little awkward to press. But then again, Samsung made the software so that you don’t really have to press the home button at all.

Measuring in at 28.1mm (or 1.1-inch) watch face with 360×360 pixels in resolution. Rather sharp, honestly.

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Also, since these watch faces define your user experience with the smartwatch itself, you can get some dynamic watch face to spice things up. I’m using a built-in watch face and it changes according to the time of the day and the weather. Very fancy.

Lots of features!

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Like any other Samsung wearables, you’ll have to pair it up with your phone via Samsung Wearables app. Fitting name. Its pairing process is simple too, actually. For Android users, just follow the instructions shown on the Samsung Wearables app and you’ll get it paired easily.

One thing I enjoyed using the most – and surprised by its accuracy – is the ability to reply messages by writing a message on the watch itself. You can write individual alphabets like how you are writing on paper (single, double, triple strokes) and the sentence appears on the screen itself.

It works – and surprisingly accurate as well. Though the tiny screen is the main limitation here. Also, you’ll have to wear the watch extremely tightly to prevent it from wobbling around on the wrist while writing.

Samsung Galaxy Wearable Galaxy Watch Active
This long screenshot shows the entire dashboard for the Galaxy Watch Active.

Of course, you can also use Samsung Pay with the Galaxy Watch Active. You can make payments easily through your watch without bringing your wallet or phone with you!

Remember – you can also pair your Bluetooth headphones or earphones directly with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. You can either transfer mp3 files and store inside the Galaxy Watch Active’s 4GB storage. You can even sync the music folder on your phone with the Galaxy Watch Active if you choose to do so.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active screenshot
Spotify on the Galaxy Watch Active. This screenshot is taken via the watch itself.

Or, use Spotify instead. Yes, you can download Spotify on your Galaxy Watch Active and directly save tracks onto the watch as well. Of course, you can connect the Galaxy Watch Active directly to your WiFi to allow even faster downloads for Spotify. Seriously, don’t use Bluetooth to download songs – it’ll take forever and eventually draining more battery than you bargained for.

Then, it can also monitor your stress level and your heart rate constantly. These data will be synced back to the Samsung Health app for better viewing as well.

While the Galaxy Watch Active is indeed a smartwatch, it can become a fitness band by selecting what type of activity you’re doing. But, remember to check the weather before heading out for a workout.

Battery life?

It can last for about 48 hours with 50% brightness and auto dimming turned on. The watch does not have auto brightness feature, by the way.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
A literal calendar on my wrist.

How I use the watch is pretty standard – I was constantly flipping around my wrist to check time and notifications whenever it vibrates. I occasionally replied messages through the watch too because that is honestly cool.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

As for the charging times, it charges using a proprietary magnetic charger that Samsung is calling it a “WPC-based wireless charger.” Why we are calling it proprietary is because it does not work with any other Qi wireless chargers we have. It only works with its own charger and also the Samsung Galaxy S10 series smartphone’s Wireless PowerShare.

Speaking of Wireless PowerShare, it’s slow and honestly quite difficult to align. If you opt for this method of charging then be aware that you will have to immobilize two devices. Though, it is a great way to charge your phone if you are traveling and don’t want to bring yet another charger.

It takes about a total of 3 hours to charge from 10% to 100% via Wireless PowerShare from the Galaxy S10+ (review).

Wrapping up the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review

It’s an interesting watch for sure. It’s small – sure, but that’s why the bigger-sized Galaxy Watch exists. This is a watch that is meant for those who prefer smaller watches yet with full-fledged features of a smartwatch.

The official price for this watch is at RM799 but you can already get it off of Lazada and Shopee for around RM699. Is it a good deal? Yes, it’s not that expensive for a smartwatch either. Great deal for what you’ll get, honestly.

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