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Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: First impressions video performed!

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We will follow in the footsteps of the post super fast last Friday that I made on my video of the first impressions of the Apple Watch Series 5, but this time from the Samsung camp. Yesterday morning I unpacked the new Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 and after some commuter bike tests I put it to the test this morning during a city run.

For this post I will cover my video a little more detail. But expect a more detailed post along the way in October. I know there is surprisingly little overlap between my readers here on the site and those on YouTube. So this post is mainly for warning that if you are looking for some initial data for the first run, I have it for you below.

Now, like last week, I’ll give myself a quick time limit. The girl is out for a walk and is probably 15-20 minutes from home. Whatever you can put in before you walk through the door, we’ll do it. Done? Good. Here we go!

– This is the second edition of this product line, which follows the Gear Sport product line. Please note that the first Active 1 watch came out last February / March ( full review here ), so we’re only talking 6 months later. He is crazy!

– I configured the watch with the always-on display set to enabled and in that mode the daily aspects of the face and time are very similar to those of the Apple Watch Series 5 and Garmin Venu (and Fitbit Versa 2). The only difference is that the Samsung Active 2 (my shortened variant of the official full name) will occasionally show the wrong date / time for about 0.5-1.0 seconds before updating the screen. Super weird, but it happens constantly in the office today. The brilliance / clarity of the screen / overall feel is on par with the other watches noted earlier in this paragraph. No big difference.

– The new touch frame is a step up from the no touch frame. However, strangely Samsung hasn’t enabled it by default. Just examining the reviews of the watch by YouTube (non-multimedia) end users shows that even the most avid Samsung fans don’t realize it’s not enabled and fumble around trying to figure out how to enable it. Just like me. It turns out that you need to enable it in Settings> Advanced> Touch Bezel. Here, I just saved you hours of frustration.

– Battery life seems inconsistent. Or at least, mishandled by the system. When I went to bed last night I showed 22 hours of autonomy remaining. When I woke up 5 hours later, he was already dead. Not sure why.

– Sleep tracking was roughly in the baseball field, at least until the battery ran out at 6:34 am.

– Because of mine extensive experience trying to get fitness / training data from the unit , I used the Endomondo watch app to record the run. I recorded my bike rides using the regular built-in app and didn’t notice any difference between those rides and my running training. In my case I paired it to my Pixel phone, although I’ll be switching it over to the iPhone in the next day or so. Notice that no phones were brought with me on the run.

– I was amazed at how poor the authorization approval process is on the watch. I counted no less than five times that I had to approve the permissions for GPS / HR sensors / data access for the native app or for Endomondo to use. He is crazy. And in some cases it doesn’t even tell you it needs access, you have to figure it out for yourself when you can’t get the GPS to work properly.

– GPS accuracy wasn’t bad overall. Some beeps, but looking at all the GPS tracks in this set (Garmin FR945, Polar Vantage V, and Apple Watch Series 5), it was roughly in the middle. The Polar Vantage V was by far the worst and the FR945 and Apple Watch S5 mixed and matched in various sections. You can watch the whole set here . For the most part, we’ve seen Samsung make great strides in Active 1 earlier this spring, so this looks on par with that.

– The new HR sensor is visibly very different from the previous Active 1 sensor. Samsung’s four-LED design has disappeared (shown in the first 90 seconds of the video), and in the Apple design comes another design. This new design may have something to do with ECG (which is not yet available / enabled), however, it appears to closely resemble Apple’s Series 4 / Series 5 design.

– HR accuracy started pretty roughly during the run for the first 4-5 minutes, a huge difference to the other units. It then went through a few minutes of variability, however, it eventually smoothed out a bit and looked clean enough for the rest of the run. In fact, all HR units and sensors paired very well for the high-paced sprints I did in the end:

 

– Incidentally, this is the first workout in the last week that I haven’t seen any dramatic spikes / breaks from FC Series 5 (no changes in the software), however, I have seen a time when Series 5 has clearly outgrown up). I’m not sure why it was different today, other than being the only workout where I was out in the rain.

– From an always-on display during a training point of view, such as Apple, third-party apps cannot be viewed until the wrist is raised. So instead you get the time, then you get a delayed app update, then about 2 seconds later you get the actual data of the current app. Apple’s always-on viewing experience during third-party training isn’t great, but it’s not great. Usability during rain was tough on the touchscreen, I’d say about 70% of the time it received swipes, but the initial swipe was often missing (perhaps eliminating rain). I had no problems with the touchscreen in the rain on the Apple Watch Series 5.

– Size and sensitivity I got the 40mm (because it was available). Feels good and the strap is really good.

That said, The Girl is back, so I’m leaving. I’ll be back down the road with more datasets as I wrap up a series of wearable reviews including Apple Watch Series 5, Garmin Venu, Vivoactive 4, and Suunto 5. Mix with all things indoor cycling. Don’t worry, October won’t be quiet at all!

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