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Samsung Galaxy Watch Active hands-on: One UI in, bezel ring out

The Galaxy Watch Active is part of the new lineup of wearable devices that Samsung launched yesterday. Is it a successor to the Gear Sport or an entirely new smartwatch generation from Samsung? That depends on the way you look at it, but for us, it appears to be a mix of the two. It’s not a bad mix by any stretch of the imagination. Read our Galaxy Watch Active hands-on to find out more about our thoughts on the new smartwatch.

Design

Our first impressions of the Galaxy Watch Active are that it has a streamlined look. Samsung has made subtle but meaningful changes to the design for a simpler appearance. It does retain the same circular design of its predecessors but ditches the rotating bezel. Samsung set its smartwatches apart with the rotating bezel but it has decided to remove it from the Galaxy Watch Active. We’re not too thrilled about this move, but does that make the Galaxy Watch Active any less of a smartwatch? Absolutely not.

Ditching the fluted rotating bezel meant that the smartwatch could have a smooth design. It has gentle curves not unlike those on the Apple Watch. Sure, the Apple Watch isn’t circular, but the curves do allow for a smooth glass look. That’s what you get on the Galaxy Watch Active and it looks better on it due to the circular design. We do feel that the bezel could have been a bit smaller. As such, it would be better to not use a colorful watch face on this device. You’d get the best look from the Galaxy Watch Active if you opt for a darker watch face instead.

Interface

The Galaxy Watch Active brings One UI to Samsung’s smartwatches and a slightly new user interface since it doesn’t have a rotating bezel ring. That design element was used for navigation and since it’s not present, Samsung obviously had to make changes to the interface. That being said, you wouldn’t feel lost if you’re used to the old interface. Much of it still looks the same even though there are new animations and icons. The overall functionality remains the same and works as expected.

Since the Galaxy Watch Active is geared towards users who live an active lifestyle, the new animations are meant to get users to be more active in their daily lives. We find that they work as intended. There are also new watch faces like we see on every new smartwatch from Samsung. The health tracking features allow for sleep and stress tracking in addition to blood pressure monitoring. The new Daily Activity Tracker widget will ensure that users stay on top of their fitness goals. The smartwatch can also send users a Heart Rate Alert if it detects that they have an abnormally high resting heart rate. That’s a very useful feature to have on the device.

Conclusion

Despite not being that different compared to the Galaxy Sport as far as the size is concerned, the Galaxy Watch Active does feel like a serious new product. The swiping interface and seamless look make it stand out sufficiently enough. We do feel that this has the potential to be a hit for Samsung. We’re also exciting in seeing Samsung bring this new user interface to existing smartwatches.

We’ll have a full review of the Galaxy Watch Active up in the near future so do stay tuned for more of our thoughts on the new smartwatch.

  • Model: SM-R500
  • Dimensions: 39.5 x 39.5 x 10.5mm
  • Display: 1.1” (28.1mm) Super AMOLED
  • CPU: Exynos 9110
  • Camera:

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HomerS66
HomerS66

Wonder when Samsung will bring new functions to their smartwatches like bloodpressure or EKG.
This model was probably made to reduce costs and offer it at a good price, hope the Galaxy Watch 2 brings new things.

mtbrown262626
mtbrown262626

I don’t like it as I prefer to have the be bezel for me it looks cheap and like it’s made for children.

Biransahin
Biransahin

I just showed this to my wife who has the Gear Sport and her first words were that she prefers her Sport and that the Active looks very cheap in comparison. While I don’t necessarily agree, I have the S3 Frontier myself, I’m just giving you the opinion of a female user as I’m thinking this might be the target market.

locarno
locarno

Hi. What about this photos from airport that we talked in “Samsung installs the world’s largest LED signage at the Istanbul Airport” article ?

Biransahin
Biransahin

You know what! I was just thinking about that this very minute..! Unfortunately the airport wasn’t ready for some flights yet, it’s behind schedule and we had to fly from the old Atatürk Airport. I am so disappointed as everything was supposed to be totally finished and Atatürk closed by now. So unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until the next flight. It will be to Frankfurt later on in the year. Hopefully by then I will fulfil my promise!

locarno
locarno

Ok.

locarno
locarno

Bezels are very big but I think they reduce it with Galaxy Watch Active 2.

locarno
locarno

They update Galaxy Watch with features from GW Active ?

Danny D.
Danny D.

Yes but later this year.

locarno
locarno

Nice to hear that. Can’t wait.

vnovomsate
vnovomsate

Should be full screen display without that bezel. They look absolutely ugly now.

ProdByEchelon
ProdByEchelon

I love these watch faces that will never come to the Gear S3

Biransahin
Biransahin

You get watch faces that look almost identical on Gear S3, Gear Sport, and Galaxy Watch and they’ll arrive on the Galaxy Store anyway within a couple of weeks. All the Galaxy Watch faces are already available.