Samsung's Galaxy Watch Active2 is a fantastic smartwatch that earned our Most Wanted accolade back in October. Its MSRP is steep, though, starting at $280. But thanks to an open-box deal on eBay, you can pick one off at a tasty discount — $170 for the 40 mm model or $180 for the 44 mm.
This story was originally published and last updated .
The two most popular smartwatch options for Android are devices running Google's own Wear OS platform (formerly Android Wear), and Samsung's Galaxy/Gear watches that are powered by Tizen OS. While there is a great deal of overlap between the two — they can both display notifications, run apps, track health, and so on — there are also some differences between them.
In this guide, we'll go over the key differences between both platforms, so you can make an informed smartwatch purchase.
The Galaxy Watch Active2 has enjoyed rave reviews and the general consensus is that it's the best Android-compatible watches right now. If you've been looking for an excuse to dip in, it's a good day for it: the 44mm variant of the Active2 is just $190 on eBay, a full $110 off the standard price.
Samsung smartwatches are popularly associated with their rotating bezels, but the Galaxy Watch Active came out with an inert glass bezel, embracing a monumental design shift to some users’ dismay. Its unanticipated follow-up met halfway with a new touch bezel that emulates its mechanical peer using haptic vibrations. Turns out, you can get this interactive bezel on the original Watch Active, and an update is already underway to enable it.
Ever since Samsung forsook Wear OS and decided to blaze its own trail with Tizen, the company has been churning out some great smartwatches. The Gear S3 Frontier may be three years old now, but it still remains stylish and performant today as a smart companion for your phone. After fluctuating quite a bit on price lately, it has settled down to $189 at Amazon.
There's no denying that Apple makes the best all-around smartwatches, especially if you care about fitness, so Android-compatible watches continue to battle for second place. The most recent entry from the Wear OS camp is the fifth-gen Fossil Q, and while that watch is a decent step up from every other device with the same software, it still hasn't addressed some of the platform's core problems — poor fitness tracking, degrading app library, and so on.
Samsung's new watch is a follow-up to the Galaxy Watch Active, which was (by most accounts) the best overall smartwatch for Android devices.
Samsung launched the Galaxy Watch Active alongside the S10 earlier this year, positively surprising us with a great all-round wearable product. Its the first Tizen watch to introduce Samsung's new OneUI, which has since made its way to the other smartwatches in the company's lineup. Now, the Active is first in line to receive another software update and with a slew of new capabilities such as a night mode, automatic swimming recognition, a new low heart rate alert, improved Bixby actions, and some general UX improvements.
It can easily be argued that Samsung's Tizen smartwatches are better than Wear OS competitors in a number of ways, but the voice assistant is not one of them. Bixby will never be able to compete with Google Assistant in this space, so it's always been a bit of a blow for Samsung watch owners. Until now, that is, as a new app is bringing the Assistant to the Galaxy Watch and others Tizen running 4.0 and above.
Some of the most iconic watch faces in the world are connected to incredibly expensive watches, but a smartwatch can imitate those spendy devices with a little bit of code. Swatch isn't very happy about that, and it's accusing Samsung of knowingly profiting from clones of Swatch designs for devices like the Galaxy Watch. It cites numerous examples of allegedly copied designs in its filings, including one that came from a custom $650,000 watch.
Health tracking has never been a top focus for Samsung's smartwatches, but that changes today. Samsung unveiled a slew of new wearable products today, including a sleeker version of last year's Galaxy Watch — the fittingly-named Galaxy Watch Active.