Today, smartwatches are powerhouses that hold a slew of features. The last couple of years have seen many smartwatches lean towards wellness & health, and the Samsung Active2 and the Fitbit Sense are two of the new ones to join this lineup. Fitbit Sense is one of the expensive and feature-rich smartwatches from Fitbit this year and brings home several new sensors. On the other hand, the name says it all for the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2. Launched in 2019, this fitness-oriented smartwatch packs a punch when it comes to smart features and tracking your fitness levels.
For around $329, the Fitbit Sense surely packs a bevy of features. For one, you can get your ECG readings, or measure the blood oxygen levels or check your body temperature.
While the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 support SpO2 and ECG monitoring earlier, these features were made available through OTAs in the latter half of 2020. Hence, it only makes sense to compare these two fitness-oriented smartwatches and see which one fits your requirement list better.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Design, Display, and Fit
Let’s start with the design of the Fitbit Sense. The Sense resembles the looks of last year’s Versa 2. Only this time, it’s slimmer, and the edges are rounded off to give a new and unique look. It looks every bit of a modern smartwatch. And the thin aluminum ring running around the edge helps its case.
The good thing about the rounded design is that now the edges do not dig on your wrist, thus making it easier to exercise or workout. More importantly, it’s light and doesn’t weigh you down even when you sleep wearing the watch.
This time, Fitbit has redesigned how the strap connects to the watch. Now, all you need to do is pull back the quick release buttons to take out the strap and that’s about it. No drama of toggles in this one. While the Sense stock band looks stylish, it’s not practical to use in real life thanks to its infinity loop. Plus, the stock strap is a little on the stiffer side. Thankfully, there are ample third-party straps with which you swap the original one.
Interestingly, the Fitbit Sense bundles a bright display, and the best part about it is its sunlight legibility. So even if you were to look at messages or check your step count in bright daylight, you will be able to do that. Specs-wise, it packs a 1.58-inch AMOLED display. It’s quick and responds quickly to touches, which was an issue with last year’s Versa 2.
As opposed to the squarish design of the Fitbit Sense, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 has the signature round shape. The smartwatch has a digital rotating bezel which lets you go through all the widgets or scroll through all the menus and app settings with ease. The absence of the physical bezel gives it a slim look and well, you do not have to worry about the bezel sticking to your hoodie or sweatshirt.
As opposed to the thick design of the Galaxy Watch 3, the Galaxy Watch Active2 is thin and light, which makes it a breeze to wear throughout the day and even when you sleep.
Samsung has always been big on displays, and this smartwatch is no different. The AMOLED screen is big and bright, thereby making it easy to see even in bright daylight. The best part is, like the Fitbit Sense, this one also comes with brightness controls.
As opposed to the single button in the Sense, this comes with two buttons — Home and Back.
When it comes to comfort, the stock silicon strap isn’t as comfortable as some of the third-party silicon bands, primarily due to the absence of perforations (just like the Sense). Thankfully, they can be easily swapped out for a true sports band. It’s durable and has a solid build. I have been wearing mine for almost about a year now and can say that the frame is solid enough to withstand accidental brushes with door frames or seat handles.
The battery life is one of the important features of any wireless rechargeable device. In fact, it’s one of the main factors that decide the fate of a device. Compared to traditional fitness trackers, the battery life is less, primarily due to the culmination of all the sensors, smart features Always On Display (AOD), and the watch faces.
Nevertheless, the Fitbit Sense doesn’t disappoint and brings a battery life of around 4.5 days (with AOD off). With AOD enabled, you will get just over a day. The battery life can go up should you decide to disable the AOD. But, that robs the actual intent of smartwatches.
The same is the case with Galaxy Watch Active2. If you enable all the cool features like Always On Display, Wi-Fi, or if you have a fancy colorful watch face, the battery can barely make it two days before needing a recharge.
And as expected, the watch battery may take a hit further if you keep GPS on for a long time.
With the Fitbit Sense, thankfully Fitbit has done away with the retro-charging style. The odds clips are now replaced by a proprietary magnetic charger, similar to that of the Galaxy Watch Active2. The only issue with proprietary chargers is that you have to carry them around whenever you travel. And in case of loss, you will have to buy a new one.
ECG Readings, Stress Tracking, and More
So how good is the new Fitbit Sense in its tracking? And more importantly, what all can it track?
As noted earlier, this watch can monitor your blood oxygen levels (important in a time like this), measure your stress levels and skin temperature or record your ECG.
One of the primary differences between both watches is how they measure Stress and SpO2. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2, you can measure this on-demand. All you need to do is go to the specific widget, press the button, and the watch will start its job.
However, the Fitbit Sense works a bit differently. It measures your blood oxygen levels during the night and shows you the results after you wake up.
For stress management, the Sense doesn’t just depend on heartbeat monitoring like the Galaxy Watch Active2. Instead, the Sense also uses its EDA (Electro-Dermal Activity) sensor to measure your body’s sweat markers. The results are based on these two factors. Furthermore, you also get to see your stress scores. However, for that, you will have to wear the watch throughout.
The same can be said of temperature tracking. It’s worth noting that the Galaxy Watch Active2 doesn’t have temperature tracking.
However, where the Galaxy Watch Active2 does excel is at the activity tracking. It has a slew of exercise modes and tracks them pretty accurately. Plus, the auto-tracking is enabled once it detects that you are walking, cycling, swimming for more than 10 minutes. Once done, it logs stats like calories burnt and minutes spent in the log.
Apart from the above, both the watches also let you track your sleep and check VO2 Max stats after your exercises.
So, how smart are these smartwatches? For starters, Samsung’s smartwatch not only lets you check for incoming texts and Whatsapp messages but also lets you reply to them through your phone. Plus, you can also add your customized messages or use the voice-to-text feature. This one works consistently across iOS and Android.
For Sense, you can reply to messages on Android. However, this function is absent in iOS. On the upside, you can take calls right from your smartwatch (if your phone is nearby), just like the Galaxy Watch Active2.
The Google Assistant integration eases a lot of things in the watch. For example, it can show your scores or start a workout through voice commands. All you need to do is trigger it.
Tame the Tracker
So far, both the smartwatches have a lot of common and uncommon ground. So which one should you choose?
If you need a watch that is an extension of your phone, the Galaxy Watch Active2 makes for a good pick. This one bundles the essential smart features like notifications, the ability to reply to messages, check your calendars and reminders, stream your favorite Spotify playlists, among others. Plus, it can also track your activities, stress levels, fall detection, which motivate you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Plus, the seamless connectivity and sync add to the list if you already own a Samsung phone.
Given the times today, if you are looking for more advanced tracking, the Fitbit Sense makes more sense (you see what I did there?). Yes, it’s a tad expensive, but you get detailed insights into your health and fitness. While most of the data is free, you will need a premium account if you want to dive deeper.
The Fitbit Premium account costs around $10 a month and lets you gain more access to stress data, advanced heartbeat monitoring, meditation features, among others. However, the detailed stats for stress and SpO2 won’t help your case unless you are a medical professional who knows your ways around the data.
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This post was written by Namrata Gogoi and was first posted to Guiding Tech
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