Smartwatches have come a long way from 2004’s Microsoft SPOT watches. Wearable electronics became more accessible to consumers, which fueled its further development. Modern hardware is something we could only dream of when the first smart watch appeared. The differences between Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Galaxy Watch Active 2 indicate just far Samsung has journeyed in just two years. The new device, Galaxy Watch 4, launched in 2021 and sports numerous improvements over its 2-year-older cousin. But how vast are these differences?
In this article, we discuss the key differences between Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch Active 2. We’ll compare their design and features to determine which is better and how far Samsung has progressed in making wearable tech.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Galaxy Watch Active 2: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Samsung Galaxy Watch 4||Galaxy Watch Active 2|
|Starting Price||Approx $330||Approx. $240|
|Cellular||Yes, optional||Yes, optional|
|Materials||Aluminum||Aluminum, Stainless Steel|
|Sizes||40mm and 44mm||40mm and 44mm|
|Health Sensors||Accelerometer, Barometer,|
Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor,
Light Sensor, Optical Heart Rate Sensor,
Electrical heart sensor,
Gyro Sensor, Optical Heart Rate Sensor,
Electrical heart sensor
|OS||Wear OS||Tizen OS|
|Water Resistance||MIL-STD-810G compliant||50m water resistant (IP68)|
|Connectivity||NFC, Wi-Fi, LTE,|
|NFC, Wi-Fi, LTE,|
|Battery Life||Up to 48 hours||Up to 36 hours|
- BODY COMPOSITION ANALYSIS: Galaxy Watch4 Classic is the first smartwatch to off body composition data right on your wrist, On your own schedule, now you can get readings on body fat, skeletal muscle,...
- BETTER SLEEP STARTS HERE: Wake up feeling refreshed and recharged with advanced sleep tracking; When you go to bed, your Galaxy Watch4 Classic sleep tracker starts monitoring your sleep and SpO2...
- BE SMART ABOUT YOUR HEART: Take care of your heart with accurate ECG monitoring and keep an eye on possible atrial fibrillation, a common form of irregular heart rhythm; Share personalized readings...
- MAKE EVERY WORKOUT COUNT: Get the most out of every exercise session with advanced workout tracking that recognizes 6 popular activities, from running to rowing to swimming, automatically in just 3...
- GO THE EXTRA MILE: Improve your runs with advanced running coaching technology; VO2 Max readings assess your oxygen levels to manage and track your heart and lung endurance
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Galaxy Watch Active 2: Key Differences
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 launched in August 2019 as Samsung’s latest wearable tech. It runs Tizen, a Linux-based operating system, on hardware considered ancient by today’s standards. It’s been around for a while, so it’s time to see how this endless classic held up against the times.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Active 2 share many similarities. Both watches come in two sizes, 40mm to accommodate slimmer wrists and 44mm to fit nicely on larger wrists. They also feature a round case and a beautiful OLED display, mimicking the aesthetics of a typical sporty watch.
The display specs are different, and we’ll discuss that later. Appearance-wise they look the same since Samsung chose to maintain the thick display bezels on both devices. This makes them appear very similar at first glance.
However, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 housing comes in two different materials: aluminum and stainless steel. It also sports a 2.5D curved glass “face” with rounded case edges and the aforementioned digital bezel that serves as an input mechanism.
On the other hand, the newer Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is available in aluminum-only housing. It sports a flat display within the case with flat sides, giving off a much more classic look. If you remain adamant about getting a stainless-steel watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic comes in a stainless-steel case.
Besides slight changes in aesthetics from curvy to angular lines, there are some aesthetical changes to the input buttons. These are entirely redesigned on the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, which now features two symmetrical oblong buttons. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 features one circular and one oblong switch.
Despite their similarity, the design of the Samsung Galaxy Watch is an obvious upgrade from Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2.
With regard to display, the measurements are the same, but the resulting image is very different. Both feature a Super AMOLED screen which is nothing short of a testament to Samsung’s prowess in screen technology.
Because they come in two different sizes, both Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Active 2 have 1.2- or 1.4-inch displays. The display size depends on the size of the smartwatch itself, and things are pretty much the same across both devices.
But the display quality is a major difference. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 has a 1.4-inch display at 450x450p resolution and a 1.2-inch at 396x396p. This provides approximately 454PPI or 466PP on each screen respectively.
However, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 sports the same 360x360p display on both devices. Due to the reduced size, the larger display has 363PPI while the smaller one has 424PPI. This is a rather big difference between the two, providing a better picture quality on a smaller watch.
Regardless, the image is sharper on the newer Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 compared to Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. That said, the smaller version of the latter is comparable to Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 screens.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 uses a Dual-core 1.15 GHz Cortex-A53 Exynos 9110 chip and 4GB of internal storage. This was complemented by either 768MB or 1.5GB RAM, depending on whether you bought a BT or LTE model.
These specs are pretty slim-looking compared to the modern Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. The newest hardware iteration runs on a Dual-core 1.18 GHz Cortex-A55 Exynos W920 chip with 1.5GB RAM. The internal storage capacity has been expanded to 16GB.
Despite the lack of RAM, the previous generation performed quite admirably. However, the extra RAM gives Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 a sharper edge in performance.
The Galaxy Watch 4 has a definite advantage here that will be much more noticeable in everyday use, particularly if you intend to use it as your jogging partner while leaving your phone at home.
Samsung’s abrupt shift to WearOS marked a break from the company’s promotion of Tizen and the expansion of its ecosystem. However, there’s no disputing that WearOS 3 is a superior option for the majority due to integrations with supplemental software. Who would ever want to give up Google Maps that sit on their wrist?
If you’re concerned about familiarity, rest assured that OneUI Watch displays Samsung’s design aesthetic. Due to its similarities with Samsung One UI used on smartphones, the navigation is largely consistent.
Switching to Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, at least software-wise, has only benefits and no drawbacks unless you’re sporting an iPhone or any device lacking Google Mobile Services.
When the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 launched, it matched Apple Watch with its ECG sensor, which also received FDA approval. Admittedly, Apple has since released updated versions of its hardware, but so has Samsung.
The new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 sports an upgraded 3-in-1 BioActive sensor. It’s a single chip that does all the measuring. According to Samsung, the chip and sensor combo are not closer to the skin, improving the measurement accuracy. The chip houses three sensors: bioelectrical impedance analysis, optical heart rate, and electrical heart (BIA).
This enables you to monitor your heart rate, record your ECG, and gauge your blood’s oxygen saturation. Although the sensors are now integrated into a single chip, these functions were still available on the Galaxy Watch Active 2.
But Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 also sports a new BIA feature that measures your entire body composition. With important parameters, including skeletal muscle mass, basal metabolic rate, body fat percentage, and more, this new tool offers a closer look at your health.
The Galaxy Watch Active 2 already had a good sleep monitoring feature, but Samsung improved it with the Galaxy Watch 4. For example, it can hear you snore via your smartphone and cross-reference the snoring with other data. Combining these metrics with the device’s blood oxygen data will offer better insight into your sleep patterns.
Both devices offer the same measurements for exercise, like heart rate, calories burned, and timer. Each offers automatic workout-tracking, eliminating manual actuation.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 sports a non-removable lithium-ion battery rated at 340mAh. This rating provides approx. 36 hours of continuous work with occasional tracking and active AOD. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, on the other hand, sports a 361mAh-rated battery, but the battery life isn’t as good.
Regardless of the number of sensors or improved functionality, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 could probably last 48 hours. However, users reported less battery life compared to the previous product. Charing the battery once a day should keep the device from entering low-power mode.
Both devices launched at different times, and it’s pretty clear which one is more affordable. A 40mm Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is still officially available at Samsung via Amazon for approx. $240. This is more than reasonable for this smartwatch.
The newer Galaxy Watch 4 is pricier, retailing at $330 on Amazon. This price point is also quite reasonable, given the renewed design and improved capabilities. But the question is, do they justify the price point?
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Galaxy Watch Active 2: 5 Must-Know Fact2
- Both devices are incredibly similar and undistinguishable at first glance.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch Active 2 are rated at 5ATM + IP68 / MIL-STD-810G.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is Samsung’s first watch to use Wear OS instead of Tizen.
- Unlike past models, Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is region-locked in mainland China.
- Smaller versions of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Samsung Galaxy Active 2 have a lower battery capacity.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Galaxy Watch Active 2: Which is Better?
The Galaxy Watch 4 is undoubtedly a more perfected hardware. It has more features, better integrations, and a better-performing OS. So, if you like sporting the bleeding edge of wearable hardware on your wrist, go for the newer device.
If you want to tell time and keep track of your basic fitness metrics, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is more than enough for such a use case.