- Light weight and comfortable for long usage
- Easy to set up and use
- Great functions
- IP 68 certified
- Short battery life
- High premium
First Smartwatch Experience!
Smartwatches are so common these days and you probably have at least 1 person in your circle of friends who actually own one. I’ve always dreamt of owning a smartwatch because I think people look like secret agents on a mission because they are able to read their notifications and even answer calls on the go without having to reach for their phones.
When Samsung mentioned that they’d be loaning us the Galaxy Watch Active, I felt like my prayer was answered, I can finally own (even if it’s for a short period of time) a smartwatch and be that “secret agent” I’ve always wanted to be.
Fresh out of the box, the watch gleams with its jet black 1.1” Circular Super Amoled face and a rose gold finish. The rose gold colour on the watch is subtle enough for it not look too feminine and I found it super chic enough to compliment my outfits whether it was for work, casual or for a workout at the gym. It is also IP68 certified and waterproof up to 50 metres, perfect for those of you who want to take it for a quick swim at the pool.
The watch is lightweight with interchangeable silicone bands that you can purchase and change accordingly to your style and mood. When worn, the watch sits comfortably on the wrist and at times, you just kind of forget that it’s there.
To start using the smartwatch, you’ll have to make sure there’s some juice on it (duh!) and download the Samsung Galaxy Watch app that’s available on both Apple App Store and Google Play Store to connect with the watch.The setup for the watch is relatively easy and it was functional in less than 15 minutes.
There’s 2 buttons for navigation on the watch, the bottom one is the “home” button that brings you back to the main screen and the other button slightly above it is to go “back.” Other than that, you just swipe left and right like you would on a smartphone to read notifications, check your health and preset certain functions that are available.
I did not block any app notifications on the app when I was setting it up so I got every notification that comes up on my phone. It was quite distracting at first but after a while, I was quite used to the buzz from the notifications and embraced it whenever it comes. If you need to focus and do not want to be disturbed, you can opt for the “Do Not Disturb” function where the watch will not buzz nor light up when there’s a notification. Alternatively, you can switch off the vibrations on the watch and just check notifications at your own pace.
If you are like me who uses online banking quite frequently (yeah, I’m looking at ya’ll who shop online often), I found the OTP messages on the watch perfect because I didn’t have to constantly reach for my phone to check my OTP number to key it in. Having said that, you are not able to reply texts if you’re pairing it with an iPhone (like me) but being able to read messages were good enough to gauge if the incoming messages were important enough to reach for your phone to reply. You wouldn’t want to be opening and replying to every Whatsapp message in front of your boss now, would you?
Find My Phone
Have you ever walked around the house frantically looking for your phone before you forgot where you last left it? I know it happens to me more often than I’d like to admit. This is where the “find my phone” function helped (or saved) me! Being a woman, I’d say I tick some of the typical woman stereotype, one of them being woman like having a bag full of literally EVERYTHING and sometimes when I throw my phone into my bag, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. I’ve left the house a few times without my phone because I assumed my phone was in the bag only to realise I left it at home when I arrived at my destination. I didn’t have to assume when the watch is connected to my phone because all I had to do was turn on the “find my phone” function and the phone will automatically start vibrating. Once you hear/feel it vibrating in the bag, you can leave the house with the peace of mind that your phone is with you!
One of the best functions the watch has is the hourly reminder to stay active. If you have been inactive for the hour, the watch will prompt you to either walk or suggest a set of exercises to follow such as Torso Twist and Upward Twist. I found this really helpful and more often than not, I would actually get up to walk to the pantry and back just so that I stay active throughout the day. To be honest, it can be a little weird when you start stretching in the office out of the blue, so I’d suggest you either walk away to somewhere more secluded or if your colleagues are super chill and are always up for some break time, get them to join you as you stretch too!
However, my favourite part about the watch has to be the “Daily Activity” that tracks 3 main activities (which you can set accordingly on the watch & app) – calories burnt, minutes of exercise and active hours. If all 3 activities are achieved for the day, there’s a really nice graphic that comes up together with a congratulatory message. Every time when I get that at the end of a workout, it is honestly one of the best feelings in the world.
On top of the Samsung Watch App, I also downloaded Samsung Health App that has more analysis on the daily statistics that are tracked on the watch. It helped me track my daily steps better and record my workout days so that I know when I should get myself back to the gym because yes, sometimes I just forget to exercise.
Battery Life & Charging
The battery life on the watch was a rather disappointing for me as it only lasted a little over a day as compared to the supposed 45 hours. At the end of a workout day, I am usually prompted to connect the watch to the charger because it dropped below the 20% threshold.
I tried it on “Power Saving” mode, which changes your screen to greyscale and limits functions like raise to wake/read notifications to save battery. In this mode, I was able to get about 3 days without a single charge. The only downside is that it will not automatically detect any activity and you’ll have to switch it back to the normal mode for the watch to record an exercise.
It takes roughly 2 hours to fully charge the watch from a 10% battery when charged with the magnetic Qi pad that comes in the box. If you have any of the Samsung S10 series phone (S10, S10+ and S10e) that comes with a wireless PowerShare function – which essentially charges devices that support Qi wireless charging, you can actually use it to charge the watch too. It’s not a must have but it’s still an alternative in case you are low on juice, especially when you have a long day out and no option to charge the watch.
Overall, the watch is great because of its simplistic design and ease of use. The watch face was perfect for a small wrist like mine and the lightweight of it all balanced it out. Despite it being a distraction at times when notifications keep flooding the watch especially during a meeting, I was able to filter important notifications and mute them when necessary.
With smartwatches becoming increasingly popular among consumers, it’s surprising that Samsung released a smartwatch which offers good functionality below the market price of a thousand Ringgit. The only drawback is the short battery life and the steep premium to pay at RM799.
We would like to thank the folks over at Samsung Malaysia for loaning us the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active!