Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review: Great hardware let down by erratic tracking

Samsung makes some of the best smartwatches around, but they tend to be big, bulky and aggressively styled. The Galaxy Watch Active is just as well equipped as other Samsung wearables but trades the rugged aesthetic for a more demure style. It also comes at a noticeably smaller price. The Galaxy Watch Active delivers almost everything you’d get in a bigger, more expensive watch at a price most of us can actually justify.

There are, however, a couple of things you need to know before you decide to buy one – like the fact its activity tracking is trash right now. Let’s dive right into our Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review.

About this Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review: I’ve been using the Galaxy Watch Active for two weeks. It’s running One UI version 1.0 on Tizen OS version 4.0.0.3 and software version R500XXU1BSB7, paired to a Pixel 3 over Bluetooth.

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The big picture

The Galaxy Watch Active is not Samsung’s first foray into the fitness smartwatch category: the original Gear Sport arrived almost a year and a half ago. While the Galaxy Watch Active could easily be considered a Gear Sport 2, Samsung is instead positioning it as the sporty version of its recent Galaxy Watch range.

Given its $199 price point, the Galaxy Watch Active is positioned alongside a number of excellent fitness trackers. Samsung’s goal is clearly to snag part of that target market with a comparably-priced smartwatch that does a bit more than your average fitness tracker. It’s also a competitively priced option for regular smartwatch buyers that don’t like the usual bulky designs or that have slimmer wrists. Unfortunately for Samsung, while its watch might do more than your average fitness tracker, it certainly doesn’t track activity better.

Design and display

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active default watch face

  • 40mm watch case (one size only)
  • 1.1-inch AMOLED display (360 x 360 pixels)
  • 20mm silicone watch strap (two sizes included)
  • Black, silver, rose gold, green

Even though the Galaxy Watch Active’s 40mm housing is only marginally smaller than the 42mm version of the Galaxy Watch, the difference in bulk is noticeable. Besides the difference in style, the Watch Active is also far lighter at just 25 grams compared to the smaller Galaxy Watch’s 49 grams. If you’ve ever tried exercising with a normal-sized smartwatch you’ll know this is a big plus.

The lightness and smallness of the Galaxy Watch Active mean it’s far less likely to get in the way of your workout. Its near-flush buttons also mean they won’t get caught on things while you work out or dig into the back of your wrist when doing shoulder presses or loaded squats.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active thickness on wrist and button detail

Despite its diminutive size, the Galaxy Watch Active is plenty rugged enough to survive an active lifestyle. The small circular display is coated with a layer of Gorilla Glass 3 (but no Corning DX+). It’s water-resistant up to 5ATM and certified MIL-STD-810G compliant. I dropped it on day one and couldn’t see where it hit the ground, nor did it pick up any scratches during a couple weeks of use. Activities during this time included swimming, cycling, running, gym workouts and yoga on top of daily wear and tear and several keyboard commando skirmishes.

The screen is great: vibrant and crisp, a necessity on a display this size. I found the auto-brightness to be quite responsive outdoors but unless you’re looking directly at the Watch Active, the glare tends to obfuscate the display. Keep this in mind if you tend to glance at notifications or activity tracking while cycling, for example. It’s fine for running, when you can lift your arm right up to your face, but this is not always possible during activities you may want to track.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active size comparison with Gear S3 Frontier and Huawei Watch GT

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active watch strap buckle
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active boot screen

If you’re coming from a larger-screened wearable, be aware that its 1.1-inch display might feel a little pokey. For reference, the Galaxy Watch Active’s 28mm screen is a half-centimeter smaller in diameter than the the larger Galaxy Watch and offers just 72 percent of the display area. The lack of a rotating bezel here is noticeable, because it means you’ll have to swipe and tap your way around the tiny UI elements.

There is a microphone on the Watch Active, but no speaker, so while you can answer or initiate calls with it, you’ll need a paired phone to actually hear your interlocutor. Likewise, you can initiate Bixby queries via the watch but only get text responses on it unless you have a pair of wireless headphones paired (I’d suggest maxing out the volume on the watch and just controlling it on your headphones). Bixby is perfectly fine for general voice searches like the weather but is only going to be really useful if you also have a Samsung Galaxy smartphone (as that’s where Bixby’s strengths lie).

The silicon watch strap the Galaxy Watch Active comes with is perfectly serviceable and closes with a traditional watch buckle. The excess strap tucks underneath the strap to keep it out of the way. I like this clasping mechanism and tidy approach to the leftover strap. There’s a whole host of optional bands you can swap out thanks to the standard 20mm strap sizing. There’s also a longer strap (the bit with the holes in it) in the box if you have larger wrists.

Smartwatch features

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active quick settings

  • Music playback
  • Samsung Pay via NFC
  • Smartphone notifications

In typical Samsung fashion, the Watch Active has plenty to offer in terms of feature set and customization. It comes with a decent selection of watch faces to choose from, and more can be downloaded from the Galaxy Store (note: it runs Tizen 4.0, not Wear OS, which is just fine by me). All watch faces can be customized to your liking, so you can change colors, backgrounds and UI elements as you see fit.

The two buttons on the side of the Watch Active are straightforward: the top one takes you back a step and the bottom summons the app carousel. By default, a double press of the bottom button fires up Bixby, but as with most other things on this watch, it can be customized. I set it to display the world clock but you can change it to a shortcut for pretty much anything on the Galaxy Watch Active.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active app picker

Swiping right on the UI accesses your notifications, which can be expanded beyond the summary view by tapping them. Doing so also allows you to respond, either using emoji, a tiny T-9 keyboard, voice dictation, or short canned answers like “on my way” and “talk to you later.” I found notifications on the Watch Active to be super reliable and prompt and responding to them even from such a small wearable was as good an experience as can be expected.

Swiping to the left cycles through fairly standard customizable screens including an activity dashboard, recent apps, heart rate monitor, calendar, contacts, weather, and music controls. There’s also a bunch of Samsung Health screens you can add here, including shortcuts to your favorite activity tracking, fitness challenges, leaderboards, sleep data, weight management, and monitoring of your caffeine and water intake.

Swiping down from anywhere in the UI reveals the quick settings, which include:

  • Goodnight mode
  • Bluetooth shortcut
  • Silent/vibrate toggle
  • Do not disturb mode
  • Always-on display
  • Screen brightness
  • Theater mode
  • Settings
  • Power saving mode
  • Airplane mode
  • Water lock mode
  • Wi-Fi
  • GPS
  • Battery shortcut
  • Find my phone

I won’t go into all these options as you can tell what they all do by their names. Suffice it to say the Galaxy Watch Active certainly doesn’t feel like it lacks in features, other than perhaps an LTE variant or a larger version. Everything on the watch feels fully baked too, with none of the glitchy or half-assed experiences you might be used to on Wear OS. Navigating long lists certainly isn’t as easy as it is with a rotating bezel, but the basic software and smartwatch features on the Watch Active are pretty solid.

The Watch Active has NFC so you can use Samsung Pay at newer contactless terminals, but Samsung removed the MST chip you’ll find in something bulkier like the Gear S3 Frontier, so you can’t use the Galaxy Watch Active at older magnetic stripe terminals. This may not matter too much depending on where you live, but be advised that Samsung Pay on the Watch Active doesn’t have the same widespread support as it does on your Samsung phone.

Fitness and health tracking

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active watchface 1

  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Auto-detect fitness tracking (seven activities)
  • User-initiated fitness tracking (39 activities)
  • Sleep tracking
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Stress monitoring
  • Built-in GPS

The one area in which the Galaxy Watch Active doesn’t score top marks is, ironically enough, health and fitness tracking. The arrival of blood pressure monitoring to a mainstream and affordable smartwatch was big news, especially given that the only other option right now is the $499 Omron HeartGuide. The problem is the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active doesn’t really deliver on the promise (at least, yet). It’s important to note it’s not FDA-approved like the Omron HeartGuide either.

Blood pressure monitoring on the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active works via a companion app you’ll have to install separately called My BP Lab, developed in conjunction with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

The app is not great. It’s unstable, frequently crashes and, if the reviews on the Play Store are to be believed, doesn’t even take accurate blood pressure readings (I unfortunately didn’t have access to a sphygmomanometer to compare). The My BP Lab app only works with the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9 Plus, S10 and S10 Plus, and the Note 9, and is currently available in beta form once you sign up in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany and Singapore. It’s also worth noting there’s a good chance the app will never be pre-installed on all Watch Active models going forward.

Reconsider buying the Galaxy Watch Active if blood pressure monitoring is what you’re after.

If blood pressure monitoring is the reason you want the Galaxy Watch Active, I’d advise you reconsider. I’ve reached out to Samsung to ask if it has plans for a Samsung Health-based solution rather than My BP Lab, but am yet to receive a response. In time, blood pressure monitoring may become an integral part of the Galaxy Watch’s otherwise impressive fitness arsenal, but for now it’s a hard pass.

The rest of the health tracking on the Galaxy Watch Active is… up for debate. I found its step count usually matched other wearables I have fairly closely, but it didn’t always agree with what Samsung Health said (even after freshly syncing) or what my phone’s step counter was reporting via Google Fit. Admittedly, when all your gadgets are reporting different results it’s not easy to pin the blame on any of them, so I can’t say this is definitely Samsung doing something wrong — at least regarding step count.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active sensors

Heart-rate monitoring was another issue, with the Watch Active occasionally producing significantly different results to other wearables I own. Comparing it to the Huawei Watch GT, it was frequently off by a wide margin. While typing this with both watches on either wrist, I get a 60bpm reading on the Watch Active and 77bpm on the Huawei Watch GT – that’s a huge discrepancy of more than 25 percent.

Also read

While it’s possible the Watch GT is over-reporting, its reading stays relatively stable and fluctuates in a manner you’d expect. The Galaxy Watch Active, on the other hand, fluctuates constantly, with a resting rate that can rapidly change by 15-20bpm all while doing the same thing. These erratic changes make me confident that it’s the culprit here. Under- or over-reporting heart rate is a real cause for concern, especially on a fitness tracker where accurate heart-rate monitoring is essential for activity target zones.

Floor tracking on the Watch Active is atrocious. I live in a two-story home and as I write this I know I’ve been up and down the stairs at least a dozen times and yet the Galaxy Watch Active says I’ve only done one floor all day. The activity auto-tracking does kick in pretty reliably when walking or running, but the results it records aren’t there yet. The Watch Active can auto-detect seven exercises with a further 39 able to tracked by manually initiating them.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active stress monitoring

Sleep tracking is equally problematic. The Watch Active doesn’t always seem to know the difference between chilling on the couch and actually being asleep. So you’ll occasionally get sleep tracking that reports a two-hour sleep followed by a couple hours awake and then a longer sleep, when really you were just watching a movie before getting up and doing other stuff before bed. Once your sleep has been logged to Samsung Health you can’t edit it either.

Don’t miss: Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 4: Which is right for you?

I could go on with multiple other health tracking quibbles but I’m sure the point is clear. As it stands right now, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is an excellent piece of hardware let down by bad tracking calibration. The good news about this is that this can likely be fixed with a software update, but I’d recommend you wait for that to arrive before investing in this watch. We’ll update this review if and when these issues are addressed.

Samsung Health app

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active pairing screen

The Samsung Health app is a huge, sprawling app with more nooks and crannies for the data-obsessed than you can poke a stick at. I won’t go into it in too much detail here as it is simply too massive to do justice, but rest assured you can while away many hours delving into all the data it stores. As mentioned above though, a lot of that data is of dubious accuracy so don’t invest too much in what it’s telling you.

If you’re already familiar with Samsung Health you’ll be well versed in where to go, how to get the most out of it, and the best way to set the various options up. If you’re new to Samsung’s fitness app, however, expect a bit of a learning curve as you find your way around its many menus, options, and settings.

Samsung Health Samsung Wearanle app watchfaces
Samsung Health sleep tracking
Samsung Health sleep reward
Samsung Health recent workouts
Samsung Health heart rate monitoring
Samsung Health dashboard
Samsung Health app customization
Samsung Health activity milestone

You’ll need to install a dizzying array of apps at startup: the Galaxy Wearable app, the Galaxy Watch Active Plugin, Samsung Accessory Service, and then Samsung Health and Samsung Pay if you don’t already have them.

The Wearable app lets you control everything on the watch with your phone and also lets you transfer content like music and images to it. The app can also be used to set up an SOS transmission to share your location with selected contacts in an emergency by quickly pressing the bottom button three times.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active: Specs

  Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
Display 1.1-inch full-color always-on display
360 x 360 resolution
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Memory 768MB RAM
4GB storage
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.2
Wi-Fi b/g/n
NFC
A-GPS/Glonass
Sensors Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Barometer
Heart rate
Ambient light
Processor Dual-core Samsung Exynos 9110
1.15GHz
Battery 230mAh
WPC-based wireless charging
Durability 5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810G
Compatibility Samsung Galaxy, Android 5.0 or above with more than 1.5GB RAM

iPhone: iPhone 5 and above, iOS 9.0 or above

Software Tizen-based Wearable OS 4.0
Dimensions and weight Case: 40mm
39.5 x 39.5 x 10.5mm
25g

Strap: 20mm

Colors silver, black, rose gold, sea green

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active: Performance and battery life

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active glare

  • Samsung Exynos 9100
  • 4GB internal storage
  • 0.75GB of RAM
  • 230mAh battery

The Watch Active performs well and I had no noticeable issues with lag, stuttering or crashes, barring the Plugin crashing when I tried to sync music (that was likely due to the Android Q developer preview, not the watch). Speaking of music, if you want to load your own tunes onto the Watch Active’s internal storage, just be aware about half of it will already be used out of the box.

The Galaxy Watch’s battery is admittedly small, but is only a little smaller than the small Galaxy Watch. Samsung promises 45 hours of battery life which is probably true if you disable pretty much everything. If you’re regularly tracking activities (as I would assume you would), you’ll be able to get through a day. If you’re streaming music that’ll drop to less than a day, use GPS and it’s half a day – you get the idea.

I found a day’s usage was pretty standard with an average mix of notifications, music, activity tracking, and interactions with notifications. This is neither better nor worse than most other smartwatches, but for a watch designed specifically for an active lifestyle, better battery life would have been appreciated.

What’s perhaps worse is the extremely slow charging via the included wireless puck. Instead of using pogo pins, Samsung opted for wireless charging here. It’s painfully slow. The 230mAh battery takes almost two hours to charge, which is a horrendously long time for a watch you might just want to juice up quickly before you duck out for a run. You can wirelessly charge it on the go with the new S10 family, but it’ll take even longer to charge that way.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active: Pricing and final thoughts

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active outdoor visibility 2

At $199, the Galaxy Watch Active is priced very competitively. As far as hardware performance goes it’s up there, barring the battery and charging issues just mentioned. Where the Galaxy Watch Active falls down though, putting it squarely in do-not-buy territory — is fitness tracking. Fortunately, this is something Samsung can absolutely fix, and will hopefully do so soon. I’ve had a great experience with other Samsung wearables in the past, so I know Samsung can make amends.

Despite the ‘Active’ name, you shouldn’t buy the Galaxy Watch Active if you need accurate fitness or health tracking.

If the actual data recorded by the Watch Active is not the reason you’re buying it, then go ahead — it’s likely a sound investment (especially seeing there are so many open box discounts already due to the number of returns retailers are seeing).

If you want a wearable for notifications, music, something to prompt you to move or relax, and tell you the time, then yeah, the Galaxy Watch Active is great. But add blood pressure monitoring, sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, step or floor count to that list of needs and the Watch Active is simply not a good buy right now.

Looking for an alternative? The Fitbit Ionic has a similar feature set, price point, and isn’t bad at fitness tracking. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music is also a great GPS running smartwatch.

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

We asked, you told us: Most don’t see the benefit of a smartwatch or fitness tracker

fossil sport neon yellow oled display on wrist

Several years ago, it looked like wearables might be the next big thing in the technology world. As you can probably assume, they haven’t taken off in the way many hoped they would.

Despite this, over the last several years, we’ve seen a growing number of companies try their hand at making smartwatches, fitness trackers and other wearables. So we decided to ask you, do you own and use a smart wearable? Here is what you had to say.

Do you own a smartwatch, fitness tracker, or other wearable?

Results

When we average out the roughly 50,000 votes between the poll on the website and YouTube, we’re left with the above results. Surprisingly, despite a seemingly large adoption rate of various smart devices, most of you don’t wear or even own a smartwatch, fitness tracker, or other wearables.

It is interesting to learn that more of you have smartwatches than fitness trackers. Looking through the comments, it’s pretty clear that most wear smartwatches so that they can look at notifications in addition to tracking their fitness. Personally, this is why I wear a smartwatch over something like a Fitbit.

Editor’s Pick

Going forward, I can see the adoption rate of smartwatches continue to grow. While Wear OS has been stumbling, Samsung’s Tizen-powered smartwatches and the Apple Watch continue to be more popular. As companies bake in reliable fitness tech, sales of dedicated health trackers might drop.

Noteworthy comments

Here are some of the best comments from last week’s poll explaining why they voted the way that they did:

  • I wear a regular watch, it tells the time.
  • Galaxy Watch(Midnight Black), every day and night. I charge it in the mornings and evenings when I have little use for it so that I have it throughout the day to help manage notifications, communication & small tasks and then can also track my sleep at night with Samsung Health.
  • I own a Swiss watch which increases (or at least holds) value over time, best decision over any of these options
  • I use a Mobvoi ticwatch E. I got it and Mobvoi’s ticpods free on indigogo last year and both have been really great!
  • Apple Watch Series 4. The best of the best.
  • I own a bunch of them. The only one I use, though, is my Gear S3. It’s reliable and useable. It has MST too.
  • Well for rough step tracking the pedometer inside my smartphone is more than enough and is very consistent so no need for me.
  • It got damaged. So now I used my regular watch

That’s it for this week, everyone. As always, thanks for voting, thanks for the comments, and don’t forget to let us know what you thought of the results below.

Best Fitbit trackers and smartwatches (March 2019)

Fitbit, currently one of the most well-known names in the fitness tracking world, has seven different trackers on sale right now. Which of them is the best Fitbit device for you? Should you pick up one of the fashion-forward devices like the Inspire HR or Charge 3, or should you consider a smartwatch device like the Versa or Ionic?

Related: 

With devices ranging anywhere from $70-$270, there’s certainly a wide range of options from which to choose. So with that said, read on to find out which one is right for you.

UpdatesMarch 2019

This month we removed the Fitbit Alta HR, Flex 2, and Ace from our list to make room for the Fitbit Versa Lite, Inspire, Inspire HR, and Ace 2.


The best Fitbit smartwatch

Fitbit Versa

fitbit versa on hand

If you were underwhelmed by Fitbit’s first smartwatch offering, the Versa might be just the thing for you.

The Fitbit Versa is much better looking and more compact than the Ionic, and it doesn’t cost as much money. Now, that lower price tag will get you fewer features (no GPS, for instance), but that’s the whole point of this smartwatch — the Versa is a smartwatch for everyone.

Don’t miss: Fitbit Versa review | Fitbit Versa vs Ionic

With the addition of quick replies, you can now reply to just about every app notification you receive on your wrist. The Versa also recently received Fitbit’s female health tracking suite, making this a much more powerful health tracker for women.

The Versa also brings Fitbit OS 3.0, 24/7 heart rate tracking, on-screen workouts with Fitbit Coach, over 15 exercise modes, Connected GPS, and swim tracking thanks to its 5ATM rating. There’s also room to store your music, and if you spring for the Special Edition model you’ll have access to Fitbit Pay. It’s not as powerful than the Ionic due to the lack of a built-in GPS, but we think the design of the watch puts it ahead of the pack.

If the Versa is a bit out of your budget, we’d recommend checking out the Fitbit Versa Lite. It’s just about the same thing with no music storage and no altimeter, and with a lower $160 price tag.

Fitbit Ionic

best gps running watches

This is the best Fitbit you can buy if you need something with a GPS. It’s an incredible fitness and sleep tracker, comes with a built-in GPS, allows you to pay for things from your wrist, and it’s water resistant. If you don’t care about smartwatch features and are looking for a high-end Fitbit device, buy the Ionic.

More: Fitbit Ionic review | Best GPS running watches

Just like the Fitbit Versa, the Ionic now has support for quick replies for notifications and female health tracking features.

Software issues aside, the Ionic is one heck of a fitness watch. It’s available now on Amazon and Fitbit.com for $269.95, and comes in three different color options.


Best Fitbit fitness trackers

Fitbit Charge 3

Fitbit’s Charge 3 is the best fitness tracker you can buy for under $150. Its classy, versatile design means it’ll look good in the office and at the gym. It’s also water resistant this time around, and has one of the more accurate wrist-based heart rate sensors we’ve tried on a wearable.

Don’t miss: Fitbit Charge 3 review | Where to buy the Fitbit Charge 3

Elsewhere, the Fitbit Charge 3 offers a great software experience, plenty of smartwatch features, and a battery that can last almost a week on a single charge.

If you don’t need GPS, the Fitbit Charge 3 is a great option.

Fitbit Inspire HR

fitbit inspire hr display brown leather strap on wrist

The Fitbit Inspire HR is a great fitness tracker, health tracker, and sleep tracker. It’s just $100, too!

It’s small and lightweight, supports interchangeable straps, and offers smartphone notifications on your wrist. It might be small, but it doesn’t skimp on the features. The Fitbit Inspire HR offers Connected GPS, a heart rate sensor, as well as five-day battery life.

Also read: Fitbit Inspire HR review: A good fitness tracker at a great price

Think of the Inspire HR as the “Fitbit Charge 3 Lite.” It removes a few notable features like notification history, an altimeter, and a bigger display in order to reach that $100 price point. If you don’t need those things though, the Inspire HR is a fantastic option.


Best budget Fitbit tracker

Fitbit Inspire

black fitbit inspire fitness tracker on wrist Fitbit

At $70, the Fitbit Inspire (non-HR variant) undercuts the Garmin Vivofit 4 by about $10. Aside from lacking a heart rate sensor and goal-based exercises, the Fitbit Inspire isn’t all that much different from the Inspire HR.

That means you get the same great fitness/sleep/health tracking as the pricier model, albeit with a slightly smaller feature set. Full disclosure, we have not reviewed the Fitbit Inspire, though it’s close enough to the Inspire HR that we just had to include it on our list.

What’s more, you can buy a clip accessory for the Inspire, which essentially turns it into a Fitbit Zip-type device. Nice!


Best Fitbit for kids

Fitbit Ace 2

fitbit ace 2 colors

Alongside the Versa Lite and Inspire line, Fitbit also announced the Fitbit Ace 2 — a kid-friendly version of the Inspire fitness trackers made for kids ages 6-14. While the original Fitbit Ace was more of a repackaged Alta HR, the Ace 2 sports a similar design to the Inspire but adds a durable silicone case for protection.

Read more: Best fitness trackers for kids

It has a monochrome display and clock faces with cute animations that help kids see their progress throughout the day. Specifically, it can keep track of steps taken, number of active minutes, sleep quality and duration, and periodic reminders that let kids know when to get up and get moving. It also has handy software features like bedtime reminders and alarms.

It’s swimproof, so kids don’t have to take it off before jumping in the pool, and will last approximately five days on a single charge.

Of course, all Fitbit Ace 2 devices can be managed by parents in the family account settings of the Fitbit app. Parents can also urge kids to participate in family challenges and goal-based achievements.


So there you have it — our guide to the best Fitbit devices! Are we missing something? Have you tried a Fitbit device in the past? If so, what are your experiences? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Next: The most common Fitbit problems and how to fix them

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

Huawei might be working on two new GT smartwatches without Wear OS

Huawei Watch GT weather

Although there are a few Huawei smartwatches featuring Google’s Wear OS platform (like the Huawei Watch and the Huawei Watch 2), the Chinese company decided to go with its own Lite OS for the Huawei Watch GT.

Now, according to WinFuture, Huawei has two more GT watches in the works, both of which supposedly also eschew Wear OS for Lite OS.

The two supposed watches on the way are the Huawei Watch GT Active and the Huawei Watch GT Elegant. The “Active” variant is pictured below in leaked renders:

WinFuture

According to WinFuture, the Active model pictured above will cost 249 euros (~$280), while the Elegant version will be 229 euros (~$257). Originally, the Huawei Watch GT sold for 199 euros (~$224), so presumably, these new models will feature some sort of upgrade to justify the price hike.

Editor’s Pick

Wear OS hasn’t been getting much love lately, with even the launch of the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset not fixing most of the problems people face with the operating system (poor battery life, sluggish performance, etc.). Although Google will likely keep pushing Wear OS as hard as it can, it certainly would help if more companies were adopting the platform — which it seems Huawei is not going to do.

If you’re interested in checking out the best of what Wear OS has to offer at the moment, check out our review for the Fossil Sport.

NEXT: RIP Hangouts for Wear OS wearables

Hands-on: The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active and Galaxy Fit are here! (Video)

Samsung didn’t just announce four new smartphones (and the Galaxy Fold) at its Unpacked event — it also took the wraps off three new wearables: the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, Samsung Galaxy Fit, and Samsung Galaxy Fit E. Here’s what you need to know about these new Samsung fitness devices.

Don’t miss: Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and S10e hands-on

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active: A sportier Galaxy Watch

2018’s Samsung Galaxy Watch is a decent fitness device, but it isn’t exactly the easiest smartwatch to take with you during a workout. It resembles more of a bulky hiking watch than a sleek fitness companion.

Enter: the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. This new Samsung smartwatch is sleeker and will likely appeal to more users due to its simpler design. It’s about the same size as the last-generation Gear Sport, with its 1.1-inch AMOLED display. That display also has a resolution of 360 x 360 pixels.

Samsung removed the rotating bezel in favor of a sleeker design.

While it sports an overall sleeker design, that comes at a cost — the Galaxy Watch Active doesn’t come with a rotating dial like other Samsung watches. Users will unfortunately have to rely on touching and swiping the display to navigate around the software interface. It’s also worth pointing out the Watch Active also omits a rotating side button like we’ve seen on Wear OS devices. It’s an odd move, for sure, since many fitness-focused wearables prioritize non-touch navigation as some people find touchscreens difficult to use during workouts.



New to the Galaxy wearable lineup is blood pressure monitoring. Starting March 15, Watch Active users can download the My BP Lab app, developed with the University of California, to help keep track of their blood pressure levels throughout the day.

Elsewhere, the Galaxy Watch Active has quite the impressive specs sheet. It comes with an optical heart rate sensor, a built-in GPS, an NFC chip for Samsung Pay, a 5ATM water resistance rating, as well as a MIL-STD-810G rating. It also supports Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi, though there is no LTE option.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active will be available in the U.S. starting March 8, 2019 for $199.99 at Samsung.com and other retailers. If you pre-order the Watch Active from February 21-March 7, you’ll receive a free Wireless Charging Pad.

Check out the full list of Samsung Galaxy Watch Active specs below:

  Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
Display 1.1-inch full-color always-on display
360 x 360 resolution
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Memory 768MB RAM
4GB storage
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.2
Wi-Fi b/g/n
NFC
A-GPS/Glonass
Sensors Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Barometer
Heart rate
Ambient light
Processor Dual-core Samsung Exynos 9110
1.15GHz
Battery 230mAh
WPC-based wireless charging
Durability 5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810G
Compatibility Samsung Galaxy, Android 5.0 or above with more than 1.5GB RAM

iPhone: iPhone 5 and above, iOS 9.0 or above

Software Tizen-based Wearable OS 4.0
Dimensions and weight Case: 40mm
39.5 x 39.5 x 10.5mm
25g

Strap: 20mm

Colors silver, black, rose gold, sea green

Samsung Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit e

Left to right: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, Samsung Galaxy Fit, Samsung Galaxy Fit e, Samsung Galaxy Buds

Samsung also announced two new fitness trackers: the Samsung Galaxy Fit and Samsung Galaxy Fit e.

This will presumably be a more affordable option for those who want to keep an eye on their activity. The standard Galaxy Fit features a built-in heart rate sensor, a .95-inch full-color AMOLED display, a gyroscope, and an accelerometer onboard, though there’s no built-in GPS. The Galaxy Fit e makes some sacrifices, presumably to reach a lower price point. The Galaxy Fit e features a smaller PMOLED black and white display, drops the gyroscope, comes with a smaller battery, and charges via pogo pins.

Both devices will automatically track walking, running, biking, rowing, and elliptical workouts, or you can track up to 90 different activities from the Samsung Health app on your phone.

Interestingly, the Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit e run on software Samsung is calling Realtime OS. The company says this will provide an easy-to-use software experience, with support for smartphone notifications, alarms, calendar alerts, and weather.

The full list of Samsung Galaxy Fit specs are below:

  Samsung Galaxy Fit Samsung Galaxy Fit e
Display .95-inch full-color AMOLED
120 x 240 resolution
282ppi
0.74-inch PMOLED
64 x 128 resolution
193ppi
Memory 512KB internal RAM, 2048KB external RAM
32MB external ROM
128KB internal RAM
4MB external ROM
Connectivity Bluetooth Low-Energy Bluetooth Low-Energy
Sensors Heart rate
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Heart rate
Accelerometer
Processor MCU Cortex M33F 96MHz + M0 16MHz MCU Cortex M0 96MHz
Battery 120mAh
NFC wireless
70mAh
Pogo charging
Durability 5ATM water resistance
MIL-STD-810G
5ATM water resistance
MIL-STD-810G
Compatibility Samsung Galaxy, Android 5.0 or above with more than 1.5GB RAM

iPhone: iPhone 5 and above, iOS 9.0 or above

Samsung Galaxy, Android 5.0 or above with more than 1.5GB RAM

iPhone: iPhone 5 and above, iOS 9.0 or above

Software Realtime OS Realtime OS
Dimensions and weight 18.3 x 44.6 x 11.2mm
24g (with strap)
16 x 40.2 x 10.9mm
15g (with strap)
Colors black, silver black, white, yellow

The Galaxy Fit will be available in Q2 2019, though no pricing details were announced.

Thoughts on the new Samsung wearables? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out our related Galaxy S10 launch day coverage below:

Smartwatch market exploding: 16% of adults in the US now own one

Although the smartphone market is in a pretty serious downturn right now, the smartwatch market is doing incredibly well. New market research from the NPD Group concludes that a whopping 16 percent of adults in the United States own a smartwatch, as of November 2018.

That figure is up four percentage points from the same time in 2017. Additionally, the smartwatch market is now a $5 billion industry, a 51 percent increase over 2017. Per-unit-sales also went up by a whopping 61 percent year-over-year.

In other words, smartwatches are selling like hotcakes and the momentum doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

As one would expect, the market leaders in the U.S. are Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit. Those three companies dominate 88 percent of the American smartwatch market, with the Apple Watch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch, and the Fitbit Versa as the leading models from each respective company.

Editor’s Pick

However, smaller players like Fossil and Garmin are making big strides.

According to the NPD Group, younger adults are the primary market for smartwatches, with adults aged 18-34 representing 23 percent of the total market. Health-oriented innovations — like Apple’s incorporation of an ECG monitor in the series four Apple Watch — will hopefully convince more adults aged 35 and older to start adopting smartwatch technology.

The two major companies curiously missing from the market are Google and Amazon. Google appears to be gung ho to get a piece of the smartwatch pie since news broke that it is looking for talent to run its wearable division and it purchased a large chunk of intellectual property from Fossil. However, there’s no word on Amazon creating a wearable quite yet.

What do you think? Do you own a smartwatch? If so, do you find it indispensable? If not, are you uninterested? Let us know in the comments.

NEXT: Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 4: Which smartwatch is right for you?

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 4: Which smartwatch is right for you?

Two of the most popular smartwatches on the market are the Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa. While Apple has been making smartwatches for years, Fitbit is still relatively new to the space. Even so, the Fitbit Versa was one of the sleeper hits of 2018.

Can Fitbit really compete with the new Series 4 Apple Watch? Which is best for you? Find out in our Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch comparison.

About this comparison: I’ve been using the Fitbit Versa on and off since it launched in 2018, and it’s recently been paired with my Google Pixel 3. It’s also running the latest Fitbit OS 3.0 (version 32.33.1.30) software. I’ve been using the Apple Watch Series 4, paired with an iPhone X, for roughly two weeks. My Apple Watch has been running watchOS version 5.1.3 (16S535).

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Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch: Design and hardware

Both the Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa have very approachable designs that will appeal to a lot of people. 

The Apple Watch features a more rectangular case with rounded corners, with a digital crown and a single physical button on the right side. The Versa has more of a squircle-shaped case, with a square display and three physical buttons.

They don’t exactly look like each other, but it’s hard not to notice a few Apple Watch-esque design cues in the Versa. It wouldn’t be too farfetched to call the Versa sort of an Apple Watch Lite.

The Apple Watch comes in two sizes — 40 and 44mm — and comes with the appropriate sized strap to fit your wrist. The Versa has one sizing option, but ships with both small and large bands in the box. The Versa is a bit thinner than the latest Apple Watch, though — it’s just 11.2mm. Apple claims the Series 4’s thickness is 10.7mm, but I don’t think it includes the heart rate sensor in that measurement. My Versa is overall thinner than my Apple Watch, despite Apple claiming otherwise.

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch

As mentioned, both support interchangeable straps, though both implementations are proprietary. Apple has a slew of different styles of watch bands, including silicone, nylon, stainless steel, and more. Fitbit has many of these options too, but not nearly as many color or material choices as Apple.

Also, it’s a small thing, but changing Apple Watch straps is a breeze — the company’s proprietary locking mechanism is really well thought out. Changing straps on the Versa is actually really frustrating. Have fun getting the leather straps attached without throwing it across the room.

Fitbit Versa step counter

Now is as good a time as ever to mention overall build quality. While both watches have their similarities, the Apple Watch feels extremely well built compared to the Versa. It might cost a few hundred dollars ($400 to be exact), but Apple clearly does something with that money. Literally every part of the watch — the aluminum case, the OLED display, the rotating crown, and especially the haptics — feels great.

The Fitbit Versa feels great, as long as you don’t compare it side by side, which is understandable. This is about half the price as the Apple Watch after all. One can’t expect the same build quality. It’s not bad, just not in the same league.

Apple Watch notifications

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That level of quality extends to the displays as well. The OLED Retina screen on the Apple Watch is fantastic. You’ll get deep blacks and vibrant colors, and the panel also supports Force Touch. The large and small screens also have a higher resolution — 368 x 448 or 324 x 394 — than the Fitbit’s 300 x 300 screen. Again, the 1.34-inch LCD screen on the Versa isn’t bad, but you’ll notice a big difference between the two if you put them side by side.

Despite the battery-saving properties OLED has over LCD, battery life is where things take a turn. The Apple Watch lasts around a day on a single charge, maybe a day and a half. You might even have to top it up sometime during the day if you want it for sleep tracking. That’s probably why Apple doesn’t even bother with developing sleep tracking tech — the Apple Watch won’t track sleep out of the box, but some third-party apps will do the trick.

The Versa lasts a bit over four days on a single charge, and that’s with activity tracking, sleep tracking, and the heart rate sensor activated at all times. I can’t wait until all smartwatches last this long.

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch: Smartwatch features

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch

Apple’s and Fitbit’s approaches to software are entirely different. Again, that has a lot to do with how much experience company has in the smartwatch space.

The Apple Watch’s software is clean and fast, though it’s nearly too complex (more on that later). One press on the digital crown will bring you to the honeycomb (all apps) screen, while a long press will activate Siri. For as much as people like to hate on Siri, it’s way faster than Google Assistant on any Wear OS watch I’ve tried.

Apple Watch siri

Apple’s voice assistant has come a long way over the years. It’s definitely good enough to answer questions and perform simple requests with smart home devices, though its ecosystem notably lacks the breadth of smart home device support of Google and Amazon. It’s more than what the Versa offers, though. There’s no voice assistant baked into the Fitbit smartwatch, so you’ll have to do everything the old-fashioned way: by swiping and tapping.

To a point, that’s to be expected. Fitbit OS is only a few years old. While it has vastly improved from the version that launched on the Ionic in 2017, it’s not perfect. Even the latest Fitbit OS 3 lags while swiping through menus and pulling down the notification shade. It is an overall simpler OS though, so if you don’t need everything available to you right on your wrist, the Versa should fulfill your smartwatch needs just fine.

One good example of Apple going a bit overboard with this is the much-criticized honeycomb screen, its confusing version of an all-apps page. It displays all your apps in a honeycomb-style grid. You’re supposed to scroll around and tap the app icon you’d like. It’s not nearly as fast at finding apps in a list view, but luckily you can switch to list view pretty easily.

If your smartwatch use revolves around third-party applications and services, the Apple Watch is by far your best option. Popular apps like Audible and Runkeeper, as well as third-party weather apps like Dark Sky are all available on watchOS, but not on Fitbit OS. Fitbit’s app ecosystem is growing, but it’s still far behind what Apple offers now. Hopefully that will change soon — Fitbit recently gave developers access to two new APIs, which should allow them to more easily create higher quality applications.

Also read: Fitbit Versa vs Ionic: What’s the best Fitbit smartwatch?

Both smartwatches have music storage built in, as well as support for a handful of music streaming apps. The Apple Watch has about 2GB of space for local music storage, and you can also listen to Apple Music and Apple Podcasts from the watch.

The Versa has about 2.5GB of local music storage, as well as support for Pandora and Deezer playlists. There’s no streaming option though — you’ll have to download the playlists before you go out for your workout. That’s about it for music options, but Fitbit of course says more music partners will be added in the future.

fitbit versa quick replies

Google Allo Smart Replies on the Versa

Both smartwatches allow you to receive and respond to messages from your smartphone, but there are some limitations. While the Fitbit Versa is compatible with both iOS and Android, you can only respond to messages when paired with an Android phone. The Apple Watch has the advantage of a built-in microphone, so you can respond to messages with your voice, which is handy sometimes.

Read more: How to use quick replies on the Fitbit Versa and Ionic

Both smartwatches connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and both support Wi-Fi. The Apple Watch is also available in a cellular variant, which is great news for those who want to leave their phone at home and still receive calls and messages.

Finally, we have mobile payments. Each company has its own contactless payment service. Apple Pay is obviously available on the Apple Watch, while Fitbit Pay is, you know, on the Fitbit. Apple Pay has been around for a long time now, and it shows — a ton of banks and card companies support it. Fitbit Pay’s list of supported banks and card companies is growing by the week, but as I mentioned previously, it’s a work in progress.

Fitbit Pay is only available on the special edition model here in the U.S., which costs $30 more than the standard model. I’m really hoping there’s just one all-encompassing model with the Versa 2, because it sort of feels like a cash grab to make people spend extra for this feature. The special edition Versa is still $170 less than the cheapest Series 4 Apple Watch, so I suppose that’s a win for Fitbit!

Fitbit Versa

It shouldn’t be surprising Apple still doesn’t allow third-party watch faces, so you get what Apple gives you. That’s not horrible though — especially with the Series 4, Apple includes plenty of great, customizable watch faces. My favorites are the Infograph Modular and Fire/Water faces. It’s also super easy to switch between watch faces. Just swipe left or right to select your favorites, or you can customize your own on the watch or in the Apple Watch app.

Fitbit offers a small set of its own watch faces, which are okay. They’re certainly not as well thought out or frankly as cool as anything on the Apple Watch. However, Fitbit lets third-party developers make their own watch faces, so the options are seemingly endless.

The only downside here is the Versa can’t load more than one watch face at a time, so you have to select a new one in the app and wait for it to transfer to your watch (which can take a long time). Even worse, you can’t choose from a “favorites” or “recents” section, so you actually have to go hunting for a watch face and customize it all over again if you want to go back to a previous watch face. As someone who changes watch faces all the time, this is a big headache.

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch: Fitness tracking

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch - displays

Fitbit is one of the biggest names in fitness tracking devices, so it’s no surprise the Versa is a perfectly capable fitness tracker. Apple has also made strides in fitness and health tracking over the last few years, and it shows with the Series 4 Apple Watch.

Both devices will track your steps, calories burned, heart rate, and active minutes. Both can also track your sleep, but you’ll have to download a third-party app for the Apple Watch for sleep tracking.. Alternatively, the Versa is one of the best sleep trackers out there. Feel free to read about the specifics in our full review.

Both watches will also track a wide variety of different sport profiles. There are some differences, but both at least track basics like running, biking, treadmill, yoga, elliptical, and walking. They both track pool swimming too (thanks to their 5ATM water resistance ratings), but the Apple Watch can also track open-water swims. There are far too many sport profiles to list here, so you can check out the full list of Versa sport profiles here and Apple Watch sport profiles here.

I tested both smartwatches during a 48-minute cardio exercise (an Insanity video that was way too difficult), which you can see below. I also tested the watches against my Polar H10 heart rate strap as a control for the heart rate readings.

fitbit versa vs apple watch vs polar h10 heart rate screenshots
fitbit versa vs apple watch vs polar h10 heart rate screenshots
fitbit versa vs apple watch vs polar h10 heart rate screenshots
fitbit versa vs apple watch vs polar h10 heart rate screenshots

Overall, the Versa and Apple Watch’s heart rate sensors picked up on most of the big trends throughout the workout. A few minutes in, my heart rate shot up quite a bit — the H10 reported this spike at a max of 160bpm. The Apple Watch recorded it to be ~175bpm, while the Versa recorded it as a high 189bpm (my max is 193). Later on, the watches showed another heart rate peak topping out at around 170bpm, even though the H10 recorded it at 163bpm. The smartwatches were much more accurate when my heart rate wasn’t nearing peak. The H10 reported my average heart rate to be 133bpm, while the Apple Watch’s was 137 and the Versa’s was 136.

As we’ve reported previously, wrist-based heart rate sensors aren’t going to be as accurate as chest heart rate sensors. Too many factors can throw the numbers off, whether that be skin tone, body hair, or how tight the device is around your wrist. The important thing is they both picked up on the major trends.

For those wondering, calorie burn was also in the same ballpark for each device. I burned 549 calories according to the Apple Watch, 534 according to the Versa, and 571 according to the Polar H10.

If you’re unsatisfied with those heart rate numbers, you can pair a third-party heart rate sensor with the Apple Watch to get more accurate readings. The Fitbit unfortunately doesn’t have this feature.

Related

The Apple Watch is probably the better option for runners, as all models (after Series 1) come with a built-in GPS. The Fitbit Versa only has Connected GPS, so you’ll have to bring your phone on a run if you want accurate distance and pace metrics.

If you need to keep an eye on your heart health, the Apple Watch is, again, probably your best option. It has an FDA-approved electrocardiogram, and it’s one of the few consumer devices to have one built-in. ECGs can help users detect serious heart problems like atrial fibrillation (AFib), and warn you when you’re experiencing heart palpitations. Traditionally, ECGs are quite expensive at the doctor’s office, which of course makes it harder for people without insurance to get. By no means should this be a replacement for attending regular doctor visits if you do have heart problems, but it is still a nice feature to help keep an eye on things.

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch: Which is the better buy?

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch side by side

Buying one smartwatch over the other, at least for this comparison, depends on one major factor: what smartphone you own. If you have an Android phone and aren’t keen on buying anything powered by Wear OS or the latest Samsung watch, buy the Fitbit Versa, or the Fitbit Ionic if you need something more powerful. The Apple Watch won’t work with your phone, so you’ll have to look elsewhere.

There’s no question: The Apple Watch is the clear winner. But at what cost?

Things become more difficult if you own an iPhone. Buy the Apple Watch if you want the best of the best. If your budget is $200 and not a penny more, the Versa is an incredible option. Just remember iOS users can’t respond to notifications from the Versa.

I can’t say which is the better smartwatch. Both are really great in their respective areas. The Fitbit Versa is a fantastic value for around $200, and the Apple Watch Series 4 is a fantastic all-around smartwatch if you don’t mind the cost. For you phone nerds, this is like comparing the Pocophone F1 against the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 — you can do it, but there are a lot of things you need to consider before claiming one is better than the other.

That’s it for our Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch comparison. Do you own either of these smartwatches? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

New Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon has SD 3100, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage

A promotional image of the 2019 version of the Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon smartwatch with Wear OS. Droid Life

Fashion brand Louis Vuitton is going to release an updated version of the 2017 Tambour Horizon, via Droid Life. The 2019 version of the Louis Vuitton smartwatch will pack some high-end specs — and we expect it to have a high-end price to match.

In 2017, the Tambour Horizon launched with a 1.2-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 390 x 390, a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and a 300mAh battery.

The 2019 version of the Louis Vuitton smartwatch improves on almost all of the specs: you get a 1.3-inch AMOLED display at the same resolution as the previous model, the brand new Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. That battery size stays the same at 300mAh.

Editor’s Pick

Theoretically, the battery-saving advancements of the 3100 chipset should make the watch last longer on a full charge than the previous model, even though the batteries are the same size. However, the jury is still out on exactly how much the 3100 chipset actually improves battery efficiency.

The smartwatch will have an NFC chip for contactless payments but unfortunately won’t have a heart rate sensor. It will feature water resistance up to 30 meters but doesn’t appear to have built-in GPS. So while the raw specs are impressive, it’s clear the watch isn’t perfect.

However, most people who buy things from Louis Vuitton are doing so for the brand name, not the functionality. The $1,000 Louis Vuitton true wireless earbuds are a testament to that.

Louis Vuitton hasn’t released pricing for the 2019 version of the Tambour Horizon, but the 2017 model started at a jaw-dropping $2,450. We can expect the 2019 version to be a similar price.

NEXT: Louis Vuitton’s new wireless earbuds cost $1,000 — as dumb as it sounds

Smartwatch roundup: All the best wearables we could find at CES 2019

Smartphones may have been almost a no-show at CES 2019, but that wasn’t the case for smartwatches. From fitness companies to fashion brands, we’ve seen plenty of companies launch new wearables at this year’s trade show.

Here’s our list of the best smartwatches we could find at CES 2019.

Kate Spade Scallop Smartwatch 2

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Fossil launched quite a few new smartwatches at CES 2019, and the most impressive on is the Kate Spade Scallop Smartwatch 2.

This is one of our favorite watches because, unlike last year, the Scallop Smartwatch 2 doesn’t sacrifice function over form. It’s still as pretty as ever, and this time around comes with a GPS, heart rate sensorGoogle Pay support, and a 3ATM water resistance rating.

Overall, it’s a pretty smartwatch with all the features you could want.

Withings Move and Withings Move ECG

The Withings Move and Withings Move ECG are hybrid smartwatches, so they look like analog watches more than anything. Don’t let the design fool you though — they can both track your steps, calories burned, distance traveled, and sleep.

The Withings Move ECG, which won our Best Fitness Product Award at CES, comes with a built-in electrocardiogram. If you or anyone you know frequents the doctor for ECG tests, Withings’ new watch might be a great way for you to keep your eye on your heart health.

These watches are also customizable, so you’ll be able to mix and match different colors to match your style.

Matrix PowerWatch 2

Matrix may not be a well known company, but it’s actually doing some fantastic things in the smartwatch space. The company’s new watch, the Matrix PowerWatch 2, runs on your body heat and solar energy, so you should never have to charge it.

As far as I’m concerned, every smartwatch should work like this.

It’s a little chunky and the design won’t be for everyone, but the forward-thinking technology crammed into this device certainly makes for a compelling product. Plus, it has an on-board GPS, heart rate sensor, and it’s compatible with Google Fit.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music on Verizon

Garmin has been making smartwatches for a long time, so it’s a little surprising to hear it’s just now releasing its first 4G-connected smartwatch. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music is launching on Verizon sometime in 2019 with support for the carrier’s 4G LTE network. That means you can receive and respond to messages from your watch, even when your phone isn’t around.

The biggest news with this watch are the built-in safety features. If at any time you feel unsafe in your current situation, you can press and hold the side button to send a discrete message and current location to your emergency contacts. The same message/location feature will also be activated if the watch senses you’ve experienced an impact while walking, running, or cycling.

If you’d like more nitty-gritty details about the Vivoactive 3 Music, check out our first look article here.

Michael Kors Access Sofie

Michael Kors’ new Access Sofie smartwatch is the first from the brand in a few years. It comes with an updated design and new hardware features to bring it to 2019 standards.

See also

Under the hood, the new Access Sofie features a GPS, heart rate sensor, NFC, and a 300mAh battery. It also has three physical buttons on the side — two of which are remappable.

If you’re looking for a classy Wear OS watch, this might be a great option.

Fossil Carlie and Fossil Neutra hybrids


Fossil has launched two refreshed versions of its popular hybrid smartwatches.

The new Fossil Carlie hybrid (above, right) will appeal to people with smaller wrists. It’s offered in a rose gold case with a pink leather strap, or a black stainless steel case and black leather strap for $155. It’s also available in rose gold stainless steel with a rose gold stainless steel strap, and a silver stainless steel case and stainless steel strap for $175.

The new Fossil Neutra hybrid smartwatch (above, left) features a smaller dial on the watch face that will give you an overview of your daily activity. It’s available with a brown leather strap ($155) or a stainless steel silver strap for $175.

Both watches measure 37mm wide and feature 16mm interchangeable straps. Since they’re powered by a coin-cell battery, Fossil expects the battery to last up to six full months without a replacement. And just like other hybrid watches from the company, all of these watches will track your fitness, give you smartphone notifications, and also feature customizable buttons on the side.

New colors for Skagen Falster 2 and Skagen Holst hybrids

Skagen Falster 2 ‘glitz’



The Skagen Falster 2 is getting a new ‘glitz’ finish, featuring black hematite stones around the bezel of the watch case. These are still quite understated designs despite their flashier materials.

Skagen is also launching a new reflective silver strap for the Falster 2. Again, this new strap isn’t overly eye-catching — it’s a subtle reflective strap and doesn’t look overly flashy.

Skagen is also launching two new finishes for its Holst hybrid smartwatches.

Mobvoi TicWatch E2 and TicWatch S2

Mobvoi launched two new Wear OS smartwatches at CES 2019: the TicWatch S2 and TicWatch E2.

Both new watches are for a sportier, younger crowd. They both had GPS and heart rate sensors on board, along with 5ATM water resistance ratings. Mobvoi also says it worked hard to bring two-day battery life to both smartwatches, too.

What’s more, Mobvoi says they’ll receive new fitness and health features in a future update, including fall detection, on-device workout guidance, and more.

Coolpad Dyno smartwatch

Last but certainly not least, the Coolpad Dyno kids smartwatch will help parents keep track of their children. The Dyno’s fun, inviting design will help make sure kids keep the watch on at all times, while the 4G connectivity will ensure parents can find their kids at all times.

Parents can call or message their children through the Dyno watch, and even set up safe zones to make sure their children won’t wander off. The Coolpad Dyno is launching at the end of January 2019 for just $149.

Next: Weird CES: The bizarre things we didn’t expect to see

The Fossil Sport arrives with GPS, HR, and Qualcomm’s new smartwatch chip for $255

  • Fossil’s new Sport smartwatch is its first device powered by the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset.
  • It also comes with all the essentials for a fitness watch: built-in GPS, a heart rate sensor, and NFC for good measure.
  • It’s on sale now for $255.

While there’s still a noticeable lack of smartphone manufacturers working with Wear OS, Fossil is still churning out Wear OS watches left and right. The company’s latest smartwatch, the Fossil Sport, is perhaps its most exciting launch in some time — that’s because it’s powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset.

We’ve seen too many smartwatches come to market recently with Qualcomm’s two-year-old Snapdragon Wear 2100. Fossil’s own sub-brands are even guilty of this. But the Sport runs on the new 3100 SoC, which should provide noticeable improvements in battery life and performance.

Fossil says the watch’s 350mAh battery will last upwards of 24 hours on a single charge, and there’s even a new battery saver mode that will supposedly eke out two extra days of battery life.






Under the hood, the Fossil Sport comes with a built-in heart rate sensor, GPS, and NFC for payments with Google Pay. It’s also running the revamped Wear OS that just started rolling out in September.

Finally, you’ll be looking at a 1.2-inch AMOLED display with a 390 x 390 resolution. This is pretty standard for Fossil smartwatches.

Interested? You can buy the Fossil Sport right now from Fossil.com for $255, or from Fossil retail stores beginning Monday, November 12. The watch comes in two sizes — 41 and 43mm — and six different color options.

I think Fossil is offering a pretty compelling package at this price point, especially considering the hardware and newer chipset. We’ll have a review unit inbound sometime soon, but for now, what do you think?