Today, smartwatches are so powerful that they contain a large number of functions. The past couple of years have seen many smartwatches lean towards wellness and health, and the Samsung Active2 and Fitbit Sense are two of the newest to join this lineup. Fitbit Sense is one of Fitbit’s expensive and feature-rich smartwatches 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 2023, this fitness-oriented smartwatch offers a ton when it comes to smart features and fitness level tracking.
For around $ 329, Fitbit Sense certainly packs a host of features. First, you can get your ECG readings or measure blood oxygen levels or check your body temperature. Although the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 supports SpO2 and ECG monitoring previously, these features were made available via OTA in the second half of 2020. Therefore, it makes sense to compare these two fitness-oriented smartwatches and see which one suits them best. your list of requirements. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Design, visualization, and adaptation
Let’s start with the Fitbit Sense design. The Sense resembles the look of last year’s Versa 2. Only this time it is thinner and the edges are rounded to give a new and unique look. It almost looks like a modern smartwatch. And the thin aluminum ring that runs along the edge helps its case.
The good thing about the rounded design is that the edges now don’t dig into the wrist, thus making it easier to exercise or work out. Most importantly, it is lightweight and doesn’t weigh you down even when you sleep while wearing the watch.
This time around, Fitbit has redesigned the way the band connects to the watch. Now, all you have to do is pull the quick release buttons back to take out the strap and that’s it. No button drama for that. Although the Sense stock strap looks elegant, it is not practical to use in real life thanks to its infinite ring. Also, the stock strap is a bit stiffer. Thankfully, there are large third-party straps that replace the original one with.
Interestingly, Fitbit Sense packs a bright display and the best part is its readability in sunlight. So even if you were to look at the messages or check your step count in broad daylight, you will be able to. Specs-wise, it packs a 1.58-inch AMOLED display. It’s fast and responds quickly to touches, which was a problem with last year’s Versa 2.
Unlike the boxy design of the Fitbit Sense, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 has the characteristic round shape. The smartwatch has a digital rotating bezel that allows you to scroll through all widgets or scroll through all menus and app settings with ease. The absence of the physical bezel gives it a subtle look and, well, you don’t have to worry about the bezel sticking to your hoodie or sweatshirt.
Unlike the thick design of the Galaxy Watch 3, the Galaxy Watch Active2 is thin and light, making it a breeze to wear during the day and even when you sleep.
Samsung has always done well with displays and this smartwatch is no different. The AMOLED screen is large and bright, so it’s easy to see even in broad daylight. The best part is that, like Fitbit Sense, this one too comes with brightness controls.
Unlike the single button in the Sense, this one comes with two buttons- Home and Back.
When it comes to comfort, the stock silicone band isn’t as comfortable as some of the third-party silicone bands, mainly due to the absence of perforations (just like the Sense). Thankfully, they can easily be replaced with a true sports band. It is durable and has a solid structure. I’ve been wearing mine for almost a year now and I can tell the frame is solid enough to withstand accidental brushing with door frames or seat handles.
Battery life is one of the important characteristics of any wireless rechargeable device. Indeed, it is one of the main factors that decide the fate of a device. Compared to traditional fitness trackers, battery life is shorter, mainly due to all the sensors it offers, intelligent Always On Display (AOD) features, and watch faces.
However, Fitbit Sense doesn’t disappoint and offers around 4.5 days of battery life (with AOD off). With AOD enabled, you’ll have a little over a day. Battery life may increase if you decide to disable AOD. But that steals the true 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 colorful and colorful watch face, the battery can barely last two days before it needs a recharge.
And as expected, the watch’s battery could take an extra hit if you keep the GPS on for a long time.
With Fitbit Sense, luckily 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 problem with proprietary chargers is that you have to carry them around every time 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 most importantly, what can it track?
As noted earlier, this watch can monitor blood oxygen levels (important at a time like this), measure stress levels and skin temperature, or record ECG.
One of the main differences between the two watches is the way they measure stress and SpO2. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2, you can measure it on demand. All you have to do is go to the specific widget, press the button and the clock will start its work.
However, Fitbit Sense works a little differently. It measures blood oxygen levels at night and shows results after waking up.
For stress management, the Sense doesn’t just depend on heart rate tracking 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. Additionally, you can also see your stress scores. However, for this, you will have to wear the watch for everything.
The same can be said of temperature monitoring. It is worth noting that the Galaxy Watch Active2 does not have temperature monitoring.
However, where the Galaxy Watch Active2 excels is activity tracking. It has a number of exercise modes and tracks them fairly accurately. Also, auto-tracking is enabled when it detects that you are walking, cycling, or swimming for more than 10 minutes. Once done, it records stats like calories burned and minutes spent in the log.
In addition to the above, both watches also allow you to track your sleep and check VO2 Max stats after exercise.
So how smart are these smartwatches? For starters, the Samsung smartwatch not only allows you to check your incoming messages and Whatsapp messages but also allows you to reply via your phone. Furthermore, you can also add your own personalized messages or use the voice-to-text feature. This works consistently on iOS and Android.
With Sense, you can reply to messages on Android. However, this feature is absent in iOS. The advantage is that you can answer calls directly from your smartwatch (if your phone is nearby), just like the Galaxy Watch Active2.
The integration of the Google Assistant facilitates a lot of things in the watch. For example, it can show your scores or start a workout via voice commands. All you have to do is activate it.
Tame the tracker
So far, both smartwatches have a lot in common. So which one to choose?
If you need a watch that is an extension of your phone, Galaxy Watch Active2 is a good choice. This bundles essential smart features like notifications, the ability to reply to messages, check your calendars and reminders, stream your favorite Spotify playlists, among others. In addition, it can also monitor your activities, stress levels, fall detection, which motivate you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Plus, seamless connectivity and syncing add to the list if you already own a Samsung phone.
Given today’s times, if you’re looking for more advanced tracking, Fitbit Sense makes more sense. Yes, it is a little expensive, but you do get detailed information about your health and fitness. While most of the data is free, you’ll need a premium account if you want to dig deeper.
The Fitbit Premium account costs around $ 10 per month and allows you to gain greater access to stress data, advanced heart rate tracking, meditation features, among others. However, detailed statistics for stress and SpO2 won’t help your case unless you are a doctor who knows your data.