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Why a Galaxy Watch Active is still great for iPhone users
iPhoners, you might want to give the Galaxy Watch Active a chance.
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In the market for a smartwatch? Well, you might think it’s odd, or even outright disloyal, for an Apple fan to even consider getting a Samsung Galaxy Watch Active (or the more recent Galaxy Watch Active 2). If your gut instinct is telling you to scream no loudly at such a betrayal, give me a chance to change your mind.
I’m an iPhone and MacBook user, and I chose the Galaxy Watch Active (no, I’m not mad).
Here are six reasons why you should consider it too.
1. Round, not square, watch face
Starting off with the most controversial one: I’m not the only one who thinks the Apple Watch’s square-faced design is rather chunky or even just plain ugly #sorrynotsorry.
How the Apple Watch looks may not be a dealbreaker for you, but it certainly made me think twice about whether I could bear the Apple Watch’s appearance for the sake of having a more streamlined Apple ecosystem of devices (iPhone, Macbook, AirPods, Apple Watch, Apple TV, HomePod Mini... the list could go on).
The big question is, where do you draw the line before you finally say no to the next Apple product?
2. Longer battery life
This point is straightforward. The Apple Watch Series 6 has 18 hours of battery life. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active offers on average 43 hours, while the Galaxy Watch Active 2 44mm version ups that to 60 hours.
If you prefer not having to charge your watch every night and want the reassurance that it’ll easily last through one entire day, the Apple Watch is a serious pain.
In terms of charging time, most Apple Watch models (with the exception of the Series 6) and the Galaxy Watch Active 2 take about two hours to reach 100% charge (or 90% in 1.5 hours).
3. Most features are iPhone-compatible
Most people just assume that iPhones are completely incompatible with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. In fact, you can still do most things: receive all notifications that get sent to your watch, track step counts, heart rate and other health stats, monitor sleep and stress levels, listen to music downloaded onto your watch, stream Spotify when connected to WiFi and even browse the net.
- Samsung Pay
- Replying messages and taking calls via your phone
- LTE connection (4G data SIM not compatible with iPhones)
- Google Translate
4. Greater watch face customisation
There are a lot more restrictions over what does and doesn’t make it onto the Apple App Store. On the Samsung Galaxy Store though, developers have heaps more freedom over releasing their own apps, and watch faces too.
For example, there are a limited number of Apple Watch faces that iPhone users can choose from that approximately total just under 35 designs overall. Galaxy Watch users don’t face such limits since there are numerous third-party developers easily able to develop and share their own watch face designs on the Galaxy Store for free or that are available for users to purchase (you can check out how accessible this is yourself via Galaxy Watch Designer, part of Samsung Developers free online resources).
5. An alternative range of apps
If you’re tired of constantly using the same apps you’ll find on your iPhone or iPad, why not add some variety to your collection with a wide range of free apps available on any Galaxy (or Tizen) Watch?
While there’s no official YouTube app available on Tizen OS the software the Galaxy Watches run on, you can easily download a free YouTube viewer such as Player4YouTube to get around this. You can also browse the web via Gear Browser.
As a bonus, here are just a handful of the games adapted for playing on your Galaxy Watch:
- For fans of Flappy Bird, check out Flying Bird Winter.
- Relive your childhood Nokia Snake game with a revamped, circular version called Snake Circle
- Want a virtual round of tic tac toe? You can play against the computer or other players with Gear Tac Toe right from your smartwatch.
- Tetris diehards can try TetriS2, the Tetris game customised to be played using the Galaxy Watch’s circular dial.
6. “Hey Bixby, I’m tired of Siri”
For those who actually care about which voice assistant you’re talking to, Bixby can arguably follow voice commands better than Siri. It’s able to carry out voice commands for most functions that can be controlled via touch on your smartwatch and be programmed to pull up third-party apps.
While you can think of Siri as being able to dig through heaps of detailed information and provide you with a specific answer to your question verbally, Bixby will actually pull up apps you want to open and action commands. For example, by clicking the “Hey Bixby” button shortcut, Bixby can take selfies, change the background wallpaper, take a voice recording, open a game you want to play and more.
Galaxy Watch Active 2 vs Apple Watch Series 6
We pit the key features of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 against the Apple Watch Series 6.
Since we're focussed specifically on whether an iPhone user should get a Galaxy Watch, for the most realistic comparison, we've taken out the functions that aren't compatible with Apple devices.
Galaxy Watch Active 2
Apple Watch Series 6
60 hrs (44mm version)
Offline Spotify streaming
Tap and Pay
Heart rate monitoring
Want to find out more? Read our Galaxy Watch Active 2 Review.
Not sold on Samsung? Here's our Fitbit Versa 2 Review.