Thin and fit

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Ruggedly handsome

Mobvoi TicWatch S2

The Galaxy Active is the streamlined, simplified version of the Galaxy Watch Active, making it an excellent size and value while still keeping most of the features of its big brother. In short, the Galaxy Watch Active is the fitness-oriented smartwatch you really want.

$200 at Amazon

Pros

  • Wonderful AMOLED display
  • Qi charging
  • Samsung Pay
  • Comfy, lightweight design

Cons

  • Tizen OS still annoying at times
  • Lower-end battery life

Mobvoi aimed squarely for active outdoor users with the TicWatch S2 with MIL-STD-810G military-grade durability certifications and 5ATM waterproofing, but for $20 less, you get significantly less style and a clunkier performance.

$180 at Amazon

Pros

  • Decent specs at an affordable price
  • 5 ATM waterproof
  • Certified military-grade durability

Cons

  • Rugged look is a bit garish
  • Only two basic colors
  • No NFC payments

With only $20 separating the TicWatch S2 and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, what you're trying to balance between these two watches comes down to style and software, and in both categories, there's a definite edge to the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active right now.

How sporty do you want your fitness tracking smartwatch to look?

Pretty colors Isn't she beautiful?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch is a fitness band in the style of a smartwatch and it may be the prettiest fitness tracker I've ever seen, especially the more unique shades like Green and Rose Gold. Now, the TicWatch S2 isn't bad-looking, but it's less handsome than its fraternal twin — the TicWatch E2 — and looks downright bland next to the Active's shiny metal housing. The Active also has the benefit of being a bit slimmer in just about every dimension: smaller bezels, smaller frame, smaller screen, and thinner profile, too.

Both devices have GPS, heart-rate tracking, and activity tracking — though the Galaxy Watch Active has slightly more robust workout tracking — and both watches can easily last one day but will barely stretch to two days. Both watches are swim-friendly thanks to 5ATM waterproofing, and MIL-STD-810G durability standards say both watches should stand up to drops, dings and corrosive environments like salty sea fog.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active Mobvoi TicWatch S2
Price $200 $180
Colors Black
Silver
Rose Gold
Green
Black
White
Band width 20mm 22mm
Button configuration Two button right One button right
Display 1.1" AMOLED 360 x 360px 1.39" OLED 400 x 400px
Storage 4GB 4GB
GPS GPS
GLONASS
GALILEO
BDS
GPS
GLONASS
Beidou
Connectivity Bluetooth v4.2 Low Energy
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/nWi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 Ghz
Payment system Samsung Pay
Battery 230mAh
Up to 2 days
415mAh
Up to 2 days
Charging Qi wireless charging Proprietary charger
Waterproof Rating 5 ATM (swim-ready, up to 50m) 5 ATM (swim-ready, up to 50m)
Durability Rating MIL-STD-810G
Operational between -20ºC to 55ºC
resistant to humidity, dust, and salt fog
MIL-STD-810G
Operational between -20ºC to 55ºC
resistant to humidity, dust, and salt fog
Sensors Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyroscope
Heart Rate
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Heart-rate sensor
Low latency off-body sensor

The last of the real hardware differences is that the Galaxy Watch Active has NFC for contactless payments through Samsung Pay. While paying with your wrist is a luxury that you still can't use everywhere, it's nice to at least have the option, even if I wish it was Google Pay and not Samsung Pay.

Samsung using Tizen OS and Samsung services for apps and fitness tracking — Galaxy Apps and Samsung Health — might rub some users the wrong way if they've been Wear OS users for years, like me. The UI on the Active isn't bad and there are plenty of apps and watch faces to choose from, but it is a definite adjustment to make, and without that sweet rotating bezel from more robust Samsung wearables like the original Samsung Galaxy Watch, Tizen feels a teeny bit less awesome to use day to day.

Again, with only $20 separating the S2 and Active, it's quite easy to justify the upgrade for a newer processor and far more stylish look, but if Tizen OS and Samsung's app selection rankles you, the TicWatch S2 is still a capable smartwatch for your day-to-day notifications and basic fitness tracking. The Galaxy Active is better all around, and I firmly believe it gives a better value for the price.

Thin and fit

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Prettier, more powerful, and a better bang for your buck

The Galaxy Watch Active's $200 price tag is one of its most attractive features — though its lovely looks don't hurt — and it's a fitness tracker that plays smartwatch as well as its hardware allows. For most users, this watch is the one to get.

Ruggedly handsome

Mobvoi TicWatch S2

Compromising on performance in the name of price

With military-grade durability and all-day battery life, this is a watch that should get you through long days and longer workouts with ease, and if you're committed to Wear OS over Tizen and Galaxy Apps, the S2 isn't too much of a compromise, but the Galaxy Watch Active is better and only $20 more.

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