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Apple Watch Series 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Active 2 (2021): Which Smartwatch Should Be Your Everyday Companion?

Time and time again, Apple and Samsung show that smartwatches are invaluable when it comes to personal health and fitness. That said, the new Watch Series 6 and Galaxy Watch Active2 are living proof of that.

These brands have come a long way since their first wearable, and the lines between their latest models are starting to blur. Both are loaded with exercise modes, electrocardiogram (ECG), sleep tracking, and things like that. In short, they have a lot of similarities across the board, but besides their respective ecosystems, there are a few other key distinctions to look out for.

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Active 2 Comparison Chart

ModelApple Watch Series 6Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2
 
Price
Sizes44 mm, 40 mm44 mm, 40 mm
DisplayAlways-on LTPO OLED RetinaFull color always-on Super AMOLED
Resolution40 mm: 324 x 394
44 mm: 368 x 448
360 x 360
LensIon-X (aluminum), sapphire crystal (stainless steel, titanium)Corning Gorilla Glass DX+
CasingAluminum, stainless steel, titaniumAluminum, stainless steel
ChipsetS6Exynos 9110
Operating SystemwatchOS 7Tizen 4.0
Capacity32 GB4 GB
ConnectivityWi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, LTE (optional)Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, LTE (optional)
NFC PaymentsYes, Apple PayYes, Samsung Pay
AltimeterAlways-onYes
SpO2YesNo
Electrocardiogram (ECG)YesYes
Heart Rate SensorYesYes
Abnormal Heart Rate AlertYesYes
Sleep TrackingYesYes
Automatic Fall DetectionYesYes
Emergency SOSYesYes
Water ResistanceUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
Battery LifeUp to 18 hours40 mm: 247mAh
44 mm: 340mAh
Weight40 mm: 30.5 g (aluminum), 39.7 g (stainless steel), 34.6 g (titanium)
44 mm: 36.5 g (aluminum), 47.1 g (stainless steel), 41.3 g (titanium)
40 mm: 26 g (aluminum), 37 g (stainless steel)
44 mm: 30 g (aluminum), 42 g (stainless steel)

Design and Build

While the Apple Watch Series 6 has a square watch face with rounded corners, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 sports a circular one.

Apple watch Series 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Active 2 Design and Build
Apple introduced its new Solo Loop strap alongside the Watch Series 6 (in photo).

To start things off, the Apple Watch Series 6 retains the “squircle” watch face and 40 mm and 44 mm sizes, but to give a clearer idea of its improvements, it builds on its predecessor with an always-on LTPO OLED Retina display that’s 2.5 times brighter for better outdoor visibility. It has a polished and sleek vibe to it, all in all.

Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 has a full-color always-on Super AMOLED display. Just like the Cupertino-based brand’s, it also comes in 40 mm and 44 mm, but its face is circular. Overall, it has a sporty yet classy design with a form factor close to timeless, traditional analog watches.

With the Apple Watch Series 6, you get to choose from aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium. In the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2’s case, you get to pick either aluminum or stainless steel.

Alongside the Watch Series 6, Apple also announced its new Solo Loop strap. It’s a new kind of band that’s made of silicone rubber, and it’s seamless to boot. In other words, you won’t see any clasp or buckle on it. There’s also a variant made with braided silicone threads, and at the very least, you have yet another extra option to customize its look.

Health and Fitness

Both have staples such as ECG and sleep tracking, to name a few.

Apple watch Series 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Active 2 Health and Fitness
Only the Apple Watch Series 6 (left) has an always-on altimeter, but the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 (right) does have an improved version of Running Coach.

Among the highlight features of the Apple Watch Series 6 are its new native sleep tracking and blood oxygen sensor. The latter uses a combination of green, red, and infrared LED lights to measure your blood oxygen saturation levels or SpO2. It also works periodically in the background, even while you’re sleeping. Besides that, it has ECG, and it notifies you if your heart rate is too high or too low.

Not one to fall behind, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 has sleep tracking, ECG, and abnormal heart rate alerts as well.

One advantage the Apple Watch Series 6 has is its always-on altimeter. Thanks to this, you can get real-time info on your elevation, which is just the thing for the hiker at heart. As expected, it also keeps Activity rings, and it’s expanding its workout selection with modes such as Dance and Core Training via watchOS 7.

Now if you’re a runner who used the previous iteration of Running Coach, you’ll be glad to know that it’s improved on the Galaxy Watch Active2. Notably, it can now monitor your real-time pace metrics.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

A water resistance of up to 50 meters is becoming standard nowadays, and for the swimmers out there, you can rest assured that both smartwatches are up to par. That also goes for the butterfingered. Speaking of, the Galaxy Watch Active2 is MIL-STD-810G compliant too, so it can take a beating, which could bring peace of mind during rigorous workouts.

Smart Features

Both are comparable in terms of smart capabilities.

Apple watch Series 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Active 2 Smart Features
The Apple Watch Series 6 (left) and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 (right) support automatic fall detection and emergency SOS alerts, among other things.

Most of today’s smartwatches worth their salt are as smart as they can get. The same applies to the Apple Watch Series 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2, in that each one supports NFC payments, notifications, and music.

Just to spell it out, the Apple Watch Series 6 has Apple Pay and Apple Music, while the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 has Samsung Pay and apps such as Spotify.

Now what makes them stand out from most counterparts in the market are their automatic fall detection and emergency SOS alerts. Their functions are more or less self-explanatory, and needless to say, they can really come in handy in day-to-day life.

Battery Life and Other Features

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 can last longer than the Apple Watch Series 6, but not by much.

Apple watch Series 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Active 2 Battery Life and Other Features
Both the Apple Watch Series 6 (left) and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 (right) have optional LTE.

Under the hood, the Apple Watch Series 6 has a capacity of 32 GB. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 has 4 GB of storage, which seems paltry in comparison.

In its defense, it does have a better battery life. To preface, the Apple Watch Series 6 is rated to go up to 18 hours on a single charge. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 has either a battery of either 247 mAh or 340 mAh for the 40 mm and the 44 mm models, respectively. Based on real-world tests, that should get you about two and a half days’ worth of juice, but that dwindles down to around 24 hours with always-on mode.

Both do have LTE options, which is a huge plus since you can just leave your phone safe and sound at home while you exercise outdoors without losing connectivity.

Verdict

The two share a ton of similarities, but they’re geared toward different users.

This can be simplified to choosing between iOS or Android—or rather, which ecosystem you’re already invested in. After all, the Apple Watch Series 6 is compatible only with iOS devices. In the same vein, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 will offer a more streamlined experience with Android devices, particularly those from the Galaxy lineup. It also works with iOS devices, for the record.

From an objective point of view, the advantages of the Apple Watch Series 6 include an always-on altimeter and larger storage, while the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 has a better battery life. It’s also worth mentioning that the former has a price tag that’s about twice as much as the latter’s, so there’s that. Elsewhere, they’re pretty similar, so you’ll just be weighing their few respective pros and cons against each other here.

FAQs

📌 Is the Apple Watch Series 6 compatible with Samsung phones?

No, the Apple Watch Series 6 isn’t compatible with Android smartphones, including Samsung Galaxy devices.

📌 Is the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 compatible with iPhones?

Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is compatible with the iPhone 5 or later models running on iOS 9.0 or above.

📌 Which is better, the Apple Watch Series 6 or the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2?

This really depends on whether you’re invested in Apple’s ecosystem or primarily use Android devices. Objectively, the Watch Series 6 has the upper hand because of its always-on altimeter and watchOS 7 features such as automatic handwashing detection. But in contrast, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is more affordable and compatible with more devices, including iPhones.

📌 What are the differences between the Apple Watch Series 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2?

Besides belonging to distinct ecosystems, the main differences are that the Apple Watch Series 6 has an always-on altimeter and a larger 32 GB storage, while the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 has a longer battery life. The two are similar when it comes to health and fitness tracking and smart features.

Last update on 2022-08-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.