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Galaxy Watch 4 vs Active 2 (2021): What Are The Big Changes?

In the Galaxy Watch 4 lineup, the regular Galaxy Watch 4 serves as the upgrade to the Galaxy Watch Active 2. Sporty and lightweight, it’s a wearable designed for fitness enthusiasts and avid gym-goers. But how different is it from the Watch Active 2, and what are some of the big changes it introduces? Below, we compare the two devices to see if it’s worth upgrading to a new fitness and health companion.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Active 2 Comparison Chart

ModelSamsung Galaxy Watch 4Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
 Amazon productAmazon product
PriceAmazon productAmazon product
Sizes44mm, 40mm44mm, 40mm
MaterialAluminumStainless steel, aluminum
DisplayFull-color AMOLED Always-On display; Gorilla Glass DX+Full-color AMOLED Always-On display; Gorilla Glass DX+
Display Size1.4โ€ณ (44mm)
1.2โ€ณ (40mm)
1.4โ€ณ (44mm)
1.2โ€ณ (40mm)
Heart Rate MonitoringYesYes
Activity TrackingYesYes
Body CompositionYesNo
DurabilityWater-resistant up to 5 ATM, IP68Water-resistant up to 5 ATM, IP68
CompatibilityAndroidAndroid, iOS
OSAndroid Wear OS, One UI Watch 3Tizen Based Wearable OS 4.0
Battery361mAh (44mm)
247mAh (40mm)
340mAh (44mm)
247mAh (40mm)
Battery LifeUp to 40 hoursUp to 60 hours
Dimensions44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm (44mm)
40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm (40mm)
44 x 44 x 10.9mm (44mm)
40 x 40 x 10.9mm (40mm)
Weight30g (44mm), 26g (40mm)Aluminum:
30g (44mm), 26g (40mm)
Stainless Steel:
42g (44mm), 47g (40mm)
Available ColorsBlack, green, silver, pink goldSilver, black, gold, rose gold, aqua black, cloud silver, pink gold


The Galaxy Watch 4 adopts a more minimalist aesthetic compared to the Watch Active 2.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Active 2 Design
Notice the gapless transition between the case and strap on the Watch 4 (left) compared to the Watch Active 2 (right).

Samsung has worked hard to create a singular identity for its wearables through the Galaxy Watch 4 and Classic’s design. Except for the rotating bezel, the new devices are lookalikes. While they differ in build material, they only stick to one type. All Watch 4 models are made from aluminum, while the Classic uses stainless steel. The Watch Active 2, on the other hand, is available in either stainless steel or aluminum.

What has stayed the same, however, are the size options. Consumers can choose between 44mm or 40mm Watch 4 or Active 2 models. The Watch 4 comes in a handful of colors like black, green, and silver. Meanwhile, the Watch Active 2 is available in seven color variations, including pink gold and cloud silver.

But the most noticeable change with the Watch 4 is the gapless transition between case and strap. Samsung uses new H-Wing bands designed to keep the watch โ€” and its sensors โ€” securely attached to a person’s wrist. Aside from stability, it makes for more accurate readings. The Galaxy Watch 4 bands also feature a svelte form for a distinctly sporty look.

Now the Watch 4 and Watch Active 2 use a digital touch bezel. Samsung also protects their screen with a more scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass DX+. The wearables are also IP68-rated and are water-resistant up to 50 meters.


The Watch 4 also does away with the curved screen edges of the Active 2. Instead, you get a flat edge that emphasizes the round case better. The Watch 4 also comes with improved screens. Its 44mm model boasts a 1.4-inch AMOLED display with a 450 x 450 resolution, while the smaller watch gets a 1.2-inch display with a 396 x 396 resolution. The Watch Active 2 lineup’s screens are the same sizes as the Watch 4’s. However, it uses a lower 360 x 360 OLED display for both 44mm and 40mm models.

Fitness and Health

The Galaxy Watch 4 supports more workouts and monitors more heath metrics than the Galaxy Watch Active 2.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Active 2 Fitness and Health
On the left, the body composition interface on the Watch 4; on the right, heart rate readings on the Watch Active 2.

The Galaxy Watch 4 carries over a host of fitness features of the Watch Active 2. These include VO2 readings, heart rate tracking, and of course, the running coach. You’ll also find the standard activity tracking metrics like calories burned, steps taken, and distance traveled. Thanks to a return to the Google Wear OS platform, the Watch 4 is now compatible with leading third-party fitness apps like Strava and Adidas Running.

Samsung shares that the Watch 4 supports more activities, too. On the Watch Active 2, you can track up to 40 types of works. With the Watch 4, the list extends to over 90 activities. Both offer automatic workout detection as well. Some of the activities shared by both are walking, pilates, treadmill, and hiking. Because they’re waterproof devices, swimming can also be tracked.

The big change, however, is in the new 3-in-1 BioActive Health Sensor. Samsung’s new component combines optical heart rate, electric heart rate, and bioelectric impedance analysis sensors. The first two work to provide the Galaxy Watch 4 blood pressure monitoring and heart rate readings. The last feature, on the other hand, provides a body composition measurement, much like what smart scales do.

With the Watch Active 2, Samsung introduced ECG and blood pressure monitoring to its wearables. As expected, these features are carried over to the Watch 4 but with upgrades in their accuracy. However, access to them is still limited to certain markets. Sleep tracking is also present. Like heart rate monitoring, it’s been improved and now monitors snore patterns as well.

Software and Smart Features

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 returns to Google Wear OS, leaving behind the Tizen OS the Watch Active 2 runs on.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Active 2 Software Comparison
The sleek interface on the Watch 4 is courtesy of the One UI Watch 3 (left); customizable faces on the Watch Active 2 (right).

Although Samsung’s Galaxy Watch devices are considered the best for Android, there’s one complaint. Previous iterations ran on Tizen, which lacked app support. In addition, Bixby, which you get with the platform, isn’t as intelligent as Google Assistant. So it is welcome news that the Galaxy Watch 4 returns to Google’s Wear OS.

Not all have been ditched, however. When you experience the Galaxy Watch 4 OS, its interface still feels like the Watch Active 2. As part of the collaboration with Google, the Watch 4 uses Samsung’s custom One UI Watch 3. This makes the wearable feel more like a part of the Galaxy ecosystem, complementing other devices like Samsung’s Galaxy phones and tablets.

Of course, you’ll still find traces of Tizen. It’s what keeps the new wearable a familiar upgrade even from the Watch Active 2. Native services like Samsung Pay and Samsung Health are still present. But they now share a watch platform where you can also access Google Maps, YouTube Music, and other apps from PlayStore.

In terms of smart features, there isn’t a huge leap forward, though. Both the Watch 4 and Watch Active 2 cover the basics. You get smart notifications for messages and apps, for instance. There is also NFC, so you have support for contactless payment. You can also answer calls when your watch is paired to a smartphone, thanks to Bluetooth connectivity and LTE.

Battery Life and Charging

Although the Galaxy Watch Active 2 has a better battery life, it doesn’t have quick charging like the Watch 4.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Active 2
Wireless charging on the Galaxy Watch 4 (left); multiday battery on the Watch Active 2 (right).

For all its powerful features, a smartwatch is only as good as its battery life. What’s the use of getting one if it doesn’t last you a day? Fortunately, both the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch Active 2 meet expectations. Samsung shares that the Watch 4 has a 40-hour battery life, while the Active 2 should have enough juice for 60 hours.

But these numbers are considering moderate usage only, with a few activities tracked and GPS occasionally turned on. With lots of activity, battery life is greatly reduced, especially on the bigger Watch 4 models. This is surprising since they do get a bump in battery capacity over the Watch Active 2.

Charge time isn’t class-leading, either. If you’re bringing back your watch from 0%, the Watch 4 and Active 2 take about two hours to be fully charged. With the Watch Active 2, you get 39% battery life with a half-hour charge. The Watch 4, on the other hand, supports a 10-minute quick charge that should give the device a 10-hour battery life.


The Galaxy Watch 4 offers enough changes to be a worthy upgrade from the Watch Active 2.

Amazon product

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 offers enough big changes from the Galaxy Watch Active 2. Aside from the refined design, it boasts a new OS and additional health and fitness features. Battery life, however, takes a bit of a hit, although the Watch 4 makes up for it through support for quick charging. If you’re on the Watch Active 2, then the Watch 4 is a justifiable upgrade. While the new Samsung device costs $50 more, you’re getting a more future-proof wearable anyway.


๐Ÿ“Œ When was the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 launch date?

Samsung released the Galaxy 4 lineup last August 27, 2021.

๐Ÿ“Œ What are the new features on the Galaxy Watch 4 from the Watch Active 2?

The Galaxy Watch 4 comes with a gapless strap and watch case connection. It’s also equipped with a 3-in-1 sensor that now supports body composition measurement. On top of that, the Watch 4 returns to the Wear OS platform, while the Watch Active 2 remains with Tizen OS.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does the Galaxy Watch 4 come in stainless steel?

No, the Galaxy Watch 4 is only available in aluminum. The choice of material aims to make the wearable more lightweight than its counterpart, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Galaxy Watch Active 2 available in an LTE model?

Yes, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is available in an LTE model. If you’re on a budget, you can also opt for the Bluetooth model.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.