If you’re in the market for a fitness watch, Garmin and Samsung are two reliable brands. Both offer midrange-priced devices packed with sports modes, smart features, and health monitoring tools. The Garmin vivoactive 3, for instance, is an older model but one that holds well against newer competitors. It’s a sleek and durable watch with enough sports and activity profiles.
On the other hand, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is Samsung’s fitness-focused model. Sportier than the flagship Galaxy Watch 3, the Samsung Active 2 is a lightweight tracker that puts a premium on fitness and wellness. Below, we compare the two devices to help you decide which watch to buy.
Garmin vivoactive 3 vs Samsung Active 2 Comparison Chart
|Model||Garmin vivoactive 3||Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
|Compatibility||Android, iPhone||Android, iPhone (limited)|
|Display||1.2″ transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)||1.2-inch Super AMOLED (40mm), 1.4-inch Super AMOLED (44mm)|
|Build Material||Fiber-reinforced polymer case and stainless steel bezel, silicone straps||Stainless steel or aluminum case with leather or silicone strap|
|Heart Rate Monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|Blood Pressure Monitor||No||Yes (availability may vary)|
|ECG||No||Yes (availability may vary)|
|Women’s Health Tracking||Yes||Yes|
|Sports Modes||Over 15||Over 40|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, ANT, GPS||Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS (LTE variant available)|
|Contactless Payments||Garmin Pay||Samsung Pay|
|Water Rating||5 ATM||5 ATM, IP68|
|Battery Life||Up to 7 days||1.5 to 2 days|
|Dimensions||43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 mm||40 x 40 x 10.9mm (40mm), 44 x 44 x 10.9mm (44mm)|
|Weight||43g||37g (40mm), 42g (44mm)|
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 has a more streamlined form than the Garmin vivoactive 3.
While they are smartwatches, the Garmin vivoactive 3 and Samsung Watch Active 2 also look and feel familiar. Thanks to their round display and quick-release silicone straps, you get a more traditional watch aesthetic. Despite being an older model, the vivoactive 3 still holds its own when it comes to design. The stainless steel bezel, while thick, lends the watch a robust appearance. Garmin’s fiber-reinforced polymer case, on the other hand, gives the vivoactive 3 strength and durability.
In contrast, Samsung’s Watch Active 2 sports a more refined form best captured by its thinner bezel. Thinner, however, doesn’t mean useless. On the Active 2, the bezel is touch-enabled for scrolling. Similar to Garmin’s vivoactive 3, Samsung’s sporty wearable is also made from stainless steel, although there is a cheaper aluminum version as well. Unlike the vivoactive 3, however, the Active 2 comes in two sizes — 40mm and 44mm. Both Active 2 variants boast a vibrant AMOLED display, whereas Garmin uses a transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) screen.
Now, you can get the vivoactive 3 and Watch Active 2 in different colors. Garmin’s wearable is currently available in black with either silver or slate bezels. Samsung’s fitness watch, on the other hand, comes in variations of silver, black, and gold, depending on the material. If you’re not a fan of the straps on these watches, they are swappable for dressier alternatives like leather. Both the vivoactive 3 and Watch Active 2 are also waterproof up to 50 meters.
Fitness and Activity Tracking
While the Samsung Active 2 tracks more workouts, the Garmin vivoactive 3 has more accurate readings.
Like most fitness-focused watches, Garmin and Samsung’s wearables track your standard metrics. These include calories burned, floors climbed, and steps taken. The vivoactive 3 also comes with over 15 preloaded sports apps, while the Galaxy Watch Active 2 has over 40. Garmin’s built-in modes include profiles like skiing, paddle boarding, and snowboarding. On the Samsung Active 2, you get dynamic workouts, pilates, and mountain climbing, among others.
Samsung shares that the Active 2 can automatically track seven of these activities. With the Garmin, auto activity features are limited to running and walking exercises only.
While having fewer activities to track, the Garmin vivoactive 3 has the edge in terms of accuracy. Tests show that the wearable has a highly accurate step counter and above-average heart rate monitor. Although it comes with upgraded sensors, the Samsung Active 2’s heart rate readings can be sluggish. The same can be said with its GPS and altimeter, affecting the reliability of some of the metrics tracked.
The Samsung Active 2 offers more health monitoring tools than the Garmin vivoactive 3.
Being an older model, the Garmin vivoactive 3 comes with fewer health tools than the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. Nonetheless, the wearable still manages to hold its own in a sea of health functionalities. For instance, the device offers wrist-based heart rates, including alerts for abnormal readings. You also get access to all-day stress monitoring, which works in tandem with the device’s relaxation breathing reminder.
Samsung’s Watch Active 2 is equipped with 24/7 heart rate tracking and stress monitoring, too. But the Korean tech giant’s wearable enjoys a few more advanced capabilities. The Active 2, for instance, comes with ECG and blood pressure sensors. You even get handwashing reminders (similar to the Apple Watch 6) that detect when you wash your hands. Keep in mind that these features don’t make Samsung’s watch a medical device whatsoever.
The Garmin vivoactive 3 and Samsung Active 2 have a few more health tools in common. Both devices come with comprehensive sleep monitoring features. Sleep data are synced to their respective companion apps to give users insight into their nocturnal habits. There’s also support for tracking women’s menstrual cycles, as well as alerts when you’ve been idle for too long.
Smart Features and Battery Life
Samsung’s Active 2 is the better smartwatch, although Garmin’s vivoactive 3 offers more battery life.
When it comes to connectivity, the Garmin vivoactive 3’s age shows. The watch only supports Bluetooth and ANT. In contrast, the Samsung Active 2 comes with Bluetooth, Wi-FI, NFC, and even LTE options. Nonetheless, both wearables are compatible with Android and iPhone, although the Active 2’s features are limited if you’re on iOS. Garmin and Samungs’s wearables also allow users to control their phone’s music. Samsung’s device, however, supports offline music playback with its limited storage.
As expected, you get smart notifications for both the vivoactive 3 and Watch Active 2. Garmin’s device allows text responses and phone call rejection via text when paired to an Android phone. Samsung’s Active 2, on the other hand, allows users to make and answer calls remotely. If you get the LTE model, you can even make calls directly from the watch.
Garmin has the edge when it comes to battery life. On smartwatch mode, the vivoactive 3 can last up to 7 days. With the GPS turned on, you get a more modest 13-hour runtime. In contrast, Samsung’s Active 2 has a battery life of 1.5 to 2 days only, which can also decrease depending on usage and settings.
The Samsung Active 2 is great if you prioritize smart features. However, the Garmin vivoactive 3 is better if you put a premium on accurate readings.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a solid upgrade from its predecessor. It’s a sleek, fitness-focused smartwatch packed with features. If you’re looking for a wearable with plenty of workouts to track and smart features to use, this is a good option. However, it’s not exactly the most accurate when it comes to monitoring key metrics, particularly heart rate. And for many fitness enthusiasts, accuracy is the key.
With this in mind, you’ll probably be still better off with an older device like the Garmin vivoactive 3. See, Garmin’s watch doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of today’s wearables. The interface may not even be as immersive as other Garmin devices. But you can count on the watch for accurate readings of key metrics. If you do not need offline music support, ECG, or blood pressure sensors, then the vivoactive 3 is a more affordable and reliable purchase.
The vivoactive 3 is an older model of Garmin’s midrange sports and fitness watch. Despite missing a few smart and health features, it’s still a solid device known for its accurate readings and robust design.
The Samsung Active 2 stainless steel model is the more premium model of the two. The material used is also more scratch-resistant compared to aluminum.
Garmin shares that the vivoactive 3 can store up to 14 days of activity tracking data.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is designed with Samsung smartphone users in mind. That being said, the Active 2 is still compatible with the iPhone 5 and above running iOS 9.0 or higher. Some Active 2 features, however, will not work on iOS.
Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API