Best Samsung Smartwatches of 2021
Samsung has seen fairly significant success in the smartwatch industry so far. Having evolved both its more affordable fitness trackers, and its robust smartwatches, they remain poised to compete apples-to-apples with Apple, Fitbit, and other contenders in the wearables marketplace. Samsung smartwatches are well designed, generally intuitive to use, and have proven mostly reliable with a few rare exceptions. If anything, their only struggle is that they’re occasionally a bit too cutting edge; they often launch with limited apps/resources, or in some cases as you’ll see below, are put on sale with features that are still dormant and awaiting certification.
It’s unusual to see a company make leaps and bounds from one model to the next but Samsung has really taken this to heart, with each watch being noticeably different from the other. This is precisely why some older models still rank in our top five today.
The Best Samsung Smartwatches
What We Like
All told, what we see here is an accomplished line of Samsung smartwatches. They don’t try to outdo themselves by marketing their units as sports watches, instead maintaining focus on overall versatility. With the later models, you get the Under Armour fitness apps, which make great additions to the onboard Samsung Health tracker.
What We Don’t Like
The rivalry between Samsung and Apple doesn’t really help the consumer. Sure you have a lot of options but in the end you’re going to have limited smartwatch features because some technologies aren’t compatible with each other.
As a result, we strongly encourage you to do your research regarding compatibility before you purchase any of these smartwatches. The features you are most anxious for may not work with your Apple device if you have one.
Other Samsung Releases
Let’s take a quick look at the new Samsung products that either recently launched or that are set to debut shortly.
Galaxy Fit: Fitness Tracker, Available 5/31
The Galaxy Fit is Samsung’s forthcoming fitness tracker, which will reportedly be available at the end of May (so likely available for preorder sometime in April or May.) There isn’t a lot of information on this one just yet, but an early look of the device shows that it’s reminiscent of the Gear Fit lineup, with a slimmer design overall.
Here are a few of the specs that have been reported thus far:
- All day fitness tracking
- Automatic activity tracking
- Weight 24g
- Water resistant 5ATM
- Starting price $99
We’ll update as more information is released and when we get a better look at this next-gen fitness tracker.
Galaxy Fit e: Fitness Tracker, TBA
The Fit e is the rumored budget edition of the Galaxy Fit. Not many details available on this just yet, but it is rumored to be a smaller, lighter version of the Fit that could be priced as low as $35. Some outlets have reported that this will be water resistant as well and include many of the same tracking functions as the Fit.
Galaxy Buds: Wireless Earbuds, Available 3/8
Available currently for customers who preorder the Galaxy S10 smartphone, these AirPod-esque buds will be offered starting at $129.99 on March 8.
A few notable features:
- Enhanced Ambient Sound
- Adaptive Dual Microphone
- up to 6 hours of Bluetooth (5 hours of calling)
- Wireless charging + device-to-device power sharing (with compatible Samsung phones)
- Bixby integration for instant intelligent assistant activation
These are not available for preorder but could be in the next few days. Otherwise, you can buy the Buds from Samsung and authorized retailers on March 8.
Stay tuned for additional details on these upcoming Samsung products as we learn more!
1. Galaxy Watch Active
While the Galaxy Watch Active retains some of the look of the Gear Sport, this iteration has some distinct differences, such as the absence of the rotating bezel. Overall the look is fairly minimalist, with a sleek design and four color options. The Active has been quite well received over time, and it remains our favorite from Samsung even though its predecessor (the Active2) is now on the market.
The combination of its sleek design, great fitness tracking apps, and affordable price make the Galaxy Active a home run for many. Its battery life is average (roughly two days), and its access to third party apps is somewhat limited, but otherwise there isn’t a ton to complain about. It measures 40mm across, so it’s not as overbearing as many smartwatches, and thanks to its aluminum casing it’s quite light on the wrist. Lastly, depending on your work environment not everyone wants to wear something that looks like a fitness tracker in the office, so the conventional size and shape of the Galaxy Active works well here. It can also be fitted with conventional 20mm watch straps, should you want to change things up a bit.
2. Galaxy Watch Active2
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is the latest evolution of the brand’s smart watch offerings, with a host of features that are closely aligned to the new Apple Watch 5. Added are increased battery life, optional LTE, and a new ECG sensor for improved heart rate accuracy. Unfortunately the ECG sensor is still in testing with the FDA, so you’ll have to wait a little while for that functionality to kick in, but once up and running it will be a welcome addition to Samsung’s repertoire.
On a more positive note, the much-loved scrolling navigation via bezel rotation has returned for the Active2. Rather than adding a physical bezel to the watch like we see on the Gear S3, simply placing your fingers in the position of the bezel and making a rotating motion will have the same effect on this new smartwatch. Clever, right?
It’s also worth noting that the Galaxy Watch Active2 is available in two different sizes—40mm and 44mm—no matter if you choose the LTE or the Bluetooth-only model. The biggest gripe people have with the Active2 thus far is its price increase versus its features increase, as its roughly $100 more expensive than the outgoing Galaxy Active it replaces, and until the ECG sensor is up and running this is precisely why we’re ranking the Active higher than this newer model.
3. Samsung Galaxy Fit
Getting right down to basics, the Samsung Galaxy Fit is the brand’s basic fitness tracker that comes in under $100. While generally a low-tech offering, Samsung’s fitness tracking capabilities have always been rock-solid, and even at this price point you’re getting a decent amount of features. It’s very lightweight and comfortable, and it uses a crisp and bright full color AMOLED display. It’s also tough, water resistant to 5 ATM (about 50m), and comes with an easy to use wireless charger. As a point of competition, it’s pretty closely lined up against the Fitbit Inspire HR, but will be an easy choice for those already running Samsung as their smartphone of choice.
4. Samsung Galaxy Watch
The Galaxy Watch is another rugged and versatile offering from Samsung. 50m water resistant, and offering an above average battery life of between 3 days (in 42mm) and 4 days (46mm model), the Galaxy Watch is a solid choice for those frequently on the go. These models are heftier than the equivalent Garmin Forerunner models they compete with, however this is felt in a sense of rough-and-tumble construction that really isn’t a bad thing overall. As always, Samsung’s fitness tracking capabilities are extensive with this model.
5. Samsung Gear Sport
Last but not least, we have the Gear Sport, a chunky smartwatch that’s derived from the older Samsung Gear 2 and built with a very fitness-focused approach. With an update it became a decent amount more compact that the initial version, measuring 44.6mm x 42.9mm. It can track up to 60 different workouts, it can play Spotify even when offline, and it is compatible with Samsung Pay as well. On the downside, its battery life isn’t perfect, and depending on use you might have to anticipate daily charging.