Samsung’s Newest “wearables” – Galaxy Watch Active and Galaxy Buds

Galaxy Watch Active

The Galaxy Watch Active is a new, more affordable, smartwatch option from Samsung.  My first thought when picking up the Active was, “wow – this is pretty small!”  It’s a smartwatch that doesn’t look like a bulky smartwatch.  I was impressed with that.  The only problem you might face is that the screen is pretty small too.  Some people might have a hard time navigating the smaller touchscreen on the Active.  On the underside of the Active is a heart rate monitor.  On the right side are two buttons, one to bring up a list of apps and a back button.  There’s also a microphone hole on the side for talking to Samsung’s smar assistant Bixby.  You can also send text messages using your voice.  The Active is a simple smartwatch that has no reason to be any more complicated.

The Active supports wireless charging with any standard Qi charger.  The battery lasted a solid 3-4 days in my testing.  This is impressive.  Most smartwatches need to be charged nightly.  I’m happy to see Samsung pack-in solid battery life in such a small watch.

I really like the Galaxy Watch Active.  It doesn’t look obnoxious, in fact it looks sleek.  Some might call it plain but I’m actually OK with that.  I don’t want a flashy smartwatch.  For me, it’s between the Active and the Fitbit Versa.

The Galaxy Watch Active is $200 but it’s currently (May 2019) on sale from Samsung for $180.

Galaxy Buds

The Apple Airpods may have all the flash and flair that comes along with Apple products but that doesn’t always mean they’re the best option.  Enter the new Samsung Galaxy Buds.  These small earbuds sit firmly in your ears, almost unnoticable, and crank out the tunes.  Of course you can also answer calls with surprising clarity.

On the side of the buds is a small touch sensitive button.  You can access various options with a single tap, double tap, triple tap or holding the button down.  It performs the expected functions including the ability to summon Bixby or Google Voice without touching your phone.  I personally like the ambient sound option that uses the microphone to recognize voices.  If you’re listening to music it’ll allow those voices to funnel through so you don’t completely ignore someone who is talking to you.

Sound quality is interesting.  The buds are small and if you know much about audio, it’s really hard to create good deep bass in a small device.  In my testing, that proved true here.  The sound was decent but nothing amazing.  It’s exactly what I would expect from something so tiny.  You’re giving up some sound quality for compact design with the Galaxy Buds.

Galaxy Buds are $130 at most major stores or directly from Samsung.com.

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