Where is the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3? It’s been well over a year since the Watch Active 2, and we thought a successor would be here by now, but clearly the company isn’t putting its watches out in yearly cycles as Apple does for the Apple Watch.
We thought the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3 was going to be launched at Samsung Unpacked 2020 in August, but the smartwatch there was the Galaxy Watch 3, so that’s the wearable the company is pushing right now.
The latest information to leak out online suggests the Active 3 will be skipped entirely, and we’ll get the Galaxy Watch Active 4 launching at the same time as the Galaxy Watch 4 during the first half of 2021.
A number of things have been leaked and rumored about the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3 (or Active 4), all of which you’ll find below, along with more precise information on the likely release date.
Based on current leaks it sounds like the Galaxy Watch Active 3 could be visibly similar to its predecessor, but with some significantly upgraded internals, which could be enough to make it one of the most exciting smartwatches of the year.
But there’s plenty that we don’t know yet, so we’ve also included a list of all the things we want from the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 was just a minor upgrade on its predecessor, so we want big changes here.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The successor to the Galaxy Watch Active 2
- When is it out? Perhaps in the first half of 2021
- What will it cost? Likely at least $279.99 / £269 / AU$549
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3 release date and price
It’s unclear exactly when the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3 will land. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 was announced in August 2019, so given that a lot of smartwatches release on a yearly schedule it’s overdue.
There is evidence that a new Samsung smartwatch is coming soon though, as wearables with model numbers associated with such a device have recently been spotted.
The model numbers are SM-R86x and SM-R87x, but we can’t say for sure whether these are for the Galaxy Watch Active 3, the Galaxy Watch 4, both, or some other wearable altogether.
In fact, it now looks more likely that the Galaxy Watch Active 3 will get skipped entirely (just like the Galaxy Watch 2 was), and that Samsung will start numbering its flagship watch and the Active variant in the same way in 2021.
As for the price, there aren’t any rumors about that yet, but the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 had a starting price of $279.99 / £269 / AU$549, so we’d expect the Watch Active 3 will be at least that much – except perhaps in Australia, which didn’t get the smaller (and therefore cheaper) version of the Watch Active 2, but might well get the smaller Galaxy Watch Active 3.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3 news and leaks
Everything we’ve written below refers to a watch that we thought would be called the Galaxy Watch Active 3. However, we’re now being led to believe that the successor to the Galaxy Watch Active 2 will be the Galaxy Watch Active 4 – so there won’t be a ‘3’ model at all. That would match up with the Galaxy Watch 4.
One curious claim we’ve heard is that an upcoming Samsung wearable might run Wear OS. This was first said by a leaker with a decent track record, but they didn’t name the wearable, so it might not be the Galaxy Watch Active 3.
Then, a Samsung wearable codenamed ‘Merlot’ was spotted alongside mention of Wear OS in some Samsung Galaxy S20 source code. So it’s looking very likely that such a device is in the works, but we’re still none the wiser as to exactly what smartwatch it will launch as.
One other thing we’ve heard is that it might not look much different to the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2.
Like that wearable it might come in both aluminum and stainless steel versions, and in black, silver and gold colors (with the stainless steel model only available in silver and gold).
Leaks also point to there being two different screen sizes (likely 40mm and 44mm again), but a bigger 330mAh battery in the smaller model (up from 247mAh in the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2). It’s likely that there would also therefore be a bigger battery in the 44mm model, but we don’t know how much bigger yet. In the Watch Active 2 it’s 340mAh.
It has also been reported that the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3 will have 8GB of storage, which is double the 4GB in the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2.
In terms of features, we’ve heard an upcoming Samsung wearable will have a glucometer for measuring blood sugar levels. It’s not clear if this is the Galaxy Watch Active 3 or Galaxy Watch 4 – maybe both – but as a health-related feature, it seems a good fit for the Watch Active.
What we want to see
There are a number of things we’d like Samsung to change, upgrade, and add for the Galaxy Watch Active 3. The following seven are the main ones.
1. An ECG on day one
Technically the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 already has an ECG (electrocardiogram), but despite being advertised at launch, at the time of writing it has still not been activated.
So while we fully expect the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3 to have ECG hardware, we also want the software to be functioning from day one.
2. More third-party apps
While no wearables are home to the same sort of app selection as you get on smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is particularly lacking.
That’s thanks to Samsung using Tizen, which has a smaller app offering than Wear OS, which is in turn more limited than watchOS.
We’re not sure how much Samsung can do about this, but it could probably work to incentivize developers to make apps for the platform, so we’d like to see it try.
3. A rotating bezel or crown
With the limited space available on smartwatches, a physical rotating bezel or crown can be a great alternative to swiping across the screen to navigate the interface, but this isn’t offered by the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2.
Sure, there’s a digital dial, which is better than nothing, but this still involves interacting with the screen. So for the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3 we’d like to see this moved external.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch already has a rotating bezel, so imitating that would be an obvious option, but a rotating crown might be better – it’s a more compact solution, and would help differentiate the two devices.
4. More power
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 has an Exynos 9110 chipset, which, while not exactly slow, is the same as you’ll find in both the original Samsung Galaxy Watch Active and the Samsung Galaxy Watch, so the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3 could really do with a new chipset.
An upgrade in RAM wouldn’t go amiss either, so that the Galaxy Watch Active 3 feels like a slick, speedy, flagship device.
5. More accurate exercise tracking
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is packed full of exercise-tracking features, but not everything is measured accurately. In our review we found that it struggled with certain exercises, despite having modes for them, with crunches for example only being registered when the hand (and therefore also the Watch Active 2) was extended far over the knees.
If an activity can’t be tracked reliably then there’s arguably not much point in tracking it at all, so we’d like to see this improved for the next model.
6. Make it fit for diving
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 can survive and even track a swim, but it’s not suited to diving, which, while not unusual, does slightly limit it in a pool.
So for the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3 we’d like to see its water resistance upgraded so that you won’t have to take it off before jumping in. Better yet, we’d like to see Samsung add a specific dive-tracking mode as well.
7. Better battery life
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 has a respectable two days of battery life. That’s enough for it to have the Apple Watch 5 beat, but it’s no match for the likes of the Fitbit Versa 2, which is a key rival, so we’d like to be able to get at least another day out of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3.