OnePlus Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Active 2: key differences

Pretty soon we’ll get the next iterations in the Galaxy Watch series. There’s talk a device may even launch before this summer. Whether we really see a Galaxy Watch 4 or next Watch Active in Q2 remains to be seen. In this article we focus on the generation that is currently available.

A question often asked is how the recently unveiled OnePlus Watch compares to devices in the Samsung Galaxy Watch series. All of these are fully featured timepieces that have a lot to offer. We have put them side-by-side to clarify what’s similar, what’s different about them.

OnePlus Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Active 2: Design

Samsung watches have been around for a while now. They are on their third generations unlike the OnePlus Watch which is a first. Having said that, OnePlus did release a fitness band recently so it is not their first attempt at a wearable.

All three of these timepieces are circular and premium looking. Starting off with the Samsungs, and while the Watch 3 and Active 2 are alike there are a few differences to be aware of. The latter is more sporty looking featuring a streamlined design and a sleek form-factor. Watch 3 is a bit more traditional looking and comes with a more premium feel.

OnePlus Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Active 2: key differences
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Watch Active 2

OnePlus Watch is more akin to Samsung Watch Active 2. Its appearance definitely comes across as sporty.

All of these devices come with two physical buttons on the right which you can use to navigate the menus along with the touch-display. Watch 3 also comes with a physical rotating bezel for navigating around the Tizen OS. The company had decided to ditch this for Watch Active 2 in favor of a digital rotating bezel.

There are also various build materials you can opt for. The default for the trio is a stainless steel build. But Watch 3 can also be picked up in titanium, Active 2 in aluminium and OnePlus Watch in a limited cobalt iteration. Something for everyone there!

The sleek looking OnePlus Watch packs a lot for the price
OnePlus Watch(Midnight Black)

Also worth noting are the sizes. The Samsungs come in a choice between a 40mm and 44m for Active 2 and 41mm and 45mm for Watch 3. The OnePlus watch only comes in a 46mm version.

Nothing in it really when it comes to thickness, as all of these are around 11mm so pretty slim. The same is the case with weight which comes in around 50 grams.

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As far as the display, the trio shares an AMOLED display. Interestingly, the pixel resolution is higher on the cheaper OnePlus than on the Samsungs. However, the latter comes with lots of watch-faces and third party customizations. OnePlus says it is starting off with around 50, with more to be added in the future.

Under the hood the Galaxy Watch 3 and Active 2 are pretty similar. They share an accelerometer, barometer, gyro, heart rate and ambient light sensor. There’s also built in GPS (Glonass,Beidou,Galileo), as well as NFC and an option pricier LTE variant. Memory capacity is bigger on Watch 3 measuring 1GB of RAM and 8GB of Internal Memory (versus the 768MB RAM + 4GB Internal Memory on Active 2). The LTE model of Active 2 has more memory, though.

The OnePlus Watch is no slouch, either, packing lots of features under the hood. This includes an accelerometer, gyro, barometer, geomagnetic sensor, heart rate, SpO2, ambient light, air pressure and capacitance sensor. All the same satellite tracking systems are there but there’s no NFC or LTE variant. The 1GB RAM of 4GB Internal Memory puts the device pretty much on par with Galaxy Watch Active 2.

The exact specs can be seen in the table below.

OnePlus Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Active 2: Battery life and water resistance

Moving on to the all important battery life. Fully featured smartwatches are still struggling with this and Samsung is no different. Its timepieces can only keep going for around two days on a single charge. Hopefully the next generation will improve on this.

The OnePlus watch, on the other hand, can run for up to two weeks between charges. That is excellent and definitely one of the highlights of the device. If that isn’t enough only 20 minutes on the charger is enough to keep it going for a full week.

When it comes to water-resistance all three of these will do the trick. They sport a a fantastic 5 ATM water-resistance rating and will monitor your swim sessions with appropriate statistics.

OnePlus Watch
Galaxy Watch 3
Active 2
Glass front, stainless steel frame, plastic back. There’s also a Cobalt alloy edition.
Stainless steel 316L casing, choice of leather bands. Also a titanium iteration.
Stainless steel 316L casing or Aluminium casing
46.4 x 46.4 x 10.9 mm
45mm version (45 x 46.2 x 11.1 mm)
41mm version (41.0 x 42.5 x 11.3 mm)
44mm version (44 x 44 x 10.9mm)
40mm version (40 x 40 x 10.9mm)
Display size
1.39 inches
45mm version (1.4 inch)
41mm version (1.2 inch)
44mm version (1.4 inch)
40mm version (1.2 inch)
Display resolution
454 x 454 pixels
360 x 360 pixels
360 x 360 pixels
Circular Super AMOLED
Full Color Always On Display
Corning® Gorilla® DX
Circular Super AMOLED
Full Color Always On Display
Corning® Gorilla® DX+
402 mAh
45mm version (340 mAh)
41mm version (247 mAh)
44mm version (340 mAh)
40mm version (247 mAh)
Battery life
up to 2 weeks with normal use.
45mm version (over 56 hours)
41mm version (over 43 hours)
44mm version (over 56 hours)
40mm version (over 43 hours)
Water resistance
up to 50 metres (5 ATM)
up to 50 metres (5 ATM)
up to 50 metres (5 ATM)
45 grams
45mm version (53 grams)
41mm version (48 grams)
44mm version (42g stainless steel; 30g aluminium)
40mm version (37g stainless steel; 26g aluminium)
Accelerometer, gyro, barometer, geomagnetic sensor, heart rate, SpO2, ambient light, air pressure, capacitance
Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro, Optical Heart Rate, Ambient Light
Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro, Optical Heart Rate, Ambient Light
1GB RAM + 4GB Internal Memory
1GB RAM + 8GB Internal Memory
LTE: 1.5GB RAM + 4GB Internal Memory
Bluetooth: 768MB RAM + 4GB Internal Memory
Bluetooth 5.0, BLE/BR/EDR
Bluetooth 5.0,
Wi-Fi b/g/n
Bluetooth 5.0,
Wi-Fi b/g/n
Midnight Black, Moonlight Silver, Cobalt
Stainless steel: Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, Mystic Silver
Titanium: Mystic Black
Aluminum: Black, Gold, Silver, Pink Gold
Stainless steel: Black, Gold, Silver

OnePlus Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Active 2: Functionality

Samsung has the activity tracking side of things nailed down. All of this works via the company’s Tizen operating system.

Not only do the watches provide all the basic functionality, including ECG, but they also offer something that is not currently offered by most of the big brands – blood pressure tracking. Watch 3 goes a step further in that it can measure blood oxygen. It’s pretty strange Active 2 does not offer this as it has the same sensors built-in.

The Samsungs also have built in GPS and support for other satellite tracking systems. This ensures precise measuring of outdoor sports activity. But Watch 3 comes with more comprehensive sleep tracking, additional running features and a few more sports modes.

The other important extra that you get with Watch 3 are fall alerts. Similar to the Apple Watch, this has the ability to notify emergency services when you’ve taken a stumble. It will also send them your location and a brief sound recording.

Galaxy Watch 3 vs Active 2: here’s how they compare
Galaxy Watch Active 2
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Apple Watch 3 or Garmin Vivoactive 3: which to get?

The OnePlus Watch offers quite a bit for the low price it sells for. There’s no blood pressure or ECG but there are all the other sensors including blood oxygen and stress tracking. This runs on the company’s proprietary RTOS (real-time operating system).

The watch has support from 110 types of workouts some of which can be automatically detected, along with 15 professional fitness modes. As mentioned, there’s also built-in GPS, Glonass, Beidou, Galileo.

Currently, the device plays nice with Android smartphones with an iOS app coming in the near future. That is perhaps the main sticking point at the moment.

OnePlus Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Active 2: The bottom line

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Active 2 are well established devices. Active 2 is more sporty looking. Watch 3 is more premium looking and comes with some extras over its sibling such as SpO2, fall detection, more comprehensive activity/sleep features and a few more sports modes.

TheOnePlus Watch looks a bit like Watch Active 2 – a sleek, streamlined design built for the active types. The functionality is not as rich as what you will find on the Samsungs but there’s plenty on offer. This includes all the usual activity and sleep tracking goodies, along with blood oxygen tracking and stress monitoring.

A highlight is definitely the OnePlus’s battery life of two weeks. This far outstrips the 3 days on a single charge for the Samsungs.

Galaxy Watch vs Galaxy Watch Active: what’s the difference?
Galaxy Watch 3
Gadgets & Wearables may get a commission
Apple Watch 3 or Garmin Vivoactive 3: which to get?

The price is, of course, an important consideration. At $160, the OnePlus Watch (availability starts on April 14th), is less expensive than the $200 Watch Active 2 and way below the $400+ price-tag of Galaxy Watch 3. This makes it one of the lowest priced smartwatches from a big brand.

If you have an Android phone and don’t need NFC and all the bells and whistles of the Samsungs, the OnePlus Watch presents itself as an attractive option. The Galaxy Watch range remains the safe bet, though.

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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