Since the demise of the Microsoft Band I have been using various WearOS (formally known as Android Wear) devices and for the most post part I was happy with the system. However for the last few months I have been using a Samsung Galaxy Watch Active and realised what I have been missing. Tizen is the OS that runs on Samsung devices and I have found it has more features, better performance and better battery life.
I have the original Samsung Galaxy Active and use it for health tracking, notification, sleep tracking and as a watch. The latest WearOS device I have is the Ticwatch S2 and before that I had a Moto 360 Sport. I am going to look a health features like heart rate tracking and sleep tracking along with battery life and performance. I am also going to look at a tool to help with transition from WearOS to Samsung smart watches.
My TicWatch C2 gets under 24 hours with default settings (always on / tilt to wake), and a lot less if you use a lot of apps. The Samsung Galaxy Active which has a smaller battery then the C2 and many of the larger Galaxy watches gets about 2 days with the default settings. This combined with the quick charging of the Galaxy means I can wear the Galaxy to track my sleep and charge it up while getting ready in the morning and not run out of battery. The new Samsung Galaxy Active 2 and some of the other Galaxy devices have at least 3 day battery life.
I also prefer the wireless charging of the Samsung device over the pogo-pin charged TicWatch charger which are starting to become very hit and miss and I will probably have to get a new charger soon.
There seems to be a lot of criticism of WearOS for being slow and laggy, I have to say I haven’t found that to be much of an issue on the TicWatch but I did find it an issue on the Moto 360. Overall I would say the Samsung watch is very smooth and lag free it does feel more responsive than WearOS.
I use the TicWatch for tracking my morning session on the exercise bike and found the main difference between WearOS and Tizen is the automatic tracking. On the TicWatch I manually trigger watch to record an activity. On Tizen it automatically detects activity records all the details. I still manually activate it when on the bike but the auto-detection is very good recordings walks and runs. I have found the heart rate recorded on both devices equally well on both systems and the result are very similar.
Where there is difference is that the Galaxy Watch constantly records heart rate and stress levels. Samsung don’t tell actually tell you how it is monitoring your stress levels but it seems to be around the variations in your pulse rate. It actually seems to work pretty well, when I look back at the data I could see that the results match stress through the day. I could see stress levels rise when I was busy at work, when driving and when watching a tense Formula One race. The watch also tracks sleep patterns something WearOS doesn’t do. It shows you when you were in a light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep. I found that to accurate and reflects how I think I am sleeping.
The Samsung Health app proves a lot more information than the Google Fit app. As well as the extra sensor data you can manually track coffee and water intake along with calorie intake. Yes you have to enter these manually but its good the have the option to track your patterns. There are also sharing options and a section called together where you can compete with friends. Overall the Samsung app has a lot more features and Google Fit, some I don’t use (like sharing) and some I do like sleep tracking.
Both watches have handy features like find my phone, weather apps and a selection of 3rd party apps. Tizen misses Google services like Google Maps and Google Messaging but you do get Samsung Pay and access to the Galaxy Store which has a many apps.
Syncing data between Google Fit and Samsung Health
One things I like about using WearOS device was the data being stored in Google Fit. I have been using it to track my workouts and heart rates for the last six months and so was reluctant to stop using the app. Samsung’s Health app has more tracking option and a better dashboard so I wanted to switch the new app but continue to add my workout data to Google Fit.
The solution is Health Sync an Android app that enables you to health data between platforms. The app syncs data between Samsung Health, Google Fit, Fitbit, Polar and some other health apps. The app enables you to push data from one platform to another, so I have it setup to push my steps, heart rate, sleep and exercise to Google Fit from Samsung Health. I chose not to sync Weight details as my scale pushes its data to Google Fit. You can select the direction of the data so you could go the other way if you wished.
The app works really well and now I have my data stored in Google Fit and Samsung Health. It is a very handy app for when you use different platforms. There is a weeks free trial and then a in-app purchase for the full version.
So switching platforms was easy thanks to Health Sync and I have to say Samsung’s devices have better battery life, more sensors and more advanced UI. When I first got into WearOS a few years ago I had high hopes for the platform but Google failed to deliver on its early promise.