Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review, Heart Rate and Zwift

You Tube tutorial, how to brodcast heart rate to Zwift from Samsung watch

Broadcast Heart Rate and Running Speed


Broadcast heart rate and running speed measured by the Samsung's built-in sensor to indoor training apps such as Zwift or to cycling head units. Broadcasting is available over Bluetooth Low Energy, but not ANT+ since Galaxy watches are not ANT+ compatible.

Logo HR Speed transmitter


Download HR and Speed Transmitter app

Download the watch App

If you don't have a Samsung phone, you may have trouble finding it on the store as it is a paid app. In this case, pair temporarily your watch with a Samsung phone and buy the app. Then it will become available on your non Samsung phone.

Samsung Store

Get accurate Heart Rate Readings

You now have the choice in the Settings between 'standard' (by default) and 'raw' heart rate values. The best option for most devices is to use 'standard' but you need to enable continuous heart rate readings in this case and systematically start a manual activity in Samsung Health on the watch in parallel.

Continuous heart rate reading can be enabled in 2 ways:

  • Enable permanent continuous reading on the watch by going into the Samsung Health app on the watch. Then select heart rate. Go to the bottom and enter in the heart rate settings. Enable continuous reading.
  • Start a manual activity on the watch in Samsung Health in parallel. Heart rate monitoring will automatically be set as continuous during your workout.

Another point to check, the watch needs to be tight enough to your skin to ensure a good heart rate value. In addition, please check regularly your watch sensor and clean it with water if it is a bit dusty.

Broadcast Heart Rate to indoor training apps such as Zwift

Pair your watch with Zwift as with any standard Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitor or running speed sensor!

Here are a few advices on how to use the watch app:

  • On Windows, if you have trouble with the Bluetooth direct connection, you can try the connection through the Companion app. Click on Zwift's top right Settings icon on the pairing screen. If the option is not available, start the Companion app on your smartphone and check that it is connected to the same wifi newtwork as your computer
  • Always connect the heart rate monitor first (watch), then the running speed sensor or bike trainer. Otherwise the speed, which is broadcasted by the watch together with the heart rate may be wrongly interpreted by Zwift and you may get trouble with the main sensor values
  • At the end of your workout, don't forget to leave the app by clicking the bottom stop button of the watch view
  • Close the watch app first, before leaving Zwift, or before switching off your cycling head unit
  • If you have some trouble with opening or closing the app, force closing in the phone Galaxy Wearable app -> Applications -> HR & speed transmitter -> Force close
  • Record an activity in Samsung Health on your watch in parallel







Brodcast heart rate to Zwift with Samsung watch
Select Bluetooth mode for Zwift

Click on top right icon of Pairing Screen in order to select Bluetooth mode for Zwift

Select Bluetooth with Companion app for Zwift

Select Bluetooth with Companion app for Zwift



Broadcast HR to GPS head units

Every GPS head unit that match with the Heart Rate Bluetooth Smart profile is compatible with the app. You will be able to broadcast heart rate directly from your watch to your head unit.

Here is a non exhaustive list of compatible GPS head units :

  • Garmin Edge 530
  • Garmin Edge 830
  • Wahoo Elemnt / Bold
  • Giant Neos Track
  • Polar V650

GPS head units


Samsung compatible watches

The Galaxy Active is not the only watch compatible with HR and Speed Transmitter app, other are :

  • Gear S3
  • Gear Sport
  • Galaxy
  • Galaxy Active
  • Galaxy Active 2
  • Galaxy Watch 3

Samsung Smart Watches


Get the app on iOS

Paid apps are unfortunately not available on the Samsung store on iOS. The only solution to get the app is :

  • Reset the watch
  • Connect and pair it with an Android Samsung smartphone using your Samsung account
  • Buy HR & Speed Transmitter for Samsung watches on the store
  • Reset the watch again
  • Pair it back with your iPhone
  • Go to 'My Apps' and download

Release 3.1 published on 8th of February 2021

HR & Speed transmitter app for Samsung has been updated on the store on 2nd of December 2020, here are new features:

  • Low measurements fix
  • App stay visible to allow HR reading during workout
  • Disconnection issue when the screen goes into sleep has been fixed
  • Enable or disable running speed and cadence broadcasting in Settings
  • Zwift connection fix

Feel free to contact us per mail if you have any question about the app.

Other apps for Samsung watches

Here are other apps which we developed for Samsung watches:



Watch review


Let's review the Galaxy active watch.

Galaxy Active watch unboxing

Here are some pictures of the watch while unboxing. The watch comes in a nice small box measuring 9.5cm x 9.5cm x 5.5cm, well packed with only what you need : the watch, USB charging dock and an additionnal band.

The watch is light (25g), small and has a great modern look.

The documentation is behind the top cover : you need to pull it out. I discored this a few days after I bought the watch.

Samsung Galaxy active watch unbox closed



Samsung Galaxy active watch unbox open
Samsung Galaxy active watch unbox content






Wrist band

At first sight, I was surprised by the wrist band were you can find a hole, but after a few hours wearing the watch, I found this system very comfortable because the end is below the band and never goes out.

Samsung Galaxy active watch wrist band


Samsung Health and Galaxy Wearable

There are 2 different applications that you can use together with the Galaxy Active.

Galaxy Werable is usefull for watch configuration, updates, applications... You will have access to all the technical settings (vibrations, luminosity, battery...), add some widgets...

Samsung Health is more for user's statistics.

  • Steps
  • Sports activities
  • Sleep
  • Heart Rate
  • Stress
  • Glas of water
  • Food
  • Weight

Samsung Health Heart Rate


Touchscreen

The watch has a nice 1.1 inch OLED screen with a resolution of 360x360. The touch sensitivity is good and the navigation in Menus is easy. If you swith from right to left, you will access the widgets you choose, from left to right the current notifications. The screen remains always readbale even in high luminosity.

Samsung Galaxy active swipe screen


Battery life

The battery of 230mAh is not the best point of the watch. It allows you to use the watch for 1, maximum 2 days but no more. I personnally need to recharge every day, although I don't use it intensively (30 min bike activity in the morning and another 30 mins in the evening).

Samsung Galaxy active battery


Track Sleeping

Of course you can track your sleep with the Galaxy Active watch. You will be able to compare each night to your average nights.

You can track :

  • Light Sleep
  • Deep Sleep
  • Paradoxal Sleep
  • Time Awake

From my experience, numbers seem to be interesting. I was surprised by the deep sleep, I had the impression that I slept well but the watch tells me that I had very little deep sleep, much less that what my other smart watch says and much less than what is expected for a standard night. This is the only point where it seems not so accurate.

Samsung Health Sleeping


Swimming

The watch can be put into water for up to 5 ATM. It can be used for swimming. I did a small test and I must admit that the data is well accurate. I find the swim detection better than with the Garmin Vivoactive HR I had previously.

Of course, you get indications on :

  • Calories burnt
  • Mouvment count
  • Swolf
  • And Heart Rate !!!

I was surprised by heart rate, even in water, everything is well tracked and works as if out of the water...

Swimming with Samsung Galaxy active


Cycling

GPS accuracy is nice and has been improved since first Gear S3 I previously owned. As you can see here below, we have an average speed of 28 km/h with the Samsung Galaxy Active vs 27.9 km/h with the Garmin Edge unit which is close. Max speed : 57.2 km/h vs 58 km/h.

The elevation gain was 335m with the Galaxy Active vs 364m with the Garmin which, I know, tends to be too optimistic. For this reason, the Galaxy Active may be more accurate!

With this ride, I was able to compare the heart rate from the Samsung Galaxy Active watch with a noname optical armband sensor. As you can see, the rate of the Galaxy Active sometimes drops out. The weather was a little bit cold on this day and the skin contact was not perfect. It still gives you an estimation on how hard you are training.

Samsung Galaxy Active Cycling


Strava Uploads

Strava Uploads are not that intuitive. You can pair with Samsung Health or simply download the Strava app on the watch but in this case you need to be aware that :

  • Bluetooth Smart sensor such as heart rate sensor cannot be connected today
  • Beacon will not be active
  • Activities are limited, you cannot record a swim for example

Strava Logo


Summary

The Galaxy Active is much more than a fitness band, it is a very nice watch to wear everyday. It has an outstanding modern look and allows you to track a lot of interesting health and fitness parameters. Only the battery and conection to external Bluetooth Smart sensors could be improved.

Samsung Galaxy Active