Samsung Galaxy Watch/Active 2 vs Polar Vantage V

samsung galaxy watch vs polar vantage v main screen

I’ve just done a review of the Samsung Galaxy Watch vs the Garmin Fenix 6, and that really gave me some perspective.

In that review, I examined the best sports smartwatch against the best Samsung smartwatch.

The Polar Vantage V is very much so, a sports-oriented watch. Beyond a simple timepiece, your choice between the Samsung Galaxy Watch/Active 2 and the Polar Vantage V really is a consideration of your priorities.

I am writing the following tests based on pairing the Galaxy smartwatches to a Samsung smartphone to ensure that the best parts of its capabilities are realized. The Polar Vantage V’s experience is more or less similar on both the iOS and Android platforms.

Productivity

The great thing about having a smartwatch is that you can avoid reaching for your phone as much as possible.

I can sense there’s a demand for that. I mean, Apple and Windows PCs all have a way to link your phone to your computer.

If this is your purpose of buying a smartwatch, then the Polar Vantage V will be particularly challenged because it wasn’t designed with this objective as its top priority.

Related: Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle | Ticwatch Pro | Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire

samsung galaxy watch vs polar vantage v texts

Emails and text, calls

The Samsung Galaxy Watch/Active 2 offers great integration with Samsung phones. It’s the closest experience you can have that is unparalleled by all except Apple’s iPhone with the Apple Watch.

This means you can access your emails and text messages as if they were on your phone — meaning you can see all your emails from multiple accounts and the past few text messages.

Furthermore, the Samsung smartwatches also allow you to reply to your notifications by handwriting them, using a T9 number pad keyboard or by using the speech-to-text system.

The Polar Vantage V, unfortunately, can’t compete at all in this area. At best, you will be able to read a message or email. You can’t reply to them, though. So, in the end, you will be taking your smartphone out a lot.

Samsung Galaxy Watch calls

And as the Vantage V doesn’t have a microphone or speaker, you can’t answer phone calls on the watch. You can do so on the Galaxy Watch/Active 2.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch/Active 2

Samsung Galaxy Watch Bixby

Voice assistant

The Samsung smartwatches have the Bixby voice assistant. Its performance is just OK and can’t compare to Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant.

But since we’re comparing Bixby to Polar’s non-existent voice assistant, Bixby wins.

I personally find that a smartwatch’s capabilities is much further extended by having a smart voice command interpreter. Imagine if you need a quick metric-to-imperial conversion done or some quick math. It’s great not needing to pull out your phone or turn on your computer.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch/Active 2

Battery Life

One of the most amazing things about having a light-reflective LCD is that you rarely need a power-hungry backlight to be able to see the screen. The brighter your ambient environment, the more visible your screen is.

With a typical LED screen like the Galaxy Watches have, you will get about two days worth of usage before needing to charge. In contrary to the Polar Vantage V, Samsung watches lose battery charge much quicker the brighter your environment is as the backlight has to compensate to make the screen legible.

As a result, the Vantage V last way longer. In my tests, if you turn on the continuous heart rate measurement, you will lose about 20% of battery life daily. That means it’ll last up to five days.

By the way, did I tell you that the Vantage V cannot be turned off? Just a little trivia (and a little annoyance).

Winner: Polar Vantage V

samsung galaxy watch vs polar vantage v sports

Sports

This is where the Polar Vantage V shines. It just has a very advanced suite of sports tracking and analytics.

I mean, let’s talk about watch faces. The Samsung watches’ will allow you to display useful information on your watch face like weather, world clocks and other data, but all six watch faces of the Polar Vantage V is geared towards your exercise details such as level of activity, training regime and sleep quality as it relates to your exercise.

samsung galaxy watch vs polar vantage v heart rate

Heart rate sensor

If you look at the heart rate sensor on the rear of both watches, you’ll know that the Polar Vantage V has significantly more hardware to get the same heart rate reading.

There are four electrodes on the watch that are used to detect good contact with the skin (as well as connect to your PC), and nine LEDs of red and green colours that help give a better reading.

Of all the watches I’ve tested, the Polar Vantage V is one of the most reliable in terms of heart rate.

Winner: Polar Vantage V

samsung galaxy watch vs polar vantage v exercise special features

Motivation to exercise

The Vantage V has many useful tools that help improve your sports performance.

This includes FitSpark, which will customize an exercise plan for you based on the data it collects as you wear it. DIfferent days will bring you different activities in these categories: cardio, strength and supportive.

Polar Vantage V fitspark

Using long-term data, the watch can also tell you about your Cardio Load. This weighs your short-term training load to your long-term tolerance, and tells you whether you’re doing enough to maintain it, improve it or are detraining.

Finally, this watch has some really fantastic features for runners. Not only can it estimate your power output, you can also use its Polar Flow web app to create an exercise plan with a goal to get a new personal best at your next race.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch/Active 2 takes on a different approach to motivating you to exercise. If you are trying to lose weight, the Samsung Health app can help you calculate your calorie intake and your calories burned. Using this meter, you can tell whether you are currently on track to your weight goal or not.

You can also sign up for various exercise programs on Samsung Health for free which gives you a routine to follow. It’s remarkably great because it’s also free, unlike Fitbit, which requires you to pay for a premium subscription.

Winner: Polar Vantage V

Polar Vantage V Sleep chart

Sleep tracking

Both watches do a great job of tracking your sleep. Wear it overnight and you will be able to get data the next day on your sleep patterns.

The advantage that the Polar Vantage V has here is that it also uses your sleep quality and weighs it against your training to advise you whether you are getting the right amount of recharge.

The Polar Vantage V is unfortunately very uncomfortable to wear overnight because of how its electrodes are protruding, leaving painful pressure points if you put weight on it.

Winner: Tie

Verdict

The Polar Vantage V has proven to be a very specialized tool. It’s really not the most elegant of smartwatches nor is it the most useful of them.

It’s just very, very good in its domain of sports and fitness.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch/Active 2 does have some of the features of the Polar Vantage V but they are not as deep or comprehensive. 

Rather, when you buy a Galaxy Watch/Active 2, you are buying a multitool that can bring you many conveniences in your daily life.

For most folks, you are better off with the Galaxy smartwatches.