It seems like it was just yesterday when Samsung announced the first Galaxy Watch Active — in fact it was February — and six months later we already have a successor. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is an iterative update, but the improvements deliver more on the health and wellness front, as well as in comfort.
Now in 40mm and 44mm sizes, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 supports 4G LTE (a Bluetooth/Wi-Fi-only model is also available), and it also has a new ECG (electrocardiogram) sensor for monitoring your heart health. Topped with a digital rotating bezel, it’s a closer competitor to the Apple Watch.
Here’s everything you need to know and check out our Galaxy Watch Active 2 hands-on review for our in-depth impressions.
Design and Display
The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a fitness-focused device, as is obvious from the name, but aesthetically it strikes a tone between sporty and traditional timepiece with its slim, minimalist design. The watch is offered in a shiny, silver stainless steel case for the LTE variant while the Bluetooth versions come in silver, black, and a pink color called lily gold. Like its predecessor, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 sports 5-ATM water resistance and easily interchangeable 20mm watch straps.
The bezels of the watch are a bit thinner than its predecessor to accommodate slightly larger screens. There are 1.2-inch and 1.4-inch AMOLED displays in the 40mm and 44mm options, respectively, with 360 x 360 resolutions on both.
New to the Watch Active 2 is a rotating bezel for navigating the watch, but this isn’t an addition you’ll actually see. Unlike the mechanical rotating bezel on the Galaxy Watch, this is a digital implementation that functions as an edge gesture. This brings back the beloved navigation feature, previously missing from the original Galaxy Watch Active, and lets you navigate the interface with it.
Lastly, Samsung has introduced a new feature called My Style, which lets you take a picture of your outfit and generates five different watch faces based on it, depending on the area of the outfit you select.
More sensors mean better tracking, including a new ECG monitor
The Active 2 also increases its tracking sensors, doubling the heart rate light sensors from four to eight and adding twice the sensitivity to the accelerometer, making it able to measure g-force up to 32Gs, as oppose to the original Watch Active’s 16G limit. Samsung said this will aid accuracy in activity tracking, but for now, it hasn’t added any new tracking features.
Last, but certainly not least, is the new electrocardiogram monitor. This ECG monitors the electrical signals from your heart, helping you detect irregular heartbeats or atrial fibrillation. This isn’t meant to replace medical-grade equipment and shouldn’t be used for diagnosis, but an FDA-cleared device like this can help you stay abreast of important aspects of your health.
Unfortunately, it’s still pending FDA clearance, as it’s in the research and trial phase. At launch, this won’t be enabled, much like Samsung’s blood pressure monitor featured on its predecessor, which six months later has yet to make it to devices.
Specifications and LTE Connectivity
The crown jewel of the specs for the new wearable for many may be the option for 4G LTE connectivity, enabling you to roam without your phone and still receive calls and messages. Processor-wise we have the same dual-core, 1.15GHz Exynos 9110 and 768MB of RAM, with the LTE model making a slight upgrade to 1.5 GB of RAM.
The battery size has also been bumped up a bit from the original’s 230mAh juice pack. The 40mm steps up slightly to 247mAh while the 44mm version leaps further to 340mAh, although Samsung hasn’t stated what, if anything, this may change for the expected use times. The LTE versions are likely going to draw more battery life.
Running the show is Samsung’s proprietary Tizen operating system, which has a couple of new app integrations. Users can now scroll through their Twitter feeds, liking and retweeting posts as they please, and a new integration with YouTube facilitates browsing and watching trending videos — however useful that may be on a watch.
On the fitness front, you won’t find much in the way of new features, other than the aforementioned increased tracker sensitivity, which should deliver better tracking. You’ll still find automatic workout detection, guided workouts, and Bixby integrations like being able to say, “I want to run 5 miles in 30 minutes,” and be coached with real-time insights throughout.
Pricing and Availability
The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is available for pre-order now with full sales starting September 27. It’s priced at $280 and $300 for the 40mm and 44mm aluminum Bluetooth variants, respectively. You get a free Wireless Charger Portable Battery from Samsung if you pre-order.
Availability and pricing for the stainless-steel LTE-connected Active 2 has yet to be determined and will be offered through the carriers supporting it — which are also yet to be determined.
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