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Samsung adds One UI and battery boosts to Galaxy Watch and Gear smartwatches

samsung galaxy watch active
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung has announced a software update for the Galaxy Watch, Gear Sport, and Gear S3 smartwatch lineup that will not only bring the new One UI interface first seen on the Galaxy Watch Active, but it will also deliver battery life enhancements, as well as improved health and fitness features.

Updated interface

The latest software update, available now, adds Samsung’s One UI, a simplified and colorful interface unveiled last year, and until now, available only on the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active model. One UI is designed to ease navigation and decrease watch face clutter for more intuitive operation. Simplified visual settings let you more easily customize and control the watch. It’s the same design theme as the interface on Samsung’s latest smartphones, so Samsung’s wearables and phones will feel and look more unified.

The updated interface also features new advanced settings, including enabling and disabling Touch wake-up, controlling the frequency and timing of Daily briefing updates, and a more flexible Goodnight mode control. New watch faces that were only available for the Galaxy Watch Active are also now available for these three models from the Galaxy Store.

Battery optimizations

The update also adds better battery optimization — the watches will automatically close apps operating in the background to prevent battery drain. You can also customize battery saving settings, such as by adjusting brightness and screen timeout for better performance.

Health and fitness features

samsung galaxy watch active
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Alongside the interface updates, Samsung is enhancing health and fitness features too. There’s now a Daily Activities screen, which shows a daily summary of calories, movement, and workouts. Workout tracking has been streamlined, making it faster and easier to select both on the widget and in Samsung’s Health app. And data is now continuously synced from watch to the paired smartphone for easy tracking — including a new tracker for outdoor swimming, which is available only on the Galaxy Watch. You’ll also see more vibrant animations accompanying the achievement of goals.

For the Galaxy Watch, Samsung has improved heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking, too. A High Heart Rate Alert pings you if your heart rate exceeds a set level, while the sleep tracker update shows the wearer’s average sleep range compared with others in an age group.

Samsung said the update rollout for each product will vary by region, so the new features may not be available for all watches everywhere at the same time.

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