If you’re reading this article, that means the Galaxy Watch Active 2 from Samsung has officially been unveiled. Unlike many tech writers out there, I wasn’t privileged enough to spend some hands-on time with the new watch. That being said, I have been able to collect a bunch of information on the latest smartwatch out of the Galaxy manufacturer, so here’s what you need to know about it.
In a nutshell, this gadget looks pretty solid. I’m not sure if it can reach Apple Watch-levels of greatness, but it could get pretty close.
Familiar Looks, Just Better
First up, the design. We’ve seen Samsung make circular smartwatches in the past, and the Galaxy Watch Active 2 carries that tradition. The device pushes the screen closer to the edge thanks to a thinner surrounding bezel. The watch is available in both 40mm and 44mm sizes, just like the Apple Watch Series 4.
Depending on whether you opt for the Bluetooth-only version or the one equipped with LTE, you’ll get a Galaxy Watch Active 2 made of aluminum or stainless steel. At least in these press renders, the stainless steel looks pretty slick so I can imagine it being pretty popular when it launches.
As far as colors go, Samsung offers Cloud Silver, Aqua Black, and Pink Gold with the aluminum models. Meanwhile, the stainless steel range gets Silver, Black, and Gold finishes.
Bezel Controls Are Back
One of the biggest advantages of owning a Galaxy Watch in the past was having access to a rotating bezel, allowing you to control what was on the screen without having to actually touch the screen. For some God-awful reason, Samsung got rid of that with recent versions of the watch. But with the Galaxy Watch Active 2, that feature comes back, just with a different implementation.
Instead of a physical rotating bezel, the bezel around the screen is touch-sensitive, allowing for the same type of functionality and control as you had before. You can open apps, scroll through lists, zoom into maps, and more with the bezel that, notably, is juuust thick enough so that you aren’t touching the screen itself when you use it. I know there are plenty of people out there who swear by this feature so I’m sure they’ll be thrilled it made a comeback.
Specs Should Suffice
Under the hood of the Galaxy Watch Active 2, Samsung packs in enough silicone that should sufficiently perform well. inside, there’s an Exynos 9110 dual-core processor along with 768MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. if you get the LTE model, you get 1.5GBB of RAM, likely to accommodate for the added horsepower necessary to power the cellular radios.
Above those internals, there’s a 360×360 Super AMOLED display that should look pretty stellar. Samsung’s usually good at developing some mean-looking OLED panels, and I can’t imagine the Galaxy Watch Active 2 looking anything less than great.
Battery-wise, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 comes with a 247mAh cell in the 40mm model and a 340mAh cell in the 44mm model. I didn’t spot any battery life estimates from Samsung themselves, so I’m gonna have to test the watch out myself to see how long it can actually last.
Upgraded Software with a New UI and Outfit-Matching Clock Faces
As is the case with every new smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 comes with upgraded software. Samsung is still using its proprietary Tizen OS in this case, but it blends in its One UI that first hit Galaxy phones as a part of Android Pie. The UI has been refined and improved to better support tiny screens. Meanwhile, new built-in apps like Spotify and YouTube (yes, that YouTube) let you consume content with ease.
Also like many new smartwatches, the Active 2 comes with a suite of new clock faces. There’s also a new feature called My Style. Simply take a photo of your outfit with your phone and the Galaxy Watch Active 2 will collect color information and add it to a custom watch face. This way, your watch will match your outfit every day of the week. I’m not sure that I’d do it every day, but I’d probably use this feature a few times a week if I wanted to look extra classy.
New Health Features, Including EKGs (in the Future)
One of the most important parts of any smartwatch is the fitness side of things, and this is where a solid portion of the Galaxy Watch Active 2’s upgrades live.
According to Samsung, the new watch can track more than 39 different workouts using its built-in apps. There’s a running coach to help keep tabs on your pacing, real-time stress level information, meditation sessions, sleep tracking, and more. It also has automatic workout detection. This way, if you’re running, walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, on an elliptical, or performing a “dynamic” workout, your watch will automatically detect that you’re getting in shape and begin tracking your progress.
Samsung even added additional health sensors on the back of the Active 2 that the company says are capable of capturing EKGs. this feature won’t be available at launch, but the OEM hopes to roll it out in the future.
A Tad Expensive
With any premium watch, you’re gonna have to pay for it. It’s the same case with the Galaxy Watch Active 2. Samsung is charging $279 for the 40mm aluminum version and $299 for the 44mm aluminum model. That isn’t exactly cheap, but it isn’t as expensive as the Apple Watch Series 4 which starts at $379. Overall, considering this watch works with both Android and iOS, I can imagine it being a popular alternative to the Apple Watch. That is, if it winds up being any good.
Samsung will launch the Galaxy Watch Active 2 on September 27th. The LTE model will land later on. Preorders will include a free Wireless Charger Portable Battery. If you want one, you’ve gotta order early.
What are your thoughts on the Galaxy Watch Active 2? Is it something you’d be into? Would you leave your Apple Watch for it? Leave a comment below!