The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a mild upgrade with a ‘digital’ bezel

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active only made its debut a few short months ago, in April. Just days ahead of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10‘s New York launch event, the Korean company has announced the smartwatch’s successor – the Galaxy Watch Active 2.

Despite the short turnaround between the first and second-generation Galaxy Watch Active, it looks as though Samsung has set about ironing out the creases that the press and users of the original model picked up on. For one, the Active 2 now features a bezel around its fractionally larger 1.2-inch circular OLED display. This bezel supports rotational input but unlike the standard Galaxy Watch, there are no moving parts here.

The Active 2 features a “digital” bezel that offers haptic feedback as you twist your fingers around it. This should ensure easier navigation compared to the original, however, concerns remain about further touch-based interactions once you’ve worked up a sweat – concerns that standard Galaxy Watch’s physical rotating bezel negate.

Aside from the new means of interaction, the Active 2 still possesses two physical buttons on its side – buttons that, depending on your choice of finish, also feature a touch of colour. The Active 2 has already been shown off in aluminium, complemented with silicone straps, but plans for a stainless steel model with leather straps and LTE cellular connectivity are also on the cards for a higher price and later arrival.

Related: Best smartwatches 2019

As for the colours, the aluminium casing will come in ‘Aqua Black’, ‘Cloud Silver’ and ‘Pink Gold’ options, while wrist straps will be available in matching colours along with brown, dark blue, and pink options. The stainless steel model will be available in black, silver or gold.

While the 1.2-inch circular display falls to the 40mm body model, for this second generation, Samsung is also releasing a version with a larger 44mm casing and a bigger 1.35-inch display to complement it (both sport a 360 x 360 resolution).

Water resistance up to 5ATM, IP68 dust and water ingress protection and MIL-STD-810G certification also feature.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 – New features

The Active 2 also features a new ECG (electrocardiogram) module and eight photodiodes (up from four) that’s supposedly more accurate for heart rate tracking than before. The addition of an ECG more closely matches the Apple Watch Series 4’s party piece. Samsung says the ECG functionality won’t be enabled at launch but will come later, however, because the feature requires FDA certification, which isn’t expected until early 2020.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 heart rate and One UI

Last year’s Active had a 230mAh battery and the same is true for the new 40mm version, while the 44mm model makes use of a larger 340mAh power source. The amount of storage and RAM (4GB and 1.5GB respectively) remains the same.

Beyond the new hardware, the Active 2 still runs on Samsung’s Tizen-based wearable OS with its One UI user experience on top. It offers deeper integration with Samsung’s own smartphones, making it easier to share content and data between the two, there are still 39 workouts to choose from as well as wellness tracking and third-party app support from the likes of Spotify.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 – Price and release

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 was unveiled on August 5, with US pricing cited at $279.99 for the 40mm version and $299 for the larger 44mm-bodied model. This roughly equates to £230 and £250 respectively but we’re yet to receive official international pricing from Samsung.

This also makes it markedly pricier than the original Watch Active, bringing it closer in price to its most prominent rivals.

Contrary to the rumours, no Under Armour-branded Galaxy Watch Active 2 or six-month inclusive subscription to MapMyRun have been announced.

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