Gadgets for humans

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active 2 brings ECG tracking and LTE connectivity

It also gets a haptic-feedback bezel


Samsung doesn’t slow down. It’s only been half a year since Samsung announced the Galaxy Watch Active, but it’s already getting ready to release the Active 2. It’ll start at $280 when it launches on September 27, but Samsung is keeping the earlier model around at a lower price.

If you’re not familiar with the original Galaxy Active, it’s a smartwatch running on Samsung‘s proprietary Tizen Wearable OS – you won’t see Google’s Wear OS here. Still, Samsung has built up a fair number of apps for its smartwatches, as well as custom health features. Considering most people seem to end up using their smartwatches for fitness, music controls, and notifications, you shouldn’t be missing too much over Wear OS.

There was just one big problem with the original Active: it didn’t have a rotating bezel. That has been a key feature of Samsung‘s smartwatches for years, making UI navigation simple and precise in a way a touch screen just doesn’t live up to. That feature is back on the Active 2… but with a twist.

Instead of a physically rotating bezel, it uses a touch-sensitive strip with haptic feedback. That seems unlikely to provide the same mechanical satisfaction of Samsung‘s other models – not to mention it likely won’t work with gloves on – but it’s better than nothing.

Bezels aside, Samsung says it’s improved the health sensors on the Active 2, most notably adding an ECG (electrocardiogram) sensor like the Apple Watch. The watch also now comes in an LTE version. On the software end, fashionistas can now create custom watch faces that match your outfit by snapping a photo on your phone, and you can now use real-time voice and text translation over 16 languages.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is available to preorder in 40mm ($280) and 44mm ($300) sizes starting September 6, and will be released September 27. The LTE version will be available from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon on the 27th as well.

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Published August 5, 2019 — 18:15 UTC