Wearables are a booming market, and we’re moving into a regular update cycle for devices with new processors and software being updated all the time. Samsung’s tonight taken the wraps off the follow-up to its impressive Galaxy Watch Active, bringing some welcome upgrades and refinements to what was already one of the best wearables on the market.
The Galaxy Watch Active 2, as you might not be surprised to learn the new device is named, retains the original’s focus on fitness tracking but adds a touch-sensitive digital rotating bezel (a feature some complained was missing from the original) and LTE e-SIM connectivity. It now comes in two sizes with a choice of finishes and strap materials.
You can now choose between 40mm and 44mm watch face screen diameters, and with the digital rotating bezel there’s a little more screen to see on the front. Both models take standard 20mm interchangeable bands, and Samsung’s got plenty on offer.
One of the things we liked about the Watch Active was the design of the buckle on the default pack-in band, which fastened flatter than most others on the market and made for a more comfortable experience wearing the watch in an office environment, at rest in front of the keyboard. The same buckle design makes a welcome comeback on Watch Active 2 as well.
Physically the watch body is now aluminium or stainless steel, with the former matched to a fluoroelastomer band and the latter leather. Importantly, the LTE model is only available in stainless steel. There’s multiple colours in the range, but Australia’s only got black and gold available for launch.
Fitness tracking has become the cornerstone feature of wearable devices, and the Watch Active 2 can track 39 workouts with running, walking, cycling, rowing machine, elliptical machine and dynamic workouts tracked automatically.
Galaxy Watch Active 2 has a Heart Rate Monitor with 8 photodiodes and an ECG sensor on the back for tracking how you’re body responds to a workout, and there’s independent location sensing on board with GPS/GLONASS/Baidu/Galileo (phew! try saying that ten times fast) ensuring the watch can track your location.
Samsung also knows that users change their watch face to match their outfit, and the Watch Active 2 has a new adaptable face design with a feature named My Style. You can take a photo of your outfit with Samsung’s Wearable companion app and it’ll pick dominant and complimentary colours and update your watch face accordingly.
Prices will range from $549 for the Bluetooth-only version up to $799 for the largest 44mm display with LTE compatibility. We’ve a little while to wait until a local launch though, with local availability set for October 8.