The Galaxy Watch Active 2 smartwatch that Samsung unveiled on Monday looks a lot more like an Apple Watch successor than the sequel of the first-gen Active watch that debuted earlier this year. Seriously, it might as well be a round Apple Watch. But the new device starts at $279 for the cheapest option and is obviously compatible with Android phones as opposed to the Apple Watch, and it’s supposed to be even more sophisticated and appealing than its predecessor.
On the hardware front, the Tizen-based Samsung smartwatch offers a choice of sizes, including 40mm and 44mm. Those are, by the way, the same sizes as the Apple Watch Series 4, but Samsung’s went for a round watch face rather than a rectangle. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 also comes in two case versions, including aluminum and stainless steel, and there are plenty of band choices to choose from. Again, that all sounds quite familiar.
Running the show behind that AMOLED screen is an Exynos 9110 dual-core chip paired with 768MB or 1.5GB of RAM and 4GB of flash memory. The watch supports Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, NFC, and LTE. The heart rate monitoring system has also been improved, featuring eight photodiodes on the back as well as an electrocardiogram to support ECG (familiar?). Strangely enough, however, the ECG feature that’s also available on the Apple Watch isn’t expressly addressed in the press release, in spite of being listed on the specs sheet.
The sensors on the back take readings faster, Samsung says, “so you know you’re getting insights quickly to maximize your fitness routine and stay on track.”
The Galaxy Watch Active 2 tracks 39 types of workouts, of which seven are automatically detected, and it can deliver real-time running tips. Samsung says the watch monitors real-time stress levels and supports guided meditation with sleep integration. Cellular connectivity is also available on the Active 2, which means you can make calls directly from the device and enjoy other content including social activity and video playback — definitely don’t do that on a watch.
Finally, I’ve left what might be the Active 2’s best feature for last: the rotating bezel. The first model didn’t have this Galaxy Watch signature feature, but Samsung fixed that by adding a digital one to the Active series. That means the bezel doesn’t move, but it will detect both clockwise and counter-clockwise digital turns, which will let you navigate apps easier.
Announced a few days ahead of the Galaxy Note 10 launch, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 will hit stores in late September. It’s unclear whether the Note 10 will be bundled with the watch in any way, but we’ll find out more details later in the week.