Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review: A year later, the Active 2 is the smartwatch it promised it could be

It took a year, but Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active 2 finally gets a long-awaited electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), just like the Apple Watch. ($ 399 at Apple), To Fitbit sense And latest of samsung Galaxy watch 3. The $ 249 (£ 249, AU $ 549) Galaxy Watch Active 2 was launched in 2019 but its flagship health feature was not yet operational. Now the ECG app has received FDA approval in the US and you can expect it to roll out in the new Samsung Health Monitor app soon. I will publish this review originally in September 2019, after originally getting a chance to test ECG.

The Active 2 features a bright, rounded AMOLED touchscreen, which comes in two sizes (40 mm and 44 mm) and has a Bluetooth or LTT option. It has improved heart rate tracking compared to the original Galaxy Watch Active ($ 169 on Amazon) And is compatible with Android and iOS, although if you pair together you don’t get all the features Iphone. The watch also has a built-in GPS, so you won’t need to take your phone with you to track distance and route details.

I have worn the smaller 40mm Bluetooth 2 Active to track my workouts and my sleep, and I have been impressed with the results. If you have just purchased the original Galaxy Watch Active, here is not enough to warrant the upgrade. But for newcomers to the world of Samsung smartwatches or for anyone coming from the first Galaxy Watch ($ 215 on Amazon) And looking for a slimmer option, it has a lot to offer. Thanks to the new aluminum and stainless-steel finish, plus additional health-tracking features, the Active 2 has a lot more than that Apple Watch Series 6 First sees Samsung.

Bezel is back

Real Galaxy watch, Released in 2018, was a physical rotating bezel that you can change to change settings. I found it highly addictive because it gave a satisfying “click” when you turned it on and it was a faster way to navigate than relying on the touchscreen alone. This year’s Galaxy Watch Active lost the bezel and had to use the screen and buttons instead.

Samsung must have heard the sound of my cry, because the Active 2 gives you the best of both worlds. Instead of a physical dial, you move your finger to scroll through the menu with a touch bezel on the edge of the screen. The haptic feedback makes it (almost) feel like a real dial, though sometimes I need an extra effort or two to get it to record my touch. The Active 2 review did not come with the touch bezel active for me, so you may need to go into settings, find the advanced section, and turn it on.

Touch bezel lets you move your finger along the edge of the screen to bend a wheel.

Angela Lang / Tips Clear

After a few days of wear, I’m impressed by how Samsung has improved the fit and feel of the watch over previous generations. The 40mm version fits well on my short wrist and looks metallic finish premium compared to the earlier Galaxy Watch Active. The aluminum version is available in black, silver, or pink gold with a synthetic rubber strap, while the stainless steel version comes in a silver, black, or golden finish with a leather band. The LTE version is available only in stainless steel.

The color AMOLED screen is bright and easy to see in direct sunlight, as long as you have the brightness crank up to its maximum. And now the Active 2 uses the Gorilla Glass DX Plus instead of the Gorilla Glass 3, meaning it should stand up to more bumps and scratches than its predecessor. It is IPAT or 5ATM rated for water resistance, the same as before.

Aluminum finish on 40mm watch.

Angela Lang / Tips Clear

Fitness tracking adds finesse, ECG is TBD

If you have used any previous Galaxy Watch, there will be no surprise here when it comes to fitness tracking. You can still track more than 39 workouts and see the breakdown of your data in the Samsung Health app or directly on the watch face. I still don’t think the Samsung Health app presents your data as well as competitors like Fitbit Do (for example, it’s so easy to visually interpret your workout data in the Fitbit app).

Active 2 gets an updated running coach, which gives you audio and visual cues through seven different running programs ranging from light jogging to endurance running.

It sounds very good in theory. But on my run I was surprised at how well it worked, as long as you can get past by listening to the sound of robot Bixby. Connect some Bluetooth earbuds and you’ll be able to listen to the guide in your ears, along with any music you play, or you can use a watch speaker to listen to the signals.

The coach asks you to speed up or slow down based on your current pace and even this prevents you from commenting “How are you feeling?” , “Try to smile if you can”, which was equally ugly and hilarious during my run home stretch.

Will I use it more than once or twice? Probably not in its current state. What I loved the most was being able to hear my average heart rate and my pace after every mile, but I would like it to be able to change the sound and adapt the signals that helped me to be really helpful .

Although the running coach may be a take-it-or-leave-it feature, I found that the most useful fitness feature was actually better heart rate monitoring. With a total of eight LEDs on the back to measure your pulse, heart rate monitoring is now more accurate during workouts than the original Galaxy Watch Active, which only had four LEDs. I am a big fan of monitoring my heart rate during cardio-based exercises such as spin classes or running and found that the readings on Active 2 updated much faster during the workout than the previous version. I have not yet tested the clock against the chest strap monitor to compare the results.

As of September 2020, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 has been updated so that it can be given some features as new Galaxy watch 3: Advanced Running Metrics, VO2 Max and a Measure of Trip Detection.

Behind the Galaxy Watch Active 2.

Angela Lang / Tips Clear

On top of current practice the previous clock can autodetect, such as running and cycling, Active2 adds swimming to the mix, autodating the total number of workouts to seven. Like the first Active, it performs stress tracking and sleep tracking. Active 2 now also has menstrual tracking and you can log your cycle from the Samsung Health app. And to help motivate you to meet your exercise goals each day, Active 2 encourages you to close each segment of the heart graphic, such as the ring-based one used on the Apple Watch System.

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