If you're a true techie, you probably look forward to device updates and the release of new models. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active was released earlier this year and already we're being spoiled with a second edition, which is rather predictably named the Galaxy Watch Active 2. Now that it's available to purchase, it's time to answer one important question: Is it worth the upgrade? When it comes to new features, there's a lot to cover. If these are the improvements and features you've been waiting for, then it just might be worth upgrading.
There's a lot that these two smartwatches have in common, besides the name. They both are excellent for fitness tracking, heart-rate monitoring, have built-in GPS, receive smartphone notifications, and allow you to use Samsung Pay. However, some improvements make the upgrade to the Galaxy Watch Active 2 worth it.
For one, you'll have a new real-time electrocardiogram feature that helps to monitors irregular heartbeats. We should note that this feature isn't be available just yet, so stay tuned for more details on when that's going to be rolled out. There's also a more accurate LED-based heart rate monitor, an advanced accelerometer, and improved GPS.
|Active 2 (40mm)||Active|
|Display||1.2-inch Super AMOLED||1.1-inch Super AMOLED|
|Dimensions||40 x 40 x 10.9mm||39.5 x 39.5 x 10.5mm|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, LTE (select models)||Bluetooth4.2, Wi-Fi b/g/n|
|Water resistance||Up to 50m||Up to 50m|
|Battery Life||2 days (varies by model)||2 days|
|Sensors||HRM, electrocardiogram (ECG), accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, ambient light sensor||HRM, accelerometer, barometer, gyroscope, light sensor|
Let's not forget about the most crucial change: optional LTE connectivity. The new edition still receives notifications from apps on your phone, but the LTE model specifically has enhanced support for apps like YouTube and Twitter. This means you can watch video clips and interact with tweets right from your wrist without having to connect your phone. Of course, you'll also be able to make calls and send and receive texts with this feature, all without having to trot your phone around with you on workouts.
Did we mention that the rotating bezel feature is finally here and it's better than ever? One of the most significant upgrades is the new digital rotating bezel that allows you to seamlessly navigate the Active 2 interface while maximizing the screen size. It's located directly on the AMOLED screen without any clunky moving parts to worry about. You can turn it both clockwise and counter-clockwise to advance screens and select apps. This feature is no longer exclusive to the second edition, though. More on that later.
There aren't many changes when it comes to fitness and health tracking. However, the improved Running Coach feature now offers real-time pace metrics. You'll get a breakdown of what to expect from your workout session before you begin. Whether you're walking, jogging, or running, the feature coaches you with audio cues that can be heard through the watch speaker or Bluetooth headphones.
What's the same?
It's worth noting that the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 was initially marketed as a long-awaited solution to the missing bezel on the original Watch Active. For users who loved the original device but were still longing for a rotating bezel function, their prayers were answered. As you'll note in our initial Galaxy Watch Active 2 review, the capacitive bezel was one of the major highlights of the new device.
However, the latest update now makes this once-unique feature available on the predecessor as well. Unless you're thinking about investing in the Watch Active 2 for the larger 44mm size option, the soon-to-be ECG feature, or the LTE connectivity, it's hard to imagine why you'd spend so much more on the successor. You still get all the same tracking and smartwatch features that are available on the original watch, after all.
Many of the features that made the Watch Active 2 special are now available on the original Watch Active.
The update does more than introduce the capacitive bezel to the Galaxy Watch Active. The original Watch Active now have the 'My Style' function as well, which allows users to customize watch faces to match their outfit. Additionally, once the update is downloaded, users will be able to take fuller advantage of what Bixby offers, which includes the ability to use Bixby Voice to start exercise routines. Many of the features that made the Watch Active 2 special are now available on the original Watch Active.
Finally, the activity tracking mostly remains the same on this new edition. It can still track over 39 workouts, monitor sleep patterns, and help manage stress along with guided meditation. As you can see, the Galaxy Watch Active is still an excellent wearable and a worthy competitor, but the new edition does offer some extra perks to a specific audience.
Should you upgrade?
If all of these improvements and features are speaking directly to you, then the upgrade is certainly worth it. You'll also have two different size options: 40mm and 44mm. The larger size is great for those with bigger wrists, and it boasts a gorgeous 1.4-inch display. There are also two different styles: lightweight aluminum with a soft fluoroelastomer band and premium solid stainless steel with a leather strap.
If you've been anxiously awaiting an LTE-friendly fitness smartwatch and you're already comfortable with the Galaxy ecosystem, the upgrade makes sense. You'll enjoy some of the other new perks that it comes with as well, like the ECG feature, improved sensors, and a larger size option, to name a few.
When you compare these two models, you may find yourself leaning toward the feature-packed Active 2. You'll appreciate all the new updates and the thoughtful attention to the details that matter most. We'd recommend going for it if you're one of the many customers who was left feeling less than satisfied with original Galaxy Watch Active. Those who are content with the original Galaxy Watch Active might not find the upgrade to be worthwhile.
The price of the new smartwatch varies by the model you choose. The 40mm aluminum Bluetooth-only edition is the most affordable of the bunch. When you opt for the larger 44mm or add LTE connectivity, the price will go up from there. The LTE edition is available to purchase at major retailers such as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon.
Filling in the blanks
No more FOMO
This beautiful smartwatch may look similar to the original, but it's bringing a lot more heat. Passionate athletes won't want to pass on the new ECG, improved sensors, or the LTE connectivity.
OG fitness smartwatch
Stick to the basics
For those who miss the rotating bezel and have been waiting for an LTE version, it might be time to part with the Galaxy Watch Active. However, if you're content with the original, why pay more to upgrade?
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