Filling in the blanks

Galaxy Watch Active 2

OG fitness smartwatch

Galaxy Watch Active

Sometimes upgrades miss the mark. Fortunately, that's not the case with the Galaxy Watch Active 2. It improves existing sensors with faster and more accurate readings plus adds some other new perks that fill in the blanks left by its predecessor.

$280 at Samsung

Pros

  • Optional LTE
  • Digital rotating bezel
  • Improved sensors
  • Built-in GPS

Cons

  • Questionable battery life with LTE model
  • More expensive, especially with LTE

The Galaxy Watch Active is still an impressive smartwatch. It's got all the features you'd expect, like built-in GPS, activity tracking, heart rate monitoring, Samsung Pay, smartphone notifications, and more. It's also less expensive.

$200 at Amazon

Pros

  • Built-in GPS
  • Great fitness tracking
  • More affordable option

Cons

  • Lacks rotating bezel
  • Less stylish than Active 2

If you're a true techie, you probably look forward to device updates and the release of new models. It's only been a few months since Samsung gave us the Galaxy Watch Active, but we're gearing up to receive the second edition in September, which is predictably named the Galaxy Watch Active 2. 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's worth it.

What's new?

Pictured: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, 40mm

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 won't be available at launch, so stay tuned for more details on when to expect that. 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
Operating System Tizen Tizen
Notifications ✔️ ✔️
Built-in GPS ✔️ ✔️
NFC Payments ✔️ ✔️
Electrocardiogram ✔️
Optional LTE ✔️

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.

One of the most significant upgrades is the new digital rotating bezel.

Did we mention that the rotating bezel feature is finally back 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.

Activity tracking remains the same on this new edition. It can track over 39 workouts, monitor sleep patterns, and help manage stress along with guided meditation. 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.

With all that said, the Galaxy Watch Active is still an excellent wearable, but this new edition certainly has its perks.

Should you upgrade?

Pictured: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

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.

For those who are content with their original Galaxy Watch Active, the upgrade might not seem worthwhile. However, 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 digital rotating bezel, to name a few.

When you compare these two models, it's only natural to lean 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.

Pre-orders for second edition will begin on Sept. 6 via Samsung with sales starting on Sept. 27. The company is sweetening the deal by offering consumers who pre-order the Galaxy Watch Active 2 a free wireless charger portable battery. The price of the smartwatch will start at $280 for the aluminum Bluetooth-only edition, but it can go up from there based on which size and style you choose. The LTE edition will be available at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon starting Sept. 27.

Filling in the blanks

Galaxy Watch Active 2

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

Galaxy Watch Active

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?

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.