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Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 adds ECG and a virtual rotating bezel

In an attempt to close its gap with the Apple Watch, Samsung has announced a new Galaxy Watch Active 2 barely six months after the original Galaxy Active was introduced early this year. Although it looks quite similar, the new Watch Active 2 brings back an old favourite feature and they have upgraded its health credentials with additional sensors at the rear.

The new smartwatch isn’t exactly a replacement and Samsung will still continue to offer the original Galaxy Active that’s currently retailing for RM799. The new Watch Active 2 is offered in two sizes – 44mm and 40mm. It’s also available in two different styles – aluminium with casual fluoroelastomer (FKM) band and premium solid stainless steel with a leather strap.

For the 44mm model, it features a 1.4″ 360×360 Super AMOLED display while the 40mm version gets a similar Super AMOLED display with a smaller 1.2″ screen that also comes with the same 360×360 resolution. The screens for both sizes are toughened with Gorilla Glass DX+.

The rotating bezel which is missing on the Watch Active is finally back on the Galaxy Watch Active 2. Instead of a physical rotating bezel, the new watch has a virtual touch interface which you can interact by sliding your fingers on the edges of the screen.

As you would expect, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a fitness-oriented device and it can track more than 39 workouts, and seven of them can be activated automatically. There’s an updated Running Coach that helps to monitor and motivate you to achieve your goals.

The new wearable also features a new array of sensors at the rear which includes a heart rate monitoring with 8 photodiodes, Electrocardiogram (ECG), Accelerometer (up to 32g of force), gyroscope and barometer. At the moment, the ECG feature isn’t activated and like the Apple Watch Series 4, it has to go through certification and approval before it is enabled.

The Watch has MIL-STD-810G durability certification and it is also water and dust resistant with IP68 and 5ATM rating (up to 50 metres deep). Another upgrade over the original Watch Active is Bluetooth 5.0 support, which should provide a more reliable connection with better battery life. The Watch Active2 also comes with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, NFC and there’s also an LTE version which is released for selected markets. Samsung Pay is also supported but via NFC only.

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In terms of battery, the 44mm model gets a 340mAh capacity unit while the smaller watch gets a 247mAh capacity. Samsung didn’t mention any battery life figures and the device comes with a magnetic wireless charger that uses WPC standard. As usual, it is compatible with both Android and iOS devices but it will work better on a Galaxy smartphone.

In the US, the Galaxy Watch Active2 is priced from US$279 (around RM1,170) which is higher than the previous Galaxy Watch Active US$199. The new watch is expected to be sold alongside the upcoming Galaxy Note 10.

Alexander Wong