Based on the latest leaks and industry whispers, it looks like the next Samsung smartwatch will be the Galaxy Watch Active 2 – not the Galaxy Watch 2.
Samsung only launched the original Galaxy Watch Active back in February this year, so it would be an interesting move to dish out an upgrade so soon. In our full review, we gave the Watch Active a higher rating than the Galaxy Watch, so the prospect of an update – with even more features packed into its affordable and more compact body – is certainly intriguing.
Essential reading: The best smartwatches to buy 2019So, what do we think we know about the upcoming Samsung smartwatch? Here’s a run down everything that has leaked out so far.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: DesignOur first big indication that the Active 2 is incoming came courtesy of the usually very reliable folks at Sammobile who managed to get hold of some pictures it believed was the new smartwatch.
In the series of alleged images (which you can see above), we can see a bezel-less watch with the words, ‘Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2’ on the display. The other big hint towards this being a new Watch Active and not a Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 as previously rumored, is the smaller stature and the distinct lack of a bezel. Samsung decided to ditch its signature rotating bezel on the first Active, which it’s fair to say was something we were a bit disappointed about.The pictures appear to indicate that we can expect some hardware changes including a now rectangular back button and a home/power button that appears to show off a red ring. There’s no indication whether that red ring signals a new feature or it’s purely a cosmetic change, but that is an approach that Apple adopts to denote when its watch packs in LTE connectivity (more on that below).
Picture credit: Android HeadlinesThen a very legitimate looking render turned up courtesy of the folks at Android Headlines, which appears to confirm that name once again. It also shows off a leather strap as opposed to the silicon kind that came with the first Active. It also shows off that red ring around one of the buttons, which was shown off in the first set of leaked pictures. The data on the watch face doesn’t give too much away in terms of features with confirmation it seems that a heart rate monitor will be on board once again.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: FeaturesLike all of Samsung’s smartwatches, we fully anticipate it to run on its own in-house Tizen OS. But what else can we expect?It sounds like there will be two model sizes, much like the flagship Samsung Galaxy Watch. One of those models is expected to offer LTE connectivity and the other to offer Wi-Fi connectivity only. Both will apparently run on version 1.5 of Samsung’s One UI. That’s the company’s mobile-centric interface, which first made the leap onto Samsung smartwatches on the first Active.Those first round of images from Sammobile appear to show the presence of a microphone in between the two physical buttons with speaker grilles on the opposite side of the watch casing, which may indicate that Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant will be on board too.
The big headline feature though could be the introduction of ECG for clinical-grade heart health monitoring to match the Apple Watch Series 4. That information also comes courtesy of Sammobile. Bringing an electrocardiogram to the wrist would enable users to capture more serious heart rate data, which can then be shared with physicians to offer insights into health-related issues. Like Apple, Samsung will need to get the necessary regulatory approval to roll a feature like this out. We’ll be intrigued to see whether this will be available when the new watch launches.The Active 2 will also apparently be able to offer atrial fibrillation notifications by monitoring heart rate rhythms in the background. Again, this is something Apple is offering through multiple models of its smartwatch.The Apple mirroring won’t end there, either, with a fall detection feature also tipped to be included. This means that the watch can detect when the wearer has experienced a hard fall activating an alert and even contacting emergency services or assigned emergency contacts.If Samsung is ready to go down the health monitoring route, we sincerely hope it does a better job than it did with the blood pressure tracking feature it promised with the first Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. This was meant to offer the ability to take blood pressure readings without the need for the cuff-style setup you’d normally use. Except a lot of people (including ourselves) had problems getting the feature to work at all.On the battery front, we believe that the Galaxy Watch Active 2 LTE model will have a 340mAh battery while the Wi-Fi only Watch Active 2 will pack in a smaller 237mAh battery. Clearly that bigger battery is needed to accommodate that extra connectivity support in the LTE version. Either way, it looks like we can expect a little bump up in battery capacity compared to the Galaxy Watch Active, which made room for a 230mAh battery.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Price and release dateWhen will the Galaxy Watch Active 2 launch? As we said, the first Active only launched a few months back so dropping another one before the end of 2019 would be an odd move. But the amount of information that has dropped over the last few weeks and months suggests we may be edging closer to that launch.
We may well see the new watch at Samsung’s next Unpacked event, which takes place on 7 August, where Samsung’s next Note smartphone is likely to be hogging the limelight. Maybe a new smartwatch will share some of that attention next month, too.