“The Watch Active2 is available in two dial sizes and strap options, plus an Under Armour edition”

With smartwatches finding it difficult to entice users with their smart capabilities, manufacturers are now turning towards fitness-centric features to attract buyers. That’s why we’re seeing a rise in the fitness tracker segment, and the emergence of smartwatches that are focusing on better fitness tracking. Samsung’s latest Galaxy Watch Active2 is one such device, which is enriched with this functionality. Just as the Galaxy Note 10 siblings (first impressions) were hogging the limelight at the Galaxy Unpacked event, tucked away in a little corner was the latest wearable from Chaebol. And after spending a few minutes with it, here’s how I’ll describe my first impressions.

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The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 isn’t much different from its predecessor in terms of design… all thanks to its circular dial up front. It’s available in two sizes of 40mm and 44mm. But that’s not the only option, you can also chose between one that sports an aluminium dial paired with a Fluoroelastomer band, or one that offers stainless steel dial which is paired with a leather strap. I got the former to test out, and found it extremely comfortable to wear. The clasp mechanism is quite good too and makes it easy to adjust the band’s tightness on your wrists.

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Tipping the scales at up to 42g (depending upon the size and variant you opt for), the Galaxy Watch Active2 doesn’t seem to bog down your hand. The watch is extremely durable too, as it comes with IP68 protection as well as MIL STD-810G compatibility.

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The rotating bezel has been among the signature features of Samsung’s smartwatches, but was noticeably missing from the Galaxy Watch Active. It’s making a comeback with the Watch Active2, and in a better avatar. It’s now digital and hence is part of the screen itself. Of course, you can continue to navigate the device by rotating it clockwise or anti-clockwise, but there’s no denying the fact that this implementation looks aesthetically pleasing while providing an immersive experience.

The 40mm Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 bears a 1.2-inch display, whereas the bigger version features a 1.4-inch screen. Both models offer Super AMOLED displays with a resolution of 360 x 360 pixels. They also get a layer of protection in the form of Corning Gorilla Glass DX+. Towards the right of the watch, you’ll find two buttons, giving you the ability to return to the homescreen or the previous screen, respectively. Speaking of that, it’s interesting that you have the option of interacting with the device via the rotating bezel or touchscreen.

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Inside the Galaxy Watch Active2 ticks Samsung’s Exynos 9110 dual-core chipset which is clocked at 1.1GHz. It’s paired with 768MB RAM (1.5GB RAM in case of the LTE variant), and the combination seems to be solid enough for ensuring a smooth user experience. The internal storage on the smartwatch stands at 4GB.

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Of course, as I had stated in the beginning, the biggest highlight of Samsung’s newest smartwatch is its fitness-oriented capabilities. It comes with a slew of sensors, including a heart-rate monitor, ECG, Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Barometer. All these help in tracking over 39 workouts, with the device automatically recognising activities like walking, running, cycling, and swimming among others. Then there’s an integrated running coach which helps you achieve your goals. The Watch Active2 can also measure your stress levels and help you do guided meditation with the popular app dubbed Calm. It also boasts enhanced sleep tracking that recognises four stages of sleep.

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Along with the connectivity options like Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi and NFC, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is also available with support for LTE. It also offers Samsung’s trademark features such as SmartThings, Samsung Pay, etc. Thanks to wireless charging support, it can be juiced up using the latest handsets from the Korean giant which boast Wireless PowerShare feature, apart from the bundled charger and other wireless chargers.

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Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active2 will be going on sale in the United States next month with a starting price of $279 (approx. Rs 20,000). The company has also announced an Under Armour Edition, which has been priced at $309 (~Rs 22k). Sadly, the smartphone maker has refrained from sharing any launch timeframe for the Indian market, and since the Watch Active arrived in the country not so long ago, we might have to wait a bit.

Disclosure: this writer attended Galaxy Unpacked in New York on Samsung India’s invitation