Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review: A year later, the Active 2 is the smartwatch it promised it could be

It took a calendar year, but Samsung’s Galaxy Enjoy Active two ultimately will get its extensive-awaited electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), just like the Apple Enjoy ($430 at Amazon), the Fitbit Feeling and Samsung’s latest Galaxy Enjoy three. The $249 (£249, AU$549) Galaxy Enjoy Active two launched in 2019 but its flagship health and fitness aspect wasn’t turned on nonetheless. Now the ECG application has gained Food and drug administration clearance in the US and you can expect it to roll out shortly in the new Samsung Well being Monitor application. I am going to update this critique, at first revealed in September 2019, when I’ve experienced a prospect to check the ECG.

The Active two has a brilliant, round AMOLED touchscreen, comes in two sizes (40mm and 44mm) and has a Bluetooth or LTE alternative. It has enhanced coronary heart-level tracking about the initial Galaxy Enjoy Active ($168 at Amazon) and is suitable with Android and iOS, though you really don’t get all the options if you pair with an Apple iphone. The check out also has built-in GPS, so you would not want to choose your mobile phone with you on runs to observe distance and route specifics.

I’ve been wearing the more compact 40mm Bluetooth Active two to observe my workouts and my rest, and I’ve been amazed with the outcomes. If you’ve just purchased the initial Galaxy Enjoy Active, there just isn’t more than enough right here to warrant an enhance. But for any person new to the earth of Samsung smartwatches or coming from the initial Galaxy Enjoy ($219 at Amazon) and looking for a slimmer different, it has a great deal to offer you. Thanks to the new aluminum and stainless-steel finishes, moreover more health and fitness-tracking options, the Active two is a lot far more comparable to the Apple Enjoy Sequence six than previously Samsung watches.

The bezel is back

The initial Galaxy Enjoy, launched in 2018, experienced a actual physical rotating bezel you could flip to change options. I observed it really addictive because it gave a satisfying “simply click” when you turned it and it was a speedier way to navigate than relying on the touchscreen by yourself. This year’s Galaxy Enjoy Active shed the bezel and you experienced to use the screen and buttons as a substitute.

Samsung will have to have listened to my cries, as the Active two gives you the best of both equally worlds. Instead of a actual physical dial, you operate your finger all-around the edge of the screen to scroll by way of menus with the contact bezel. Haptic feed-back will make it (virtually) truly feel like a genuine dial, though often it took me an further consider or two to get it to sign-up my contact. The Active two I gained for critique failed to occur with the contact bezel activated, so you could want to go into the options, find the state-of-the-art segment and switch it on.

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The contact bezel allows you operate your finger about the edge of the screen to simulate turning a wheel.


Angela Lang/CNET

Right after a number of days of dress in, I am amazed with how Samsung has enhanced the suit and truly feel of the check out about past generations. The 40mm edition fits nicely on my more compact wrist and the metal complete appears to be like top quality compared with the initial Galaxy Enjoy Active. The aluminum edition is accessible in black, silver or pink gold with a synthetic rubber strap, while the stainless-steel edition comes in a silver, black or gold complete, with a leather band. The LTE edition is only accessible in stainless steel.

The colour AMOLED screen is brilliant and simple to see in immediate solar, as extensive as you have the brightness cranked up to its most. And now the Active two makes use of Gorilla Glass DX Moreover as a substitute of Gorilla Glass three, which means it must stand up to far more bumps and scratches than its predecessor. It can be rated IP68 or 5ATM for h2o resistance, the same as in advance of.

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The aluminum complete on the 40mm check out.


Angela Lang/CNET

Exercise tracking provides finesse, ECG is TBD

If you’ve utilized any past Galaxy Enjoy there will be no surprises right here when it comes to health tracking. You can nevertheless observe about 39 workouts and see the breakdown of your knowledge in the Samsung Well being application or straight on the check out encounter by itself. I nevertheless really don’t feel the Samsung Well being application offers your knowledge as nicely as competitors like Fitbit do (it can be just so a lot simpler to visually interpret your training knowledge in the Fitbit application, for case in point).

The Active two will get an up-to-date working mentor, which gives you audio and visible cues by way of 7 diverse working programs, from light jogging to stamina working.

It seems great in principle. But on my operate I was shocked at how effectively it labored, as extensive as you can get past listening to the robotic Bixby voice. Connect some Bluetooth earbuds and you can expect to be equipped to listen to the guideline in your ear, along with any songs you may well have taking part in, or you can use the check out speaker to listen to the prompts.

The mentor tells you to velocity up or slow down based mostly on your present-day speed and it even gives you semimotivational feedback ranging from, “How are you experience?” to, “Try out to smile if you can,” which was similarly infuriating and hilarious during the house stretch of my operate.

Would I use it far more than when or 2 times? Likely not in its present-day point out. What I appreciated most was remaining equipped to listen to my regular coronary heart level and my speed immediately after every single mile, but I would want to be equipped to change the voice and personalize the prompts it gave me to make it really helpful.

Though the working mentor could be a choose-it-or-go away-it aspect, I observed the most handy health aspect was basically the enhanced coronary heart level watch. With a full of eight LEDs on the back to measure your pulse, the coronary heart level watch is now far more correct during workouts than the initial Galaxy Enjoy Active, which only experienced four LEDs. I am a major admirer of checking my coronary heart level during cardio-based mostly routines this kind of as spin course or working and observed the readings on the Active two up-to-date a lot speedier during a training than the past edition. I have not nonetheless examined the check out in opposition to a upper body strap watch to review outcomes.

As of September 2020, the Galaxy Enjoy Active two has gained an update to give it some of the same options as the newer Galaxy Enjoy three: state-of-the-art working metrics, a measure of VO2 max and trip detection.

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The back of the Galaxy Enjoy Active two.


Angela Lang/CNET

On top rated of the current routines the past check out could autodetect, like working and cycling, the Active two provides swimming to the combine, bringing the full selection of workouts it can autodetect to 7. Like the initial Active, it does stress tracking and rest tracking. The Active two also now has menstrual tracking and you can log your cycle from the Samsung Well being application. And to enable motivate you to meet up with your exercise ambitions every day, the Active two encourages you to shut every section of a coronary heart graphic, like the ring-based mostly process utilized on the Apple Enjoy.