The new Galaxy S10 smartphones are  official, and the company also unveiled its first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold. Along with the smartphones, Samsung also unveiled the Galaxy Buds truly wireless headphones, the Galaxy Fit fitness and activity tracker, and the Galaxy Watch Active smartwatch. I had some time to play with the Galaxy Watch Active at the launch event, and here are my first impressions.

New design, minus the rotating bezels

The Galaxy Watch Active sees a radical design change compared to Samsung’s previous smartwatches. The company has ditched the rotating bezel which was once the highlighting feature of the smartwatches. Instead, the new watch comes with a touch-based gesture navigation interface.

The frame is made from stainless steel, and there are two buttons on the right – the top one is the back button, whereas the bottom one is the menu button. Unlike the Gear Sport and Galaxy Watch, the Watch Active has circular buttons. It has a diameter of 40mm, and the straps (20mm) are replaceable.

Turning to the back, you have the heart rate sensor, and it can also measure blood pressure, but in select countries. Sadly, India isn’t one of them, mostly due to lack of approvals, just like Apple Watch Series-4.

As mentioned above, the gesture interface lets you access widgets by swiping from the right to the left, whereas left to right lets you access notifications. A swipe from top to bottom reveals quick toggles for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Flight Mode and so on.

Display and specifications

The Galaxy Watch Active comes with a circular display of 1.1-inch, and it is an AMOLED panel. It has a 360×360 pixels resolution, and is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. There are, however, thick bezels around the display, which makes the display look small. It could have been better if Samsung had offered a bigger display in small form factor by reducing the bezels, just like Apple did with the Watch Series 4.

Powered by an Exynos 9110 SoC, and 768MB RAM, the smartwatch has an internal storage of 4GB. To keep things ticking, there is a 230mAh battery which Samsung claims to offer a battery life of up to two days. It comes with wireless charging which lets you charge the smartwatch using wireless reverse charging on the Galaxy S10.

And just like other smartwatches, Samsung has also added 5ATM (50 meters) certification for water and dust resistance. Software wise, you have Tizen OS with new color icons to go well with the One UI theme, which does look refreshing.

Activity tracking

Just like any other fitness tracker, the Galaxy Watch Active too can track up to 39 exercises. So whether you are doing squats, plank, crunches, walking, running or jogging, it can track those activities. There is also built-in GPS and gyroscope allowing you to track and log your workout on a map.

There is heart-rate monitor that constantly monitors your heart rate. You can also deactivate the real-time monitoring if you want to conserve battery. Lastly, it can also track your sleeping patterns, meaning the Watch Active can track the hours you slept for, deep sleep and light sleep, among other patterns.

Initial impressions

The Galaxy Watch Active is priced at $199 in the US, which is approximately Rs 14,200 in India. Of course, after taxes, the pricing will be a bit higher in India, and it remains to be seen how aggressive Samsung can price the new activity tracker. It is sleek, slim, and looks. Just like the previous smartwatches, this could be an affordable option for those who are looking for style and fitness tracking in one package. 

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