Samsung had a big Wednesday by any definition; the company unveiled no fewer than four Android flagships, all introduced as part of the long-anticipated Galaxy S10 series, and accompanied those with three wearables – the Galaxy Buds wireless earphones, Galaxy Fit band, and the Galaxy Watch Active, a high-end wearable with a plethora of features, varied iterations, and a self-explanatory moniker.
No such thing as product generations, apparently
The follow-up to last year's Galaxy Watch range surprisingly isn't meant to be an outright replacement for that lineup; while Samsung officials appear adamant to avoid direct comparisons, the company still appears to be viewing the 2018 family as a more premium option. That's also evidenced by the fact there's between $130 and $200 worth of difference between the two, depending on the exact models being compared.
The Galaxy Watch Active is available for pre-orders as of right now directly from Samsung.com and most other country-specific versions of the South Korean tech giant's website. It's priced at $199.99 and placing an advanced order on it by March 7 will net you a free Wireless Charging Pad from the company, regularly priced at $49.99. A pre-order incentive worth a quarter of what's on offer is an above-average deal in terms of value, especially seeing how Samsung wasn't particularly generous with such bonuses throughout the majority of 2018. The promise of a free wireless charging pad only applies to the United States, though most Samsung subsidiaries are presently running similar promotions.
The Galaxy Watch Active is scheduled to hit stateside store shelves on March 8. Samsung's latest wrist-worn gadget will be carried by all of the company's long-term partners in the country, including the majority of the wireless industry.
Something for everyone…
Samsung is positioning the newly unveiled smartwatch as the ultimate catch-all gadget; it packs most of the features of the Galaxy Watch, a thinner body, a clean — or, better said: even cleaner — design that's extremely personalization-friendly, and the very same Tizen operating system that remains one of the main selling points of smartwatches envisioned in Seoul. The firm's message is relatively straightforward: this is a fashionable product that can do pretty much anything for anyone and won't ask them to break the bank in exchange. One look at all those watch faces, official bands, and body variants, and it's easy to see where the company is coming from.
Blood pressure monitoring is touted as another key feature of the latest wearable range, though it will initially only be available as a beta service in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Singapore, Australia, and Germany, starting March 15 when the My BP Lab app offering that integration will become available for download. Samsung integrated most of its artificial-intelligence tech into the Galaxy Watch Active range, including Bixby, though the Tizen 4.0 version of the assistant remains entirely optional, as was the case so far.
Automated fitness tracking is still as robust as any solution devised by Fitbit, Apple, and Samsung's other rivals, having been designed to deliver a seamless experience to anyone willing to embrace Samsung's ecosystem. That isn't to say the Galaxy Watch Active doesn't work well with third-party handsets but being able to use it to control your TV, refrigerator, and speaker while simultaneously barking commands at your phone and ultimately having it charge by resting on top of the Galaxy S10 is a level of convenience unlike anything else currently offered in the segment, or at least that's what Samsung's marketing department is saying.
… except the most demanding of users
The timing of the Galaxy Watch Active lineup's release indicates Samsung may still be preparing to revise the ultra-premium part of its portfolio that's hardly threatened by this new debut.
The smartwatch range lacks built-in GPS capabilities and while it does have NFC, its uses appear to be limited for the time being. The electronics juggernaut also avoided embracing Bluetooth 5.1 or even just 5.0, so the line is stuck on the 4.2 version of the specification; hardly a big deal now but it does make it much less future-proof. The 230mAh battery also isn't anything but average, though at least the Galaxy Watch Active still offers 5ATM water resistance and 4GB of flash storage. Its 768MB of RAM amounts to nothing particularly praiseworthy, though.
Samsung's newest gadget will be offered in Silver, Black, Rose Gold, Sea Green along with a broad range of bands but certain variations may be limited to select markets.