UPDATE: A new report suggests that the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (the sports version of the Watch 2) could be announced as early as August 7. It also reveals that three versions of the fitness smartwatch will be available and they’ll have ECG tech built-in – although it might not be available until 2020.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch is one of our favorite wearables. In fact, at the time of writing it tops our best smartwatch list. However, it’s also coming up on a year old, so it’s just about due an update.
Not only that, but we’ve heard rumors of a new model and even have a good idea of when it might arrive.
Below you’ll find all the leaks and news that we’ve heard so far and further down there’s a wish list of all the things we want from the Galaxy Watch 2, to make it a worthy upgrade and a real rival to not just the Apple Watch 4, but also the inevitable Apple Watch 5.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Samsung’s next flagship smartwatch
- When is it out? Possibly August 7
- What will it cost? Likely at least $329 / £279 / AU$499
Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 release date and price
Our best guess for the release date of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 is alongside the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 on August 7 – that’s when latest rumors suggest the Galaxy Watch 2 Active will be announced, so it makes sense the smartwatch will be revealed alongside it.
For one thing, the original Galaxy Watch was launched alongside the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, but beyond that Samsung has suggested that we’ll see devices beyond a phone at the launch event. It hasn’t specifically named the Galaxy Watch 2, but it’s an obvious candidate.
Plus, leaked timeline documents also suggest the Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 will land in quarter 3 of 2019, meaning any time between now and the end of September, so August 7 would comfortably fit within that.
As for price, there aren’t any rumors there, but the original Galaxy Watch started at $329 / £279 / AU$499 (for the smaller 42mm version), so the Galaxy Watch 2 will probably cost at least that much.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 news and leaks
There aren’t many Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 rumors yet, but one source suggests that the wearable will come in two different sizes – a 44mm one and a 40mm one.
The original Galaxy Watch also came in two sizes, but they were 46mm and 42mm, so if true then the Galaxy Watch 2 might have been shrunk down a little, which is no bad thing, as the original was a hefty device in the larger size.
It has also been reported that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 is codenamed ‘Renaissance’. One definition of that is ‘rebirth’ or ‘revival’, which – while we might be reading too much into the name – could suggest big changes are coming to the design or features of the watch.
We’ve also heard some rumors about the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, which we mention here because it’s possible that the rumored features could actually be headed for the standard Galaxy Watch 2 as well or instead, especially as the original Galaxy Watch Active didn’t launch all that long ago, so we wouldn’t really expect a new model for a while.
The most exciting Galaxy Watch Active 2 rumor is that it will have an ECG (electrocardiogram), a feature which would let it monitor your heart’s rhythm and alert you to possible atrial fibrillation. In other words, it could be a life-saving feature.
However, the latest news suggest although the Galaxy Watch Active 2 will have an ECG feature, it might not be activated until 2020 – pending FDA approval.
The same source suggests fall detection could also come to the Galaxy Watch Active 2. This is another feature we’ve previously seen on the Apple Watch 4, and it would apparently let you call emergency services with a single tap if it detects a fall, and if the wearer doesn’t call or cancel the alert after a set period, it would automatically place the call, as well as sending a message to their emergency contacts.
We’ve also seen leaked images supposedly showing the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, and they come complete with some specs.
The design itself looks very similar to the original Galaxy Watch Active, just with a slightly different look to the power and back buttons.
The specs are more interesting though, with the wearable apparently coming in 40mm and 44mm sizes (as has been rumored for the standard Galaxy Watch 2 above), as well as apparently coming in a range of variations.
There’ll allegedly be an LTE version, a Bluetooth-only version and an Under Armour-branded version, which will apparently come with added sports-focused features.
The LTE model supposedly has a 340mAh battery, while the Wi-Fi version is said to be 237mAh. This information probably does genuinely refer to the Galaxy Watch Active 2, rather than the Galaxy Watch 2, assuming it’s accurate, as the design is closer to the Watch Active, and those battery sizes would be a downgrade on the 472mAh of the 46mm Galaxy Watch.
Still, with the rumored sizing of the Galaxy Watch 2 and Watch Active 2 being the same it seems Samsung might be looking to bring the two ranges closer together.
Since then an official-looking render of the Galaxy Watch Active 2 has also leaked, matching the design above. You can see this below. Given how much the Active 2 is leaking it looks increasingly likely that we might see it at the same time as (or before) the Galaxy Watch 2, despite it being less due a refresh.
Exclusive: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 Official Render Leak Confirms Rumors https://t.co/sZzUB5dVg4 .July 12, 2019
Finally, in the realms of unlikely but possible features, there’s a patent (spotted by Patently Mobile) for a Samsung wearable with a body composition feature that would use electrodes built into the strap to measure body fat percentage.
We doubt we’ll see this on the Galaxy Watch 2 though, as that isn’t specifically named in the patent, and patents often take a long time to turn into products – if they ever do.
What we want to see
While we don’t know a huge amount about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 yet, we do know what we want from it.
1. More third-party apps
The Samsung Galaxy Watch runs Tizen, rather than one of the big-name wearable operating systems, and one downside of that is that there are fewer apps available than you’ll find on Wear OS or watchOS.
So by the time Samsung launches the Galaxy Watch 2 we’d like to have seen it work with developers to get more apps on the platform, especially big name ones.
2. Better stress tracking
The Samsung Galaxy Watch tracks a lot of things and mostly does a good job, but stress tracking is definitely a weak link.
While it’s available, it required us to manually measure our stress levels rather than tracking them automatically in our tests (despite claiming that it can do it automatically), and its accuracy could be questionable, since the data seems mostly based just on heart rate. So we’d like to see this feature overhauled for the next model.
3. Group challenges
Competing with friends can be a big motivator to get more active and handily the Samsung Galaxy Watch lets you do this. Your friends don’t even need a Galaxy Watch of their own – a Gear watch or the Samsung Health app will do just fine.
However, you can only challenge friends individually, rather than having a group competition. It seems like this would be an obvious and easy feature to add, so hopefully Samsung will.
4. Compatibility with more wireless chargers
The Samsung Galaxy Watch charges wirelessly, but not just any wireless charger will do, you need a proprietary one that comes with it. This is inconvenient and if you’re ever without your charger means you’re likely to soon have a dead watch (though the Galaxy Watch at least has good battery life).
So for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 we want it to work with standard, everyday wireless chargers. That way if you’re at the office or a friend’s house without yours there’s at least a chance someone will have one you can borrow.
5. Big improvements to Bixby
Another downside of using Tizen rather than Wear OS is that the Samsung Galaxy Watch is reliant on Bixby rather than Google Assistant.
This is a problem, because Bixby is nowhere near as good as Google Assistant (or Siri or Alexa for that matter), with one particularly major issue being that it simply struggles to understand us on the Galaxy Watch.
While you don’t have to use Bixby to interact with the Galaxy Watch, it has the potential to be a major feature, but until it gets a lot better it won’t be.
6. An ECG
One of the big new features Apple added for the Apple Watch 4 was an ECG, a feature that lets it check for atrial fibrillation.
It’s a major upgrade and one we’d love to see Samsung match with its rival device. There have been plenty of rumors about such a feature, so this may well happen either on the Galaxy Watch 2 or the Galaxy Watch Active 2.
7. Wider LTE availability
There are versions of the Samsung Galaxy Watch that support LTE, but only on select networks, which won’t suit everyone. For the Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 we’d like to see an LTE model available on more or less all networks, so it’s an option for everyone.
Also Publish AT: http://www.techradar.com/news/samsung-galaxy-watch-2-release-date-price-news-and-leaks