Samsung refreshes wearables line, including new Galaxy Watch Active

Samsung logoAlong with the S10 smartphones and the new Galaxy Fold handset, Samsung officially announced new wearables in its Galaxy family at its Unpacked event today. Information that leaked just days ago about Samsung's own Galaxy Wearables mobile app has been proven correct, as Samsung showed off a new Galaxy Watch Active smartwatch, a Galaxy Fit tracker, and new true wireless earbuds called the Galaxy Buds.

Starting in the audio department, the Galaxy Buds are Samsung's latest entry in the cordless earphone market popularized by Apple's AirPods. Samsung says they get six hours of battery life on their own per charge, with an additional seven hours available through their charging case. That case supports wireless charging, and it can be powered by one of those new Galaxy S10 phones.

The company claims the Galaxy Buds' case is 30 percent smaller than that of its previous Gear IconX earbuds. Samsung's much-maligned Bixby assistant is built into the earphones by default, letting users perform some smartphone controls with their voice—send texts, answer calls, change songs, and more—but the earphones can also use Google Assistant. They connect over Bluetooth 5, and Samsung is touting easier connectivity with its own devices. The company says the Galaxy Buds' audio has been tuned by its AKG subsidiary, though we'll have to give them a listen before making any judgments there..

Galaxy Buds

The Tizen-toting Galaxy Watch Active has the same round case as previous Galaxy watches, but notably, no rotating bezel surrounds the 1.1-inch, 360x360 touch display. The company's previous watches (formerly known as Samsung Gear devices) had a portion of the case that users could rotate to interact with the UI when they didn't want to use the touchscreen. Samsung seems to have abandoned that idea in its newest smartwatches, focusing instead on a minimalistic look. Samsung did include two physical buttons on the smartwatch's case, though, so that tactile interaction isn't going away entirely. The device also has a 5ATM water-resistant design.

As its name implies, the Galaxy Watch Active was designed to track all-day activity, just like the Gear Sport did. Samsung didn't get into the specifics onstage, but if the Galaxy Watch Active replaces the Gear Sport in the company's lineup, it will likely track dozens of activities in addition to daily steps and sleep. The watch also has an embedded heart-rate monitor and GPS, making it on par with other fitness-capable wearables like the Apple Watch and Fitbit's Ionic.

The Galaxy Watch Active has an Exynos 9110 processor, 4GB of onboard storage, 768MB of RAM, NFC capabilities for contactless payments, and a 230mAh battery that supports wireless charging (yes, you can sit the watch on the back of the S10 smartphone and charge it up using the handset's reverse wireless-charging feature). Samsung also claims that the watch monitors blood pressure, but we're not entirely sure how that works.

Galaxy Watch Active

Samsung is taking the same approach as Fitbit does to wearables by providing users more than one option. Not everyone wants to wear a smartwatch, so Samsung introduced new Galaxy Fit bands for those users. The module includes a .95-inch AMOLED touch display, a heart-rate monitor, and NFC tech—but no mention of an onboard GPS. The design is also water-resistant, and its rubberized bands should make it a good workout companion. Samsung claims the battery inside the Galaxy Fit will help it last up to one week on a single charge.

Both the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit will monitor all-day activity and sleep, and they have multiple onboard workout profiles for exercise tracking. Both devices will also have a stress-management feature that encourages wearers to take a moment to breathe when tensions are running high.

The Galaxy Buds will arrive on March 8 for $129, though they'll come included with the Galaxy S10 phones that the company announced on Wednesday for those who pre-order before that date. The Galaxy Watch Active arrives the same day for $199, with pre-orders opening on February 21. The Galaxy Fit arrives May 31 for $99.

Galaxy Fit

Both the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit will monitor all-day activity and sleep, and they have multiple onboard workout profiles for exercise tracking. Both devices will also have a stress-management feature that encourages wearers to take a moment to breathe when tensions are running high.

The Galaxy Buds will arrive on March 8 for $129, though they'll come included with the Galaxy S10 phones that the company announced on Wednesday for those who pre-order before that date. The Galaxy Watch Active arrives the same day for $199, with pre-orders opening on February 21. The Galaxy Fit arrives May 31 for $99.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Samsung, smartwatch

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