Samsung’s Unpacked 2019 event occurred today, with the company unveiling all of its latest phones, wearables, and accessories. Their latest and most affordable smart watch, the Galaxy Watch Active, didn’t get quite the full amount of attention it deserved on stage today. So here are some extras you may have missed.
Sorely downgraded charger
Samsung used a variety of cost cutting methods to bring the Galaxy Watch Active to the $200 price point. Among these, our Abner Li noted in his hands-on time today that the charger displayed with the Galaxy Watch Active appears to be of lower quality than that of the original Galaxy Watch.
In particular, the new charger is much smaller and sits flat, compared to the previous dock-style Galaxy Watch charger. Additionally, where the dock-style charger allows for swapping the USB cable should you want or need a new (longer) one, the charger displayed with the Galaxy Watch Active today is permanently attached to the cable.
When asked about whether or not this would be the charger shipping with Galaxy Watch Active devices next month, the Samsung representative at the event wasn’t sure but said that it most likely is. We’ve reached out to Samsung for further clarification on this point.
In the US, if you preorder the Galaxy Watch Active (preorders open tomorrow), Samsung is offering a free additional wireless charging pad. Which exact one hasn’t been confirmed, as the deal is not live, but Best Buy indicates that the charger will be worth $59.99, which points to Samsung’s 9W Qi compatible charger.
For those preordering the Galaxy Watch Active in the UK, however, Samsung has really sweetened the deal by offering a free battery pack with wireless charging support. The battery is, of course, able to charge the Galaxy Watch Active and likely also the S10. It’s not clear yet if the battery is Qi compatible.
So many colors!
Samsung is offering the Galaxy Watch Active in four colors — Black, Silver, Rose Gold, and Sea Green — though it seems the Silver may be exclusive to Best Buy in the US. Samsung’s watch bands are available in the same colors, with an additional four colors — Orange, Light Blue, White, and Yellow (to match the S10e and Galaxy Buds) — available separately.
Should none of Samsung’s standard band colors suit your fancy, the Galaxy Watch Active is compatible with almost any 20mm watch band.
Blood pressure monitoring details
CNET notes that the Galaxy Watch Active’s My BP Lab blood pressure monitoring is made possible through Samsung’s partnership with University of California, San Francisco. This partnership has already shown (via VentureBeat) results before in the form of an Android app of the same name that took advantage of the light sensor found in Galaxy S9 and Note 9 phones.
The Galaxy Watch Active’s version of My BP Lab will have a beta launch starting March 15th, or a week after release. During the beta, My BP Lab will only be available in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Australia, and Singapore.
New version of Tizen
According to VentureBeat, the new watch is also running the as yet unreleased version 18.104.22.168 of Samsung’s Tizen OS. Among other things, the update seems to bring some new watch faces from Samsung.
Previously, when using one of Samsung’s smart watches, most scrolling and navigation was handled by the signature rotating bezel. As the Galaxy Watch Active’s bezel is locked in place, Tizen’s navigation needed to be redesigned. A brief glimpse into that can be seen in a hands-on video from The Verge, which shows tapping once to select something on screen and tapping a second time to confirm your selection.