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Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active can now detect swimming and a low heart rate

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A new update brings several UX and UI changes

Samsung has rolled out an update for its Galaxy Watch Active smartwatch that is full of tweaks and improvements. Of those changes, the most notable one is that the watch can now automatically detect when you’re swimming and begin tracking your water-based exercises, via Android Central. There’s also a new feature that can alert you if your heart rate remains under a user-specified beats per minute value for 10 minutes.

Bixby plays an equally big role in this new update: Samsung says that its digital assistant can now help out with several hands-free tasks, like offering “customized exercise routines,” presumably by learning from what activities you usually do. Bixby can now also control SmartThings-compatible connected devices, like smart plugs, light bulbs, and cameras, through voice commands directly from the watch.

One of the Galaxy Watch Active’s major flaws is that it lacks the rotating bezel that made previous Galaxy Watch models a joy to use. To make matters worse, the software forced users to swirl their fingers around the perimeter of the display, as if to mimic the rotating bezel. The update removes that gesture and allows users to more easily spin through the app tray by horizontally swiping across the screen.

Lastly, a small, but welcome change is that the watch’s Goodnight Mode has been reworked. It now has its own bespoke view with relaxing colors, and instead of barraging you with unnecessary bed-time details, like step count, the only data point it shows is the time.

Ticwear 2 gif Mobvoi

A recent rumor from Sammobile claims that Samsung may soon unveil the Galaxy Watch Active 2, and that wearable is said to feature a touch-sensitive bezel. That might not be as fun to use as one that actually rotates and clicks, but it’s a better solution than what’s found on the current Galaxy Watch Active, which is neither.