The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 was released last year, yet Samsung’s promised heart-tracking EKG feature is still not available to help it compete with the Apple Watch in the US. Instead, Samsung has just released a new update to the watch that adds features that debuted in the newly released Galaxy Watch 3 to the less expensive Active 2 — including the long-rumored fall detection feature which could help if you trip and get seriously injured.
When the Galaxy Watch 3 released last month with the expensive starting price of $399 compared to the Galaxy Watch Active 2’s $250 price, it added some fitness features that turned out to be hit or miss, as my colleague Dan Siefert pointed out in his review (it’s a recurring problem in Samsung wearables). Now, you’re getting some metrics like “asymmetry,” “vertical oscillation,” and “contact time” to help analyze your running form and a measurement of your maximum oxygen. They’re not the EKG you’ve been waiting for, but adding these features to Samsung’s older and cheaper model is a good entry point for people interested in testing out some of Galaxy Watch 3’s new fitness smarts.
Fall detection is a major feature that the Apple Watch has had since 2018; it’s a practical feature for users wearing the watch because if you fall and seriously injure yourself, say if you twist your ankle and can’t get up, the watch can detect the fall and ask if you need to reach one of your emergency contacts.
Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 is a successor to the original Galaxy Watch (yes, there was no Galaxy Watch 2), adding a thinner, lighter design from its predecessor, plus an OLED display with a rotating bezel. Alongside the previously mentioned new fitness smarts, the watch will soon allow you to monitor your blood oxygen levels. Even with the remaining exclusive features, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 already seemed like a better deal as of Dan’s review, and now it has a few extra new fitness smarts available.
Regardless of which wearable you buy, both are still missing EKG. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 technically has this feature available in Korea, but it’s still unclear if US users will ever gain access. Last month, the FDA confirmed that the Galaxy Watch 3 was cleared for EKG, but Samsung has yet to announce when it will be available.