Preorders for Samsung’s newest smartwatch start Sept. 13 for less than $300, but it might take a while to get FDA clearance.
Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy Watch Active 2 smartwatch just six months after the Galaxy Watch Active was released at the Galaxy S10 event in February, and two days before its expected Note 10 launch event. It’s not common to get a sequel in the same year as the original, but Samsung is bending the rules. Just like the company’s Note phone and Galaxy S phones have two different launch cycles, so too do Samsung’s watches. The Active 2 may cost $80 more that the first-gen Galaxy Watch Active ($279 for the cheapest 40mm non-LTE version vs. $199 for the original), but it definitely seems like the better deal. Though they look similar, the Active 2 has more features. It has new ECG sensor (which isn’t medically cleared yet), improved heart rate and an accelerometer. There’s an LTE option (price pending), and it brings back the spinning outer dial that we loved on older Galaxy watches. But in this watch it’s a haptic-response touch bezel instead of a physical one.
The newest Active watch goes on sale Sept. 13, likely right up against the next expected Apple Watch, and Samsung will continue to sell the discounted Active until further notice.
A few design upgrades on the Active 2
The Watch Active 2 is a bit bigger and thicker than the Watch Active, but it now comes in two sizes: 40mm ($280) and 44mm ($300) models. It still manages to be more compact than the 2018 Galaxy Watch, which Samsung is also going to keep selling alongside these models. It comes in black, silver, gold and “lily gold,” which replaces the green option in the previous model. You’ll also have the choice between an aluminum frame with rubber straps or a stainless steel frame with leather straps.
I wore the Watch Active 2 in both sizes and peeked at the LTE model. Aside from these small changes, it still has the same appeal as the original: It’s compact, well-built, minimal and attractive.
I like the haptic touch bezel more than a physical bezel
Using the new touch-sensitive edge controls on the Active 2, I could swipe around easily with minimal finger motion. Of course, you can also just swipe the screen, making the edge control a bit redundant. But the edge control feels easier for certain tasks. The haptics are nice and strong, and the clicking feel gives some solid feedback to make it feel “real.”
Samsung’s built an electrocardiogram into Watch Active 2, which will allow timed one-lead readings of heart rate and heart rhythm to spot for possible arrhythmia, much like the Apple Watch Series 4. Note that doctors in the US usually call these EKGs, rather than ECGs, but it’s the same thing.
The feature isn’t active on the watch, or medically cleared yet, so it’ll essentially be useless for most people for the time being. Samsung is inviting medical institutions to start doing research with it, but there’s no concrete timeline for an official launch or for any kind of FDA clearance.
Revamped heart rate and fitness
Samsung’s moving from four to eight LEDs in its optical heart-rate monitor on the new Watch Active 2 models. There’s also a new accelerometer that measures 32G of force, vs 16G on the older model. According to Samsung this will allow the watch to detect heart rate data faster and yield more accurate results. This upgrades seem similar to what Apple did on the Apple Watch Series 4 last year, which made the fall detection feature possible. But Samsung hasn’t explained how these improvements will come into play in fitness and health tracking on the Active 2.
The added LEDs on the heart-rate sensor could be helpful for Samsung’s research into blood-pressure tech, though. While Samsung hasn’t revealed any results from its ongoing blood-pressure study with UCSF, My BP Lab, Samsung executives admitted adding additional LEDs could improve future blood-pressure measuring efforts, and the company remains confident that FDA clearance for blood-pressure tech could come sometime in the near future.
Samsung’s also added new coaching features, including a real-time running coach that measures pace. I didn’t get a chance to test that in my brief demo in a conference room, but I’ll report back when I do.
LTE model has a stainless steel design
Samsung’s LTE-enabled Watch Active 2, much like other cellular-equipped Samsung smartwatches, should work standalone for core features including calls and notifications. Apps such as Spotify will be able to stream music over LTE, and you could potentially even watch a movie trailer on Youtube on your wrist with no phone involved.
Google Translate comes aboard
Samsung’s including Google Translate on the Watch Active 2, a tool that’s new to Samsung smartwatches, but one that was already available on Google’s Wear OSwatches. Frankly, all things Google Assistant would be better than Bixby, and the more Samsung allows, the better off the Watch Active 2 will be.
The watch matches your shirt
Samsung’s added a “My Style” feature that will take a photo of your clothing (a tie or a pair of socks, for example) and generate a set of unique watch face wallpapers to color-match. I was oddly charmed by it. As much as I like finding new watch faces to add, I get bored quickly and picking a new color scheme is fun. This feature should be on all smartwatches.
Apps will use a single sign-in
The Watch Active 2 still runs Tizen OS, Samsung’s software and app ecosystem that stands alone from Google’s Play Store and Android, but it’s getting a bit better in this model. Samsung won’t require you to sign in to apps on the watch that you’ve already signed in to on your phone, which is one of my biggest pet peeves about previous models.
We’ll probably know more about the Watch Active 2 at Samsung’s Unpacked event this week. And we’ll be back with a review as soon as we can get one on our wrists for more than a half hour.
LG WING: THE PRICE TAG OF THE NEW ROTATING-SCREEN PHONE HAS BEEN REVEALED
Earlier last week, the South Korean company unveiled its wild smartphone LG Wing. We learned everything about the device except for the most important thing – its price tag. Today, the company finally decided to announce the price of the smartphone.
LG WING: THE PRICE TAG OF THE NEW ROTATING-SCREEN PHONE HAS BEEN REVEALED
As suggested by many publications, the device will cost almost $1000, or more precisely, $940. LG Wing will launch in South Korea next month, with other markets to follow, according to new information.
It is interesting that some publications, including Korean ones, considered that the price tag is quite “budgetary”, given that we have a product that has no alternatives. By the way, the manufacturer decided not to accept pre-orders for the device.
LG plans to run an active promotional campaign throughout October, which will allow customers to receive a 70% discount coupon for screen replacement within two years of purchase.
The main feature of the LG Wing is its secondary screen. The main display is hinged and can be rotated 90 degrees, opening, if necessary, a second screen. The second display, in turn, is fixed in one place and hidden behind the first screen.
To reinforce the design of the smartphone, the company used a special design using hydraulic dampers for greater strength.
Recall that LG Wing is the first smartphone from the new line of LG Explorer. The company decided to spend more effort and money on expanding the number of unusual smartphones.
LG WING SPECIFICATIONS
- 6.8-inch (2440 × 1080 pixels) Full HD+ 20.5: 9 aspect ratio P-OLED display, 3.9-inch (1240 x 1080 pixels) 1.15:1 G-OLED second screen
- Octa Core (1 x 2.4GHz + 1 x 2.2GHz + 6 x 1.8GHz Kryo 475 CPUs) Snapdragon 765G 7nm EUV Mobile Platform with Adreno 620 GPU
- 8GB RAM, 128GB / 256GB storage, expandable memory up to 2TB with microSD
- Android 10
- 64MP rear camera with LED flash, f/1.8 aperture, OIS, 13MP 117° ultra-wide lens with f/1.9 aperture, 12MP 120° ultra-wide Gimbal mode Camera with f/2.2 aperture
- 32MP pop-up front-facing camera with f/1.9 aperture
- In-display fingerprint sensor
- USB Type-C audio
- Dimensions: 169.5 x 74.5 x 10.9 mm; Weight: 260g
- MIL-STD 810G Compliance, Water and Dust Resistance (IP54)
- 5G SA/ NSA, Dual 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.1, GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, NFC, USB Type-C
- 4000mAh (Typical) battery with Quick Charge 4.0+ 25W fast charging, 10w wireless charging
The LG WING comes in Aurora Gray and Illusion Sky colors and will roll out in South Korea starting from October followed by key markets in North America and Europe.
IPHONE 12 MINI COMING WITH A 5.4-INCH OLED DISPLAY
If you’re an Apple enthusiast, then you’ll maybe living the strangest of September. It’s a very unusual month for a very unusual year in light of the ongoing pandemic. The fact is, that all fans waiting for an iPhone release this month will have to wait until October as the company couldn’t finish the new smartphones in time for the usual schedule. We have been waiting for a new set of iPhone 12 devices and now, there’s some light for the upcoming small model with 5.4-inch.
According to a new leaker (via), the smallest iPhone will be called the “iPhone 12 Mini”. Interestingly enough, the leakster states that the device previously called “iPhone 12 Max” will now launch as “iPhone 12”. As we can see, Apple is moving down the smartphones by introducing a new naming scheme for the smallest device. It’s not a big surprise, after all, the company is planning four new devices for this year’s release. For that reason the company is introducing the fourth device with a new name.
Worth noting that the “Mini” naming is not entirely new for the Cupertino-based firm. It already uses the Mini in the iPad and Mac computer lineups. The company even unveiled iPod Mini models in the past. So it’s not so shocking to see an iPhone 12 Mini, even though this suffix has taken several years to reach the smartphone lineup. The company will likely keep the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max suffixes for the upcoming models with 6.1-inch and 6.7-inches. These names were introduced last year with the iPhone 11 lineup.
A14 BIONIC, 5G CONNECTIVITY, 60HZ REFRESH RATE AND SMALLER NOTCH
All the new iPhone will debut with the company’s first 5nm chipset the Apple A14 Bionic. The gains in performance are incremental, but we can expect a massive boost in energy consumption. Apart from the power-efficient chipset, they will also be the first iPhones to surf on the blazing fast speeds of 5G networks.
Unfortunately, Apple will not surf on recent trends like that one asking for high-refresh rate displays. All the new iPhones will pack 60Hz refresh rate OLED screens. However, they are said to sport smaller notches to allow more status icon at the display’s top. It will be the first time we see the company making adjustments in the wide notch introduced with the iPhone X. Unfortunately, the new devices are said to not come with a charging brick. This certainly will enrage some users.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Price, Release Date, and Specs
The 5G-ready Galaxy Z Fold 2 is Samsung’s third attempt at a foldable smartphone since the release of the Galaxy Fold in the spring of 2019 and the Galaxy Z Flip in February of 2020.
- The foldable smartphone starts shipping on September 18 with a $1999 price tag.
- The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is available for pre-order from Samsung’s website.
- It comes in two colors: bronze and black. The hinge is available in metallic red, silver, gold, and blue.
- A stylish Thom Browne Edition is available.
Galaxy Z Fold 2 Features
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 offers an array of improvements compared to the original Galaxy Fold. Here’s what you need to know.
- Glass screen folds like a book.
- The camera has a hands-free option, where you can wave your hand to take a picture.
- The screen emits reduced blue light, so its easier on your eyes.
- No notch and slim bezels—just a tiny punch hole for the camera—make for more screen real estate.
- Has a Hideaway Hinge for a streamlined look.
- 120 Hz refresh rate on the main screen.
- Samsung’s improved AI saves battery life.
- Wireless charging support.
- Comes with an array of VIP benefits (scroll down to learn more).
Galaxy Z Fold 2 Specs and Hardware
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 improves upon its predecessor in many ways, including upgrading from a plastic to a glass display, adding a more reliable hinge, and removing the thumb-shaped notch.
The glass display should be more conducive to folding and unfolding than the original Fold’s plastic one. Speaking of folding, Samsung’s Flex mode lets you fold the smartphone and lock the screen at any angle. The hinge is strong enough to stay open at a variety of angles so you can stand it up to watch a movie, have a video chat, or take photos using a hand gesture, for example.
This smartphone has app continuity when folding and unfolding, so your work or play isn’t interrupted. You can use two apps on the smaller cover screen, and three on the main screen using the split-screen feature.
Users can launch up to 3 supported apps simultaneously and save the layout, so those apps will appear just like that every time you start up the phone.
There are two cool camera features too. Photo-takers can use the Cover screen to show a preview of camera shots to their subjects. Auto framing keeps your subjects centered and in focus, and widens and narrows the view as people enter and leave the scene.
Finally, its larger, 7.6-inch main screen has a 120 Hz refresh rate, which is excellent for gaming.
|Galaxy Z Fold 2 Specs-at-a-glance|
|Operating System||Android 10|
|Dimensions (Folded)||6.26 by 2.67 by 0.6 inches|
|Dimensions (Unfolded)||6.26 by 5.04 by 0.27 inches|
|Screen Size (Folded)||6.2 inches|
|Screen Size (Unfolded)||7.6 inches|
|Screen Resolution||2260 by 816 pixels (inner); 2208 by 1768 (outer)|
|Camera (Front)||Dual 10-megapixel lenses|
|Camera (Rear)||Triple 12 megapixel lenses|
|Hardware/chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ 12GB RAM|
|Battery Size||4500 mAh|
Galaxy Z Premier Perks
Galaxy Z Premier is Samsung’s VIP club for foldable phones. The smartphone includes Galaxy Z Concierge, which offers 24/7 support and a discounted screen replacement if you damage it within a year of purchase.
Other benefits include a membership to Founders Card, an organization for entrepreneurs, a prepared meal from a Michelin starred restaurant, access to participating golf and country clubs across the U.S., and more. Samsung continually adds benefits to the program.
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