Samsung has rolled out an update for its Galaxy Watch Active smartwatch that is full of tweaks and improvements. Of those changes, the most striking is that the watch can now automatically detect when you are swimming and you can follow water-based exercises via Android Central. There is also a new feature that can alert you if your heart rate remains below a user-specified number of beats per minute for 10 minutes.
Bixby plays an equally important role in this new update: Samsung says that its digital assistant can now help with various hands-free tasks, such as offering "custom training routines," probably by learning what activities you usually do. Bixby can now also control SmartThings-compatible connected devices, such as smart plugs, light bulbs and cameras, via voice commands directly from the watch.
One of the biggest shortcomings of the Galaxy Watch Active is that it lacks the rotating ring that made earlier Galaxy Watch models a pleasure to use. To make matters worse, the software forced users to move their fingers around the perimeter of the screen, as if they wanted to imitate the rotating ring. The update removes that gesture and allows users to scroll through the app drawer more easily by swiping the screen horizontally.
Finally, a small but welcome change is that the Goodnight mode of the watch has been revised. It now has its own customized image with relaxing colors, and instead of betraying you with unnecessary details before bedtime, such as the number of steps, the only data point that it shows is time.
A recent rumor from SamMobile claims that Samsung will soon unveil the Galaxy Watch Active 2 and that wearable is said to have 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 we find on the current Galaxy Watch Active, which is neither.