Samsung Gear 2 review

Samsung Gear 2 review

T3 3
  • Can Samsung's second-gen smartwatch turn this fledgling piece of wearable tech into a must-have? Find out in our Samsung Gear 2 review

    It's fair to say, we were't overly impressed by the original Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch. But, not one to give up, Samsung is back with Samsung Gear 2 that lands with a new svelte design and a new operating system.

    Since the original, the latest Gear now faces competition from the updated Sony Smartwatch 2, the Pebble Steel and a raft of fitness bands that track how far from the sofa you've moved and how much cake you've eaten.  

    Samsung has followed its smartphone "every screen-size available"  ethos with it's smart watched by also launching the Samsung Gear Fit and Samusng Gear 2 Neo.

    Does the new Gear offer more than all the rest? Is it a good update and should you be wearing one on your wrist? Read on.

    Samsung Gear 2: Size and build

    The Samsung Gear is a cross between the all metal look of the Pebble Steel and the plastic feel of the Sony Smartwatch 2. It's a great design. If Samsung placed the design-traits of the Gear 2 into the Samsung Galaxy S5, it could take on the HTC One M8 in design terms.

    The aluminium face remains as does the clasp and the plastic wrist-strap although, thankfully, this can now be changed. Having said that, the our-of-the-box strap is a step-up from the original.

    WATCH: Samsung Gear 2 unboxing and first impressions video


    A great update is that the bulbous camera, that was previously housed in the strap, has been outed in favour of a sensor built-in to the aluminium watch-frame. Samsung has also moved the home button from the side of the watch to the front -  much like the home button on its smartphones.

    When it comes to vital statistics, it's 5g lighter than the original Gear and 1mm thinner. Small changes that make a big difference. Another update is that the new Gear is now waterproof. An essential, in our opinion.

    Another bug-bear of ours with the original was the, frankly, huge charging case. This time round. it's much smaller and clips on to the back rather than around the whole device.

    It might be too big for some but all-in-all the updates to the Gear have made for a much more svelte and slender smart watch that we'd happily wear everyday.

  • Samsung has dropped the 'Galaxy' moniker from its smartwatches but what else has changed? Find out in our Samsung Gear 2 hands-on review

    Samsung has unveiled a range of wearables at MWC, and the Samsung Gear 2 was perhaps the most widely anticipated. As well as a sleeker look and feel, the Gear 2 (which was previously thought to be called the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2) and sister Samsung Gear 2 Neo are also the first to be based on the Tizen based wearable platform – so are they the shape of things to come?

    Launced alongside the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Samsung Gear Fit, the new smartwatch is launching less than a year after the original Samsung Galaxy Gear hit the shops.

    Samsung Galaxy Gear 2: Size & build

    The Gear 2 won’t shock those who’ve seen the first-gen Gear, exact dimensions are 36.9 x 58.4x 10.0 mm. It weighs in at 68g, a decent amount of heft that’s missing from its lighter and cheaper sibling the Neo. The plastic watchband is more robust than designer, although the band butterfly clasp is nicely detailed. Overall it’s a solid design that should pass muster anywhere.

    WATCH: Samsung Gear 2 hands-on video:

    Visuals-wise, you’ve got a vivid 1.63-inch Super AMOLED (320 x 320) screen that zips and pops with colour, backed by a 1.0 GHz Dual Core Processor that’s more powerful than some budget phones. A 2.0 Megapixel Auto Focus camera is stashed in the watch itself, rather than overtly on the strap as in the original Gear.

    Samsung Galaxy Gear 2: Features

    There’s plenty to talk about here, with a new Heart Rate sensor, pedometer and a much wider range of coaching support than before. The HR delivered a verdict of 89BPM for our tester, which seemed more accurate than the S5 – we’ll be conducting some serious testing of these in due course. A standalone fitness manager means that there’s no need for a phone to be connected for the coaching to function in real time.

    All the Samsung wearables are IP67 rated, so splashes and dust ingress shouldn’t land you with a lightweight brick. There’s also Bluetooth Call, Camera, Notification (SMS, E-mail, Apps), a Media Controller, Schedule, Smart Relay, S Voice, Stopwatch, Timer, and Weather alerts.

    There’s a standard 22mm lug gap so users can customise with standard watch straps, and there’s a huge range of strap colour options; including Charcoal Black, Gold Brown and Wild Orange for the Galaxy Gear 2, as well as the ability to customise the home screen background, clock face and font to reflect your own personal taste.

    Samsung has added an IrLED sensor to the mid-front of the watch, which functions as a universal remote for TVs and set-top boxes. A standalone music player which syncs with Bluetooth headsets means that even if you leave your smartphone at home, you can still enjoy your music when you are out and about.

    Samsung Galaxy Gear 2: Screen

    The Gear 2 screen is updated to a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED (320 x 320) panel, which delivers in spades. Colours really pop, and scrolling through the standard wallpapers really brings the screen to life. You can add any background you’re snapped via the camera or a connected Samsung phone, so colour-coordination need never be an issue again.

    Samsung Galaxy Gear 2: Apps

    Samsung has promised 100+ apps at launch, including Strava, eBay and PayPal. With the three devices now in the market it’s fair to assume there'll be more developers on board shortly.

    Samsung Galaxy Gear 2: Battery

    The Gear 2’s battery is a Li-ion 300mAh number that Samsung claims will deliver typical usage time of 2 3 days, and with low usage up to 6 days. We’ll be testing this in full shortly, the hands-on time we had didn’t show up any concerns but we’ll reserve judgment for the moment.

    Samsung Galaxy Gear 2: Verdict

    Definitely an upgrade from he original Gear, the Gear 2 has added a host of functionality (particularly the HR) that raises the bar considerably for the competition. It’ll take a full review of the apps and battery life to confirm whether the Samsung Gear 2 is the best smartwatch around at the moment though…

    Samsung Gear 2 release date: April 2014

    Samsung Gear 2 price: TBC

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