Samsung Galaxy Gear hands-on
It’s not the first time we’re seeing a big name company attack the smartwatch segment, but we have yet to see one reach that elusive stardom status. Samsung is hoping to get consumers drooling over its offering, the aptly named Samsung Galaxy Gear, which really delivers that Dick Tracey watch experience with the combination of its dedicated and companion functions. It’s one thing to relish over something that’s seen through photo renders and whatnot, but it’s an entirely different thing when it’s actually seen up close and personal in real life. Well folks, we got some quality time checking out this sweet, sweet piece of bling.
Are our eyes deceiving us or something? Because at first glance, we’re hard pressed to believe that this smartwatch is something designed by Samsung – the company notoriously known to utilize plastic time after time with its smartphones’ casings. It funny, just because the Galaxy Gear’s design doesn’t center around the concept of a smartphone first, but rather, its basis follows the pattern of a quality timepiece. With the majority of its casing consisting of polished stainless steel, which contours our wrist, we’re amazed by the premium element attached to this – a surprising revelation considering this is Samsung we’re talking about. Yeah, the body of the Galaxy Gear is nearly double the thickness of most watches, but it’s something expected seeing that it’s packing some serious tech under the hood.
As for the wrist strap, it’s actually adjustable to fit pretty much any wrist size – and it stays in place as the strap is locked. Even though it’s not uniform with its stainless steel housing, the strap is still sturdy with its tough plastic feel. At the end of the day, we really have to applaud Samsung with this one, since they’ve done a fantastic job in making one heck of a polished looking piece of wearable technology. It doesn’t look campy or knockoff-ish, which is a pleasant thing to find no doubt.
Whereas the design of the Galaxy Gear is so unlike Samsung, the display on here is typical Samsung. So what do we have? It’s none other than a 1.63-inch 320 x 320 Super AMOLED display, the same exact panel technology used by many of its smartphones. The more we think about it, the more it made us realize that the AMOLED panel was the right choice for this. In fact, seeing that it’s a watch at heart used for time keeping, the deep black color that the AMOLED panel is able to muster up is perfect in giving enough contrast to what it shows. Well, let’s note that we’re checking out the smartwatch indoors, which gives it that nice glow to everything – albeit, we’re a bit hesitant about its visibility outdoors with the sun present.
And did we mention it’s a touchscreen too? It works really well from what we can gather, as every touch, taps, and swipes are all registered properly. Since there’s only a single button on the right side of the Galaxy Gear to turn it on, Samsung decided to utilize a swipe gesture from the top bezel down to perform a “back” function. It works just as expected. Seriously, the screen is the shining gem in the entire system that gets people to ask questions about it.
Even though it’s meant to be a companion device to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and to many other Galaxy branded devices in the near future, the Galaxy Gear can still be used independently – though, its functionality is limited to a few things if it’s used that way. Taking a look around at the interface that’s running on the Galaxy Gear, we’ll say that it’s simple and intuitive, as things are broken down to different categories. Swiping left/right cycles though all of them, while tapping on one brings us down a level.
While it’s paired to a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Gear is capable of receiving notification, accepting phone calls seeing that it packs a microphone and speakerphone, and running some other apps. In addition, it features some smart functions as well, where it interacts with the Galaxy Note 3. For example, we can use the Galaxy Gear to locate a lost or missing Galaxy Note 3 – well, as long as it’s within Bluetooth connectivity range. Working like a charm, the app on the Galaxy Gear sends a signal for the Note 3 to ring and vibrate. Quickly glazing over the Galaxy Gear’s features set, there’s a huge chunk in us that comes off as impressed with what it offers. We seriously feel it has a good chance of giving consumers a discrete way of interacting with our smartphones.
Processor and Memory:
Under the hood, the Samsung Galaxy Gear is powered by an 800MHz processor – a figure that was once viewed as speedy several years ago. However, considering that the software isn’t complex or anything, it doesn’t require much processing power to operate smoothly. In fact, we’re glad to report it runs effectively with everything!
Adding more worth to its cause, the Galaxy Gear also somehow packs along a camera too – a measly sized 1.9-megapixel one that’s incorporated into the wrist strap. Based on the number figure alone, it’s not going to impress people and all, but still, it’s worth mentioning that it features auto-focus, a backside illuminated sensor, and 720p video recording. Yes people, you can now be a secret spy with the Galaxy Gear, as the photo taking process is quite discrete. Obviously, we can’t comment on its quality right now until a final production unit is available for us to check out more in depth. Regardless of that, it’s just mind-boggling that this can also take photos and videos – in addition to all of the other cool stuff it’s already able to do!
Release Date, Price and Expectations:
At Samsung’s press event, it was mentioned that the Galaxy Gear, along with the Galaxy Note 3, will go on sale in more than 140 countries around the world starting this September 25th. Pricing in the US is slated for $299 when it launches, which is hard to say with enough certainty right now, if it’s a good investment or not. Naturally, it won’t require any contracts or anything like that – it’s just like buying any premium watch. However, unlike those timeless masterpieces sold in retail stores behind glass cases, the Samsung Galaxy Gear is a unique offering that perfectly combines the classic design of various time pieces, but it’s also splashed with some cool smartphone-like tech in it. Can we say it’s the best of both worlds? Maybe. Well, there’s still the matter of battery life, which Samsung states as offering “about a day” – a figure that can mean so many different things.
Samsung Galaxy Gear hands-on photos
Samsung Galaxy Gear screenshots.
1. Kishin (Posts: 635; Member since: 30 May 2013)
Nice only if could together from one box Note 3+Gear
17. htc_evo_3d (Posts: 84; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)
just like sony Honami + sony smart watch 2
29. HansGoneInsane (Posts: 384; Member since: 09 Aug 2013)
What a monstrosity! The design is everything else but creative and elegant. The camera looks like a built in pimple on the watch. The metal with the visible screws looks really cheap and uninspired. If a designer in Cupertino presents this as his final draft, he would get fired at once with one exception: If he designs it as an example of how not to design a watch. Sony's watch for example is far more beautiful. I guess Samsung just wanted to be able to claim about itself that it brought a smart-watch before Apple on the market. Goal achieved, design reputation lost.
34. b.positive (Posts: 12; Member since: 23 Apr 2012)
In three words: UGLY, UGLY, UGLY!
I know, it is personal opinion but again... UGLY!
2. jeff_1 (Posts: 105; Member since: 30 Aug 2013)
no innovation for samsung why? they have spy's instead of engineers in there lab
Galaxy TV- korea market
Galaxy Ref- Asian market
Galaxy Washing Machine
Galaxy Fax Machine
all power by android// SAMSUNG THINKS ANDROID IS THE WORLD..
and consumer will buy this thing why? two reasons.. because human in nature is fool and the last one because of marketing-- Samsung owns the WORLDS largest MARKETING/ADVERTISEMENT agency
9. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 2004; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)
Lol they already have all those... and this watch? Looks cheap,, looks like it comes out , of those machines you put $50cents in... samsung rushed this
10. jeff_1 (Posts: 105; Member since: 30 Aug 2013)
fair enough this is also for "cheap people" not by pocket ..
instead cheap by knowledge and living.
12. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 2004; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)
LoL were you abused, by a samsung employee??
23. tedkord (Posts: 5132; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
No, he's upset that Samsung is abusing his favorite company in market share, sales and last quarter profits.
25. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 1157; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)
lol that is about the dumbest remark I read in awhile. Thank god you're not hindered by any common sense and intellect.
26. jeff_1 (Posts: 105; Member since: 30 Aug 2013)
atleast i made the most dumbest remark...how bout yours..senseless..!!
not worth reading bitc*h!
30. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 1157; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)
You do know dumbest is already superlative, so putting most in front of it, is kinda redudant.
32. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 1157; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)
lol I made one typo, you lack basic grammar skills
16. TechBizJP08 (Posts: 495; Member since: 25 Mar 2013)
Rush? more like a 60 second watch.. get it?
36. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6689; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)
u mad bro? They make electronic consumer goods why would they name their other division galaxy?
4. special4u (Posts: 63; Member since: 22 May 2013)
S H I T just got real
prototype isn't changed at all!
5. Purnama (Posts: 6; Member since: 29 Aug 2013)
No Water resistant??
Battery just a day??
then its useless...
6. amats69 (Posts: 1125; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
So this is one of those Samsung product that design by aliens?So ugly in the wrist!!Sony's smartwatch is much better..
7. GeekMovement (Posts: 1519; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)
would be awesome if they did the same promotion as sony and had the watch with the new note3 (:
8. Taters (Posts: 3528; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
If this works with non Samsung phones, I am so getting one once it hits the bargain bins. The presentation sold me on it. Great presentation btw. Especially that puppet commercial for the Note 3.
11. clevername (Posts: 1431; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)
This is not something I would wear on my wrist. I by watches that look good. Although the actual time piece on this doesn't look that bad, its not great, and the band is abysmal. The band makes the watch as much as any component. A premium watch with a crappy plastic band for $300? No thank you. Why no options? Leather? Brown, black? Just black.or white plastic? Premium watches come with metal or leather bands. I don't see a gentleman wearing brown shoes with a brown belt and a plastic watch band
13. pwnarena (Posts: 963; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)
their design is literally screwed. 4 conspicuous screws at that!
15. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 2004; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)
Now that i watched video, it isnt all that bad,,. I can see my oldes son , liking this :-)
18. Veritas_Aurora (Posts: 19; Member since: 27 Jan 2013)
Prototype of Apple iWatch beta -1 came into market by Samsung.
20. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2817; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)
Okay not so impressive, it should be included within the box of Note III. That would be fine.
21. odachek1976 (Posts: 14; Member since: 01 Sep 2013)
Samsung & LG had already revealed that flexible screens will be in mass production in Q4 2013, thus we may be able to see or even use flexible devices in 2014. That means in less than a year, all these bulky bar type of phones will be put to trash!
22. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)
I wouldn't want to be that woman's phone, apparently she admits to not being able to find her phone cuz' she's "always sitting on it" ..... duh, if you know you're always sitting on it, wouldn't that be the first place you'd look. Besides, I doubt any phone would survive her sitting on it. She did an awful job in that promo video and she works for Samsung; here's where 'The Donald' says, "you're FIRED!!"
28. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)
why that clock interface looks like Sense 5???
33. Kiiro (Posts: 7; Member since: 05 Sep 2013)
I don't dislike it but I'm not really convinced con the $300 price tag. Yeah I know it's quite a bit of technology crammed in such a small body but you can get a high end phone (on contract) for the same and some times even less money. Also, some of the those things are not specially useful (I'm looking at you, camera). I mean, really, unless you're into taking creep shots, why would you ever want to take pictures with its 1.9 MP camera? What is this? 2005?? No, wait, I think we already had better cell phone cameras by that time.
The only thing that could make me bear such a price tag would be how good an exercise companion can it be. How good is the heart monitor? As good as a Polaris or as a New Balance at the very least? Can it be paired with third party heart monitors? And how about water resistance? Can I take it for a swim? Will it be OK after a sweaty session of cardio or weight lifting?
Regarding applications (and coming back to the sports example), will it only be able to use its on board exercise apps? Or will it play nice with Endomodo or Nike run at the least?
As far as design goes, well, I see it as an everyday watch so I don't quite care much about that. Going to a fancy event? Wear a fancy watch! It's that simple. I don't wear the same clothes I use to go to the movies than the ones I use to go to lets say a wedding, why would I use the same watch? So, even if the design isn't mind blowing, it works just about fine.
I really, really want to believe in you this time Sammy, but you've got to give me something more here...
35. voxmarc (Posts: 318; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)
I'm glad that they got Pranav Mistry the inventor of six sense as head of design for wearable devices cause that guy is a genius, gearing up for Gear.
37. JunitoNH (Posts: 965; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)
People relax, give it six months, the price will drop to $80.
38. lyndon420 (Posts: 1782; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)
Not bad for a first attempt, but it's way too thick for my money still. The concepts need to come closer to reality.