Samsung Gear 2 Review7
You can dial contacts and even hold a call via the Gear 2, though it obviously still needs its trusty Samsung smartphone sidekick to do the actual placing of the call - the Gear is just used as the loudspeaker and microphone.
If you do decide to take calls this way, prepare yourself for a disappointment. The speaker does alright, though it's still very weak, so noisy areas render this option unfeasible. The tiny microphone, on the other hand, really disappointed us. Put into words, just imagine that you're within a giant steel tube, inside a giant bathroom, because that's the way the other side will hear you. There's echo, there's distortion, there are bassy and grow-ly voices, and zero of your voice's actual tonality.
300 mAh cell is what powers the Gear 2, but don't sell it short just yet. Depending on your usage habits, it's actually capable of holding its ground for up to 4 or 5 days. If you like playing with your smartwatch, however, the very maximum you should expect is 3 days.
When the battery is out, you can juice it up through a pocket-able charging dock that Samsung provides, which snaps onto the back of the watch and connects to a power source via micro USB.
Samsung has carried out a number of improvements with the Gear 2, and pretty much all of them were for the better. We definitely like the design more, as the watch is both less bulky and lighter, but also less sporty with its looks. With the exception of the orange-colored version, you can easily slap the Gear 2 even for a fancier occasion (though, you'll still want your Tag for the rare gala). Samsung has also bumped up the specs of a few internals, and the watch generally performs very well in terms of responsiveness and speed. But like with its predecessor, the Gear 2's Achilies' heel is its poor app ecosystem, and its incompatibility with devices other than Samsung's very own. This situation is even more inadmissible some 6 months later.
The other major source of displeasure is the price tag on the Gear 2. At $299, this thing ain't cheap. Competitors like the far more functional (but arguably “less cool”) Pebble Steel sell for $229, while the original (which is a functional equivalent) costs just $150. Even Sony's new SmartWatch 2 costs only $145 on Amazon right now, and despite its faults, at least you have access to some high-demand apps like Facebook and Twitter, and it is arguably as good looking.
In the end, we found that the type of functionality that we could see ourselves rely on daily is virtually non-existent – the Gear 2 is an extension of your smartphone at the very, very best. At worst, it's nothing more than a watch for techies, and an expensive one at that.
- A more refined, lightweight design that is dust- and water-proof
- Interchangeable straps
- Navigating the software is very simple
- Display is visible even under direct sunlight
- Controlling your TV with your smartwatch is a geek's pleasure
- Incompatible with anything other than a Samsung smartphone
- Suffers from a very poor app ecosystem
- The price premium over competitors makes it hard to justify the little functionality if offers
- Heart rate monitor is slow, quirky, and serves little use
- The camera's placement isn't optimal
Samsung Gear 2 Review - Call Quality, Battery and Conclusion