Samsung is back with another smartwatch -- the Gear 2 Neo -- and it'll be taking another crack at the still unbreachable wearables market. Near identical to the Gear 2, the Neo is not your typical cheapo model, even though it has lot some functionality, like the camera. Has Samsung managed to improve upon the original Gear, though? We took a look, and here's what we found.
Samsung has managed to slim down the Gear 2 Neo in comparison with its original smartwatch, which is something we instantly appreciated. Considering that the Neo 2 has no camera, it's also lighter and less bulky than the fancier Gear 2. The device is likable with its appearance, and the rubberized strap doesn't feel as cheap as some competing smartwatches out there.
Overall, the Gear 2 Neo is a perceptible evolution over its predecessor, especially on the outside. Gone are the four screws at the front, giving the Gear 2 Neo a more refined and thoroughly thought-out look. This is a step in the right direction.
The display on the Galaxy Gear 2 Neo hasn't changed from the original Gear. We're talking the same 1.63-inch, 320x320 pixel resolution display, or the crisp 278 pixels per inch. We're curious to see how well it handles the outdoors, as we were only able to test it out in the dimly-lit halls of the MWC.
Instead of running a slim-sized version of Android, the Gear 2 Neo runs on the Samsung-backed Tizen OS. The company promises that hundreds of different apps will be made available for launch, and we can only imagine that this number will grow post-launch. Also, and unlike the original Gear, the Gear 2 Neo can be paired with some 20 different Samsung Galaxy devices, which is a welcome improvement. That said, we still wish that Samsung would consider making those open to everybody, including those of us who don't own a Galaxy phone.
A more potent, 1GHz dual-core CPU of unknown type is what powers the Gear 2 Neo. We're unaware of how good of a batter life we can expect out of it (Samsung says up to 5 days), but we can say that our initial impression was that it ran the still outlandish Tizen UI smoothly. The amount of RAM, at 512MB, remains unchanged from the original Gear smartwatch.
The Galaxy Gear 2 Neo is expected to launch sometime in April in three distinct colors: Charcoal Black, Mocha Grey and Wild Orange. Unfortunately, Samsung didn't see it fit to share price information with us, and that's a bit worrying. Perhaps we're being a tad paranoid, but we could say that it was precisely the price tag that stood as a roadblock in front of the original Gear. That, and issues like short battery life and limited compatibility, of course. We'll need to test the Gear 2 Neo further before we know whether Samsung has managed to successfully address those, but our initial impression is positive.