Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 hands-on
Samsung didn't strike gold with its first Galaxy Gear smartwatch, but second time seems to be the charm, as it introduced a much improved Gear 2 successor. Those improvements are both in terms of design, and in specs, so let's recap what we found out about the Gear 2 in our brief hands-on time with the device.
At 2.3 x 1.5 x 0.39 inches, the Gear 2 is slimmer than the Galaxy Gear (2.2 x 1.4 x 0.43 inches), but a bit wider and longer. Samsung's new smart watch is lighter than its predecessor, though, and looks more elegant on the hand, too. Moreover, the Gear 2 is now IP67-certified, and water resistant, so you can use it in the rain, or the shower.
Gear 2 still carries a 1.63" display, with 320x320 pixels of resolution, which is plenty, as far as smartwatches go. It is easily readable when we examied it indoors, though outside under direct sunlight your results may vary.
Instead of the 800 MHz of its predecessor, the Gear 2 now carries a 1 GHz dual-core processor, and 512 MB of RAM. These specs are more than enough for the smart watch ranks, so you won't feel underpowered running those apps available for the Gear 2. Battery life with the faster processor is another matter, though Samsung promised the same 3 days on a charge it did for the Gear, too.
The new smart watch runs Samsung's Tizen OS, of all possibilities, and the company claims there will be hundreds of different apps available for the Gear 2 at launch. At least it is running a (somewhat) smart mobile OS, which might eventually result in cross-compatibility with all the different devices that are expected to run Tizen in the future.
There is an infrared sensor on the Gear 2, which pairs with Samsung's WatchON application, letting you use the smartwatch as a remote control for your TV. There is also an optical heart rate sensor, and a pedometer in the Gear 2, so you can track your fitness efforts and results with it. Music can be played from the device directly to your ear, without a phone intermediary.
The frame of the watch itself now carries a 2 MP camera, unlike the Gear one, which is placed on the strap. You can shoot pictures and video at up to 1920 x 1080p with the Gear 2 - much better resolution than the HD 720p footage that the Galaxy Gear's 2 MP shooter is capable of.
Samsung seems to have finally nailed the smart watch trend with the Galaxy Gear 2 - it is more elegant than its predecessor, sports an improved camera and processor, and is water-resistant now to boot. The decision to run it on Tizen OS might pay off in the future, when more and more devices appear with this mobile OS, ensuring cross-compatibility with a number of apps. In addition, the heart rate monitor, infrared sensor, and other extras, add a lot of value to the wearable, so, depending on the price range, it might have a much better fate than the original Gear.