Samsung announces the Galaxy Gear smartwatch: a companion to your Note 3 for $299

Samsung announces the Galaxy Gear smartwatch: a companion to your Note 3 for $299
Samsung has finally announced the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and we're happy to report that it does not look exactly like the leak we saw last week. The design of the Gear is similar to what we saw, but the bezels are tapered, so it doesn't look quite as big, and what had been a matte plastic, now looks to be a polished chrome finish. There are still the odd screws on the bezel though. The Gear also isn't nearly as big as rumors had said. The Gear has just a 1.63-inch square Super AMOLED display at 320x320 pixels. 

Galaxy Companion


Samsung is marketing the Gear as "the perfect companion to your Note 3". As we have heard before, the Galaxy Gear will be able to work with your Samsung smartphone for easy access to notifications, and other features, but the Gear will only be compatible with Galaxy smartphones. It will be compatible with the Note 3 out of the box, and there will be software updates for other Galaxy smartphones to add compatibility. The Gear will show you incoming messages, such as calls, texts, emails and alerts, delivers a preview of those messages, and then allow you to dig deeper or get rid of the message. But, the real power comes from Samsung's Smart Relay feature.

Smart Relay basically takes whatever is on the screen of your Galaxy Gear and automatically transfers it to your Galaxy smartphone when you unlock your device. So, if you're looking at a notification on your Gear, and you unlock your Note 3, that notification will automatically expand on your smartphone. Or whatever contact you are viewing on your Gear will automatically appear when you unlock your phone, so you can choose to call or message that contact. 

Galaxy Gear will feature a number of S Voice commands for you to easily initiate different functions. As you would expect, you can use the voice commands to initiate a call, and you will be able to have the entire call run through the Gear using its built in speakers and microphone, so you can feel like a super-spy, speaking to your wrist, and you can answer a call simply by raising your Gear to your head. The speakers and microphone are placed on the bottom of the strap, rather than near the watch itself.

Additionally, you can create a Voice Memo, draft messages, create new calendar entries, set alarms, and check the weather using voice commands. There are extra features to connect the Gear to your smartphone as well. One of our favorites is that anytime your Gear moves more than 1.5 meters from your phone, it will automatically lock your smartphone. 

Standalone functionality


Before we forget, the Galaxy Gear is a smartwatch, so obviously you'll be able to tell the time. Additionally, there are options to help you find your device, and control music from the Gear screen. Also as we heard before, Samsung is positioning the Galaxy Gear as a health-tracking companion device. It comes preloaded with an S Health app, and will act as a pedometer, though not a heart-rate monitor as we had heard before. 

There is also a 1.9MP camera on the Gear with auto-focus and Smart Shot options. The camera is located on the outside part of the wrist strap below your pinky, so it's very easy to get a picture. Just a simple swipe will open the camera, and a tap takes a picture. Photos can then be shared through social networks or messaging. You will also be able to take short 720p video. 

As we expected, Samsung has also set up a Gear app store, which comes with a number of apps right out of the box. Samsung says there will be about 70 apps eventually and about 12 at launch. Some of the featured apps are:

  • Banjo: which aggregates social updates to bring you trending stories
  • Evernote note taking app
  • Glympse for location sharing
  • eBay
  • Line messaging
  • MyFitnessPal nutrition and exercise tracking
  • Path social network
  • Pocket read-it-later app
  • RunKeeper exercise tracking
  • TripIt for travel plan organization
  • Vivino Wine Scanner which lets you take a picture of a bottle of wine to get info on it

That's a lot of functionality in a very small package, and Samsung says that you should expect "about a day" of battery life, but it's unclear if that means a calendar day or a work day, which are very different things. The spec sheet says the battery is just 315mAh, but it's hard to say what to expect from that. The Gear also has 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM and an 800MHz processor.

Samsung Galaxy Gear will launch "later this month" in most regions, and in early October in the U.S. and Japan. The Galaxy Gear will cost $299 in the U.S..

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78 Comments

1. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

Is that the Final Design? or are they just showing the Prototype?

9. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Design kinda look nice.. At least it looks like a watch..

18. giani

Posts: 269; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

yeah i love the screws ! let's be serious...it's a joke.. p.s. $299 for that ? only in US..

26. indianapple89

Posts: 47; Member since: Feb 28, 2013

Yeah. Considering that the Nexus 4 16GB is now $249 it seems like a big ripoff..

32. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

Try getting that much of tech inside that small watch. How much did google glass cost?? Do you realize how difficult it is to put all that camera, sensors, radios, battery, screen inside such a small device? Think properly before you say something.

49. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

You can't wear the Google Nexus 4. lol I can't wait to get this & root it. The developers on XDA are going to have a field day with this device. It's going to be CRAZY. I can't wait!!!!!!!

70. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

Thoughts on Samsung Gear — I like to think about it in terms of advancements we made in technology and engineering over past few years. This is basically original iPhone specs inside a watch. That’s how much the tech improved over the years. Infact this has faster SOC, better GPU, 4x more RAM, a higher PPI and a much better display with full colour gamut, a camera that records at 720p. Even iPhone 3GS didn’t support 720p video recording, and same storage, sensors, BLE (Bluetooth 4)..All inside a watch.. Amazing to see how tech is improving so fast!

44. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

Sigh!

41. daniel_bargs

Posts: 325; Member since: Nov 27, 2010

To be honest, I remembered my grandma's hearing aid after seeing the Samsung Galaxy Gear. http://image.made-in-china.com/2f0j00ReMavcbLCgoZ/Hearing-Aid-F-139-.jpg

43. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

71. iushnt

Posts: 3055; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

first of all z1 is wanna be lumia 1020. sony smartwatch 2 and galaxy gear is not same. Sony watch has no mics, speakers, camera, and health tracking ability. Thus, it serves different purpose and cannot be compared with galaxy gear

16. AnTuTu

Posts: 1580; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

Great device :)

34. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

Q: Do you know why the Sony PSP Go and Game Boy Micro failed? A: Screen was too small. On top of that, now you need to charge two devices each day.

61. Googler

Posts: 813; Member since: Jun 10, 2013

It's a watch, how big of a screen do you want? Seriously off comment comparing a smart watch to the PSP Go and Game Boy, especially when everyone knows they were phased out because better technology came along. One day these will be obsolete also as technology develops.

66. quesoesgrande

Posts: 217; Member since: Aug 03, 2011

I already charge my nexus, iPad, Vita, and 3DS nearly every day. What would one more be?

36. darkkjedii

Posts: 30786; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Mmmm hmmmm

51. rihel_95

Posts: 305; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

Google should quickly release a smartwatch of theirs as so many smartwatches are coming up, with their own set of app standards and SDK. Its getting harder for developers. Google should release it, and standardize the set of SDK for the apps. More help to developers!

54. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

One more thing about the "great device." Q: Do you know why the Sony memory stick lost out to SD card? A: Sony's product was proprietary vs the universal SD card. That is to say, had the Samsung Gear been designed to interact with any android smartphone, the Gear would be more successful. I am reading about Qualcom's Toq that uses e-ink and their smartphone appears to be device agnostic, e.g. it works with several android OEM.

68. Evil_SaNz

Posts: 259; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

Qualcomm Toq seems a better piece of technology: battery lasts days, wireless charging and always-on display visible with the sun. Don't think any of the smartwatches would do better

52. HansGoneInsane unregistered

I think that the design looks much better than the leaked prototype design but I need to see it in real life before I can make my final judgement. I'd like to know the dimensions of the device and its weight. I am really curious how long the battery lasts. Still, $299 is really overpriced. You can buy a good smartphone for that amount of money which offers you a lot of functionality. In comparison, the watch itself is useless without a smartphone. I consider a price of $150 - $200 fair.

64. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

The guys at Apple must be laughing there asses off saying "Our iPod Nano's looked more appealing as a watch than this thing here ... "

72. iushnt

Posts: 3055; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

haha, but i think they must be worrying. "We have tons of cash but we have no idea how to innovate and utilize the cash. Lets try to purchase few companies and see how we can use them."

76. schinnak

Posts: 116; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

PA - Samsung clearly said the battery will last 25+ hours.

77. gaby1451

Posts: 119; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

I saw the video, it did say that didn't it?

2. SlimSoulja86

Posts: 660; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

Haters in 3, 2, 1...

4. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

Failed countdown :|

10. SlimSoulja86

Posts: 660; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

LOL! OK. If u say so......

21. cncrim

Posts: 1558; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

That's exactly what was thinking. Why do we need spend a lot of money that don't even have it own phone radio capable? the still phone FAIL FAIL gear.

73. iushnt

Posts: 3055; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

hehe, he would have failed with his countdown if you have not commented here :)

3. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

nice design but not so sure bout the camera on the wrist.

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