Samsung Galaxy Gear Review

Interface and Functionality: 


Even though the software running in the Galaxy Gear is Android based, it’s fairly simplified for the small screen, so it is intuitive to navigate around and there isn’t much of a huge learning curve with it! Essentially, we swipe left and right to access some of the smartwatch’s functions, while tapping on an icon jumps us into the particular app. It features a “back” function as well, which is accomplished by swiping down from the top bezel. However, when the same gesture is applied on the homescreen with the clock screen, it actually gets us into the camera interface. Meanwhile, swiping up from the clock screen gives us the phone dialer. We really wish there was a “home“ function though, as it would lessen the hassle of using the back gesture to bring us to the homescreen.
There are also other gestures in play with the Galaxy Gear that help us to access other functions. For example, using two fingers and double tapping the screen enables us to view the battery status, Bluetooth connection status, and modify the volume and brightness settings. Meanwhile, using two fingers and long pressing anywhere on the display gets us into the Android task switching menu.

Taking a look around some of the apps on board with the Galaxy Gear, there isn’t a whole lot to find. Actually, they’re mostly comprised of basic phone-centric functions – like the phone dialer, call log, date/time/weather, notifications, and voice memo. There’s nothing out of the ordinary with any of them, seeing they all work and run in the manner that we expect. Again, it’s that premise of being straightforward that we appreciate, seeing that there’s very little hassle when trying to get around.

Samsung has done some neat things in the way the Galaxy Gear interacts with the Note 3. For starters, the “Find my device” allows the Galaxy Gear to remotely locate the Note 3 by ringing it – and vice versa too, so that either can be tracked down.

After setting it up with the Gear Manager app for Android, we’re able to customize what apps are installed on the smartwatch and access some additional “smart” features with the Galaxy Gear. At launch, there are about 80 apps available for the Gear, but this number will hopefully grow at a steady pace with time. As long as we’re within 5 feet of our Note 3, we’re able to bypass the normal lock screen seeing that it knows that the Galaxy Gear is in close proximity. Similarly, the Smart Relay feature of the Galaxy Gear helps to make the transition with notifications easier from the Galaxy Gear to the Note 3. For example, when a notification for a new text message or email pops up on the Galaxy Gear, we can simply pick up our Note 3 and it’ll automatically launch the respective app that’s tied to the notification. Now, the feature is somewhat finicky at times, but when it does work, it’s nice that it knows where to go automatically.

Going back to the notifications feature of the smartwatch, we’re somewhat dismayed that only a few of the notifications are accessed on the Galaxy Gear. To be more specific, we can read text directly on the Galaxy Gear if it’s a notification from the standard email app. However, if it’s a Gmail notification, we’re unable to view an actual message on the smartwatch, and instead, we’re required to open it up on the Note 3. The same thing applies to Facebook notifications. We are notified that there’s a notification related to Facebook, but we’re unable to actually to know/see what it is on the Galaxy Gear.

Sammy’s S Voice feature makes its way to the Galaxy Gear as well, but its functions have been whittled away to a few options. Specifically, we can use S Voice to answer phone calls, compose text messages, notify us about the weather, tell us our upcoming appointments, and even make new appointments as well, but it can’t do other extensive tasks like giving us turn-by-turn directions, movie times, or tell us who is the President of the United States of America.

In trying to compete with other health tracking devices, like the Fitbit or Nike FuelBand, the Galaxy Gear packs a pedometer app that keeps track of how many steps we take. Well, it doesn’t do it automatically, but rather, we have to initiate the start and end process. Therefore, it’s not something that the Galaxy Gear keeps track of on its own, which can be related to power consumption.


Processor and Memory: 


Powered by a single core 800MHz processor coupled with 512MB of RAM, the Galaxy Gear, as expected, performs pretty smoothly. Sure, there might be some issues with touch accuracy with the display, which could appear to be closely attached to its performance, but we can vouch that it’s pretty responsive as a whole.

With 4GB of storage, it’s enough to allow us to snap photos and videos without much worry. And considering that music isn’t necessarily stored in the Galaxy Gear itself, the tally is actually sufficient to handle all our needs.


Connectivity: 


Exclusively relying on its Bluetooth 4.0 radio, it’s the only way the Galaxy Gear is able to work and interact with the Galaxy Note 3. As we said in the beginning, at the moment, it’s only Sammy’s newest phablet that’s compatible to work with the smartphone – albeit, other devices like the Galaxy S4 and Note II will be included in the near future.

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43 Comments

1. LiquidGalaxy

Posts: 332; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

Heres another contentious con - it's pointless.

3. DaHarder

Posts: 177; Member since: Oct 10, 2009

Like Your Opinion Is The Only One That Matters... For those of us who appreciate companies (like Samsung) that truly endeavor to push technology forward rather than sitting around waiting for others to innovate device categories then STEALING Said Innovations (like Apple), the Galaxy gear is a bold first step for wearable communication. Anyway... This 'review' is so wrought with ridiculous biases and nit-picking that is almost laughable. 6.5 = WTF? Then again, this John V. character has shown time and time again his antipathy for all things Samsung. Making his opinion anything but credible. Can hardly wait to buy the Galaxy Note 3 + Galaxy Gear next week - Real Technology for Real Tech Lovers!

5. DONUT

Posts: 436; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

no, the score is fair. it barely a good/practical device to have. sure it has its benefits but its cons severely outweigh all its benefits. and dont start with the Apple stealing crap again, rmb there were so many rumors flying around about an "iWatch"? Samsung could have acted off those rumors so they wont be accused of copying again. dont let your support for the brand blind you

13. Randy_Jaeger

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 01, 2013

What? Samsung already had smartwatches years ago so this is just building on what they did before. I know I'll be getting one with my GN3 :-)

8. mr. anderson

Posts: 92; Member since: Apr 16, 2009

For those of us who appreciate companies (like Samsung) that truly endeavor to push technology forward rather than sitting around waiting for others to innovate device categories then STEALING Said Innovations (like Apple)... wait, what? bahahahahaha!! (and im an anti-apple, android fanboy)

9. LiquidGalaxy

Posts: 332; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

Hey I love technology just as much as the next guy, and maybe the super geeks will find some use for this, but for the majority, its going to be a huge fail and is unlikely to sell in large quantities. Wearable tech will be awesome when it is done properly; this however appears to have been rushed out just to be the first on the market, by a CEO who thought he was some kind of Power Ranger when he unveiled it at the Unpacked event. I don't agree that Samsung truly push technology forward either. What have they done that has been truly revolutionary recently? They try, but everything just turns out to be a novelty that quickly wears off after a few days; and the less said about Apple stealing from Samsung the better. I hope you enjoy your Note 3 and Gear...The Note 3 looks like a good device.

21. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

The gear serve me well too! Its pretty good for a first gen watch. Zoom in on John V con, Is it a CON in the first place. There no bugs in the software and that good enough for me. Even iPhone first gen has short coming remember no mms support no bluetooth support but hey! Apple fan can overlook any flaws from Apple while having a x5000 trillion magnification zoom on their competitor especially Samsung.

26. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

The iPhone first gen was a 2G device. So what is your point? You will find most Apple users to be fair and objective. We are quite reason and won't use hyperboles. Have you looked at the iPod Nano 6th gen? Users were wearing that device as a smartphone, but it's never used to benchmark against the Gear? Why is that?

23. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Apple smart cover and LG/Samsung smart cover are different both visually and functionally. Apple smart cover just put the device to stand by which is great but Samsung LG one goes more. That's what innovation is about building on each other ideas. What Apple is trying to achieve is patent a circle and stop people from making wheels.

27. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

joey_sfb, You really need to work on employing (sound) logic. Your arguments are specious and your use of corollaries is just dismal. You have get over your denial -- here is a fact: A jury determined that Samsung stole IP from Apple. Therefore, it is no longer a case of my opinion or your opinion -- it is a fact adjudicated in a court of law. The Gear is not the first smart watch. While it may be the first gen smart watch from Samsung, it has several short comings, and many of these short comings are design related, planning related, etc. Plus, it's a very expensive device with (currently) limited usability with other smart phones. The bottom line is Samsung should have made a better smart watch before releasing the product. Again, in Samsung's case they used the iPod Nano 6th gen as a benchmark. In contrast, when Apple released the iPhone first gen, it was about introducing a new way of thinking about the smart phone -- the role of multitouch. While Apple didn't get many things right like using 2G data speeds, etc, they got multitouch right and that soon became the standard (look at Nokia or Blackberry that couldn't adapt) and just about every flag ship smart phone can trace its form factor back to the Apple iPhone first gen. The point is there was no benchmark for Apple -- Apple invented something the world has never saw before. We understand you hate Apple, and that anger is coming through your specious arguments.

35. android_hitman unregistered

wait until apple will make a wearable tech .. 9.5 score i am sure.

11. MobileKicker

Posts: 212; Member since: Sep 19, 2013

The iWatch will get rid of it

18. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Typically I tend to stay away from the first generation of "new" technology. I bet the updated version of the Samsung Galaxy Gear will be 100% better than this "current" model. It's a good start but they are nowhere near where they want to be. See you this time next year Samsung. I am VERY content with my Samsung Galaxy Note III, that the Galaxy Gear can wait for the future model.

24. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Both watches have some water resistance in tow, which is pretty much essential for a wearable device. Sony's water resistance is much better though, as you can go swimming in your Smartwatch 2. The Galaxy Gear is limited to some rain and maybe a shower. www.gizmag.com/galaxy-gear-vs-sony-smartwatch-2-specs-comparison/29062/

32. JojoGo101

Posts: 211; Member since: Dec 17, 2012

Its a good try I will admit but the battery honestly disappoints me, I might forget to charge it one day and who is gonna feel bummed? Me!

2. Kurai unregistered

It's reeking of cons and it still gets a 6.5 . . .

4. DaHarder

Posts: 177; Member since: Oct 10, 2009

One need take into consideration who wrote the 'review' as John V. never gives any Samsung product a truly fair assessment.

6. Rongocook

Posts: 76; Member since: Sep 20, 2013

I hate this product! Half baked. I would had given 5

10. Randy_Jaeger

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 01, 2013

Then don't buy one. There'll still be plenty of other who will.

7. amiaq

Posts: 509; Member since: Jun 30, 2012

you're ugly

15. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Jhon V.; Gear or both?

12. hmd74

Posts: 540; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

Is it worth buying? I like it's abilities but water resistance and battery are really important...

17. DaHarder

Posts: 177; Member since: Oct 10, 2009

Agreed about the water resistance for those who live in wetter climates (I don't), but as one who takes his watch off every night anyway, the full-day battery life shouldn't be an issue. It's good to see companies taking the first real steps in viable wearable technology, and as the owner of a (1st gen) Samsung smartwatch, the Pebble and Sony's first effort, the Galaxy gear looks to be the most capable yet... One well worth giving a try.

19. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Get the sony smartwatch 2.

28. hmd74

Posts: 540; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

How about the features?

25. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

www.gizmag.com/galaxy-gear-vs-sony-smartwatch-2-specs-comparison/29062/ An factual review of both Smart Watch 2 and Gear. Be your own judge.

29. vincelongman

Posts: 5720; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Thanks, that was a far better review :)

14. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

I've seen it in person. It's a convenient device, I just can't see paying $300 for it. It's also funny how the RAZR Maxx got so many negative comments about the price from the reviewer whereas the price of this is only mentioned once. Phone Arena reviews are such BS.

16. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

John V's reviews are pure BS. But this x100.

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