Samsung Gear 2 Review
A little over a year ago, an unknown company called Pebble, put itself on the map after it managed to deliver on its crowd-funded campaign on Kickstarter, and released what was one of the very first modern and actually successful smartwatches. The company was overwhelmed by the demand, and that's as good an indicator as any to a big-shot incumbent that the age of the wearables is drawing near.
The response was super-quick – Samsung announced its fancy-looking Galaxy Gear smartwatch alongside its Galaxy Note 3 in September last year, and yet consumers were seemingly unmoved. Despite the parts that Samsung had gotten right – a color display instead of monochrome, for one – it was undeniable that the Gear felt rushed, and lacked the breadth of functional applications of the Pebble. It was also expensive, and very picky about the devices it could pair up with (read: Galaxy Note 3 only at launch).
Today, we'll be taking a look at the follow-up – the Gear 2 – in an attempt to assess whether Samsung learned from the whole experience. At $299, it is still one of the most expensive smartwatches out there, but a precursory look does indicate that Samsung has improved its wearable in several key areas.
So, has the Gear 2 become a functional enough device as to rank high on your list next time you go smartwatch shopping? Let's find out.
While the Gear 2 by no means introduces a plot twist with its design language compared with the original Galaxy Gear, quite a bit has changed, and exclusively for the better. The face of the watch looks much sleeker and cleaner, unencumbered by the four screws that kept the original together. The power/home button has also been moved to the front, and is now much larger, and significantly easier to operate. As before, the viewable part of the face is all glass and metal, and holds a 1.63-inch 320x320-pixel AMOLED display, which is both detailed enough and can get sufficiently bright for use even under direct sunlight.
But the improvements in design didn't stop there. The camera, for example, no longer protrudes from the strap, and, alongside the new IR blaster, is now neatly nestled at the end of the physical body of the Gear 2, immediately before the strap. Speaking of the body and strap, those have both seen some slim-sizing – the body itself is still plastic, but it's also thinner and IP67 dust- and water-resistant (and houses a heart rate monitor on the bottom), while the strap comes with a much smaller and classier-looking clasp. Moreover, the strap can now be replaced with any standard 22mm one.
Samsung has narrowed the number of color options down to three – charcoal black, gold brown, and wild orange.