Wearable technology has been the hot
talking point of 2014. Samsung was one of the first to jump on the bandwagon
with its Galaxy Gear smartwatch last year, but while it had plenty of
potential, poor battery life, some questionable design decisions, limited apps,
and a high price point meant that the $488 accessory never really caught on.
Undeterred as always, Samsung hopes to bounce back with the Gear 2.
dedicated app for the smartwatch which was announced during the launch of the
Samsung Gear 2 at Mobile World Congress earlier this year is now available. The
app allows you to check-in at local stores to pay for purchases, redeem offers,
receive payment notifications, view and manage recent transactions directly
from your wrist.
Like the original Gear, the Gear 2 has a
brushed metal housing and a plastic strap with a metal deployment clasp. The
Gear 2’s microphone and camera modules are now thankfully housed in the watch
itself, so the strap can easily be replaced with any standard 22mm watch strap.
The home button has also wisely been relocated to below the display, where it’s
easier to press. Beyond the visible changes, the Gear 2 is now IP67 rated - up
from IP55 on the Galaxy Gear - which makes it dust resistant and waterproof to
a depth of one meter for up to thirty minutes.
premium Gear 2 smartwatch with camera will cost customers $299, just like the
original Galaxy Gear device, according to Liliputing. The Gear 2 Neo (the same
device, but without a camera) will be priced at $199. The Gear Fit fitness
tracking smart-band will also be available for $199.
The Gear 2 retains the 1.63-inch 320 x 320
Super AMOLED display as its predecessor, sharp enough to comfortably read text
notifications and bright enough to view direct sunlight clear and defined. Like
the original Gear, the Gear 2 display turns off when not in use. An auto
screen-on sensor activates when you lift your wrist up to look at the display,
but is quite sensitive and seems to turn on with any arm movement. There’s also
a slight delay for the display to turn on, which can be frustrating when you
just want to check the time.
The Gear 2 is compatible with 20 Samsung
devices, which includes most of the smartphones and tablets Samsung has
released in the past year. It connects via Bluetooth, but you’ll need to
download Samsung’s Gear Manager app.
has been working with Korea's largest telecommunications vender, SK Telecom, to
release a new standalone version of the Samsung Gear 2
Samsung has switched to their Tizen OS for
the Gear 2, but the change won’t be noticeable to most users - the UI, and menu
layouts, including all of the fonts and icons, look exactly the same. However,
all existing Gear apps won’t work with the Gear 2, thanks to the new Tizen OS.
As a lack of apps was one of the major problems with the Galaxy Gear, it’s
unfortunate that any progress made since then has essentially been undone,
returning the Gear ecosystem back to step one.