All throughout the second half of 2013, tech industry types have been predicting 2014 to be the year of the wearable. Google Glass may have garnered the most hype in the months that followed, but Samsung has been quietly working on an all-together more realistic piece.
The Gear 2 series is the first full sequel to Samsung’s surprisingly tidy Galaxy Gear. A smartwatch designed to work with your Samsung smartphone, amongst other devices, the latest Gears are both functional and surprisingly fashionable.
The first question that begs asking is “what’s the difference between the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo?”. The answer is, well, not a lot. The Gear 2 Neo has a slightly larger screen at 37.9mm x 58.8mm compared to the Gear 2’s 36.9mm x 58.4mm. This upgrade is largely down to the Neo not having a camera, which on the Gear 2 is now featured on the watch face itself, rather than the strap as on the Galaxy Gear. Yes, it looks much, much better for it. With the two megapixel camera removed, the Gear 2 Neo also weighs just 55g – 13g lighter than the Gear 2.
Other than that the differences are purely cosmetic, with the Gear 2 Neo coming in either Charcoal Black, Wild Orange or Mocha Grey, whilst the Gear 2 comes in Charcoal Black, Wild Orange or Gold Brown. The Gold Brown of the Gear 2 does look particularly sharp, but to each their own.
The screens on both devices look as bright and sharp as ever, with their 320 x 320 pixel Super AMOLED displays producing 278 PPI – noticeably higher than most low-end smartphones.
The devices themselves have a raft of built-in features designed to help with health and fitness, such as a heart rate sensor, a pedometer, exercise tracking modes and even a downloadable ‘sleep and stress’ monitor.
It’s a device you’re truly expected to wear all day, much as you would your boring old regular watch, and thanks to its battery life you can. Samsung are claiming two to three days life at regular usage (that’s quite a large discrepancy but we’ll allow it), with up to six days of low usage life. This is a figure which could really be make or break for potential consumers still debating the practicality of a wearable – not having to be constantly charging it at the same time as your smartphone is a huge plus.
There’s already a whole host of big-name dedicated apps available, including CNN, eBay, PayPal, Under Armour, Garmin and PayPal, so hopefully the device can take on an active role in your day-to-day routine, rather than simple passive use like checking the time and reading text messages.
The Gear 2 series also have 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, so power and storage are ample (it’s better than your smartphone was four years ago).
They also run on Tizen rather than Android, a real coup for the up-and-coming open-source OS.
A worldwide release is scheduled for some date in April this year, but no specifics have been announced. Make sure to check in on WhatMobile.net for future updates – this is something we’re pretty excited about.