Samsung's Galaxy Gear is a new smartwatch which can make calls, send texts and take pictures.
After months of rumours and speculation the Samsung Galaxy Gear has finally been revealed and it’s definitely an ambitious, feature packed device. Samsung's smartwatch connects with other Samsung Mobile devices enabling users to make calls, send texts , take photos and much more.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear has a 1.63 inch Super AMOLED touchscreen display. That’s a reasonable resolution, trumping the 220 x 176 display on the Sony SmartWatch 2. Being Super AMOLED it should also be capable of quite rich and vibrant colours and able to provide a bright enough image to be visible in direct sunlight.
At just 73.8g it’s pretty light too, which is important for something you’re going to be wearing on your wrist all day. One of our concerns was that it would be an ugly lump of plastic, after all a watch is as much a fashion accessory as a time telling tool and given the company’s plastic fantastic smartphones it didn’t seem unreasonable to think that its smartwatch might be something of an eye sore.
Thankfully that isn’t the case, as the Samsung Galaxy Gear has a fairly stylish metal watch face, while the strap looks reasonable too and is available in orange, black, gray, beige, yellow or green. It still suffers from the bulk inherent in being a smartwatch though, as with dimensions of 36.8 x 56.6 x 11.1mm it’s pretty chunky and risks looking ridiculous on smaller wrists. That’s certainly a concern, as it is questionable how many people would ditch a stylish timepiece for a chunkier and potentially uglier one, even if it can alert you to text messages and accept voice commands.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch has a single core 800 MHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of built in memory. It also has a 1.9 megapixel camera with autofocus and can record videos in 720p for up to 10 seconds. It’s the first smartwatch to feature a camera, so while it might only be 1.9 megapixels that’s still a pretty big deal.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear supports Bluetooth 4.0 (which it uses to connect to a compatible smartphone), it has an accelerometer and a gyroscope and includes a 315 mAh battery. Unfortunately that’s as small as it sounds and could be the Galaxy Gear’s Achilles heel, as Samsung claims the watch can only manage up to around 25 hours use before it will need charging. In other words you’re likely to be charging it every day, which is a bit of an inconvenience for a watch.
Most of the Samsung Galaxy Gear’s features require it to be paired with a smartphone or tablet. It does this via Bluetooth and unfortunately it’s initially only going to be compatible with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the new Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet. Samsung has confirmed that it will eventually be compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 as well, but whether it will ever be compatible with other manufacturer’s devices is unclear.
Aside from being able to take pictures and shoot videos, the Samsung Galaxy Gear can also make and receive calls, allowing users to essentially use it as a speakerphone. Additionally it can be controlled with voice commands and used to check emails and text messages.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear is also compatible with around 70 different apps (with more sure to come), including big names like Evernote, RunKeeper and Pocket. So whether you want to use it as a tool to improve your organisation and productivity or to keep track of your fitness goals it should have you covered.
Price and availability
The Samsung Galaxy Gear is due to start releasing worldwide on the 25th of September- the same day as the Galaxy Note 3. As with the Note 3 there’s no word yet on whether it will hit the UK on that date or sometime later but it should be here soon either way.
The Galaxy Gear will supposedly carry an RRP of an eye watering £299, which should be enough to put off all but the most die-hard tech fanatics and Samsung fans. However it’s likely that shops will start dropping the price before long and Phones4U already offer £99 off the price if you pre-order a Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear is certainly an interesting device. It’s by far the most feature packed smartwatch yet and the one that comes closest to justifying the ‘smart’ part of its name. It’s also reasonably stylish, if a little chunky. However with a short battery life and a high price tag, along with the fact that it looks like it may only work with Samsung handsets, it’s likely to be a niche item rather than a mainstream success.
By Simon Thomas on 05th September, 2013