So soon after the first Galaxy Gear, it may come as a surprise to some that Samsung have already brought out a second model. If you’re left wondering exactly what is quite so special about the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2, its improved design and functions will speak for themselves.
However, it’s worth noting that one thing still remains the same with the Gear 2: this is a watch that will only interact with a Samsung device. iPhone and other android users, this is where we part ways.
The overall look of the Gear 2 is largely refined in comparison to the first model. A minor redesign sees the home button having been moved from the side of the watch to the front (a handy improvement on its skin pinching former placement).
Perhaps the biggest change style-wise though, is the decision to move the built-in camera from the watch strap to the body of the watch itself. This seemingly tiny change means that the Gear 2 boasts a removable strap that allows you to alter the design to your hearts content. Colours such as black, silver, gold and rose are available.
Size will always be a factor when it comes to smartwatches and the Gear 2 is admittedly on the overt size – but at 36.9 x 58.4x 10.0 mm, it certainly isn’t the chunkiest out there.
Performance, functions and features
When it comes to the screen display, the Gear 2 is a 1.63-inch OLED affair (Samsung work hard to make OLED a credible alternative to LCD) and here, the screen is certainly up to the job. The brightness is also excellent and the ‘outdoor mode’ means that it doesn’t cave in the face of bright sunlight.
The Gear 2’s ‘IP67 dust and water resistance’ rating means that the watch has been tested – and survived – immersion in up to 1 metre of water for up to 30 minutes, although we don’t recommend trying this out for yourself.
The discreet infra-red blaster allows you to control your tv and set top box from up to 15 feet away, which , although quite useful, is nothing my old Casio CMD40B-1T couldn’t do back in the ’90s.
Again an improvement on the original, the battery life of the Gear 2 is pretty noteworthy. The watch offers up to 3 days of moderate use or a noteworthy 6 days if you’re just using the thing to tell the time, which, let’s face it, is unlikely.
Exercise tracking – A big selling point of the Gear 2 lies with its exercise tracking capabilities and S Health app. This includes a pedometer, heart rate monitor and the options to input your vital statistics to track your exercising habits. However, the watch doesn’t use GPS for tracking runs so it isn’t as accurate as it could be, but this does make the whole thing load a bit faster.
With the music player, Samsung uses its music credentials to great effect. Boasting easily transferrable music files and 4gb of storage, the Gear 2’s music player is stylish and simple to use.
Camera (Voice Activated)
If you’re feeling pretty 007, then the Samsung Gear 2’s 2mp camera is the ultimate tool to make you feel like a secret agent. The photos are good quality and there’s a even a fun feature where if you don’t want to tap the screen, you can simply say ‘Cheese’, ‘Smile’, ‘Shoot’ or ‘Capture’ to take a snap instead.
Again, the quality of hands-free calling has been much improved with the Gear 2, with better distances meaning that you don’t need to hold the watch right up to your face to make contact.
A great feature of the Gear 2 is how well it complies with other devices when setting up exactly which notifications and emails you want to receive. Using a Tizen operating system, the watch effortlessly listens to whatever its told.
It’s safe to say that the Samsung Gear 2 is a sleek and speedier version of its predecessor – but this improvement comes at a price. Literally. With the watch checking in at around the £250 mark, you may be left feeling that the improvement isn’t quite vast enough to encompass the new price tag.
Even with all the impressive improvements and updated design, the watch’s major downfall of course is its lack of compatibility outside of the Samsung family. If Samsung are looking to make their mark in the smartwatch game, they need to address this pronto.