A personal review
It’s been three weeks since I’ve gotten my hands on a Samsung Gear S smartwatch, and overall I’m pleased with it. I was honestly expecting it to be a high-tech smartphone accessory, since that seems to be what most smartwatches are, but there’s much more to it, which was impressive. First off, the Gear S has its own SIM-card slot, gets its own cell service and data, and comes with an additional battery pack. Pretty much, it’s a watch that’s also a phone.
What caught my attention right off the bat was the modern, attractive look to the Gear S. It has a big, bright, curved 2-inch 480 x 360-pixel AMOLED display, which leaves plenty of room for swiping and pinching on the screen. To top it off, the watch comes with customizable screen clock faces to express your own style, and a snap-on adjustable wristband for a comfortable fit.
As for receiving notifications, there weren’t any issues (and it was quite exciting the first few times I received a text or an email and saw it come up on my watch), as long as I had my Samsung phone nearby. Even though the Gear S is seen as an independent smartwatch, it needs to be paired with your Samsung smartphone for most of its features to work, and it requires a connected data plan to use it as a cellular device. It can do a number of impressive things, but it runs Samsung’s limited Tizen software and Gear apps. So you’ll get texts and email notifications, but not others that you’d expect, such as notifications from Facebook and Twitter.
Assuming you’ve paid for a connected data plan, you can answer incoming calls via a built-in speakerphone or through a connected Bluetooth headset. I’m personally not a fan of using a speakerphone on a smartwatch to make calls, but the Gear S can be used for hands-free calling, if that’s your style, which I think is a pretty big deal. Speaking of making calls, I found the voice recognition on this watch to be decent. For the most part, it understood what I said, and I appreciated that much more than entering text messages on the Gear S – I found texting difficult, even with my tiny fingers.
As for the cool apps this smartwatch features, I favored the S Health app, which includes a pedometer, a heart rate monitor, and a bunch of exercise activities and patterns the watch keeps tabs on. Another favorite app of mine on the Gear S is News Briefing, which brings you top stories and headlines to read right on your wrist.
Because of its elegant look and useful features, I consider the Gear S a topnotch smartwatch for its time. If I could tweak things with it, I’d like to see it compatible with more apps, and a better battery life wouldn’t hurt either — the Gear S lasted me two days (after using the battery pack when the internal battery was low). I also think that in order for it to fully live up to battling with today’s smartphones, a camera would be an important addition too.
39.9 x 58.1 x 12.5 mm
2.0-in. curved super AMOLED (360 x 480 pixels)
900/2100 or 850/1900 (3G)
900/1800 or 850/1900 (2G)
RAM: 512 Mbytes
Storage: 4 Gbytes internal memory
Accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, heart rate, ambient light,
WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, A-GPS/Glonass
USB: USB 2.0
Format: MP3, M4A, WMA, AAC, OGG
Tizen-based wearable platform
Written for Electronic Products.