SAMSUNG Gear 2 Review

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In this article, I give you my Samsung Gear 2 review with specs included. This SmartWatch works with Samsung Galaxy phones and some Samsung Galaxy tablets. Samsung Galaxy phones that work with this watch are a few flagships, higher-end, and more recent phones.

Samsung Gear 2 is a little bit better looking than the first Gear that I reviewed. But, the size remains pretty much the same, this is a big watch. For people who want a slick watch, this is probably not it. This doesn’t look small on any wrist. I know that big chunky watches are a little bit trendy right now so it might look good on you for that reason. But, in the best case, it may give that kind of sporty look.

Samsung Gear 2 Colors
Samsung Gear 2 Colors

The design kinda feels like it would fit men more. But, fashion aside, it’s a pretty clean design in general. It’s not gorgeous, it’s not Moto 360 SmartWatch (which is the best-looking smartwatch in my opinion).

Samsung Gear 2 does have a motion sensor so when you turn your wrist it will turn the screen on. I found that very handy. Otherwise, there is a single button below the display that works as a home button, a power button (if you press and hold it), and a wakeup button as well.

The Samsung Gear 2 offers a hypoallergenic plastic or rubbery band, providing comfort and ease of wear for users. The band’s design allows for simple attachment and removal, with pressure applied to the center facilitating the process. Its adjustability is notable, with numerous holes on the inside ensuring compatibility with a variety of wrist sizes. Furthermore, the use of standard watch pins enables users to interchange bands easily, offering customization options and versatility in personal style. The presence of an IR blaster adds functionality, allowing users to control their TV, set-top box, and air conditioner directly from the device.

In terms of construction, the Gear 2 features a metal body, conveying a premium and durable appearance. The metal frame surrounding the device enhances its aesthetic appeal and reinforces its build quality. Additionally, the inclusion of a sensor for heart rate monitoring aligns with modern fitness tracking capabilities, similar to those found in the Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. The charging mechanism has been refined, with a more streamlined dock design and a micro USB-based charger for convenient charging. The dock securely attaches to the back of the device, ensuring reliable connectivity and efficient charging.

Users can transfer music from their computer to the Gear 2 using a micro USB cable, offering a straightforward method for adding content to the device. While other types of data transfer are limited, such as the inability to transfer files directly from a computer, most interactions and data management occur through the Gear Manager app on a Samsung smartphone. The Gear 2 communicates with the smartphone via Bluetooth connectivity, with the initial setup process prompting users to download the Gear Manager app if Bluetooth is enabled on their device.

The Samsung Gear 2 combines functionality, style, and convenience, offering users a versatile and customizable smartwatch experience. With its interchangeable bands, heart rate monitoring capabilities, and seamless integration with Samsung smartphones, the Gear 2 caters to the needs of modern consumers seeking a reliable companion device for everyday use. Whether it’s tracking fitness goals, controlling home entertainment systems, or managing notifications on the go, the Gear 2 delivers a comprehensive and user-friendly experience.

You don’t even need to search for the app; it’s seamlessly integrated into the Samsung Gear 2 experience, simplifying the setup process. We’ll delve into the functionalities offered by Gear Manager shortly, but first, let’s explore its compatibility with smartphones.

The Samsung Gear 2 is compatible with a range of Samsung smartphones, including the Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, and their respective variants, such as the S4 Active. Additionally, it works seamlessly with the Galaxy S5, offering enhanced functionality and integration. Moreover, select Samsung tablets, including the Note 2014 10.1 Edition, Tab Pro, and Note Pro, are also compatible with the Gear 2. However, the utility of using the Gear 2 with a tablet diminishes for most users due to the limited proximity range between the devices, typically around 30 feet. As tablets are not commonly carried everywhere like smartphones, the Gear 2’s functionality heavily relies on being within close proximity to the paired smartphone for data aggregation and connectivity.

Priced at $299, the Gear 2 is positioned in the premium segment of the smartwatch market. While the price point may be a deterrent for some consumers, it’s essential to consider that the Gear 2’s functionality is closely tied to Samsung smartphones. This dependency on Samsung devices may pose limitations for users who prefer alternative smartphone brands, such as HTC or Apple. Therefore, potential buyers should carefully evaluate their device preferences and ecosystem compatibility before investing in the Gear 2.

For those interested in the Gear 2’s features but seeking a more affordable option, Samsung offers the Galaxy Gear 2 Neo smartwatch at $199. The Galaxy Gear 2 Neo shares many features with its higher-priced counterpart but lacks a camera, which may appeal to users concerned about privacy concerns or social stigma associated with wearable cameras. Additionally, the Galaxy Gear 2 Neo sports a plastic body, in contrast to the metal construction of the Gear 2, and is available in a variety of colors. While the plastic build may seem less premium, pairing it with a suitable band can enhance its aesthetic appeal and comfort.

Operating the Gear 2 is straightforward, thanks to its user-friendly interface. The device features a 1.63-inch AMOLED display, providing ample space for interaction. Given the size constraints of a smartwatch display, the interface prioritizes simplicity and intuitive navigation. Users interact with the device primarily through swipe gestures, similar to its predecessor. Notably, the Gear 2’s display has a tendency to enter sleep mode quickly by default, conserving battery life when not in use.

The device offers various functionalities, including a phone dialer, enabling users to make calls directly from the watch. This feature extends the convenience of hands-free communication, allowing users to initiate calls without accessing their smartphones. Additionally, like its predecessor, the Gear 2 facilitates conversations through the watch, enabling users to engage in calls directly from their wrists.

Engaging in certain activities with the Samsung Gear 2, such as transferring calls from your smartphone to the watch, might evoke a sense of being akin to Maxwell Smart, the fictional spy character known for his gadgets. However, some users may find this feature somewhat embarrassing or impractical. Despite its functionality, the Gear 2’s speaker quality may leave users surprised by its subpar performance in terms of audio output, which may not meet their expectations.

Navigating the Gear 2’s interface reveals various features accessible from the home screen, including the camera app and the pedometer, as well as access to settings and contacts, which sync with those on the paired smartphone. Essentially, the Gear 2 serves as an extension of the smartphone, with most data and notifications being relayed from the phone to the watch. Although the Gear 2 supports a limited number of downloadable apps, Samsung’s transition from the Android OS to its proprietary Tizen OS restricts the availability of third-party applications. For instance, while there is a CNN app available for the Gear 2, users must first download it onto their smartphone and then sync it with the watch using the companion app.

In essence, the Gear 2 serves as a conduit for users to interact with their smartphones without having to physically access the device itself. This hands-free approach may appeal to users who prefer to check notifications or access certain functionalities discreetly, such as in situations where taking out a smartphone might be inconvenient or draw unwanted attention. However, some users may question the practicality of relying on a smartwatch when their smartphone is already readily available, especially considering that smartphones offer larger screens and more extensive functionalities. Despite its potential advantages, such as convenience and discretion, the Gear 2’s role as a secondary device to the smartphone may not fully justify its utility for all users.

Exploring the available apps on the Gear 2 reveals features such as the music player, which allows users to listen to music stored on the watch’s four-gigabyte internal storage. Users have the option to transfer music to the Gear 2 either via a USB cable connected to a computer or through Bluetooth from their smartphone, although the latter method may result in slower transfer speeds. While using the music player, users can navigate through tracks, adjust volume levels, and control playback, leveraging the touchscreen functionality of the Gear 2. Additionally, the Gear 2’s reliance on Bluetooth connectivity for communication with the paired smartphone is evident in its indication of playing audio through Bluetooth 4.0.

The Samsung Gear 2 offers the convenience of connecting to Bluetooth headsets and speakers, allowing users to enjoy music stored on the watch without needing to rely on their smartphones. This feature adds versatility to the device, enabling users to listen to music independently or seamlessly switch between their watch and smartphone for audio playback. While having a smartphone nearby enhances the functionality of the Gear 2, especially for tasks requiring data connectivity, the ability to directly connect to Bluetooth accessories expands its utility in various scenarios.

Moreover, the Gear 2’s intuitive interface facilitates effortless navigation, with simple gestures enabling users to access features and control settings with ease. For instance, swiping down on the screen provides quick access to essential functions, streamlining the user experience and enhancing usability. The inclusion of a 2-megapixel camera on the watch allows users to capture photos discreetly, making it suitable for stealthy photography or capturing spontaneous moments without drawing attention. However, the camera’s modest resolution may not deliver exceptional image quality, limiting its use for professional photography or detailed shots.

One notable feature of the Gear 2 is its ability to relay notifications and data to the paired smartphone, providing users with a seamless experience across devices. This synchronization ensures that users can view notifications and access information on their smartphones via the watch’s display, offering convenience and accessibility. Additionally, the Gear 2’s compatibility with Samsung WatchON Remote allows users to control their TVs and set-top boxes directly from the watch, eliminating the need for a smartphone for such tasks. The watch’s independent remote functionality enhances its versatility, enabling users to interact with their entertainment devices effortlessly.

The inclusion of the “Find My Device” feature on the Gear 2 adds a layer of security and convenience, allowing users to locate their misplaced smartphones or watches easily. This feature proves invaluable in situations where devices are lost or misplaced, offering peace of mind and facilitating swift retrieval. Furthermore, the Gear 2’s voice memo capability enables users to record voice notes and memos conveniently, making it ideal for capturing ideas, reminders, or meeting notes on the go. Whether used for personal organization or professional tasks, voice memos provide a convenient means of recording and storing information directly from the wrist-worn device.

The Gear 2 also integrates voice commands powered by S Voice, Samsung’s virtual assistant, allowing users to perform various tasks using voice prompts. By simply speaking commands, users can initiate calls, send messages, set reminders, or perform other functions hands-free, enhancing the device’s usability and accessibility. However, users should note that voice commands may require a stable internet connection for optimal performance, as certain tasks may rely on online data processing or voice recognition algorithms.

The Samsung Gear 2 offers a range of features and functionalities designed to enhance users’ productivity, connectivity, and convenience. From its ability to connect to Bluetooth accessories for audio playback to its integration of remote control capabilities and voice commands, the Gear 2 provides users with a versatile and intuitive wearable companion. While some features may require a paired smartphone for full functionality, the Gear 2’s independent capabilities, such as its camera, voice memo recorder, and Find My Device feature, ensure that it remains a valuable asset for users seeking a multifunctional and user-friendly smartwatch experience.

The Gear 2’s integration with S Voice, Samsung’s voice assistant feature, allows users to remotely activate S Voice on their smartphones using the watch as a microphone. This feature may appeal to users who frequently utilize S Voice for various tasks. Additionally, the Gear 2’s ability to display notifications directly on the device’s screen eliminates the need for users to constantly check their smartphones for updates. Even when the smartphone’s lock screen is active, notifications can be conveniently accessed on the Gear 2, enhancing accessibility and streamlining the user experience.

In comparison to the Gear 2, Samsung also offers the Gear Fit, which is notable for its sleek and minimalist design. The Gear Fit features a slim, curved glass band that resembles a stylish accessory rather than a traditional smartwatch. While the Gear Fit primarily focuses on fitness-related features, such as a pedometer and heart rate monitor, it lacks some of the advanced functionalities found in the Gear 2. However, for individuals seeking a wearable device primarily for fitness tracking and basic smartwatch capabilities, the Gear Fit may suffice.

The Gear 2 incorporates several fitness-oriented features, including a pedometer and heart rate monitor, along with support for various exercise modes such as running, walking, cycling, and hiking. These features enable users to track their physical activity and monitor their heart rate during workouts, providing valuable insights into their fitness levels and progress. While the Gear 2’s fitness capabilities may be sufficient for casual users or those with moderate fitness goals, serious athletes or fitness enthusiasts may require more advanced features found in dedicated fitness trackers or sports watches.

The Gear 2’s pedometer function requires manual activation, likely to conserve battery life by only tracking steps when necessary. This approach ensures that the device remains operational for an extended period, addressing one of the shortcomings of its predecessor, the original Gear, which had relatively limited battery life. Samsung claims that the Gear 2 offers improved battery life compared to its predecessor, lasting two to three days with regular usage. In practical testing, users have reported satisfactory battery performance, even with moderate to heavy usage, suggesting that the Gear 2’s battery life meets or exceeds expectations for typical smartwatch usage scenarios.

The Gear 2 also features a heart rate sensor, similar to the one found in the Galaxy S5 smartphone, allowing users to monitor their heart rate directly from the watch. This feature enhances the Gear 2’s appeal as a fitness-oriented wearable device, providing users with valuable health-related data and insights. The inclusion of a heart rate sensor aligns with the growing trend of integrating health and wellness features into wearable technology, catering to users’ increasing interest in monitoring their fitness and well-being.

The Gear 2 offers a balanced combination of smartwatch features, fitness tracking capabilities, and convenience-enhancing functionalities. While it may not have the extensive app ecosystem of some other smartwatches, its seamless integration with Samsung smartphones, intuitive user interface, and robust hardware make it a compelling choice for users seeking a versatile and reliable wearable device. Whether used for managing notifications, tracking fitness metrics, or controlling smart home devices, the Gear 2 provides a comprehensive and user-friendly wearable experience.

Using the Samsung Gear 2 during various activities, including exercise sessions, reveals its capability to provide reasonably accurate health and fitness metrics. The device’s ability to track metrics such as heart rate and blood pressure is commendable, although the repetitive nature of the instructions can sometimes be tedious for users. Despite occasional inaccuracies, such as missed heart rate readings, the Gear 2 generally performs satisfactorily in capturing health data. However, it may not match the reliability and responsiveness of specialized fitness bands in this regard.

In addition to its health and fitness tracking features, the Gear 2 serves as a multifunctional device capable of handling various tasks, including receiving notifications and capturing photos. Navigating through notifications on the device is straightforward, allowing users to view incoming messages and alerts conveniently. The Gear Manager app, accessible on compatible smartphones and tablets, serves as the central hub for managing device settings and installing applications on the Gear 2. Utilizing the Gear Manager app, users can download apps and transfer them to the Gear 2 via Bluetooth, leveraging the device’s data connection for app downloads.

Integration with Samsung’s S Health platform offers users access to comprehensive health and wellness features, enhancing the Gear 2’s utility as a fitness-oriented wearable device. However, users may encounter unexpected issues, such as the inadvertent deletion of settings when pairing the Gear 2 with the S Health app for the first time. While this inconvenience may disrupt the user experience temporarily, it does not significantly detract from the overall functionality of the device.

Pairing the Gear 2 with a smartphone establishes a dedicated connection between the two devices, restricting compatibility with other smartphones unless the Gear 2 undergoes a hard reset. This limitation underscores the device’s dependency on Samsung smartphones for full functionality, potentially affecting users who may wish to switch to a different smartphone platform in the future. Despite this constraint, the Gear 2 remains a versatile and capable wearable device, offering a wide range of features and functionalities to meet the needs of modern consumers.

The Samsung Gear 2 excels as a versatile wearable device, offering a blend of health and fitness tracking capabilities, convenient notification management, and intuitive user interface. While it may not match the specialized capabilities of dedicated fitness bands or the extensive app ecosystems of some smartwatches, the Gear 2 provides a well-rounded wearable experience suitable for a variety of users. With its sleek design, robust hardware, and seamless integration with Samsung smartphones, the Gear 2 remains a compelling option for those seeking a reliable and feature-rich wearable device.

Samsung has made significant improvements in the management of notifications with the Gear 2, offering users greater control over which notifications are relayed to the device. Users now have the option to limit notifications based on various criteria, such as whether the screen is already active on their smartphone. This customization feature ensures that users receive only the most relevant notifications on their Gear 2, enhancing the overall user experience.

The range of notifications that can be managed on the Gear 2 is extensive, encompassing schedules, alarms, incoming calls, missed calls, messages, emails, voicemails, weather updates, and notifications from installed applications. The device intelligently detects all installed applications, allowing users to selectively enable or disable notifications for each app based on their preferences. Notably, Gmail notifications, which were initially absent on the first-generation Gear, have been added to the Gear 2, demonstrating Samsung’s commitment to refining the device’s notification capabilities.

Another notable feature of the Gear 2 is its “Find My Gear” function, which enables users to locate their device in the event that it is misplaced or lost. Additionally, the device offers access to Samsung Apps, allowing users to explore and download additional applications directly onto the Gear 2. While the selection of apps may currently be limited due to the transition from Android to Tizen operating systems, users can still find a variety of useful applications, including watch faces, a flashlight functionality, a tip calculator, eBay, Feedly, News Republic, and even a barcode scanner. These applications enhance the utility of the Gear 2, enabling users to perform tasks and access information conveniently without the need to retrieve their smartphone.

The availability of such diverse applications reflects Samsung’s efforts to expand the functionality of the Gear 2 beyond its primary role as a smartwatch. By providing users with access to a range of useful tools and services directly on the device, Samsung aims to enrich the user experience and position the Gear 2 as a versatile wearable companion for everyday tasks. Furthermore, the inclusion of essential features such as a barcode scanner underscores the device’s utility in various scenarios, from shopping to information gathering, enhancing its appeal to a broad spectrum of users.

While the Gear 2 offers an array of advanced features and functionalities, it remains true to its fundamental purpose as a watch. Beyond its capabilities as a smart device, the Gear 2 fulfills its role as a timekeeping accessory, ensuring that users can rely on it for essential timekeeping functions in addition to its myriad other features. This fusion of traditional watch functionality with cutting-edge smartwatch capabilities embodies Samsung’s vision of creating a wearable device that seamlessly integrates into users’ daily lives, offering both style and substance in equal measure.

The Samsung Gear 2 offers users a customizable home screen experience, allowing them to personalize their device with various wallpapers and clock faces. With options ranging from sleek gray to traditional analog designs, users can tailor their Gear 2 to suit their individual style preferences. This level of customization adds a personal touch to the device and enhances the overall user experience.

Currently available for $299, the Gear 2 has gained popularity among consumers, with retailers reporting consistent sales. However, despite its popularity, some users may find themselves underwhelmed by the device’s functionality. While the Gear 2 serves as a remote extension of a Samsung smartphone, offering access to notifications and other phone functions, it may not offer the transformative features that users are seeking in a smartwatch.

In contrast to the Gear 2’s reliance on a connected smartphone, previous smartwatch concepts, such as the Microsoft SPOT watch from a decade ago, offered autonomous functionality by incorporating built-in radios. These devices were capable of receiving weather updates, notifications, and text messages independently, without the need for a paired smartphone. While such autonomous functionality remains a possibility for future smartwatches, current models like the Gear 2 are tethered to a compatible Samsung smartphone for full functionality.

Another consideration for prospective Gear 2 users is its limited compatibility with Samsung smartphones. The device is only compatible with select Samsung models, including the Galaxy Note series (Note 2, Note 3), the Galaxy S series (S3, S4, S5), and other higher-end Samsung smartphones. Users who plan to continue using Samsung smartphones may find this compatibility restriction acceptable. However, those who prefer other smartphone brands or wish to switch devices in the future may be deterred by the Gear 2’s exclusive compatibility with Samsung smartphones.

Despite these limitations, the Gear 2 remains a sleek and stylish wearable device that offers a range of features and functionalities. From its customizable home screen to its ability to serve as a remote control for connected devices, the Gear 2 provides users with convenience and versatility. However, its reliance on a connected smartphone and limited compatibility may influence users’ purchasing decisions, particularly those seeking a more independent and widely compatible smartwatch solution.

In summary, while the Samsung Gear 2 offers users a customizable and feature-rich smartwatch experience, its dependency on a connected smartphone and exclusive compatibility with Samsung devices may present challenges for some users. As smartwatch technology continues to evolve, future iterations may address these limitations and offer more autonomous functionality and broader compatibility across smartphone brands.

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