Samsung decided to tease consumers with a short video last month about a smartwatch that it would unveil at IFA Berlin; today was the culmination of that initial “tease.”
Yes, the Gear S2 has been announced by the Korean manufacturer, but today was the first time that consumers got to see the device up-close. And it is a thing of beauty.
First, let’s reiterate the specs and features of the device. The Gear S2 features a 1.2Ghz, Exynos processor (not the Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor we stated earlier), with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and IP68 water and dust resistance. The device is fully dustproof but not waterproof (only water-resistant; there’s a difference).
Now, let’s see what new ways Samsung’s Gear S2 stands out from the crowd. First, Samsung’s Gear S2 has a rotating bezel that you can use to navigate functions on the watch display itself. Apple has always had its digital crown on the Apple Watch, but the “clicking” turn of the bezel is not only addictive (like the “clicking” top part of the new Galaxy Note5 S Pen) but also functional. While Samsung is offering two major models for the watch, the Gear S2 and the Gear S2 3G, the basic Gear S2 model will feature a more “sporty” model (the Gear S2 Sport, perhaps, may have been a better name for it), followed by a Classic model that looks more formal for when you’re going out on the town. The Gear S2 Classic model will come with genuine leather bands for those who want a more traditional look for their smartwatch. If you see the basic Gear S2 model, you’ll quickly realize that it’s perfect for most occasions, but not necessarily the more formal ones.
The Gear S2 sport and the Gear S2 Classic models will both have standalone apps and run Bluetooth, but the cellular Gear S2 model, to arrive later, will provide calling and texting capabilities. The basic Gear S2 models (including the Classic) will have the same remote connection feature found on the cellular Gear S from last year. The remote connection feature allows your smartwatch to retrieve emails and notifications even when your smartwatch isn’t paired via Bluetooth to your phone. This is one of the most beloved features about Samsung smartwatches.
Apart from the rotating bezel, Samsung has also heard the complaints of customers and decided to open up access to all Android smartphones, even non-Galaxy smartphones, running Android 4.4 KitKat or higher. This means that Android Wear customers who happen to think Samsung’s Gear S2 is the best-looking smartwatch on the market can now buy a Samsung smartwatch and pair it with their Nexus, Motorola, HTC, or LG smartphone. Of course, it must be said that the Gear S2 does run Samsung’s own Tizen OS, but one major advantage of Tizen is its battery life. Android has not been able to nail down battery life just yet, and users will be pleased with an alternate OS that gets battery life right.
Samsung provided more details today regarding Gear S2 availability. The new smartwatch models (the Gear S2 sport and Classic) will be available in October, with the cellular model coming at some point, if not in the same month. No word on pricing yet, although the rumor points to $349 for the sport and Classic models and $399 on the cellular-connected Gear S2.