Of the three available Samsung smartwatches, the Gear 2 Neo gives you the best value for your money.
There were three smartwatches released by Samsung in 2014 to replace the earlier Galaxy Gear, but the Gear 2 gives the most functionality for the money spent. The Gear 2 is only compatible with other Samsung smart devices and will be synced to your mobile device using Bluetooth technology.
How does the Gear 2 Neo look?
The Gear 2 Neo is a sportier looking smartwatch then the Gear 2. It is made entirely of plastic, coming in black, gray or orange. The bands can be switched out easily using any 22mm watch band. There is no camera on the face, but there is an unobtrusive button on the button used to activate the watch screen.
The main display is 1.63 inches with 320 x 320 Pixel for sharp contrast between the colors. When activated the small screen is surprisingly bright, making it easy to read text messages and other notifications. The home screen can be customised with a number of different themes, fonts, clock faces and backgrounds. These can be found pre-loaded on the watch, or through the Gear Manager.
What is Gear Manager?
In order for your Gear 2 Neo to work with your Samsung smart phone you will first need to have the Gear Manager app. This allows for connectivity between the phone and wearable tech device using a 4.0 Bluetooth connection. Once connected, the Gear Manager will let you choose which notifications are sent to the smartwatch.
The watch comes already loaded with a stopwatch and timer, TV remote control, weather app, notifications for the apps that ping to your cell phone, music player, pedometer, and heart rate monitor. There is also a built in speaker and microphone for voice commands and making or receiving calls. When you are notified of an incoming call you simply need to hit accept and hold the watch up to your face to talk. You can also use the S-Voice recognition to command the watch to dial one any of the contacts stored on your phone.
All of these functions are accessible only with the assistance of the Gear Manager.
Using the Gear 2 for tracking fitness activities
On the back of the watch face is a sensor for measuring heart rate and fitness activities. You can use the pre-loaded pedometer to track your movements during the day, or connect with the Gear Fitness Manager to set goals and track results from cycling, hiking or running. While this is a unique feature for a smartwatch to have, it is not helpful for a serious athlete.
Apps for the Gear 2 Neo
Since the Gear 2 is using Samsung’s own Tizen operating system you will find that there are a number of unique apps to choose from. Sadly, most are just more choices in watch face design or calendars and calculators. There are none of the apps that you are used to using daily such as Google or Twitter to choose from.
Battery life for the Gear 2 Neo
In order to charge the Gear 2 Neo, you need to attach the watch to a dongle, which can then be connected to a USB cord. This extra step in charging may not seem like much when at home, but for travellers the dongle is one more essential item to possibly forget. The battery will last up to four days with regular use of the watch, and only needs a few hours before it becomes fully charged.
Without the added feature of a camera, the price drops for the Gear Neo 2 to around $200 AUD. This is a significant difference from the $350 that Australians will pay for the Samsung Gear 2. Take price into careful consideration when comparing the large number of smartwatches on the market now. Each have their own distinct features, and when spending this much for wearable tech you want to be sure that you are getting all the gadgetry you want, without paying for extras you don’t need.