The Samsung Gear 2 takes tech gear up a notch as a smartwatch rife with built-in features and unique apps. Are you ready for the future?
The Gear 2 from Samsung made vast improvements on its predecessor to bring you a smartwatch with many of the same features as your mobile phone. Water resistance has been added, the built-in camera moved, and you now will get access to more of your important notifications.
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The Gear 2 battery and charger
Instead of a special cradle for charging, the Gear 2 comes with a Micro USB charger that you attach using a special dongle. Although more convenient than the Galaxy Gear, you will still need to ensure you have the dongle with you when travelling. The watch needs to be charged for a few hours to get approximately three days use from it.
How does the Gear 2 look?
Samsung has done a good job in making its smartwatch look like a watch. It features a brushed metal face in black, brown or orange, and comes with a comfortable black rubber band. The band can be switched out for different colours or even a metal version. The face is square, with a small camera located at the top and one button on the side to activate the watch. The Gear 2 has been IP67-certified for water and dust resistance, so there will be no issues washing your hands or even taking a shower with it still attached. You still shouldn’t take it for a swim though. The AMOLED display is bright, big and easy to read unless you are in direct sunlight. It is 41.4mm with a 320 x 320 pixel resolution, which makes the text stand out. You can customise the face, choosing from a number of styles built into the watch or from the Gear Manager app.
The Gear 2 is compatible with most Samsung smart devices including:
- Galaxy S III
- Galaxy S4
- Galaxy S4 Mini
- Galaxy S4 Active
- Galaxy S4 Zoom
- Galaxy Mega
- Galaxy S5
- Galaxy Note 2
- Galaxy Note 3
- Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition
- Galaxy Note Pro
- Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 and higher
Samsung Gear 2 apps
You can’t connect the Gear 2 to any smartphone or device not made by Samsung. The Gear Manager app needs to be downloaded onto the smartphone, which allows for Bluetooth connectivity for the various apps to run on the watch. Using the manager you are able to pick which notifications come in, adjust their layout on the watch face and add other apps. Instead of Android, the Gear 2 runs the Tizen operating system, but you won’t notice much of a difference. There are over a hundred different apps to choose from, but still no Twitter or Facebook capabilities. The S-Voice function allows for voice commands, but the watch may take longer than expected to respond. The Gear 2 is equipped with a heart rate monitor and can be synced to S-Health on the Galaxy S5. With this application the watch also doubles as a pedometer and heart rate tracker. You can also set the app to track cycling, hiking, running or walking which will be saved in an exercise log. There are a number of settings to consider, including your maximum heart rate, length goals and intensity. This is an appealing feature to an athlete who wants to be able to compare their daily results. In Australia the price of the Gear 2 is $350, making it one of the more expensive smartwatches available. There is also a similar Gear 2 Neo, which is about a $100 less, but has the same look and most of the features. If you are thinking about connecting your smartphone to wearable gear, shop around first and compare features and functions before making a final choice. Just like with any technical device, the specifications of a smartwatch can vary greatly - even when manufactured by the same company.