One of the first smartwatches released with Android Wear, the Samsung Gear Live is a big leap forward from their earlier wearable tech.
In just nine months from 2013 to 2014, Samsung had released a total of five distinct smartwatches. The Gear Live is the first to have integrated the newly developed Android Wear and the only one that does not require pairing with another Samsung portable device.
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How does the Samsung Gear Live look?
For a technically advanced watch, the look of the Samsung Gear Live seems outdated. It uses a basic rectangle for the face, with a simple wristband that is able to be changed out for something more sophisticated. You will want that option if you plan on wearing the smartwatch daily. The one button on the side of the watch is used to turn the display on and off or bring up Google voice.
The display of the Samsung Gear Live is exceptionally clear and bright with 320 x 320 resolution on the 1.65 inch screen. Using an AMOLED display does make a difference in readability under normal conditions, but in direct sunlight you won’t be able to see the display.
Like other Samsung smartwatches, the Gear Live is IP67 water resistant. This makes it okay to wash your hands with it or even take a shower, but you should not go swimming with the smartwatch on. There is no camera like what was featured on the Galaxy Gear, and no speakers, but there is a microphone to use with the Google Voice function.
Setting up the Samsung Gear Live
Like all Android Wear devices, you only need to download the Android Wear app onto your Android cell phone and sync the devices together using Bluetooth. Once synced, your smartwatch will be ready to give you notifications that are normally sent to your cell phone. First visit the Google Play store to download your favorite apps onto the Gear Live. At the store you are going to find ways to customise the face of the watch using different themes and wallpapers.
With no speaker, you are able to see and accept an incoming call on your smartwatch, but will have to be ready to pull out your cell phone if you want to talk. Text messaging can all be done from the watch using voice command to transcribe. Facebook and Twitter alerts may be condensed, necessitating pulling out your cell if you want to see the entire post.
One of the features of Android Wear is its ability to send you relevant updates during the day about things such as local weather and traffic conditions. These create more notifications that you are advised of with a vibration to the wrist. This can be distracting after a while, especially when the same update is being sent more than once but you can go back and mute certain notifications if it becomes overwhelming.
The Samsung Gear Live battery
The Gear Live only has a 300mAh rechargeable battery which likely won’t last from one day to the next. If not charged nightly, expect to wake up to a lifeless smartwatch in the morning. Charging the wearable tech gear involves using the same type of dongle that is used for the Gear 2, Neo and Fit. This special device must first be fastened to the back of the watch in order to connect to the USB cable or AC adaptor. If you lose that dongle you lose the ability to charge your watch.
In Australia you can purchase the Samsung Gear Live at your nearest Officeworks for $188 AUD. This is a lower price than what you will find when looking at the LG G smartwatch. You can also make your purchase through Google Play, where the smartwatch costs $199. Android Wear is available on other smartwatches from various manufacturers. Since they all do have unique looks and features, you should do some comparisons before making a final decision on which wearable gear is the right one for your needs and budget.