Galaxy Gear Watch Review
Galaxy Gear Watch Review
Ok so it’s not quite a shoe phone but you may spend lots of time talking to your wrist. We’ll get back to that later but Agent 99 would no doubt have been impressed. The New Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear watch are the latest smartphone devices from Samsung in the USA. Check out our Galaxy Note 3 review here.
The Galaxy Gear watch is Samsung’s wearable tech watch. I have to admit, even I feel slightly “super dork” when first adorning the new watch but it’s comfortable, I barely notice I have it on and I find myself using it more than I would expect. As far as look and feel it’s clean, simple and super comfortable. The Bezel is made of brushed stainless steel and has countersunk exposed polished bolts near each corner.
At this time it only works in tandem with the Note 3 and the Galaxy Note 10.1 Tablet for 2014 but Samsung has already announced that S3, S4 and Note 2 compatibility is on the way.
The Gear measures 36.8 height x 11.1 mm thick and 36.8mm wide and weighs 2.6 ounces or 73.8g. The 1.63 inch screen displays 320×320 res at 277 ppi and is encased in a nice brushed stainless steel bezel with Gorilla Glass. A comfortable rubber strap with a stainless steel buckle that also houses the speaker wraps it to your wrist. Under the hood we find an 800MHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of onboard storage, a 315mAh battery along with accelerometer and gyroscope.
Features and Useability
The galaxy watch will wake itself up when you turn your wrist to check the time, a nice feature. Controls are intuitive, swipe left and right from the bezel inward to access the apps, up and down bring you home or to the camera, tap to click, pretty simple. . The Gear can even check your logs, notifications, contacts, pedometer, contacts, stop watch, with it’s built-in apps…
One highlight we can’t pass up telling you about is the Find My Device functionality. Find My Device allows both the Galaxy Note 3 as well as the Galaxy Gear to find one another, as long as they are connected via bluetooth! You can ring one from the other. The Gear will also vibrate to let you know that you’ve lost bluetooth connectivity when you go out of range.
Two features I love are the media control app and the phone capabilities. You can make and receive phone calls from your wrist! Undoubtedly this is the feature I choose to use the most, it’s not only a fun novelty but allows you to keep your hands free while you’re busy. The speaker is actually built into the bottom of the clasp and have two pinhole mic’s on either side of the watch which work great to pick up your voice.
You do not get much privacy when speaking over the phone, but the call quality both in and out for me are excellent, better than any other bluetooth earpiece I’ve ever used hands down. I’ve had many compliments on how well the connection was once they found out I was using the watch. The microphone picks up nicely without much distortion, it’s just not attached to my ear anymore. You can hear the other party pretty well, provided your in a relatively quiet area.
It also features a built-in camera that is facing outward closest to your pinky finger for those quick informational snapshots when you’re working or traveling. You can wear it on your left or right wrist with the camera facing outward. The built-in camera also features a macro mode which comes in quite handy when you need that close up detail. ‘
I’ve found the Gear to have excellent battery life and the charge time is pretty quick. Even with the step counter running non-stop in the background for 4 days the Gear still had some 60% battery life in it. Almost seemed like just idle standby time drain. Phone calls of course take the most power but still gives you some good real world time and surprisingly lasted much longer than I anticipated considering it’s got a constant bluetooth connection going. Fiddling with all the different apps and features, you can get lost playing on the watch and there’s lots to play with; transferring images and videos to your Note 3, SHealth info, check the weather, notifications, logs, contacts, SMemo, Stopwatch and more that will be added to as developers push out updates.
Ergonomically, I find it painful to turn your wrist as if you were looking at a wrist watch for long periods. I tried turning it around but then the LCD is facing down and can scratch easier and not to mention the only thing I can take a picture of from the watch is me and if you make a phone call you’ll be talking to the top of your wrist. Ideally it might be nice if the watch was on a slider so you can rotate it around to whatever angle suits you best.
Another downside for me is it’s one more item to have to charge. Perhaps in the future, Samsung will implement it’s new wireless charge technology so your Note 3 can share it’s power with your watch, or charge automatically when you charge your Galaxy Note 3. The Galaxy Gear watch cannot be charged without the included cradle, so yet another piece of plastic to remember to take with you when traveling.
The cost is a bit steep for many at $299.99. You could buy another smartphone for that price. But if you are interested in the health and fitness devices, the Gear may make sense to you since it can feed info to S Health.
It remains to be seen whether the Galaxy Gear will become more of a novelty, convenient accessory or even realized necessity at this point but with developers building apps for the Gear hopefully even more useful functionality will soon follow. If you’re looking for a bluetooth headset, you may consider the Gear instead. It beats putting a shoe up to your head to make a phone call any day.
The Gear comes in white, black, yellow, grey, orange, blue and is available for $299 from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile