04
Oct
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Watches. A lot people used to wear them, because a watch had two great functional purposes: giving you the current time instantly, and providing a quick, easy, and almost universally recognized way to socially cue that you're becoming impatient / need to go / it's getting late. A lot of people actually still wear watches, but by and large, the reason has changed - it's mostly about fashion. For some people, maybe it was always about looks, but now more than ever the watch is, in any functional sense, obsolete. We carry smartphones, and those do a lot more than just give the time. Sure, a watch can make a good backup clock if your phone dies or you need to check the time more discreetly, but they're just not as important as they used to be.

So began the smartwatch era. The idea was simple: take that empty or underutilized wrist of yours and slap a tiny computer on it. Brilliant! Well, maybe. Smartwatches are still in their infancy, relatively speaking, and while Samsung isn't the first big smartphone OEM to get in on the smartwatch game, it's probably going to be the first one most people end up remembering, at least if Samsung puts in its typical advertising effort.

With speculation that Apple and Google are looking into smartwatches, it's not hard to understand why Samsung has created the Galaxy Gear. What is hard to understand, though, is just why you'd go out and spend $300 on what essentially amounts to a beta product.

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The Galaxy Gear appears well-made, it has a nice display, the camera is usable in well-lit situations, and the loudspeaker and microphone are good enough for phone calls in a pinch. The battery life is actually pretty decent, and the navigation isn't terribly unintuitive. Dare I say, the Galaxy Gear could also look worse. It's not pretty, but it doesn't look cheap or particularly outlandish, either.

Sounding promising, right? It's too bad there's not a single thing the Galaxy Gear does that actually makes me like it enough to want to use it, though. It's like Samsung designed the hardware, built the OS, and then had a very hard time figuring out just what to do with this product. And when the manufacturer has a hard time figuring out how to make the product compelling, that generally doesn't bode well for its continued support and development.

Galaxy Gear: Specifications
  • Price: $300
  • Processor: 800MHz single-core ARM processor
  • GPU: Unknown
  • Display: 1.63" Super AMOLED 320x320 (277 DPI)
  • Network compatibility: None
  • Operating system: Android-derived
  • Memory: 512MB RAM / 4GB internal storage
  • Cameras: 1.9MP
  • Battery: 315mAh, non-removable
  • NFC: No
  • Wi-Fi: No
  • Bluetooth: 4.0 with BT Smart (LE)
  • Ports / expandable storage: microUSB / none
  • Thickness at watch face: 11.1mm
  • Weight: 73.8g

The Good
  • Build: This is the most tightly-assembled Samsung product I've ever seen. The Gear is constructed to some pretty exacting standards, and feels incredibly tough, but also quite premium.
  • Battery life: I think with light usage 3 days is reasonably doable, and that's not bad at all - nor is it extraordinary.
  • Connectivity: I've had no connectivity issues with the Gear and my Note 3 at all, the Bluetooth LE connection has been solid as a rock, even on phone calls.
  • Auto-lock: You can use the Gear as a proximity lock for your phone, if it's too far away, your phone goes into pattern lock mode. That's pretty cool.
  • Display: Bright, vivid, and extremely high DPI for a smartwatch (277).
  • Camera: It has one and it's usable.

  • Charging cradle: You have to carry a specific piece of gear to charge the Gear, in the form of a really cheap, flimsy charging "cradle" and it really doesn't make sense. There has to be a better way.
  • Notifications: See the section in Software devoted to notification handling. It's a mess on the Gear.
  • Slow: The Gear feels slow and unresponsive a lot most of the time. This does not a good user experience make.
  • Kind of useless: I have tried to find a way to integrate the Galaxy Gear into my life. To let it solve problems. And really, aside from auto-lock, it solves none of my problems. It just doesn't seem like a product designed with a goal in mind, it exists only for the sake of existing.

Hardware

Build quality and design

The primary housing of the Gear is constructed out of stainless steel, with a plastic underside. On that underside are the 5 charging pins, 4 Torx screws, and various regulatory scrawl. On the right-hand side there is a power button, and a little further along than that there is a hole for the Gear's microphone.

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The watch band appears to be made of a rather stiff silicone with a pattern of banded vertical lines. The Gear comes in a variety of hues, but only the band and plastic shell are colored - the wrist hinge mechanism, speaker housing, and main watch housing are all stainless steel. The hinge and the sides of the speaker housing are polished, while the top of the speaker and the watch face are brushed.

The Galaxy Gear, if nothing else, feels incredibly tough. The level of fit and finish is something I'm unaccustomed to from Samsung's smartphones. Everything seems very tightly-fitted and premium, not a single thing about the Gear feels cheap. Even the latching mechanism, which snaps shut with a very satisfying, metallic "click," is just right. The low point of quality would obviously be the wrist band, but even that doesn't really feel cheap so much as look it. Like I said, the band material is quite stiff, so it doesn't bend and stretch like the rubber straps of Casio yesteryear.

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I will say the Gear is a bit bulky. This is largely because of the speaker housing, which is actually on top of the wrist strap latch. I can't get the gear to easily slide under a long-sleeved shirt, or type on my laptop while wearing it (it scrapes against the edge). The top of the watch is also quite thick, though by modern day ridiculously-oversized-watchface standards, it's not that bad. The weight of the Gear isn't bothersome to me, and in most situations the size isn't something I've noticed. The actual fit of the watch is quite good - the stiff silicone bands squeeze your wrist a bit, keeping the Gear in place pretty well.

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I do think Samsung should probably look into some bigger sizes, though. I don't have gigantic wrists, but I'm on the 2nd-to-last hole in the band. If you're thinking about getting a Gear and you do have large wrists, definitely try it on beforehand if you can.

Display

Another area where the Gear trounces most of its competitors (at least on paper) is the display - at 1.63" and 320x320, the Gear has an effective DPI of 277, easily besting even the brand-new Sony Smartwatch 2, which has a DPI of only 176. That means the Gear is more capable of displaying complex, fine-grain content without sacrificing on readability. I definitely do like the Gear's display, too. At maximum brightness (outdoor mode), assuming you're not at a really bad angle, it's readily visible outdoors.

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There are two big problems with it, though. First, because it's AMOLED, it uses more power than an LCD, especially at high brightness levels. As such, there has to be a display timeout set. The maximum is 5 minutes, but I imagine you'd run down your battery in a matter of a few short hours on that setting regardless of how much you actually use the watch (more on that soon), unless you have the brightness set to the very minimum. The default timeout is 7 seconds.

So, how do you actually turn the display on? One of two ways. On the right-hand side of the Gear is a power button that will turn the display on or off (two taps for off if you're not on the watchface homescreen). The way you're supposed to do it, though, is with your wrist. The Gear's accelerometer can tell when your wrist twists from its natural position (facing outward), to "I'm trying to look at my watch" (facing inward) position, at which point the display automatically illuminates. This works most of the time, with the latency being somewhere in the 0.5-1 second range. This does lessen the "glanceability" factor for me, particularly if I'm engaged in some other activity and just want to get the time really quickly - I have to wait for the display to come on.

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The wrist twist also works in reverse, so if the Gear thinks you're done with it, it'll dim briefly, then turn off, regardless of your screen timeout setting. The "off" motion seem much more picky, though (understandably), and unless your wrist is very still and turned outward enough relative to where it was previously, the display usually won't turn off until the set display timeout is reached.

The other problem is setting the brightness, which has to be done manually. There's no ambient light sensor on the Gear, so if you want it brighter or dimmer, you have to tap twice with two fingers on the display to bring up the quick setting UI and adjust it. This seems like a truly tragic oversight. At least include a rotary dial or some kind of temporary high illumination mode button on the thing. Because of this, I leave the Gear at brightness level 4 (out of six, if you include outdoor mode) all the time, which isn't bright enough if you're standing outside on a sunny day, but fine in pretty much any other situation.

Battery Life

This is going to vary heavily on a per-user basis. Because the Gear's battery is so small (315mAh), how you use the watch (have the display on or the processor working) will affect the rate of drain pretty dramatically. If you're constantly checking the pedometer or using the camera fairly often, you're probably going to run it down before a couple of days are over. But the biggest impact will still be the display itself - setting the timeout to a minute or two and the brightness up to 5 or outdoor will run down that little battery very, very quickly. Maybe even less than a day.

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But, if you use the default settings (brightness level 4, 7 second timeout), and aren't using the Gear for much more than the time of day and, occasionally, just messing around with it, I think 3 days is a pretty reasonable estimate of the sort of longevity you'll achieve.

Just know that your results will vary.

Oh, and charging the Gear. That's an adventure. For all the quality and shiny metal that goes into the Gear itself, the small charging dock that is required to supply it power (remember, it's just pogo contacts on the watch) is made of the cheapest plastic Samsung could rummage out of the parts bin. Like, I am seriously afraid I will break the hinge you're required to open before sticking the Gear on the dock. Even by Samsung standards, it's bad. Anyway, you open the dock, you stick the watch inside, close it and then you just hook up any old microUSB cable like you normally would and away you go. It's a pretty involved process, if I'm honest - there had to be a more elegant way of doing this. For $300, you'd think you could develop a little stand, or use wireless power like Qualcomm's Toq watch. The solution here feels very haphazard and corner-cutty.

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Storage, wireless, speaker, and call quality

The Galaxy Gear has 4GB of internal storage, and all wireless communication is done via Bluetooth. The Gear pairs, currently, only to the Galaxy Note 3 via a Bluetooth Smart (aka LE, or Low Energy) connection, which is designed to consume very little power. I think a large part of that is the fact that the BT Smart connection, when idle, transmits only every once in a while (maybe every 30-60 seconds) to check if the paired device is still active. As such, the connection really doesn't consume any meaningful amount of power unless you're using it for something like a phone call or a file transfer.

The reliability of the connection is very strong, I've found. I've never had the Gear unpair itself from my Note 3 for any reason but going out of range of the phone (>10 meters), and then staying out of range for 30-60 seconds. The Gear then vibrates to let you know the connection has been lost.

The initial pairing process is also a little unintuitive, in that you don't start with the watch, but the charging dock. The charging dock has a small NFC tag inside it, and if you bump it against the phone, you're prompted to then download the Galaxy Gear Manager app. Alternatively, just open up the Samsung app store and search for "gear manager," and that'll work just as well (no, it does not actually work on other phones).

Once installed, you'll then want to turn on Bluetooth and connect to the Gear using your phone, at which point you'll get a PIN code on both devices to confirm you're pairing the right watch. That's it - you're done. It's pretty easy.

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Rounding out this section is call quality. Yes, you can make phone calls on the Gear. No, you really won't want to. Not only is holding the Gear up to your face incredibly awkward, it's also considerably less comfortable than you might think, and the loudspeaker is actually very loud indeed, making it nowhere near as private as just pulling out your phone. I think Samsung's objective here is to replace the Bluetooth earpiece (which AFAIK you can't use while simultaneously paired to the Gear), which I guess this achieves to some degree. If you're answering a call in the car, for example, the Gear would probably be safer to use than your phone, assuming you have auto-answer enabled while using a headset. Then again, having auto-answer enabled while using the Gear might not be such a great idea, since the call goes straight to loudspeaker.

Anyway, it makes phone calls, and they're of a totally usable quality. Just know that A.) you'll look like a crazy person talking to his / her own hand, B.) it feels weird, and C.) everyone immediately around you can probably hear what the other person is saying.

Camera

The 1.9MP sensor is usable in a pinch for outdoor photos or barcode scanning apps, but not much else. I guess it's nice to have, and everyone I've talked to and shown the Gear has almost immediately asked "Is that a camera?" with varying levels of excitedness / creeped-outness. So, the reaction is generally either "Cool!" or "Wow, stalkers will love it!" (note: the camera shutter tone, for said stalker reasons, cannot be muted). Anyway, here are some sample shots. Oh, and yes, the Gear does capture images in 1:1 aspect ratio.

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The thing is, the positioning of the camera is just all wrong. You'd think that having the camera perpendicular to the watch face would make sense, until you think about how your smartphone works. Imagine if the camera was on the top edge of your phone, pointing up instead of out the back. Now imagine trying to take a picture of something straight ahead while also still being able to see the screen. Yep. Not so great. The ideal position on a watch would probably be about 45 degrees lower, so at a 135 degree angle from the display. This would allow you to put the watch up to your face to see the viewfinder (which you kind of need to since the display is tiny) without having to crane your neck in various strange ways. Perhaps this just wasn't possible - maybe the ribbon cable for the camera couldn't handle the stress of so much bending - but it's the first thing I noticed when actually trying to use the Gear as a camera.

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Software

I'm going to try to keep this simple, as the Gear's software is also quite simple. So let's start with the basics.

Interaction

The Gear's UI is, obviously, based on a touchscreen interface, and is laid out based largely on swiping left, right, up, or down. The best way to think of the Gear's OS is as illustrated by my colleague Liam, below.

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The clock is the primary homescreen - from there you can swipe left or right for various other items which have dedicated homescreens, too. Any of them, aside from the clock, dialer, camera, and app drawer can be removed from this interface. You can also add new apps ("favorites") to the list. All of this is done on your connected phone through the Gear Manager app, but I'll cover that in another section.

All of the core apps you're seeing here are pretty self-explanatory - logs is for call logs, contacts for contacts, the clock is -wait for it - a clock, notifications is where your notifications go (more on why this is incredibly stupid later), etc. You get where this is going.

So, the more interesting question is how to get to those two odd men out - the dialer and the camera. Pull down from the top of the screen while you're on the clock homescreen to get to the camera. Pull up from the bottom while in the camera to go back. Pull down from the top of the screen while on the clock homescreen to get to the dialer. You get the picture. Pulling up from the bottom of any other homescreen does nothing, while pulling down from the top sends you back to the clock.

This would be fine and dandy if the gestures were tuned and responsive enough that I wasn't constantly second-guessing if my up-swipe / down-swipe were detected, or the Gear was just taking its time in actually doing something about it. This makes interacting with the Gear a bit frustrating at times. But if I'm honest, this is such a minor problem compared to the rest of the Gear's deficiencies that I'm not going to dwell on it.

Gear Manager app

Gear Manager is the Android app through which you manage your Galaxy Gear. Clever name, right? You can update your Gear's firmware, manage apps, install new ones through the Samsung app store, locate your watch (assuming it's still connected), and adjust a few of the Gear's various settings.

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There is one legitimately useful thing I've found in the Gear so far, and it's a setting in this app. It's called auto lock. Auto lock is a brilliant idea - it uses your Galaxy Gear as a Bluetooth-based authenticator for your phone. If your phone isn't able to communicated with the Galaxy Gear at the moment you turn on the display, it will revert to a pattern lock (which you set). If the Gear is detected, just swipe to unlock. In the time I've had the Gear, the feature has been 95% reliable. That's to say, about 5% of the time the pattern lock lingers on the lockscreen for a few seconds before the Gear is detected, and then it reverts back to the swipe screen immediately. But when it's out of range, the pattern lock comes up every time, and that's what matters on a security feature like this. I think it's an excellent idea. I also don't think it's an idea that requires a $300 watch, so much as a $30 Bluetooth dongle on your keychain.

Notifications are managed from the settings area of Gear Manager, but I'm going to give them a special spot in the next section.

You can alter the double-press behavior for the Gear's power button, which by default launches S Voice, to launch pretty much any app on the Gear. Smart Relay is another notification feature, so we'll discuss it in the next section. Finally, there's a toggle for the wrist-twist gesture to turn on the display, even though Samsung says it works by lifting your arm. Yeah, it's doesn't - I can go straight up and down with my arm for days and nothing happens. You definitely need to twist the wrist, too.

Notifications

So this is what people want, right? Tight notification integration with their smartwatch and smartphone? Intelligent behaviors that can help you decide whether or not it's time to bust out your phone or just ignore that last vibration?

Well, here's the sobering reality of notifications on the Galaxy Gear: not only are they implemented poorly, they don't really work with most of the apps you'd want them to.

You can enable Gear-based notifications for any app installed on your Note 3. Sounds promising! What's not promised is any kind of quality to those notifications. For example, anything that isn't a Samsung app, essentially, will simply send a "blank" notification to the Gear. So if I get a new message in Gmail, I just get a notification that basically says "hey, Gmail sent you a notification." No other information. Not account, sender, subject, or body preview.

When you get a notification, you can either have a ringtone set or just use vibration. I definitely prefer the latter. So let's say you're at dinner and you feel your watch vibrate and think "ah, a notification, I'll have to check that in a minute after I've finished my food." So a minute later your twist your wrist up, and what do you see? The clock face! With absolutely nothing to show you received a notification. To see your notifications, your have to swipe to the notification homescreen, which is equally useless at conveying anything resembling a useful amount of information - there's just a little number showing how many notifications you have. Tap on it. Let's say it was a Gmail message, meaning I just get a Gmail icon, a time, and a little "1" to the right of it that actually doesn't indicate unread count or number of new messages or, seemingly, anything at all (it may with Samsung apps, it doesn't with Gmail).

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So you tap on it. Still no information, but an offer to automatically unlock your phone and pull up the notification in question there so you can read the email which can't be displayed on the watch. Great! Well, once again, we're just shy of having it really doing anything useful - the Gmail app does open up on your phone, but it'll just be the primary inbox of the last account you used with the app, not the message you received. You can also have this behavior automate to an extent if you're real quick on the draw with Smart Relay - while the initial notification is still displaying on the watch, pick up your phone and the same thing that happens - you get sent straight to Gmail. Well, most of the time, when it works. It doesn't always work.

Frankly, the Gear's notification handling is like having a conversation with someone with severe amnesia.

Galaxy Gear: Hey, you have a notification!

Me: Thanks Gear, I'll look at in a minute, I'm kinda busy.

[One minute later]

Galaxy Gear: Hi, I'm Galaxy Gear, here's a watchface!

Me: Hey Gear, where's that notification?

Galaxy Gear: What notification? I don't remember that.

[scroll to notification app]

Me: It's right here. *tap* It's a notification from Gmail. Who sent it?

Galaxy Gear: I have no idea!

Me: Should I tap it?

Galaxy Gear: Sure!

Me: Oh cool, you'll open it for me on my phone. That's nice.

Galaxy Gear: Absolutely, buddy!

[pick up phone, Gmail goes to inbox of last account used, no message there]

Me: Hey, there's no message here.

Galaxy Gear: Hi, I'm Galaxy Gear, here's a watchface!

It all sounds neat in concept, but in practice, the way the Gear handles notifications is just so incredibly clunky and half-functional that there's no way it's actually going to save you any time. It just doesn't feel ready. The one way to speed this process up is the multi-tasking interface, which is pretty much just like stock Android's. Long-press with two fingers anywhere on the screen to bring up the recent apps menu. By the way, who's going to figure that out without reading the manual? The double two-finger tap to get quick brightness / volume settings is hard enough.

3rd party apps

Here's where things get real sticky for the Gear in terms of justification for existence. Right now, not counting custom clockfaces, there are maybe two dozen Galaxy Gear apps on Samsung's app store. I actually even use one of them on my phone normally - RunKeeper. The RunKeeper app for Galaxy Gear also requires you to have the Samsung Apps version of RunKeeper for your phone installed, not the Google Play version. This is true for some, but not all, apps on the Galaxy Gear.

The RunKeeper Gear app does four things - allows you start the last activity you used on your phone again (though you can't select a specific workout or even change the activity type), see your current split times, take a picture, and see basic stats after you finish a workout. In order to function, the RunKeeper app for Gear uses your phone's GPS, since the Gear doesn't have GPS.

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In what way does this help me at all? If I'm taking the Gear, I have to take my phone, too. I can't access the pause / stop button for the workout activity any quicker on the Gear than I do my phone (which is in my hand anyway), I can't play or pause music any more quickly on the Gear (getting to media controls means turning on the watch, swiping to media controller, tapping on it, then using the media controls), and the Gear isn't doing anything to augment RunKeeper's accuracy or increase my phone's battery life by offloading the GPS. The Gear, in this situation, is doing nothing to help me. This is the problem I run into time and again with this product - it doesn't actually help me do anything. It's just a fancy touchscreen watch that I occasionally look at and go "what exactly are you... for?"

And I think app developers are asking the same question. You can't just slap together a Gear app that does X, Y, and Z just like the normal phone app but worse and more limited. That doesn't suddenly make a smartwatch app useful. Look at eBay's Gear app - it just sends eBay notifications to the watch. Why am I going to whip out my watch, swipe over to the eBay app, tap on it, and then look through a tiny list of notifications when I can do the same thing on my smartphone in an equal or lesser amount of time in an app that gives me more information in a more readable fashion?

It seems like functionality for the sake of it, not anything that actually makes my life any easier or more convenient.

Things to consider about the Gear in general

Using the Gear has made me aware of a few things I think aren't terribly obviously about smartwatch ownership (well, Gear ownership), and the benefits and drawbacks thereof. So let me elaborate on that.

  • You pretty much have to take it off in a movie theater or otherwise put it somewhere where it's not going to randomly illuminate. Unless you turn off the wrist detection gesture in the Gear Manager app (inconvenient!) even level 1 brightness is going to be very noticeable in that kind of venue.
  • Wearing the Gear while driving a car at night can be distracting - just using the steering wheel as you normally would will cause it to illuminate sometimes, which will catch your eye and probably distract you momentarily. Yet another scenario where I was often forced to take it off.
  • Forgetting to charge it (or forgetting the charging cradle) means you have a useless lump on your wrist that can't tell the time but also doesn't make a very good fashion accessory.
  • So many things the Gear does can be accomplished as or almost as quickly by just pulling out your phone, and your phone will almost invariably do all of said things a lot better.
  • Having a smartwatch that doesn't have an always-on display mode for at least a basic watchface seems kind of, well, dumb.
  • At no point have I actually found something the Gear does to be compelling enough that I actually want to wear it. It is more burden than benefit.
  • Because it's a smartwatch, you're probably going to fiddle with it more than a regular watch. If you do this in company (eg., look down at it and turn it on), people will think you're saying "I need to go / I'm in a hurry" with all the subtlety of a polar bear in a sausage factory.

Conclusion

If you have $300 to throw at a stainless steel smartwatch that currently pairs with one phone and really doesn't do anything all that useful, the Galaxy Gear may be for you. I admit, I'm not going to be the first person to get excited when Google or Apple unveil a smartwatch, either - I'm skeptical of the whole concept. But Samsung's execution here is just so off that I think even people who want smartwatches should avoid this device. It's a generation one product in a relatively new product category. Buying the Gear is throwing your money at an experiment, and as consumer product experiments go, it's just not a very exciting or ambitious one. Maybe the Gear 2 will wow us, but for now, Samsung's competitors have little to fear. The Gear's price will scare off most prospective buyers, and I can imagine the ones they do sell will quickly find their way into drawers, or more likely, onto eBay.

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David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • clay

    great review, going to stick with my pebble for now, i just cant live without it.

    • Sokudoningyou

      I agree. If nothing else, the battery life is way better. Plus, get a few apps, and you can endlessly customize notifications, skipping the Gear's rather dumb ones.

      • Jesse Blacklock

        agreed, Glance, pebble notifier, tasker and pebble tasker and its an unstoppable force, well it does die, after a week lol

  • angel_spain

    Well, let's see if a Nexus smartwatch does better then. I assume that having a GPS would kill battery instantly, but using the smartwatch as a fitness information tracker would make it an instant purchase.

    • Mastermind26

      I was thinking the same thing. If I can have it be my pedometer and fitness tracker I'd buy it. Not to mention the fact you'd feel very scifi.[Insert Dick Tracy reference here]

      A camera on a wristwatch is too gimmicky, but add functionality and you got a solid piece of tech at your disposal.

      • MindFever

        Dick Tracy? C'mon ... ;)

        • Mastermind26

          hush now. :D

        • Matt Behnken

          I got mine a few days ago and I love it. I absolutely love it. I get texts missed calls incoming calls and Facebook and Twitter notifications with the full text. It's just a watch but an awesome one!

  • nxym

    to be fair, it is the first generation. its functionality will get a bit better in the 3rd or 4th generation.

    unless this other company makes a watch and samsung copies it.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Indeed. But this is what we have now, what has just gone up for sale for $299.99 (or $210 if you're quick), and what we're reviewing. I'm hoping the Gear 2 will be more open, less awkward, with better battery life and price point. Well, better all around.

      I must say though - for gen 1, this is quite impressive, much more impressive than other gen 1 smartwatches I've seen.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        Yep, it's like the least bad kind of polio.

        • mesmorino

          Said by someone who clearly hasn't had any sort of encounter with polio ¬_¬

          • MindFever

            ...what the fuck is wrong with you ?

          • mesmorino

            You must be a special kind of stupid if you genuinely think comparing a smartwatch to polio is a clever thing to do

          • mesmorino

            You must be a special kind of stupid if you genuinely believe comparing a smartwatch to polio is a clever thing to do

        • MeCampbell30

          It's more like After Earth. It's got Will Smith and a cool Sci-Fi trailer but in the end you regret buying the movie ticket.

      • Hans Pedersen

        I have a feeling that they're pretty happy with the price point. They're trying to sell it as a companion to their high-end phones. People who already wear watches in that price range. Personally, I wouldn't wear a $100 plastic watch.

        About this watch, I really think they missed one important detail; making it proper water resistant, not that IPxx crap that might or might not keep your watch functional after a rain shower.

        • mesmorino

          "that IPxx crap" IS an industry standard that manufacturers can choose to comply with, and in some industries is mandated by legislature- For example, to specify light fittings for bathrooms they must be at least IP44 rated.

          That is a MUCH clearer definition of what is water resistant *and* how water resistant it is. I would rather have an IP rating on a device than some vague "water resistant to xx metres"

          • Hans Pedersen

            I don't think you understand what I mean. IPxx certifications for wristwatches are worthless.

            I, like most others, would never buy a watch that is not permanently water resistant.

          • mesmorino

            Ah right, I understand you now. Except, the certifications are still not useless. Manufacturer A says "our watches are waterproof!" manufacturer B says "well so are ours!"

            But one of them is rated IP45, and the other is IP66. Those do not mean the same thing, and I would much rather have something that clearly defines what the manufacturers mean by "waterproof"

      • Philip Kahn

        Really? It looks that did about ... well, about nothing for you. Why didn't you like the Pebble?

        Lasts longer? Check.
        More functionality? Check.
        Can, you know, read your notifications? Check.
        Always-on watchface? Check.
        Don't have a totally insane charger? Check.
        Control my music? (Even under a jacket or gloves?) Check.

        Hell, my Pebble tells me my phone's battery status in the corner, and I can even open my garage door with it as it integrates with Tasker.

        Is "well, plastic" really that much of a dealbreaker for you?

  • Hal Motley

    I must quote this; "This does not a good user experience make.". XD

  • Ishnu

    In my opinion, the best smartwatch I've seen has to be the Analog Metawatch. I bought one a couple years ago, and I loved the fact it was an analog watch, so it always looked nice and showed the time. It had two small OLED screens that would show notifications and text messages. The battery life wasn't great, and development dropped off after less than a year, so I don't use it much anymore. But I wish some company would focus on an analog watch with less bells and whistles. Maybe a pebble with an actual analog watch face on top.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    David's got 99 problems and the Gear only solves one.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      It's a one-cog Gear.

      • phoneslol

        But its got the time on it! The time!

      • New_Guy

        A one tic pony.....

        Anyone?...

        • julianndimare321

          my Aunty Samantha just got a nearly new yellow
          Audi S4 by working part-time at home... navigate to these guys J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Chris Martinelli

    "If you have $300 to throw at a stainless steel smartwatch that currently pairs with one phone and really doesn't do anything all that useful, "

    Totally agreed... And I LOVE the title of your article LOL. The whole product category seems like it's just the OEM's trying to generate hype in hopes they get a new market to exploit, but considering most of us have smartphones, there just isn't a whole lot of need for a smartwatch outside of niche uses.

  • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

    I bought the Sony Ericsson LiveView despite multiple reviews discouraging me from getting one. The LiveView was so dumb, it couldn't even tell time if it was unpaired from your phone... and it unpaired itself all the time.

    2 or 3 generations later, Sony's "SmartWatch" is still ever so slightly more useful than my LiveView, and Samsung's Gear is the same.

    The old LiveView did show me basic Gmail data though, as well as SMS data and a Caller ID, but it was still pretty useless.

    To quote Douglas Adams,

    "Orbiting [the Sun] at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an
    utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life
    forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches
    are a pretty neat idea."

  • ProductFRED

    Title should be

    "Galaxy Gear Review: What Is This I Don't Even..."

    • PamelaLibrarian

      Although that is a very worthy choice, I think the title is perfect as is.

  • Fabian Pineda

    This goes to show how well Samsung can, or cannot, do in new tech fields. They most definitely weren't the first to release a smartwatch but they were the first major company to do so, if you don't count Sony and just for fun let's not count them.

    They had everything set to finally turn out to be a game changer company. They failed to deliver. In fact, their current smartwatch is an easy target for a Google product or even an easy target for Apple and their hordes of fans to brag about "how it's done" should the fruit release a watch.

  • Mircea

    and it still reminds me of

    • follow @muvee360

      these were actually useful back then...had a few of these then..at some point i had one with an IR remote

      • MindFever

        Yeah I had something similar..,we screwed around with the teacher's VCR during class. Of course teachers were oblivious to what was going on for a couple of classes lol

  • George Av

    Smart watches are useless (this is my personal opinion) i Haven't worn a watch in years, i don't like them, it's just as easy to grab your phone out of ya pocket and look at the time.

    Camera, please, tell me how the hell a camera on my wrist is useful? my phone is only 3 seconds away from taking a picture. I also won't get some stupid square photo, i have enough of that in instagram and food.

    Bulky shit, Watches are meant to be small, compact, out of the way but big enough to see the time & date.

    Battery, charge it daily? no thanks also if i'm on a camping trip and i forget the cradle - i'm screwed.

    Screen, Go home.

    Apps? what apps? IT'S A 1INCH SCREEN FFS

    Note 3 compatible only? no thanks.

    • DeciduousSprue

      "It's as easy to grab your phone out of ya(sic) pocket and look at the time"?

      In what universe would that be?
      Time taken to look at watch : 0.2s
      Time taken to pull average phone out of average pocket quickly : 3s

      For the average OCD time-checker, by wearing a watch you'll be saving about 30 minutes a day.
      You're just bitching for bitching's sake.

      • George Av

        Well i'm not a OCD time checker, also when i do wear a watch (for sports/watersport) i always forget it's there and end up asking people for the time. Look this is my opinion, you can stop bashing me.

      • Eric Jones

        If you really need to check the time 600 times a day, regular watches still work pretty good and cost much less. If that's the only argument for getting a smartwatch, I can't see how it's better than a regular watch.

        • George Av

          Plus you don't need to charge it daily! xD so stupid.

      • ArKain

        Using it like this, Pebble is about a billion times better

      • MindFever

        No,he is just saying he finds this device useless. I agree with him. Negative opinion is not hate or bitching. You are the one bitching ...
        Also,being less rude would make your arguments a tad less silly pal

      • marion

        foolish :)

      • suzidownunder

        So agree! 😁

    • Roger Siegenthaler

      I've asked myself the same thing about the cameras aswell :P, the only thing I'd want from a smartwatch are notifications, a vibrator thingy so I can feel notifications/calls even when my phone's on a table or something (I don't want it in my pocket the whole time). And to put the cherry on top, integrate something like the jawbone UP into this, I don't want to wear 5 different bands on my wrist just to check the time, track my body and unlock stuff with nfc.

      • That Guy

        Just one example: My wife and I were riding a rollercoaster at a theme park. I have to admit, it was pretty cool to share video from the ride. I would never have been able to shoot video with a camera or phone while doing this.

        It's just one situation, but there are plenty others like it. You really have to stretch your mind a bit to "get it" on this device because it's such a new category.

        When it comes to the camera, think about how digital photography changed the way (and how often) you take photos than 35mm. And then smartphones came along and changed it again. It's the same thing here. When it's so easy and accessible to take a picture, you end up taking more pictures than before. Capturing some really cool moments. Of course you end up deleting a ton of pics as well.

        • sketaful

          Yeah. I had some thoughts on recording videos with the camera as well. The 15 sec thought. WOuld have been nice to atleast been able to record a minute.

        • Cathy

          That good ideal, about using in ride.....I see that a lot of people giving down fall on this gear watch. I got one for Christmas and so far I love it...see the thing is that I have an glaxy gs4 phone and it hard to carry in pant or on side belt. Due to my work, it can easy it busted. So I leave it in my purse....now the best part is that I am hard of hearing and never can hear my phone ring ( I have to always ck the phone to see miss call or text) and this glaxy gear watch have help me a lot. It vibe for me and now I never miss call or text.....so I think it great for hearing impearied people...

    • http://papped.webatu.com papped

      "Bulky shit, Watches are meant to be small, compact, out of the way but big enough to see the time & date."

      I take it you haven't seen recent trends for regular watches...

      • George Av

        I have some casio that i use for water sports, since i wear a full body wetsuit, i need a watch that can fit under the edge of the wetsuit and can easy to access when i need the time. It's actually quite large and comfy to wear compared to my old casio that was about the size of a 2p coin.

        • dennis

          My thoughts would be if you don't think smart watches are your thing why waste peoples time complaining about this one? People tend to look to reviews for insight and read comments for the same. If you don't care for the product or its ilk then why speak? Just food for thought. P.S. not hating on you just trying to understand why certain people in this world would care to waste time hating on something they would never care to own? I personally have read and watched so many reviews on this watch and I can see everyones point good or bad. And if I was to say anything bad it would be with samsungs track record for updating software or O/S on devices you better really like the watch as is or wait for the next cause this thing will never see an update.

          • George Av

            And they also look for downsides.. and peoples opinions..

          • suzidownunder

            Thankyou for an unbiased opinion for once. So fed up with negative reviews in something with loads of potential with a bit of effort. It's both a useful & fun device and shouldn't be considered by those who have no imagination!

      • MindFever

        Yes,but does that mean he must like this trend ? I agree the watches should be compact and not get in the way...I don't give a damn about trends I don't like. So many people that I know stopped wearing watches after they got a smartphone...

    • suzidownunder

      Actually you can choose the shape of your photos
      As for the rest... You have no imagination!

      • George Av

        I have imagination, but not for something so fucking stupid. Now the moto 360 on the other hand is a sexy smart watch.

  • David M Whittley

    Great article. It (the article) will probably save a lot of people $300

  • Jadephyre

    Thanks, i'll stick to my normal watch.
    I know, there's clocks on smartphones, but I find it too tedious to fumble my phone out of my jacket pocket, press the power button to turn it on and then check the time when I can just turn my wrist and look at it there.
    Also, I wear my watch the other way around, my clockface is turned inward towards my body, which would probably confuse the hell out of the Gear.

    • Ralph

      I just tried that (the wearing it inward bit) and the Gear handles it OK - trying to use the camera for anything other than ceiling shots is awkward though.

  • james kendall

    so in short if you want a smartwatch get a pebble as that puppy has a 7day battery life.

    • MindFever

      But it's ugly...I wouldn't wear that

      • james kendall

        personally I like the looks of the pebble it's minimalistic but not to minimalistic. then again I used to have a windmaster weather watch that was but ass ugly but very functional. I currently wear a Timex Expedition, Frankly I find having to manually set the analogue portion separately from the digital portion to be a pain and I wish it had more features. If the Casio G-Shock GB-6900 B or GB-X6900B worked with android Id seriously consider them but seeing as how few android handset's support Bluetooth 4.0 LE I still think the pebble is the better choice.

  • MeCampbell30

    Yeah, if smartwatches are going to be viable it's going to need some kind of hybrid display so that it always at least shows the time. Otherwise the concept is dead to me.

  • j¤n Gårrëtt [5,000+]

    you people need to think outside the box., stop being so ignorant
    Samsung knows exactly what they're doing with this and what they want to achieve. this product is a test product. a prototype to test the market AND to establish a foothold where apple is sure to follow--and sue.

    Samsung had to be first, they struck before apple did. apple will probably start spreading rumors about an iWatch and Samsung will either beat them to the punch or one-up them with a more powerful watch.

    apple fans will jump on the band wagon as they always do and fanboy devs will follow. that's apple's only real strength here.

    • Andrew Wood

      ...except this is a long way short of the first pairing smartwatch; and releasing a useless product that very few people will buy (and it's very clear that very few people will buy this product, as even the geeks are not receiving it well) does not get you a toehold in the market. Not to mention the fact that rumours of iWatches have been circulating long before the Gear was rumoured.

      This doesn't test the market any more than the Microsoft slates tested the tablet market pre-iPad. You don't test products by releasing them on consumers, it damages your reputation and jeopardises the success of your future launches. This in no way gives Samsung an advantage over other smartwatches, it does quite the opposite.

      And please don't accuse me of being a fanboy/iSheep; I'm an Xperia Z1/iPhone 5/Nexus 7 user and appreciate the value of both platforms.

      • 8Charlie

        Thanks for explaining this to him. Samsung should've learned by now that making crappy products for the sake of making them doesn't get you anywhere. If anything it gives the Samsung AND Android haters more ammo. "This is what we have come to expect from Android."

        Not to mention destroy any chance Android had of fixing it's image problem when Apple brings out it's iWatch and makes Samsung look stupid again.

        No offence, I hate that fruit company. But they don't tend to release products like this. This thing has no reason to exist and that's a problem.

        • Anthony Stefan

          "But they don't tend to release products like this."

          how quickly everyone forgets apple maps... yes apple releases half baked beta's on customers from time to time.

    • spookiewon

      Except Sammy wasn't first. Not by a longshot. Unless you're saying only Apple and Samsung count...

  • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

    Does this remind anyone else of the big Casio calculator watches that nerdy guys made famous in the 80s?

    • papernick

      Nope. That was actually useful.

  • Umer Khan

    A review worth reading...

  • Jas

    " but now more than ever the watch is, in any functional sense, obsolete" what the hell are you going on about!

    • mesmorino

      THANK YOU! I thought I was the only one who spotted such a nonsensical statement!

      • Michael Williams

        Nope, I about spit out my coffee when I read that. Hilarious.

  • Roh_Mish

    Seeing this i remember i had written a post on the verge android army section that had very similar ui interaction just that apps were at dialers place and there was quicksettings in place of the camera.

  • MarthaJernigan

    My co-worker's sister makes $86 each hour on the internet.
    She has been not including toil in place of 9 months but carry on month her payment was
    $13566 immediately working on the internet in place of a a small number of hours. Consider, BIG44.­c­o­m

  • Paul Tobeck

    Nice review, probably saved 10's of people hundreds of dollars!
    The only smartwatch I'm on the lookout for is Google's. Interested in seeing where they position it, functionally and pricing-wise in relationship to Glass. It would have to be an either/or situation, as I don't see the point of wearing both, but you know Scoble will anyway.
    Actually, if they just put Google Now on my wrist along with the full boat of voice actions, I'll just hand them my checkbook.

  • Patruns

    I will consider a smartwatch when it replaces my Jawbone Up band and also tracks my heart rate, blood pressure and body temp and has a built in GPS chip and can track my walking/biking/running. Until then, my Seiko is just fine thank you.

  • http://www.ygoverdose.com/ Kristopher Perovic

    I bought one yesterday merely for the sake of trying something new, but so far my impression of the Gear is perfectly captured in this post. I'm just quietly hoping for a software update or something to help justify its existence.

  • Jeremy Gates

    Actually I do wear a watch, digging my phone out of my pocket just to quickly check the time is ridiculous. Also my watch doesn't go dead daily from frequent use.

  • ChainsawCharlie

    Better looking than Pebble, but 3 days battery life?! That is unacceptable for a watch.

  • fzammetti

    This all comes down to price as far as I'm concerned.

    If this thing was $49.99 or less, I'd pick it up just on the OFF chance I find some real use for it. The automatic unlock thing is the ONE compelling feature I see, and even at $49.99 I'm not sure I'd say it's "worth it", though I at least wouldn't feel stupid for buying it for that reason. At $300 though? Not a chance.

    And really, if the thing doesn't FULLY unlock my phone then then I'm not loving it even for less money... I don't even want slide-to-unlock with it, I want to hit my power button and be right at my home screen... or have it revert to whatever lock mechanism I have configured if it's not in range... THAT is useful to me... but it sounds like it falls a bit short even there, though for a decent price I'd go with it on the hope they make it work that way with an update.

    • KatsumeBlisk

      I'm sure you can turn off the slide to unlock; however, I'm not sure why you'd do that. The whole point of the lock screen besides security is to that your phone isn't doing things in your pocket if you accidentally hit the power button.

  • Gabe

    I bought the Note 3 and the Gear yesterday and paired the up including my Plantronics ear piece. The headset takes priority over the Gear for playback to include phone calls. I dialed from my Gear and talked on my headset. The gear is a perfect companion to the Note 3.

    • Spydasweb

      What one do you have Gabe?

    • rory

      That is what I was wondering about! . . . So, you are saying that I can have both my BT earpiece and gear paired at same time and choose which one to use on the fly, easily? I don't want to HAVE TO leave my earpiece in the drawer if I want to see my notifications come in on my wrist. That would be too big a cost for me.

  • Spydasweb

    I get one free, with Telstra, so looking forward to trying it out. I am happy if it just allows me to make and take calls on the run when I have my hands full working....Sound like I will be happy if the review is anything to go by.

  • Charles Humphries

    It integrates with the email and message apps native to the note 3. the G mail app needs a fix - you get real info from the email app - which you can add your G Mail to. No offense, and this was entertaining - but really it is something that would take someone who uses a samsung galaxy regularly to know and understand the way it works. When I saw it says your phone is a HTC One - I already knew the learning curve would be greater. I used a note 10 since launch, and went to a note 3 launch party - used and implemented a galaxy gear perfectly. I also agree the smart lock was my favorite feature. I wore it upside down and camera lens inward. The speaker was on top and the arm rotated outwards put the camera out and the screen up to face me. worked amazingly well. by the night it was totally natural. S Voice intergrations for memos, and calendar were also spot on, even with a DJ and hundreds of people in the building.

  • theus

    The 'Do Not Want' moment.

  • Ben J

    I still wear a watch. I dive so I want a nice watch that can survive deep enough.

  • ArKain

    This is so dumb. It takes both your hands and your eyes to operate, so what exactly is the advantage over a smartphone? Even if it wasn't leashed to a Note 3 with a very short leash, the whole concept doesn't work.

  • Bleakvision

    Moore's law will make it possible to put the computing power and radios of current high end phoes into a wrist watch in five years, maybe even sooner. I see smartwatches working out as stand alone devices but this pairing business is bullshit.
    It's too much work and doesn't make your life easier. Explain that to average Joe...and without average Joe there is no chance of this becoming mainstream.

  • Joshua

    I guess no one's mentioned it yet, so I'll go ahead and point it out: the "The Bad" section is missing the title. That's really not a problem for us on a computer, but on the mobile layout the two sections appear to be one. Until you realize that the title is missing, it looks like you're saying that the cradle and other things you complained about are good things about the device.

  • Slighter

    the time 4 oh 8 and your jawbone has three hours of talk time remaining

  • http://www.maverickcreative.ca/ Joshua Richards

    If that bottom left image is your place. It is quite boss.

  • Ryan

    I really wanted to love the Gear. I just recently bought my first Samsung phone, coming from HTC (Hero and 3VO), the GS4 Active. I love it. Yes, it's more of a niche phone, but I like that kind of stuff (3VO). The Gear, if successfully implemented, shouldn't be a niche product, though. But, as it's looking now, it is and it's sliver-thin. Good concept, but not ready for primetime.

    I'm so tired of Apple releasing any idevice and the world believing it's the ultimate thing but, and it pains me to say this, they would never release something this half-baked. Instead, they're waiting patiently while others release their "okay" watches and they perfect theirs and finally release it to claims that they, once again, invented the genre.

    Now, I can only hope that Google can pull something out of their asses that is not only as functional as we'd all want but also a good looking wristwatch. My fifth of a dime.

  • Blowntoaster

    guess, based on this review, I'll be waiting for a software update that will hopefully improve on the UI/ Experience. if the notifications don't work properly, then what is the point of buying this, if not for easy viewing of Notifications in the first place. with the issues that Dave had with it, I'd smash it to pieces on the first day...

  • agl82

    That's a nice house, David!

  • CrookedKnight

    The "smart lock" thing is doable on any device with root access - I know Cyanogen Mod has it baked in through their "profiles" setup (not to mention Tasker, which can automate whatever you want as usual). One of the things it lets you do is set your phone to disable the lock screen when you connect to certain Wi-Fi networks or Bluetooth devices. I use it to turn off the lock screen on my phone when I'm in my car or at home/work, but have it on pattern lock everywhere else.

  • eddit13

    If Nike got off their a$$ and built a damn Android app for Fuelband I can see how this would be useful. Alas they continue to sit and provide apps only for iOS. I do like the Fuelband since it doubles as a workout counter ("Fuel" their metric for work, Calories, and Steps) but I love the sleek watch that it features. The key is it's sleek, not bulky. Samsung doesn't accomplish that with this new piece of expensive hardware. I'll wait and see what Apple/Google does before I even consider wasting $300 on a watch.

  • MindFever

    I think this was some kind of weekend project for the Samsung mobile team...this is what makes me feel when seeing this thing in "action". Also that Amnesia UI conversation made my day.

  • hollyw0Od

    Some how, I bought the Galaxy Gear and Sprint gave me a Note 3 for free. I gotta say, i see a lot of potential down the road for this watch. Of course right this second the lack of apps is going to be an issue. It JUST came out. So far I'm liking it.

  • sucker1

    I bought the watch and like the cool factor. As for how well it works, I find it lags a lot of the time and I still can't send a picture via text to someone from the watch(the share option is grayed out). I got the watch for free and if i had to buy it I would tell you all to save your money and wait till gear 2 or 3 comes out.

  • Sal Paradise

    Calling this a smartwatch makes me realize how low of a standard we have now for the word "smart".

  • Chaz

    I cant wait to see what tue nexus watch looks like and does..so far..the "im watch" is very nice..and the one from Motorola is nice. Great price on amazon. But yeah..this galaxy watch looks like crap and the screen save on it does it no justice

  • Ramses

    I am always riding my skateboard or bike and taking the metro I got this for my s4 and it pairs fine. I would love a map application and transit app and quick texting ability and waterproofing. It pretty usefull to make calls while on the move and change tracks on phone while riding even changes tracks on jango and pandora. If your on the move this is good and it protects your phone from potential drops. And even theft I hide my watch under a sweat wristband to protect it from scratches and rain and from attracting attention. Plus they hacked the watch already and you can run any app you want you just need Bluetooth Internet thethering. Int has the hardware it just needs the software

  • alinasir96

    Galaxy Gear Ads Try To Hype Up Samsung's Smartwatch, Did They ...
    http://jailbreaksoftwares.blogspot.no/2013/10/galaxy-gear-ads-try-to-hype-up-samsungs.html

  • Informed

    Completely retarded. Can anyone please tell me why I need a watch to do the same thing my fu•king phone does? Maybe it's because pants don't go past your fu•king hip bone anymore, and the phone won't fit in your pocket. They show this commercial with all these old wicked watches, and what made them so great was that technology never existed. The watches were mysterious. Now you're trying to sell me a watch that does the same thing my phone does, and is damn near the same size, and I'm supposed to feel futuristic because I can text my watch from my wrist to my phone in my hand. WOW....!! What a fu•king insane invention...!! I'm just speechless over the ingenuity

  • skywalkr2

    Slow? I haven't noticed anything remotely slow about this device.

  • tellalli

    People, Its called wearable technology and its mainly designed to fill the gap from Samsung technology. Value its the same thing as other alternative technologies bring such as Rolex or Omega etc etc. If you really take 5 minutes to think before you write your posts you will all agree: its called disposable income and its just fashion. In this case I have one for the same reason plus its a technology piece and brings some other little features such time and shortcuts to use the phone in more productive way.

    Did I get one: Yes I did;Is it worth 300$; maybe not. Do i think its work the money: No its not. Do i like to carry around: Yes I do; Again may people even in this era still carry expensive watches which compare to Gear it may look stupid. Hence to look cool & modern they will carry probably a more expensive Gear version the Rolex or Omega version of it. Everyone in this thread will end up buying some sort of Gear from Apple, Google or Samsung in the next 6 months hence stop bragging about it.

  • Stinger

    I have one because I am a total geek for new toys. I also have an LG GD910 - how mad is that one? David's review is spot on and one of the best well balanced write ups I have read on the Gear. I have had problems where a text comes in and the watch does not display it. That I find very annoying and a real basic requirement. I'm sure Sammy will improve the interface a lot if they want this thing to succeed but agreed in its current form it could be better. I use it with a Note 3 and due to the jumbo size of the phone I do leave it in my pocket and look at the Gear for who's calling/texts etc. The rest I am not interesting in anyway. I read another review where they said it was mad that you couldn't send a text back via the Gear. Come on, how stupid can some "reviewers" really be?

  • Michael Saragosa

    Hate all you want but how many of you have ever cringed because your computer took a few seconds longer than you would have preferred. I save a few seconds everytime I don't have to pull my phone out of pocket. The less i HAVE to use my phone the less likely I am to drop it. Also how about supporting a new direction in technology that DOES save people time. I use my watch every day and I look forward to the new uses coming out every week. finally, at least twice a day people comment on my watch in an interested and excited fashion - no high end luxury watch can do that.

  • Jack

    Very good article and since I just bought one, please do not pass this article on to my wife. One thing I do like about it is displaying a call or text message. So many times with my previous phone I missed calls or text messages because I did not hear/feel the phone vibrate. So that is nice, but not really worth $300. One thing I am specifically looking for is the notifications. I hate bringing my phone out in a meeting to see a meeting notification. Unfortunatley my company uses the Good client for email and calendar on smartphones. Can I get the Good notifications setup to send to my watch? I have checked a variety of places but don't see a way to specify that. Good is not showing up on the settings for notificaitons within Gear Manager.

  • zain

    can i connect gear watch with pc? can i transfer pictures, txt files and adobe files and view them on gear ?

  • Zain Abbasi

    can i connect gear watch with pc? can i transfer pictures, txt files and adobe files and view them on gear ?

  • Anamaya Dwivedi

    I bought a samsung galaxy gear watch from Best Buy ( Online) and all i got in the box is just the watch - no cradle, no usb cable - how am i suppose to charge the watch ?

  • J Mclean

    Im getting one free with my galaxy note 3, so its worth it xD

  • lui ming

    hey it's make a SUPER HUGE phone and.. wait.. pair it pair with a small mini phone!! #omg #takemymoneysamsung

  • John

    One "feature" I didn't see noted is that it vibrates and puts up the lock screen when it loses Bluetooth connectivity with the phone. If you set your phone down and walk away, you know you forgot your phone and saved hundreds replacing it.

  • pinoyxtv

    I do have pebble , smartwatch 2 and gear. But sorry guys, still i find g gear to be the best among pebble and sw2 for my note 3. I dont know why you dont like it, but for me gear is a must to recommend.

  • 1

    Really I find it quite interesting for an individual to review a product while have extremely limited and often incorrect information that posted as an expert. As other had pointed out bluetooth headset still work with the gear even though they both connect via bluetooth. If you find the smart relay iis not working well for you maybe you really need to read before you write. It tides together with how long the screen display on the gear times out to be so if you leave the time out slightly longer for the back light it will actually work like a charm. If you find the light on the watch is that troublesome you actually have the ability to lower the setting or all together turn off the watch rather than taking it off which is another ridiculous thing you had written. Finding a tiny light on your wrist distracting well then I suggest you never turn on your car stereo or better yet do not drive at all since I have a serious doubt if your ability to handle driving in any condition as there are easily head lights from on coming traffic or nearby street vendor that are many times brighter than the tiny watch. Also if you prefer to read your entire email on your watch then I guess your expectation of a smart watch device is unrealistic as reading longer paragraphs on a small screen is not favorable hence the phones that we used now had a substantially larger display than the flip phone that you seemingly missed. Also if you have to complain about charging your device then maybe technology in generally does not suit you since any electronic required charging unless you are saying your devices does not required charging and forgetting to charge your phone means you are not carrying a even larger paper weight that just happens to take up space in your pocket rather than conveniently on your wrist. In my opinion if that was the situation the gear had the advantage over the phone since it does even take up room in your pocket.

    I'm not saying the gear is perfect but it really tick me off when one writes an review for potential consumer seeking supposedly professional opinion to make an logical choice of their purchase but rather gotten something that is written by someone that probably use the gear for 5 minutes and decided to make a long list of pros and cons, or in this case just cons mostly. Of you ever bother going into the actual settings of the device you will find lots of the so call arguments that you have with the devices is not true or can overcome.

    If you are in an meeting all the time, or always being in situations that peeking at your phone is not always possible, the gear serves it purpose as the way I expected a smart watch would. At least it allows you to have the knowledge of what kind of notification oui just received if your phone is silent or so and choose to step out and take the message/call if needs to. I'm not saying all the function of the gear appeals to me but that's the beauty of the smartphone like technology as further development and support from app developer can creatively create more and more apps that make the device more and more practical to more and more individuals that have different needs.

  • poop

    What happens if it gets wet ?

  • Twelveg

    Well with the last update and half the price I do really appreciate it. The two reasons I love it is, that I cna have my phone lying arround somewhere and change the music from it with the watch. Yes of course, I could get the same thing by grabbing the phone. Butt! And here is the but, I tend to change a lot the songs (skip if I don't feel like listening to it) this literally drains my phone's battery a lot due to display having to be switched on ... fiddeling that with the clock means at least extending my battery life from the phone twice. Same with notifications during meeting, reminders etc. Honestly, I like it. And it goes decent on the hand, UNLIKE the Pebble, which I personally find damn ugly.

  • yahaya

    I'm having trouble with my gear. It refuses to connect to my phone even after pairing it. How do I solve it?

  • Reivax

    I bough one for a little under $200 thanks to Samsung pay back offer. It's now compatible with more devices: I have a Galaxy S3, and it's working great out of the box.
    A recent update brought better notifications, you can now read your text messages, and read the beginning of emails.

    I don't like to carry my phone at home so I used to miss calls and text messages, because it's always in vibrating mode. Yeah, I hate to bother people at work and in trains with silly ringtones. I admit this is not what most people do, so they probably don't miss calls.

    I didn't think it was slow.
    The battery life is decent, and it's good noting it charges in about an hour or less.
    So, I was pretty happy at first.
    and now... I'm fond of it !

    When I'm home, doing something, and I get a call, it's much more convenient than a phone for a hand free call. A phone in a pocket isn't great for that. Put it on a desk, you can't move.

    Okay, the charging cradle sucks. The one bad thing. But it makes sense: I think there is some chip in there to handle usb charging. That's as much space saved in the watch.

    Now, if you are just a little geeky, but not even much, you can unlock great features. It's android 4.2.2, you know.
    Visit xda-developers.com
    Now, I have internet access, gmail, I can send text messages and mails, surf the net... a few games.
    My co workers were kidding me about typing on the tiny (!) keyboard. I asked them to just tell me something I would type: using the swipe keyboard, there was only one typo for 2 sentences.
    And using Google voice recognition, there was none, and no need for the keyboard then.
    So, I think it is not totally unreasonable to use it this way.

    I have access to google play. Not all app will install, or when they install they might not run, too heavy CPU usage. But some work just great. Google Chrome, Angry birds can install but won't work.
    But calculators (fat finger calculator is great), calendar, contacts, even google maps work !

    It's an amazing device. The first of a kind (I'm aware of pebble and sony tries). And, I'm sure, not the last.

    It may not be mainstream. It may be for geeks.
    I don't care. It's great.

  • Jack Carpenter

    Since when does an accessory have to be absolutely necessary?....

  • Michael G

    I was not going to purchase this watch but I allowed the salesman to talk me into it. Best thing I ever did. I hardly ever go for my phone. Yes the Gear delivers full GMAIL messages, not just notifications as stated. It also sends full LINE messages with stickers if you are into that. It controls music on my phone, I have used the camera many times impromptu. If you root the watch it is a full android device. If I had a dollar for each time I did not have to grab my phone/camera/music device the watch would have paid for itself many times over. I did not root my watch. I did install my own ringtones and notifications.

  • suzidownunder

    Hi
    First instinct when I see a review on the Gear is to tear apart all the negative comments. I have the Gear and love it and to be fair, it does actually do more than is given credit for.
    I have since rooted mine. Very simple. Took 10 minutes. And now it is awesome.!
    It can do anything my phone can do (pretty much) which is useful - especially for a female - such a drag finding the phone in a bag!
    Its tethered to myPhone so can access email /Web and other internet based apps.
    Syncs with my calendar Plays games/movies (surprisingly watchable)
    Camera is silent and video now 60 seconds instead of 15.
    Plus a lot more... Worth the effort!