Smartwatch or wearable tech is now booming, but Google’s smartwatch program came into a standstill due to it’s limited capabilities. That’s why manufacturers like Samsung swayed from that direction and focused on their own resources.
That’s where the Galaxy Gear S2 comes in, of course the trend right now is to make your smartwatch work for your fitness lifestyle with activity tracking, health and notifications. But in our experience the Gear S2 can do more, check our review below in why it is different among other smartwatches.
Just the right feel and look
Interestingly for a smartwatch the Gear S2 looks clean and neat, it doesn’t flaunt out when you wear it. Our version is the sporty version, giving it a discreet yet energetic watch feel so you won’t be awkward wearing one. Also the weight is just right, it feels a bit heavier than a plastic made watch but not significantly to drag your hand down
The wristband is made of matte finish rubber for a solid and non-sweaty feel. Using it on exercises produces the normal sweatband mark, but fortunately it doesn’t stain or smell after using.
The 1.2 inch Super AMOLED display gives vibrant color output, it’s clear even in bright outdoors to use so you won’t worry about using it while on the go. Fortunately since its AMOLED the screen’s black is really beautiful and non-protruding at night.
Unlike with Google smartwatches, the Galaxy Gear 2 is powered by Samsung’s own OS Tizen. It means you can install independent applications from Samsung’s partners like Nike Running, ESPN, Line, Uber and more. All these can be setup in the home screen to show a glance of the latest news / notifications from the app.
The heart rate monitor is fairly accurate, though we would love to have a sleep monitor function so you can see your sleeping patterns.
What’s interesting on the Gear S2 is its rotating bezel for navigation. Rotating the bezel left or right let’s you navigate through options. Though you can use the touchscreen, it creates a more intuitive feeling to use the bezel since it’s faster than swiping. Notifications can be seen in a circular motion, so you can see how many notifications you will have to juggle through which gives convenience over Android smartwatches where you really have to swipe one by one before looking to the next notification.
Abundant of Apps and modifications
What’s good about the Gear S2 ecosystem is it’s flexible content, Samsung’s library of content providers from watch faces to even functional apps are good. Heck even a stopwatch is available to download which is very useful in exercises and we were glad a calculator is available.
We love how we can modify each app to it’s layout in the home screen. Giving you complete priority in what apps you use the most.
Notifications towards the app is also good, we suggest you remove facebook notifications and leave the messenger on. To be honest constant vibration of the watch then followed by the phone was annoying, especially if the notification is only a person in facebook reacted to your post.
Charging is fast but don’t loose the charger
As to any problem with any smartwatch chargers, you have to bring the dock in order to charge it. In this case the Gear S2 is chargeable via a wireless charger, it locks the watch through a series of magnet for a secure feel.
Charging time was around 30 minutes in our case, which was already fast in our experience. Hopefully there will be an option in the future to use other wireless chargers to avoid the hassle of always bringing the dock when traveling.
Battery life wise it lasts us a full day before charging. Even in full brightness leaving the house from 8am and arriving home around 9pm will still have around 15% of battery left. This is fully connected to the phone with constant notifications. We believe this is because of Samsung’s own Exynos processor is powering the device, making it more power efficient than the power hungry Snapdragon processors of Qualcomm.
So the Gear S2 technically exceeded our expectations in our previous experiences of using smartwatches. Compared to the Apple iWatch, it’s definitely a great smartwatch companion when you are using Android OS. As of now Samsung already announced it’s plans to release a compatibility for iOS soon, but for now only Android OS users can use the watch. Overall it has almost everything you need for a smartwatch (except sleep monitoring) plus it’s unique rotating bezel for navigation made browsing through the interface more convenient. Compare this to the current competition, we believe you get more value for money and function on this one.
Price of the Galaxy Gear S2 starts at Php13,490 for the Sporty version which is the one we are using. Then followed by the Galaxy Gear S2 Classic which is a more rugged looking version for Php15,490.