Samsung Gear: The New Samsung Watch

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Have you heard about the new Samsung watch? The Samsung Gear was unveiled to ooohs and aaahs, but what is this new watch from Samsung? Is it just a watch? Is it Star Trek technology or more like Dick Tracy’s radio watch? To be honest, it’s a little of both — and neither. Let’s take a look at what Samsung is saying about it.

The Samsung Watch Looks Pretty Cool

When I first saw the emails come across my desk talking about this, I was ecstatic. I loved the idea of making and taking calls without having to pull out my (somewhat) expensive Samsung S3, as I don’t live in one of the nicest or safest places on earth. The idea of being able to interact with my phone without exposing it to theft (and myself to injury) appealed to me. Will it live up to my dreams?

The new Samsung watch is pretty big, measuring 1.75″ by 2.5″ by .375″ and it weighs about 2.6 oz. It has 4 GB of internal (storage) memory and 512 MB of RAM — in the watch! Sensors include an accelerometer and gyroscope and it has Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity with the phone.

The Samsung Gear watch has a 41.4 mm (1.63 inch) screen that is capable of displaying pictures and video at resolutions up to 320 x 320, with video playback of H.264, MP4, and 720p HD. It’s also got a 1.9 megapixel camera that can take still photos and video with audio. That’s the basics of the technical gobbledygook.

Samsung Gear Apps

It’s loaded with a number of apps also. There’s one called “Banjo,” which Samsung says, “gives you the power to see what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world.”

“Evernote” is a nifty little text and photo reminder app, and “Glympse” lets you share your location with others. Do you spend much time on eBay? There’s an app for that.

“MyFitnessPal” helps you get and stay fit by tracking nutrition and exercise habits. When you couple that with RunKeeper, your very own personal trainer, you’ll be fit in no time. These are just a few of the apps that are pre-loaded on the watch.

Wait — Is this a smartphone, or is it a watch!?!

It’s a watch, with smartphone-like features. Yeah, you can use it to tell time. But, remember when I asked if it was Star Trek or Dick Tracy technology? Not only is it a fully functional watch, but you can also use it to check and send texts as well as take calls with it.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? I thought so, too — until  I found out that it only works with the new Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phone. However, there are rumors that eventually, it will work with other new Samsung smartphones. The keyword here is “new.” This means it will most likely never work with my S3.

What the Tech Reviewers Are Saying

One of my favorite smartphone reviewers, Matthew Miller of ZDNet, has listed five reasons he prefers a watch called “The Pebble” over the Samsung Gear. He cites short battery life, and says it’s uncomfortable to wear because the band is too rigid. He’s also not sure how water resistant it is, since it isn’t specified. While it is pre-loaded with some nifty apps, the offerings in the Galaxy Gear app store are currently lacking.

Another ZDNet reviewer, Rachel King, applauds Samsung for being first to market with a smart watch, but also pans it, again mostly because of the fact that it won’t work with offerings from other companies. She also mentions the almost $300 price tag as a factor.

When I first heard about the new Samsung phone, the video of it that I saw was pretty funny. It was taken at the unveiling and showed a Samsung rep trying to show off the features of the phone. He had problems pairing the Galaxy Note 3 and the watch, bringing up apps, and even taking pictures. Unfortunately, I can’t find this video anymore.

SlashGear posted a video showing the reviewer playing with the watch and describing some of its features. He also had some trouble navigating through the menus once or twice.

Samsung says the updates for a few other devices, such as the Galaxy S3 and S4 smartphones are supposed to be out sometime soon, but I’m probably going to go for the Pebble when and if I do go with any wearable tech devices. It’s half the price of the Samsung watch, and works with either Android or iOS devices.

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