Last month, Samsung launched a smartwatch with an excellent design. Samsung Gear S2 manages to get ahead of Apple Watch and Android Wear in certain areas. As of November 12, they are rolling it out in many European countries like the UK, Germany or Romania. Read on to learn more about how it looks, what it has to offer, how much it costs and where to buy it.
Round and round
The watch industry had a long and well established track record before any smart device came about. Some of the most successful manufacturers are Swiss, and they manage to grab 54% of the dollar sales with 2.4% of the number of watches sold on the global market. Swiss watches look exquisite and keep time with precision. In contrast, the first smartwatches were awkward to use and looked rather clunky. This shows that smartwatch manufacturers seemed to forget that the client is the same as for the classic watch.
Samsung Gear S2 brings back the excellence in design. Using it is simple and intuitive and the watch looks good and feels natural on your wrist. One radical change is the embrace of the round design. Other manufacturers went for a round form of the watch but left right angles throughout the user interface. Samsung worked on every detail of the hardware and software of this watch. Its faces as well as its apps are rounded, resulting in a smart design that looks and feels pleasing.
The best innovation is the moving bezel. Although you do get a touch screen, after a few uses you will want to stick with the bezel for navigation. Selecting the options on the screen is fast and precise. More importantly, the fingers do not hide the display when you use the bezel.
Two buttons, left and right, should be familiar for Samsung users, taking you to the Menu and Back. The battery lasts longer than the usual one day of use. You are safe in case you skip the nightly recharge as the battery lasts for two full days.
Samsung Gear S2 has two variants with the strap made from elastomer on silver and dark grey. The "Classic" variant has a leather strap. Pay attention to the proprietary catch system of the strap, which prevents you from replacing it with any other alternative.
Fitness and wallet on the go
Samsung Gear S2 features 6 sensors that allow fitness tracking. It will not match the best dedicated trackers on the market, but for a smartwatch it does a decent job. For full access to its monitoring abilities you need to match the smartwatch with a smartphone. Different from the previous version of Samsung Gear, S2 can connect to any Android smartphone. The connection and the apps work best with a Samsung smartphone though.
Additionally, the NFC support allows for the introduction of Samsung Pay, which the company promises to bring on with future firmware updates.
Where are the apps?
The price paid by Samsung for a proprietary operating system is the scarcity of apps available. Samsung does work to bring new big names in its app store like Uber and Twitter. For the time being, you do get your important needs covered. However, it will be a challenge for Samsung to catch up to Apple Watch and Android Wear ecosystems.
Smartwatch manufacturers still have a way to go before they declare success. Samsung takes an important step in that direction improving on both looks and features. The hefty price tag feels like investing in research and development besides the value you get. If you are keen to get a smartwatch right now, Samsung Gear S2 is an option worth considering.