Samsung’s predecessor in this category, the Gear 2, was one huge smartwatch. The giant two-inch curved screen looked great in the showroom but was a beast when it was on your wrist.
With this latest generation, Samsung has swung about 180-degrees in the other direction with the elegant Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic. The round-faced Gear S2 features sleek styling in either silver or black with matching elastomer band, while the Classic has a black leather strap and emulates a more traditional timepiece.
Under the hood, the watches are virtually identical, with a 1.2” 302 dpi AMOLED display, 1.0 GHz processor and 4GB of memory. Other features on all three models are the accelerometer, ambient light sensor, barometer, gyroscope and heart rate sensors. In addition, when paired with a compatible Android phone, the Gear S2 3G/4G models can be standalone devices. All three models also feature NFC capabilities.
Perhaps the most impressive design innovation is what’s around the Gear S2 – the rotating bezel. By making the bezel rotate, Samsung has turned it into a convenient way to scroll through apps or messages, a la Apple Watch’s digital crown. And there are still plenty of other options for navigating the screen as well.
Samsung has chosen to update its Tizen OS. In the past, Tizen hasas only been compatible with Samsung smartphones, and that’s limitedd its appeal to developers. But the new Gear 2S is compatible with any Android phone running 4.4 or higher – although iPhone is not supported. That means the potential universe of developers is much bigger, but unfortunately as yet this universe has failed to materialize. The apps that are available work well, but there’s still not a wealth of choices to run on this handsome device.