$399, sam­sung.com

Business Traveler (USA) - - TECHNOLOGY OF THINGS -

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.

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