News Column

Samsung addresses some of key issues that plagued original Gear

July 3, 2014

Naushad K Cherrayil Staff Reporter



Dubai

The second generation of smartwatches from Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo has improved a lot compared to its first generation Gear.

Both the smartwatches sport a 1.63-inch square Super AMOLED screens that radiate with vibrant and bright colours. It has a resolution of 320 x 320 pixels which translates into 278 pixels per inch.

The watch is still bulky and the thick rubber strap plays spoilsport. The rubber strap can be changed this time compared to the original Gear.

The colour options include charcoal black, gold brown and wild orange for Gear 2 and charcoal black, mocha grey and wild orange for the Gear 2 Neo.

The Gear 2 looks much the same as the rectangular original Gear, though it is slightly larger and slimmer.

The Gear 2 sports a built-in 2MP camera and an IR transmitter while the Neo is without the camera. Both the devices offer the same user interface.

The original Gear ran on Android operating system but this time, Samsung is using Tizen-based wearable platform. It is powered by a 1GHz dual core processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal capacity.

The memory can be used for storing music and can be listened using Bluetooth headset. The addition of a stand-alone music player with a Bluetooth headset means people can leave their smartphones at home and still enjoy their music on the go.

The watch has no data connection by itself and Gear Manager app from Samsung app store needs to be downloaded to hook up the watch to the phone via Bluetooth.

The only disadvantage is that it works only with 17 Samsung Galaxy devices.

Unlike the Gear Fit, both the Gear 2 and Neo can also make and answer calls. The speaker isn't loud but it is best suitable when driving and users don't need to take their phones from the pocket.

The major addition to the smartwatches is the health and fitness tracking ability similar to Gear Fit. The sensor on the back of the watch collects the data and can be fed back into the S Health app on 17 Galaxy devices.

To monitor heart rate, the device need to be firm on the hand and takes a few seconds to complete. The readings are always different by plus or minus two or three. It is not meant for serious fitness philes.

Most of the Gear Fit features are available on the smartwatches.

Like the Fit, both the devices also have a pedometer, built-in heart rate monitor, accelerometer and gyroscope.

Both devices also offer personal fitness coaching in real-time, allowing users to develop a customisable fitness routine, and monitor their heart rates in order to improve their well-being.

Both devices offer users more control of their experiences with stand-alone features, such as controlling electronic products, such as TV set-top boxes via the WatchON Remote application in their own homes. It works very well.

The 2MP camera built into the device can take quick photos and can be used for spy works, like in James Bond movies.

The image quality is not that good and it can take from wrist height and it can immediately be transferred to the phone via Bluetooth. Users can shoot in 16:9, 4:3 or 1:1 ratios.

It can also record videos in 720p at 30 frames per second and playback in 720p.

The good thing about Gear 2 and Neo is that apps can be downloaded into the watch but the bad thing is that only around 100 apps are compatible with Gear watches. Samsung has also opened the SDK for software developers to develop apps.

The 300mAh battery lasts almost three days, which is pretty good compared to the previous model of one day. The battery takes two hours to charge fully but it needs a separate charging cradle. The device is also water and dust resistant. The Gear 2 is priced at Dh1,199 and Gear 2 Neo for Dh799.


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Source: Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)


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