Is the new Samsung Gear S2 watch worthy of your wrist? There is only one way to find out. Read on our Samsung Gear S2 review.
It is impossible to ignore Samsung’s involvement in the history of wearable tech overall and smartwatches in particular. Samsung is a leader in wearable tech. It always brings innovations to the market, with each new generation of smartwatch: a photo camera, a larger screen, its operating systems, Tizen or, stand-alone cellular connectivity.
You can rest assured that their new watch is always better. Samsung has learned from its mistakes and improved its watches, with each new release. It took a few tries, but now, Samsung Gear S2 is the first Samsung watch that feels complete.
Their latest smartwatch is designed to look like a real watch, compact, with an innovative rotating bezel that is easy to control.
Most important, the Samsung Gear S2 works now with any Android phone running KitKat or later. Connectivity with other Android phones was the major issue for Samsung smartwatches, rather than the overall quality.
Without a doubt, the new Samsung Gear S2 watch is better than the last Gear S watch. However, the competition is also stronger than last year. Is the Samsung Gear S2 watch worthy of your wrist?
Samsung Gear S2 Review – Design And Specs
Like the previous editions, Samsung Gear S2 watch is available in two colours, silver or dark grey but, this time, its circular, matte stainless-steel case is much pleasant to the eye.
The strap material is a durable elastomer, in white for the silver case and black for the grey watch case. The strap itself is not expensive looking, at least not for a $300 watch but, to compensate; it feels natural on the wrist.
The strap is not just comfortable but also quite smart this time. It has a simple buckle, easy to adjust and close. Samsung added in the box a second, shorter strap, for those with thinner wrists. This second strap has the same colour as the preinstalled one.
The Samsung Gear S2 has a bright screen with vibrant colours. It measures 1.2-inch and 360 x 360 pixels that make the pics look good, even at 50 percent brightness. Talking about dimensions, at 1.67 x 1.96 x 0.45 inches and 1.66 ounces, Samsung Gear S2 is lighter than the 42mm Apple Watch Sport and smaller than the LG Urbane. Quite an achievement.
The watch can also withstand up to 30 minutes submerged in up to 1 meter of water thanks to its IP68 rating. However, like with all smartwatches, avoid water.
All versions of the Samsung Gear S2 come with a wireless charging dock. Connecting the watch to this dock is easy, thanks to the built-in magnet that snaps the watch in place. The wireless charger has a status light that turns red or green, conform to the charge status of your watch.
Samsung Gear S2 Review – Performance And Features
With the new Samsung Gear S2 interface, you can now get your alerts and your apps drawer by either rotating or swiping the bezel. We see the bezel as the most important feature of the Samsung Gear S2.
It allows you to navigate between screens and scroll down for settings, menus, emails, messages or articles without having to cover the screen with a finger. However, we think that the bezel must be improved with a “push and click” action.
Apart from the bezel, Samsung Gear S2 has two buttons on its right side. The upper button allows you to “go back” and the lower button will take you straight to the watch face.
The device’s home screen is the watch face. It shows you just the time but, it can contain much more data based on the watch face you choose. It can display the weather, the date or even news headlines.
Tapping on the Apps icon brings up the apps drawer, which shows a circular group of eight shortcut icons. You can browse through these eight apps, by simply rotating the bezel. Once the app is selected, if you want to open it just tap on the screen.
Samsung Gear S2 – Apps Notification
Notifications are delivered fast, with a second lag between the phone and the vibration on the wrist. However, the notifications cannot be archived like on the Pebble Watch. Once is gone, is gone.
Samsung Gear S2 – Calls And Text Messages
Previous Samsung watches could make hands-free phone calls. They had speakers and microphones. With the Samsung Gear S2, there is just the microphone. The microphone is useful as it allows you to send call commands to your phone.
However, you can still ask S Voice to call a person by name or, you can enter a phone number, but the call will always take place on your handset.
Same with the calls received, you can choose to dismiss or answer from your wrist, but the call will always take place on the phone. However, don’t despair. There is a 3G version available that lets you call and text when your phone is not nearby.
Samsung Gear S2 – S Voice Assistant
Talking about asking S Voice, Samsung Gear S2 has a voice assistant. It is like Siri on the Apple Watch and Google Now on Android Wear. It is called Samsung S-Voice assistant.
S-Voice works well if asked to make calls, compose and send messages. It also works with weather info or even web browsing. Unlike the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, the Gear S2 has no speaker, so it does not play audio replies from the voice assistant.
Samsung Gear S2 – Sensors And Fitness Features
The Gear S2 has a pedometer, a heart rate monitor and the built in Samsung’s S Health software. By default, the watch records your steps and asks you for a general goal of 6,000 steps.
Swipe to the right, a couple of times to see if you reached your goals. The watch can notify when you are slower than expected or if you’ve cut the distance with 0.2 miles for example.
The heart-rate monitor will measure your heart-rate in automatic mode during the day, but you can change the setting to a manual check. You can also track the amount of coffee or water intake and sync the data with the S Health account on your phone.
Samsung Gear S2 – App Store And Watch Faces
Just like Apple and Google, Samsung has its app store. Samsung’s app store lists all the programs available for Tizen and divides them into categories such as utilities, health, fitness, and finance. To date, there are just a few hundred apps. Most of them are just watch faces, but there are also apps from media companies like CNN, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and News Republic.
Samsung Gear S2 Review – Battery Life And Price
The Gear S2 has a 250 mAh battery and Bluetooth 4.1 LE for connecting to your smartphone. You might think 250 mAh is not enough for a modern smartwatch, but with the Gear S2 is quite the opposite.
On our tests, with the watch always on, the screen brightness on full, the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, turned on overnight and still got a day and a half of usage time.
Samsung Gear S2 also comes with the Power Saving Mode preset so you can get even more usage on a single charge. It is the same power saving mode from Samsung phones and, it works the same on the watch.
On the Power Saving Mode, everything is turned off, except calls and notifications and the screen is black and white.
The Gear S2 and S2 Classic price tag is $299 and $349 in the US. For the UK, the watch can be pre-ordered on Samsung ‘s website. However, if you cannot wait, you can buy it right now on Amazon for £350.
In Australia, both the S2 and the S2 Classic are now available for order from Samsung’s online store, with a retail store launch in November. The S2 is AU$499, and the Classic is AU$599.
Samsung Gear S2 Review – Verdict And Gallery
Samsung Gear S2 is one of the best smartwatches released this year. It sports sleek design, user-friendly interface thanks to the rotating bezel and the good battery life. Samsung Gear S2 is an easy-to-use smartwatch that looks good and functions well.
- Beautiful AMOLED display
- Decent battery life
- Attractive design
- Limited app selection