Samsung Galaxy Gear.

The Samsung smartwatch is finally upon us

Long rumored, and frequently leaked, today the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch is finally official, and we’ve had the chance to spend some time with Samsung’s new wearable device.

First things first, if you were concerned about an overabundance of glossy plastic or a cheap-feeling design — a common criticism of some Samsung phones — don’t be. The Galaxy Gear is an attractive, well-built piece of technology that looks like a premium sports watch. The front is furnished in metal and sapphire glass, while the matte plastic body blends seamlessly into the soft-touch, rubberized strap. It’s comfortable to use and comfortable to wear.

The Gear is, however, rather large — larger than the watch you’re wearing now, most likely, which could cause problems depending on the size of your wrists. The challenges involved in miniaturizing smart electronics into a package you can wear on your wrist mean that this is an issue we’ll probably see on future smartwatches, too.

Regardless, with the relatively large design comes a large touchscreen, for a watch. The screen itself measures 1.63 inches diagonally, and is home to a 320x320 SuperAMOLED panel. There’s a single button on the right edge, which functions as a home button and the watch can be charged through pogo pins on the underside. (There’s a special charging housing for the Gear that doubles as a sort of display stand.)

There’ll be six flavors of Galaxy Gear available — Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, and Lime Green — which is actually more of a yellow. The orange and yellow models in particular are extremely striking, while the greys and blacks cut a classier, more understated profile.

Samsung Galaxy Gear.

The Galaxy Gear’s UI fairly unobtrusive, with a bare minimum of visual clutter. The main way you’ll interact with the watch is by swiping in various directions — usually left to right, to navigate between things like call logs, contacts, the clock face, notifications and favorite apps. Swiping down (to go up) will bring up the camera app.

That’s right, this is a watch with a camera — a 1.9-megapixel unit, to be precise, loaded onto the front of the strap. It sounds impractical, but we found it relatively easy to able to get into the camera app with a quick swipe-down and then tap the screen to take a picture. Image quality is likely to be roughly comparable with the kind of front-facing camera you’d find on a smartphone. 720p video recording is supported too, and there’s also a miniature gallery app to let you view your photos directly on the watch. (Pictures, incidentally, are synced between watch and phone.)

Samsung Galaxy Gear. Samsung Galaxy Gear.

As a companion device to Samsung’s Galaxy phones, integration is rooted deep into the OS. Based on which message notification you’re viewing on the watch, for example the paired smartphone will know what to show you when you power on the screen. Other features include a trimmed-down version of Samsung’s S Voice assistant application, which allows you to set reminders and make calls using voice controls.

Samsung Galaxy Gear.

The Gear also doubles as a handsfree accessory, and can be used to make calls thanks to its array of speakers and microphones — though just like taking pictures with a tablet, you’ll look somewhat ridiculous talking into your wrist.

The device’s capabilities aren’t limited to first-party apps, however — Samsung’s also managed to bring in support from a strong line-up third-party devs including Evernote, eBay, MyFitnessPal, Pocket, Path, RunKeeper and Tripit.

All of this is managed on the smartphone side through the Gear Manager app. This is your one-stop hub for controlling things on a larger screen, and from here you can swap in watch faces, manage your apps and even cause your phone to ring if it’s lost. Another optional security feature lets you long-press the home key to activate a “panic” mode, using the watch’s camera to take pictures and send, along with a message, to emergency contacts.

Samsung Galaxy Gear.

So there’s a lot going on with the Galaxy Gear, and so unsurprisingly the watch’s battery life isn’t going to match that of simpler smartwatches like the Pebble, even though both use the Bluetooth Low Energy standard. Samsung tells us the Gear should last for around a 24 hours of heavy use, which potentially means you’ll have yet another thing to plug in at the end of the day.

Samsung Galaxy Gear.

For the moment, the Galaxy Gear is undoubtedly the most advanced smartwatch out there, but that could be about to change in short order, as arch-rival Apple prepares to enter the wearable computing space. What’s more, the requirement to use a Samsung smartphone with the Gear could limit its appeal. For what it’s worth, Samsung’s billing the Gear as as “companion” to the Galaxy Note 3 at launch.

But it’s still way too early to say how successful the watch will be in the long-run — the device is new and the competition unknown. But you can bet we’ll continue to bring you all the latest Galaxy Gear developments as the device approaches its Sept. 25 release date.

More: Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch Forum

 

Reader comments

Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Gear

134 Comments

Agreed, it's absolutely hideous. Common screws on the front? Common screws?!???!

What, did they raid the mayonnaise jars full of orphaned screws and nails in their grandfather's basement?

I'm still looking for the first bar to ban " G Gear ".
Google Glass for your wrist.

Posted via Android Central Beta Tablet App!
Hisense Sero 7 Pro

I'll bet you these are probably the same clowns who ridiculed the note at its first appearance so much for the opinion of idiots.

Just because something sells well or is a critical success doesn't change the fact that it is ugly or ridiculous looking. On that "note", this watch is hideous... See what I did there.

Fortunately for Samsung you don't work for them. Otherwise many other great ideas would never have left the lab.

The last time I checked every user/person was able to make their own determination on what is ugly or unusable or beautiful and beneficial. So you don't like it, great don't buy one but there is no reason to stomp on someone else's opinion since it differs from your or because they will buy it or find it useful.

I in fact did pre-order the GN3 and GG both in black. I am not sold entirely on the idea or concept but I also have 14 days after purchase to return it if I don't. That is the great thing about it, I can use it, play with it and decide what I think of it outside of the store enviroment.

Who you calling a clown? In my opinion it's ugly. You don't have to like my opinion but you need to chill with the name calling.

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It doesn't even display the time until you click the button! Also the guy showing this was holding it like a phone instead of wearing it. Just get a phone then?

What's so cool about Pebble anyway? Why not Sony? The Smart Watch 2 is on it's way, but I don't see any hype.. I think they're much better, even the first ones are better than pebble. The screen is in color, the only thing that lacks is physical wake up button, but in the second one, if I'm not mistaking, they have it.

Same i don't necessarily need some fancy schmancy next gen smart watch. The pebble does me justice and lasts good enough.

Pebble + Nexus 4

This will fail since theres only four compatible phones and who carries tablets with them.

Posted via Android central app on my LG Google Nexus 4

But you do realize the 4 phones it will support are basically the highest shipped and used Android phones, right? The people that have the most diversity in phones are us, the people that pay attention to AC and Android related news. For other consumers it's more along the lines of: "My cousin Johnny(or some other person) has a Galaxy S4 he said it was awesome so I'll probably get one." Just word of mouth really, and Sammy has the biggest word of mouth spread

I notice that the display is dark in most of the pictures.

It's like an LED watch of the 70's. No thanks.

I think I wait for a smart watch using at least 1980's technology -- reflective LCD.
Just because everybody has since moved to backlit transmissive LCD's doesn't mean that reflective technology is impossible. Use E-Ink for example.

1. It's a Super AMOLED display, so you have the tech wrong.

B. How well does E-Ink work in the dark? Ooooohhhh.....

Yeah that's what I see aswell. I will not buy dark screened devices.
All the screenshots of the display are black and white, but you can see from the side shot of the orange one that when colors are happening, it seems even duller than the S4.

And that gumby camera, what were they thinking? Maybe if it was removable or they made it seamlessly pivotable to face your wrist (made so it runs flush with the inner band)

"Another optional security feature lets you long-press the home key to activate a “panic” mode, using the watch’s camera to take pictures and send, along with a message, to emergency contacts."

This scares me. What if someone gets hurt really badly and a whole bunch of really gory pictures get sent to ICE contacts? That could really scar some people.

Are you serious?

WTF?

Somebody is potentially getting attacked, with their perpetrators fleeing, and you are concerned about the mental anguish of a few people who were selected purposefully for just this very cause?

If I could get a Android powered watch that tells me the time, flashes when I get a notification, connects to my phone to keep track of my workouts with heart rate, etc, and can stay on my arm without having to be charged up every night, I would buy one in a hot minute! As for this Samsung device, I will pass...

I predict this will make the Nexus Q look like a roaring success.

They seem to have taken everything everyone wanted in a watch and done the opposite.

Posted via Android Central App

Hopefully this breathes new life into the MotoACTV watch. I have one and while cool, needs more features and plugins!

I doubt it. What the MotoACTV needed most of all was better water resistance and some bug fixes. It was a real sports watch and had a great following in the athletic community.

This watch has no sport features that I can tell.

+1 I work in water mitigation (flooded homes). not having to take my phone out for work emails every 5 minutes in water would be great. I don't think we need a camera on it.

I used to do this (servpro) and I guess I must be too used to my cushy desk job, because I hadn't even considered how great a waterproof / water resistant smart watch would be in that line of work.

Leave the phone in the toolbox, and still get your texts.

Posted from my Motorola MicroTac via the Android Central App

It will only work with the Note 3 at launch, but will be expanded to work with other Galaxy phones. No plans to support non-Samsung Android phones. He says so at 2:15 in the video.

The people bitching about this being Samsung-only are missing the point. There are probably 80 million supported (or to be) Samsung phones out there now, so if only 1.5% - that's one in 75 users - buy this, that's over a million units sold. Then there are the people who may want the Gear and will then switch to a Galaxy phone/phablet. While they're excluding everyone else, they still have a big pond to fish.

Do you think the presumed iWatch is going to support non-Apple devices? Does anyone remember that the original iPod was Mac-only because Apple hoped that people would buy Mac computers to use this new music player? It wasn't until the 2nd gen that they made a Windows version, though it was still Firewire-only.

When the 3rd-gen iPod came out, Target blew out their old stock for 50% off making the 10GB only $200. (What a bargain!) I got a Mac unit, thinking I could convert it since it was just a hard drive and battery with software on it, but Apple's site flat out LIED and said it was impossible on their FAQ. Oh, you can covert a dirty heathen Windows unit to Mac, but not the other way. I found an honest Apple users site which said, "Sure, just use the Windows restore program and nuke it." It worked fine. That was a good sign of how dirty Apple plays.

Honestly, i just don't get the point of these watches. Maybe I'm wrong, but i just don't see these things hitting huge success. I think they will all turn out to be a fad without much purpose, like 3d tvs for instance.

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4

I don't think it looks bad at all. Some of the colors are pretty bad. I wish lime green actually looked like lime green. I don't think I'll be getting a smart watch any time soon though.

Posted via Android Central App

So, I spend $200 or $300 for a smartphone and then another $300 for a smartwatch -- that is an extension of my smartphone and can't operate on its own? This makes absolutely no sense at all.

Why wouldn't I just pull my smartphone out of my pocket and have a *lot* easier time navigating menus? Maybe I'll pick one up at Best Buy when the fire sale price hits $25 just for kicks.

To all those complaining that it only works with a few Galaxy phones.. How many phones do you think Apple's iWatch is gonna work with?? I'll wait..

I don't think "as widely compatible as an Apple product" should really be our baseline expectation for compatibility, man.

I disagree. Each company wants you to buy from them. You want our watch? Buy our phone! Its that easy. You dont have to like it but then again YOU arent the one making or designing this stuff.

WOW! Really Samsung? This looks like a piece of crap! I'm a big Samsung fan most of the time but looking at this watch, just makes me think they wanted to beat Apple to the punch so they just threw something together. If Apple comes out with their watch soon I'm sure it will destroy this monstrosity of a watch. I really don't see the purpose of these watches? Americans are going to get fat hands now.....

I have to admit that this looks so much better than the prototype leak, and I really like the color combinations. But I'm still not convinced by its functionality/usefulness.

I'd only consider a smartwatch if it is durable enough to be a running/GPS watch as well (I don't care to run with my phone on me). That being said, this phone looks the most solid of the ones out there so far.

My phone is my watch. I for one won't ever own a "smart watch"... Pointless.

Posted From my HTC One running PlayBook 3.0 via Android Central App

That looks so big and ugly on a wrist. Ain't no way that's going on my arm. If its free I probably still wouldn't wear it even though I want a smart watch. I'd wear something like Glass before this

I like the idea, and cred to Samsung for being first. This watch needs to be waterproof, and with looooong battery life...now google, bring me my nexus 5!

Posted via Android Central App on my galaxy nexus^^

First???? First what, Sony has had a smart watch for a couple years and they Allready announced the Sony smart watch 2 not to mention the pebble smart watch.

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The only way I can see a smartwatch catching on is if you *don't* need to also carry a smartphone or tablet with you. I could then see this being a really big deal for runners and other outdoor sports enthusiasts -- or any other place you might not want to carry a smartphone like a roller coaster.

However, that's not the case here. Fail. big time.

I assume the 5 pogo pins on the rear face handle charging and data connection. is this correct? A lot will depend on price and the ongoing support in terms of specific applications. I look forward to version 2 at IFA 2014. By then it may be worth considering.

Just to be clear: a "Pogo Pin" is a spring-loaded contacting device, which physically retracts (like an old-fashioned Pogo Stick) in order to make a good electrical connection. There are no Pogo Pins on the watch - there are Pogo Pins in the charging device that will align with the 5 round, stationary conducting surfaces on the watch.

I actually like the look of it. I do worry about the screen. My GS III is extremely difficult to read in full daylight. The price is also insane but thats for early adopters to worry about.

This is funny.....all the rumors around Apple making a smart watch and you have all these copy cats trying to beat them to the punch line!.....lol

Yea but the difference is Apple is making the technology usable. We had so called smart phones and tablets for years and nothing sold till the capacitive screens came to be with the iPhone and iPad along with a true mobile browser and an easy to use interface along with iTunes, etc.

Same goes back with the iPods. Apple seen failure how difficult it was to use the devices and no ecosystem and the iPod was born.

Its only rumors right now, Apple hasn't made a watch and thats whats funny. Rumors starting turning about an Apple iWatch how many months or years now and everyone it making a smart watch now. And they all suck so far with alot of limitations and not being self sufficient. If Apple thinks it will be a market to get into then they will.

Don't get me wrong though Apple has its limitations as well with the top on my list of iOS not being mountable as a usb thumb drive! But making products just over rumors is hilarious.

These manufacturers just won't learn.....the same thing happened with the iPad Mini. Everyone was shipping a mini 7 to 8 inch tablet trying to beat Apple over rumors of the iPad Mini and that did nothing. I think Android has the most market share or close to it, I forget now, but like I said before its the same as what Microsoft did with Windows by flooding the market and getting your product on everything and anything and yes its just a matter of time before you have the most marketshare, but means nothing.

Maybe so.....rumor has it Apple took mega tons of shipments that is a set top box of some sort. Who knows! All baseless rumors! That would be fuuunnny though!

It's funny, the OG Nexus 7 blows the iPad Mini out of the water and it was being worked on before the iPad Mini rumors...

I am still waiting to make phone calls with my shoe, not my watch.

Posted via Android Central App

I want a smart watch that Is a phone in itself. Think about it. How many times do you end up doing yard work or whatever and don't want to pull your phone out due to dirty hands etc!?

How cool would it be if you could use the voice activation feature of the Moto X on a smart watch phone. Think about It. It's on your wrist. You simply say okay google now call home.

Okay Moto X. Make a Moto watch with those contextual computing and natural language processing cores

Posted via Android Central App

I think Samsung went the wrong way with their smart watch. It shouldn't be a stand alone device with a camera and can make phone calls. It should be used to check messages, change a song, or check the TIME. If I want to take a photo with decent camera I will pull out my phone and be reasonable.

sent from my Verizon Galaxy Nexus

I'll stick with my Pebble watch. 7 day battery life, works with most Android phones, provide most notifications, and 1/2 the price!

I think I was more impressed with Sony's new Smartwatch 2. One thing I don't like about the Galaxy Gear Watch is you can't put your own band on it. Also why would I want a out facing camera? I would rather have a front facing camera so I could't talk to people Dick Tracy style.

If they don't hurry up and support more devices, it will be easy to predict the long run.

Posted via Android Central App

I'll wait for the Google watch :-)

These devices badly need wireless charging, I do not want to have to plug them in ever, for any reason.

What does a "smart watch" do to make life better? I mean, why would a person want one.
Does it make certain tasks easier?
I'm having trouble understanding what it does, I guess.

I was genuinely looking forward to this but I must admit it has fail written all over.

Posted via Android Central App

1. Poor battery life
2. Size
3. Limited compatibility
4. Ugly
5. Possibly price if greater than $150 which is very likely

Posted via Android Central App

I can't see anyone smaller than an NFL fullback or lineman wearing this thing. Oh, and the same people who would wear Google Glass, of course.

If it didn't have the camera on it I would be more excited, but I don't see the need for it. I wish Samsung would take a tip from Google and Apple where less can be the best. Plus at $300 I can wait a couple of years to see prices goes down.

Gotta love how laggy it is, even on this demo video. Yikes… its like it takes a full half second to respond.

No thanks. This is neither invention, innovation or re-invention… its just an ugly attempt to pre-empt a rumored iWatch.

I'm not sure anyone's attempt to redefine the watch will work. As much as I think Google Glass is retarded, its better than this...

This is actually some of the best design work Samsung has put out. Sure it needs to be thinner and overall it's probably not worth it, but design-wise, kudos. Much better than that faux leather crap.

It seems like they tried to put too many features into it. Speakerphone? Really? Why not just use the speakerphone on the phone itself? And why does it have a camera, especially in an age when phone manufacturers are stuffing impressively high-res camera into their phones. Is it really that much faster than taking the phone out, and is it worth the low-res results?
They tried to make it *too* smart, and the end result honestly looks pretty dumb.

Posted from my Motorola MicroTac via the Android Central App

So does anyone else hear this whack it weight whispering, "ROOT ME!! ROOT ME!!"? 'Cause i do. I also think I hear Cyanogenmod sneaking up behind it ready to load this sucker up with some awesome sauce.

Needs charging everyday! Like a car with a 1 gallon fuel tank.

Hopeless.

If anyone buys this they need their head examined.

Never really understood the idea behind these things. I think I'll keep my wearing Seiko watches instead...

Weather and GPS would be nice on wrist. But if it is not waterproof and pretty darn tough, then would be a total waste of money.

Dick Tracy was WAY ahead of his time. Its the exact same watch in his comic strip! Incredible.

It will only work with the Galaxy Note 3 and Tab 10.1 at launch and the battery last 24hrs when my Pebble last 7 days on a full charge,and who needs a camera on their watch. this looks like it might be another DOA smartwatch

Why nobody talks about Qualcomm watch? I think they're better looking for one thing that Samsung's ones and should be better made.

Wearable technology revolution has already begun. I'm not going to buy one though until these watches feature holographic displays.

I just can't see myself having to worry about charging my watch every night(regardless of how many features it has).

upto I saw the bank draft which had said $5251, I have faith that my mom in-law woz like realie making money parttime on their apple laptop.. there aunts neighbour started doing this 4 only twenty three months and as of now took care of the morgage on there appartment and got a new Renault 4. her comment is here BAM%32%31%2E%63om

Even if the camera did not look creepy this thing is far too chunky - it would probably really hurt my wrist if it didn't fall off! Not too keen on how much they're likely to make you pay for it either. It has ceased being a watch if you crowd it with too many other things. I can't see it being a phone replacement but there's not much point using it with a phone - you might as well just use hands-free on your mobile!

Posted via Android Central App

I just want to know if I wash my hands am I going to break it?

other than that I am in.

I don't care who likes it, I do.

I love how this watch looks, just wish it would work with my Nexus 4. I like how this watch looks over the pebble watch, I like the chrome look of it. I would buy it if it would work for Nexus 4. That and I don't think I heard anything of waterproof. :(

LoL thats a huge watch to be wearing on your arm.I can put a strap on my Moto X wouldnt be much bigger :p Ha

Its nice, I guess. (I'm a WP8 user). I wish it could do more STUFF on a longer battery. This could be pain if you book a long flight or something and don't have a way to charge it.