Samsung Gear 2

Mobile World Congress

Samsung's brought its new wearables to Mobile World Congress in the form of the new Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches — as well as a surprise addition, the Gear Fit.

The smartwatches, as we now know, mark Samsung's switch from Android to Tizen for the wearable. The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are roughly the same device — it's just that the Neo lacks a camera.

The Fit, however, is a sexy little fitness companion.

Let's take a closer look.

Gear 2 and Gear Fit hands-on video

The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo

After spending a few brief minutes with the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, it's obvious that Samsung was listening when original Gear users offered feedback. The watch itself has been slimmed down a tad. And while it loses the exposed screws out front (some will be happy they're gone, others will miss the industrial design), the Gear 2 maintains the overall look and design of the original. That's a good thing.

The straps have been much improved, too. They're now removable, a feature Samsung's making good use of with custom bands — but you can swap in your own, too; it uses a standard 22mm watch pin. That means the speaker had to go, and it's moved into the body of the watch as well. A home button has been added as well. It's in a much more obvious spot than the button on the side of the Galaxy Gear. Good change.

What's more is that doing all this has allowed for some proper waterproofing. The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are rated IP67 — same as the Galaxy S5 — and that means you don't have to fear water like before. An excellent change.

There's been a pretty big shift under the hood, too. Android's been swapped out for Tizen, the open-source OS Samsung helped develop. Other than some perceived lag in the basic operation — and that's not good, but it's apparent — there's no real difference. The Gear 2 looks and acts like the original Galaxy Gear, insofar as apps and menus are concerned. The shift will be a bigger deal to developers. But for end-users? Most likely won't notice.

You're still able to make and receive calls on the Gear 2, Samsung says, but we were unable to test that function.

But perhaps our favorite feature? The Gear 2 serves as a stand-alone music player. Pop as much music as you want in the 4GB of on-board storage and start your workout — no phone needed. That's great for runners.

The Gear Fit

The Gear fit may really be what best grabbed our attention, though. It's in the bracelet-style category of wearables, and not the first we've seen with a largish display. But this one is 1.84 inches of curved Super AMOLED, and it looks pretty striking. The band is like a watch strap, and you've got a decent range for sizing. Plus you can swap it out for a different band, if you wish.

It's pretty easy to use, too — just swipe through menus like you do on the Gear 2. It's very intuitive. Battery life is rated at a few days, so you'll still need to charge this guy on a pretty regular basis.

The Fit has a number of sensors on board, of course, and can directly monitor heart rate, and measure your activity with the accelerometer and gyroscope. On-board apps include: Notifications (social networking, calls, email and apps), schedule, Smart Relay and a media controller.

What we don't know for any of this is pricing or a better sense of availability, other than Samsung's shooting for April. 



Reader comments

Hands-on with the Samsung Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit


I need a 4k screen on my smartwatch!!

This is 2014, isn't it? If they can do it, THEY SHOULD. No reason not to.

I'm very sick that I just got my galaxy gear watch Friday. This watch looks very sleek and more uniform than the galaxy gear

He's going to have to trade in a lot of hand written "I owe yous" for BJs when she finds out he pawned last gen crap on her.

Original Gear runs android and can be rooted and ROMed and can run google services / most apps. You can even bluetooth tether internet access directly to the watch, and you can use it with most current android phones now...
The original Gear is 10x better than this new one just because it runs android and not tizen or whatever they are calling it.

On the other hand the new Gear smartwatches are cheaper, have much better battery life and also have a built in heart rate monitor, and Bluetooth heart rate monitors aren't that cheap, so if you were looking to buy one anyway the new Gear watches are much better value. Does depend on what you want to do with it though.

The cheaper price and heart rate monitor almost makes it tempting, but I won't consider them while they can only be used with Samsung devices.

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That's about right, from our research (samsungs '13 r&development plans, undisclosed source) - they're using good data - resulting in an analysis to, in order for exclusivity purposes, make compaitibiliy limited to Android, not just Android, but a select few of their own models = buy the Note, etc or Buy the Galaxy on top of each other...

And myself, a Samsung fan / competitor soon, once the Gear 3 is released they may open to significant more devices - since Tizen OS, first run on the GG2...
*Samsung is about precision, and knowing their niche, and target market better than any of their competitors..
Another note, given iWatch will SUCK UP 50% + of entire market, smartwatch, samsungs got to keep a few tricks in the bag...

BY THE WAY - The Google Wear casing is a waste of whatcould have been usable screen and its an impracticle design - how do you expand a circle? Make it bigger, by every 360 radii.. We'll they're trying to jump into sector our company will be entering by end of year.. - Google doesn't have much on the Technology we'll be putting out..

Obviously you don't have the original Gear because if you did, you would know that the battery life issue was taken care of quite a while ago. I can put my Gear on its charger at night after a good 16+ hours of use and still be at 94%. I don't know what "much better" than that would be. And I could care about the heart monitor.

Doesn't matter, because at this rate, the Gear 3 will be out in July and a Gear 5 will be out a year from now.

Ummm... the display on the Gear Fit is oriented in the wrong direction. People will have to read everything sideways.

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Yeah I just imagined it on my wrist and tried to use it, so awkward. Made me want to pull my elbow towards my belly button or tilt my head to look at my wrist straight on. The fit would not be a good choice if your main purpose is notifications.

It sort of depends on how you're using it-- if you imagine having your hands on a set of handlebars (ie, straight out in front of you in the "Superman" position), it will actually be easier to read.

But if you're jogging? Well, maybe if you wore it with the face on the inside of your wrist it would be easier to read, but it definitely will be an adjustment.

Too bad it isn't compatible outside of the Samsung Galaxy line... Would love to pair with my Droid Maxx. Guess Samsung will continue to not get my money.

Gear Fit should have been the first Galaxy Gear.

Did they want to release the Galaxy Round first?

Good question. Should be the first thing we know, so we can keep looking at it or immediately cross it off the list as proprietary...

I own the original Gear, but I like what they've done with the Gear 2. The camera placement is not as pronounced, albeit even now no one seems to notice I have a camera on my watch unless I tell them.

I like the idea of the home button on the bottom as well. It does appear that it would be much easier to press than side placed buttons.

I can't wait to see it up close and in person. I will likely buy one just because I want to, but I have no buyer's remorse about my current Gear and I'm very happy with it as it is.

I've been a victim of the Fitbit Force burn, so I'm hoping the charging port on the GG doesn't cause the same reaction.

I've read that you can set a vibrate feature based on heart rate so I'm pretty sure that same motor should be usable as an alarm.

I kind of like the look of both of these; the back of the Gear 2 suggests it'll have the same heart rate/exercise functionality as the Gear Fit, and I think I'd definitely take the plunge if that was the case. Even the Gear Fit looks sharp. Well played, Samsung; good listening to your customers and potential customers.

I would buy the Gear Fit but Samsung compatibility only rules it out for me. Feels like Samsung are missing out on huge benefits of wider compatibility due to obsession with lock in. Actually works to dissuade me buying Samsung products. Shame.

Well.... Only works with the Galaxy phones. Yeahhhhh.... How. Is this possibly a smart move?

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I don't see what the big deal is. Smart watches are still relatively new and it is probably going to be a while before someone gets it 100% correct. Even if Apple comes out with one, I don't think theirs will be compatible with every other device on the market either.

At least Sammy is making strides to make a good product that will appeal to it's supporters, and with this new direction it seems like it in the future it would make it a lot easier to expand to other devices.

Needless to say, I will be purchasing one when they are available.

I say all this not to knock anyone's opinion, but when things are new everyone is the duty expert.

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Of course is only works with Samsung. LOL silly people. Wait for googles version.

That's like being shocked when the iThingy Watch launches and it only *gasp* connects to Fruit products. duh
...But oh wait it will be revolutionary when they do it. LOL

I haven't been interested in a smart watch at all... But this looks really interesting

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Does email sync on the gear? Can I delete an email from the watch and have it be deleted off the Gmail servers?