Samsun Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo

Revamped hardware and a plethora of software highlight the second round of Samsung's smartwatch.

Mobile World Congress

Samsung has announced the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches ahead of Mobile World Congress here in Barcelona, Spain. These are follow-ups to last summer's Samsung Galaxy Gear. 

Unlike the original Galaxy Gear, which has a full build of Android 4.2.2 on board, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are running the Tizen OS — an open-source OS Samsung played a big hand in developing. (More on that here.) That's good and bad, of course. It's great for those who have been waiting to see Tizen on a mainstream product (insofar as smartwatches are mainstream, we suppose) and bad for the tinkerers. That's also led Samsung to drop "Galaxy" from the product name.

Thew new OS is just part of the changes, though. The hardware's been revamped as well. The ugly wart that is the camera on the Galaxy Gear is gone, moved from the strap to the body of the watch itself. And Samsung's tucked an IR port in there for good measure, turning the watch into a living-room remote — not really much of a surprise given that wearables will make up a good part of Samsung's Smart Home initiative, announced in January.

And that's just for starters.

Samsung Gear 2 image gallery

The difference between the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo? Lack of camera in the latter.

Visually speaking, there's not a huge difference between the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo. You get different color options, but other than the the biggest change in that the camera's been stripped out of the Neo. So instead of a larger transparent window, there's just the small circle for the IR port. It's also slightly lighter. Does one look better than the other? Your call.

Overall, the design of both Gear 2s is largely the same as the original Galaxy Gear.

Your still going to need some sort of charging cradle, and the pins have moved from the first time around. You're also missing the speaker grille on the wrist from the Galaxy Gear. And the button has moved from the right-hand side to the bottom of the watch face. 

Also worth mentioning: The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are rated IP67, meaning you can actually get these a little wet. That was a big concern we had with the original Galaxy Gear.

Samsung Gear 2 Neo image gallery

Samsung Gear 2 specs

Hardware-wise, the Gear 2 sports a 1.63-inch (320 by 320) Super AMOLED display, so you'll get the same sort of superb colors we've enjoyed on the original Galaxy Gear. It's all powered by a dual-core processor running at 1 GHz, has 512MB of RAM and 4GB of on-board storage. 

The Gear 2 has a 300 mAh battery, which Samsung says will last two to three days with "typical" usage, or up to six days with low usage.

Display 1.63-inch Super AMOLED (320 x 320) 
Processor 1.0 GHz Dual Core Processor
Operating system Tizen-based wearable platform
Camera (Gear 2 only) 2.0 Megapixel Auto Focus (1920x1080, 1080x1080, 1280x960)
Video Codec: H.264, H.263; Format: 3GP, MP4; HD(720p, @30fps) Playback & Recording
Audio Codec: MP3/AAC/AMR/Vorbis; Format: MP3, M4A, AAC, OGG
Camera Features Auto Focus Camera, Sound & Shot, Location Tags, Signature
Fitness features 1. Heart Rate sensor; 2. Pedometer; 3. Exercise (Standalone Modes: Running, Walking; Companion Modes: Cycling, Hiking); 4. Sleep & Stress (Downloadable)
Music Music Player with Bluetooth Headset and Speaker
Watch-on Remote Remote Controller via IrLED Sensor
Basic Features Bluetooth Call, Camera, Notification(SMS, E-mail, Apps)
Apps Media Controller, Schedule, Smart Relay, S Voice, Stopwatch, Timer, Weather
Downloadable features Calculator, ChatON, Flashlight, Quick Settings, Voice Memo
Gear 2 strap options Charcoal Black, Gold Brown and Wild Orange
Gear 2 Neo strap options Charcoal Black, Mocha Grey and Wild Orange
Ruggedness IP67 Certified Dust and Water Resistant, Noise Cancellation
Featured apps Banjo, BMW, CNN , Conde Nast, Expedia, eBay, Evernote, Feedly, GARMIN, Glympse, GM (Onstar 4GLTE), iControl, Line, Path, Paypal, RUNTASTIC, Volkswagen, Weather Channel, Under Armour (Map my fitness).
Samsung Services Samsung Apps
Connectivity Bluetooth® v4.0 LE, IrLED< 
Sensors Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart Rate 
Memory 512MB RAM
Storage 4GB
Dimensions Gear 2: 36.9 x 58.4x 10.0 mm, 68g; Gear 2 Neo: 37.9 x 58.8 x 10.0mm, 55g
Battery life Li-ion 300mAh; Typical Usage 2~3 days, Low Usage up to 6 days

Gear 2 software: Out with Android, in with Tizen

Question is: Do you care what OS your smartwatch runs?

​Tizen is Samsung's own open-source OS that's been hanging out around the fringes for a while now. (It followed Samsung's last failed stab at a counter-culture OS, Bada.)

But so long as the Gear 2 has the apps, the underlying OS might not matter that much. (A full Android build might always have been overkill, really.)

As you'd expect, Samsung has a suite of its own apps on the Gear 2, many of which look familiar. To wit, you get: Bluetooth Call, Camera, Notification(SMS, E-mail, Apps), Media Controller, Schedule, Smart Relay, S Voice, Stopwatch, Timer and Weather. 

Other downloadable apps include a calculator, ChatON, flashlight, quick settings and voice memo.

That's just the start, of course. Other apps that are available include:

  • Banjo
  • BMW
  • CNN
  • Conde Nast
  • Expedia
  • eBay
  • Evernote
  • Feedly
  • GARMIN
  • Glympse
  • GM (Onstar 4GLTE)
  • iControl
  • Line
  • Path
  • Paypal
  • RUNTASTIC
  • Volkswagen
  • Weather Channel
  • Under Armour (Map my fitness) 

Gear 2 as a fitness device

Samsung Gear 2 Neo in mocha grayAs you've probably noticed, Samsung's positioning the Gear 2 as a fitness tracker. In addition the apps listed above, you'll be able to use it as a heart-rate sensor, pedometer and generic exercise tracker.

The Gear 2 camera 

The Gear 2 sports a 2-megapixel camera with autofocus that'll shoot in three resolutions — 1920x1080, 1080x1080 and 1280x960. It also has the "Sound and shot" feature to give some context to your images, location tagging and signatures.

The Gear 2 Neo has no camera.

The bottom line

We're going to have to wait to get our hands on the Gear 2 to be able to pass any sort of judgment, But addressing the placement of the camera is a good start, providing that it's as easy to shoot with the camera in the body rather than on the strap. 

Same goes for Tizen versus Android. We've got a sneaking suspicion that the user experience will mostly be the same — the Gear is one of those platforms where OS is more important as a framework than it is user experience, and even then the apps involved are more important than both. That Samsung has so many partners ready to go speaks volumes.

Stick around for more on the Gear 2 just as soon as we've got it.

 

Reader comments

Samsung announces Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches, which drop Android for Tizen

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I hope not. Even though I use a Note 3, I'd prefer the watch to be device independent, in case my next device isn't a Samsung.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

@rd nest

Thanks, for crushing my hopes, lol. =P

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

They could do it if they wanted, Motorola puts apps in the play store but locks them to their own devices. There is no reason Samsung can't put the needed apps in the play store and allow other devices to download them.

Posted via Android Central App

If it is all the rest of the details are irrelevant to many of us.

Posted via Android Central App

Yeah, I might be going back to the Pebble. The Gear(1) is a sold device no doubt it's just I've been wanting to try the Moto X as my daily driver. Can't easily if at all do that with the Gear... Now the Gear 2 as well. Too bad too. Also to me, the fact they removed Android sucks. I like the fact I can run Tasker on my watch. And not to mention the zillions more application options Tasker can take advantage of. Anyone who knows Tasker knows what I'm talking about. I actually see the value of my Gear(1) going up right now... Anyway, I'll bet you can install Android or Linux eventually so it's probably moot.

I do like they moved the camera but is there a speaker on that band? Don't see it. If not why can't I put on my own band then? +1 for Pebble.

Hi DetroitTech, I fully agree with your comments. But did you actually manage to run full Tasker app in your Gear(1)? That's what I always wanted, but last time I checked, people who had tried it had failed... only being able to use some Tasker interface apps that allowed some sort of remote commands from the Gear to Tasker inside the full Android phone/tablet...
Thanks

Thats the real kicker isn't it! ... I could see this being a big success unless they lock it down to Samsung Only phones

They should. That's how you widen your user base.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Ok, I have to disagree with you here (respectfully).

1st, the 'wearable' isn't saturated. It's just starting. It's not like even Samsung smartphone owner is already buying a Gear at this time. You argument is (more) relevant when the Samsung's smartphone buyers all purchase Gear and there is less scope for Samsung to grow. That's not the case here. Hardly 1-2% Samsung smartphone buyers purchase their Gear. There is a lot of room for growth with existing strategy.

2nd, it will be 10x tougher for Samsung to optimize the watch for all devices. Diversity of Android is good, but it's also a mess with regards to optimization. What would they do about S-voice, Chat On or other Samsung services that they use in Gear. They can control the TW used in Samsung devices and test everything in their firmware upgrade to maintain compatibility with gear. But how about Google/Moto/LG changing something in their firmware tomorrow and renders the Gear totally useless?? it's not like Google has any specific API to be used in a smartwatch.

They did what is most *feasible* and sensible solution. And I personally think it was a smart choice.

+9000 brother.

That does make perfect sense. You sort of forget that there are very tangible differences between each "skin."

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Based on the fact that it uses Samsung's own OS in lieu of Android, I fear it will be exclusive to Samsung devices...

Posted via Android Central App

And here is the thousand dollar question, do I buy a Gear 2 or do I buy a new phone??

Posted from my "KNOX-FREE" 4.3 Sprint GS3 Maxx...!!!
(ZeroLemon 7000mA battery and ZeroShock Case)

Possibly. This could just be an experiment.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

What I was thinking too. See how it is received and see how it performs on a product that isn't going to have mass sales like a flagship phone would.

ಠ益ಠ

Earlier it's stated that the Neo does not have a camera. Then later on, it says there is a camera.. which is it?

Posted via Android Central App

I noticed this, too. Must be a typo. It happens to the best of us.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I'm guessing the last paragraph is, where Phil mentions that both sport the camera.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Thank you Samsung for totally p#$@#$@ me off. Here is why... wasted money on the first gear.. while Sammy KNEW they would never open the app store... knowing that nothing new was going to be pushed, created for those who bought the first one. going to be hard for me to trust them again.. $300 wasted for nothing.. no new apps to look forward to.. couldn't even wait a year... hell 3 months to make the original gear to junk yard..

Samsung didn't put a gun to your head and make you buy that Gear. That was your decision.

If the Gear functions how it should, then Samsung owes you nothing.

You should have brought the Gear for what it was advertised to do, not what it may POSSIBLY do in the future.

Just my opinion.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I would EXPECT the bastards to allow more apps to be created.. Would you like to buy a phone.. then 3 months later.. oh.. no new apps .. screw that less than 3 months.. BS. If they would have i would have NEVER got this.. hell, they don't have the BUGS out of the damn first one.. should i expect THAT to be fixed? or is that asking to much

Wanting bug fixes is more understandable than being angry because of no new features.

Samsung is a business, first and foremost. The decision to move to Tizen was probably the more lucrative course of action than continuing to use Android for the smartwatches. For all we know, they may still plan on introducing new features for the first generation.

Only time will tell. I wouldn't jump to conclusions.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I'm not disagreeing with you.. BUT from a "Business decision" it makes NO sense to do anything new/different with the original. They have no reasons to do anything to the first one. BUT as a consumer.. i have no reason to TRUST them after this. They knew this in December. Hell, phone says there a update and but gives an error -2 on the screen. Never ever rooted or side loaded a damn thing.

Info also started leaking in December, about Samsung making a new gear to accompany the S5. That's the reason I didn't buy one in Dec. They published some articles on this on ac.

Posted via Note 3 AC App

I think the one of the reasons may be battery life. From all the reviews I've read of the original gear the battery isn't the best out there. These new one seems to be on par with the pebble. Maybe a coincidence but maybe Android isn't that efficient for smart watches hence why Sony, pebble, qualcom and now even Samsung not using Android for smart watches. Totally have the right to be vexed.. The gear was no cheap device.

Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)

I understand, brother. I'm not saying that I wouldn't be a little turned off, if I were in your situation. Because, I would. But, I was just pointing out what you already know.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Samsung owes it to those who have the Gear to fix the bugs. Beyond that they owe you absolutely nothing! You knew this was a first generation product. Samsung made no promises as to what it might or might not do. If you formed expectations, that's your own fault. If they want to release a new version of the Gear every 3 days, that's their right. They said what the Gear would do when they released it, and as long as it does those things, that's all they're obligated to do. It ridiculous how entitled people feel. As if a multi-billion dollar, global company is gonna stop everything until you feel like the product you bought is perfect for whatever you want it to do, regardless of what they actually said it would do. Samsung gave you an option to buy a watch. You chose that option. that's on you, not them. Its not BS and they owe you nothing. Not for 3 months, not for 3 days, not for 3 minutes. If it does what they said it would do when they sold it to you, that's it.

You are right, and in the future I won't buy another Samsung Watch for making obsolete the first one with no new apps, or software updates.

That is what is good about competition. They are not the only game in town.

Just for discussion, you indicate that the Gear should have been bought for what it was advertised to do, not what it may possibly do in the future. Except, that was one of Samsung's marketing points. It strongly implied that new apps would be written for the Gear, and I would think that the software would be maintained at least for a few years.

Samsung has lost me as a customer. I am only one person, so why should they care.

So... your Gear just stopped working? Doesn´t make calls anymore? Doesn´t take pictures anymore?

I hope my S4 does not stop working tomorrow....

I hear you I bought mine about a month before the price dropped to $150 but I am not crying as it is almost everything we buy we are helping either fund or show what we want or don't want... Obviously Samsung felt we needed the watch in the beginning but most likely would never have even put another dime in it if we didn't buy one! over the years I have put my money on stuff like this as an early adopted and prices dropped and something better came out or improved but never the less I bought the newer versions... You could just skip this one and wait for the next one? You could also sell your current one on Ebay or gift it to a friend? I offered my son mine he wasn't interested so I am getting the new one and keeping the old one for a backup. Either way I feel your pain!

I'm just wondering... Would Tizen be more energy efficient on a smartwatch than Android?

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Lol.

Somebody's not going to sense the sarcasm, I just know it.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

You are a brilliant detective!
You called me mane
Lions have manes
The Detroit football team is the Lions
I live near Detroit.
How did you know I live near Detroit? Wait, you called me son...are you my dad? DAD!!! Buy me this watch dad!

Love it, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Looks better than the first. I'd like to sear a galaxy gear active though. Something more for outdoors hiking and what not. That thing looks too nice for backwoods use. Nice to see the less bulky design and improved battery life though.

Do u think this is why Google did that sharing patent deal with Samsung because Samsung is slowly going to bail on android?

NO FLAPPY BIRD, NO BUY!!

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Yeah, those eBay and Craigslist prices are still insane.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I just wanna see the video of people getting pissed at Flappy Bird and throwing the watch against the wall while their still wearing it.

I'd pay to see both, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

It absolutely amazes me, that some people seem to have no idea what sarcasm looks like, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

If it's waterproof and works with any phone and price is right then I'll buy. Other than that I'll wait for the Sony smartwatch 2 to go down in price.

Posted via Android Central App

The name of the Under Armour app is spelled MapMyFitness. It will launch with MapMyRun and expand to the other apps like MapMyRide.

Yep, you beat me to it, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I don't see anything wrong with this. Maybe Samsung can develop tizen into an os for other devices. That could be a suitable device placement where they can get a niche carved out and maybe allow Samsung to dominate wearables in the same way they dominated smartphones with Android.

Posted via Android Central App

Lol are people complaining about it being dual core, let me guess you wanted the snapdragon 805

Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)

Hmmm. Sounds so much better than the first generation of Gear watches. I may purchase one if the price is right.

Cue the chorus of "See the GS5 will be running Tizen too" in 3.....2.....1....

Posted via Android Central App on my daily driver, the Droid MAX

You know it's coming, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

You'd be surprised, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I am sure the Galaxy S5 is going to be using Kitkat maybe they might offer a dual boot but am sure it's not Tizen complete but if it was most likely scenario is they will make it able to run Android apps... I am not worried am willing to give it a try either way Samsung has seemed to take leaps over other companies with their phones lately.

I wonder if I could use my own watch band on these? I need a longer band to fit my fat wrists. If I can and it works with my nexus 5 I might consider it for the right price of maybe $150 or so. "Smart" watches aren't worth more than that to me since their main function is just acting as a notification extension of your phone.

Screen wise it wouldn't be worth getting if it was too small at least to me I love the current size... It is slightly bulky but if you want a smaller lighter watch less features get the Pebble??

I have the first Gen, I have four days left to return it, think they will come out with pricing by then? I jumped on the Valentine's deal at best buy. The price was right, but I would be excited about a more comfortable wrist band. That camera is bulky!

Posted via Android Central App

Well given the fact they successfully launched a smartphone design and they have set up the manufacturing facility those costs are most likely not going to add to us. Now they added the heart monitor that most likely added to cost but then they took the camera off the wrist band so that most likely brought the cost back down again... So I am thinking the watch will be around $250 maybe $260... Just speaking from working in manufacturing. And hoping it will be less than $200...

I'm expecting the S5 Prime to be similar in color to the Gear 2 and the S5 Neo to be the all plastic model. A brushed metal and black S5 sounds good to me. Now I'm imagining something similar to the render that was floating around the last month or so with the leather(looking) textured back and metal trim.

Still ugly as hell, you'd have to be a super geek to be caught dead wearing one of those

Posted via Android Central App

I have a Galaxy gear and really no one notices it until it shows screen and they ask if I like it... It's really not bad unless you have like little tiny baby wrists...

Probably Samsung turning themselves into an island on this. Perhaps it will be pretty lonely?

Posted via Android Central App

I think, that's still up for debate. We'll see the merits of Tizen, soon enough.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

My only question is, since I use hangouts for all of my sms/messaging needs, how will I get those messages on this watch if its not running Android?

With the Galaxy Gear's Gear Manager App you just choose any app that currently gives notifications and it sends it to your watch am sure even with Tizan it still works the same.. It's really not that complicated,,,

Gotcha, thanks for the answer. I've never really kept up with the watch stuff, but since I just got a Note 3, I'm getting tempted to try one.

Wow, Glad I returned my gear. I wouldn't say it was a waste of money, but I will say I would he highly agitated now that this is coming out less than a year later. Still not over the fact I bought the note 2 only having to buy the note 3 5 months later.

Honestly, I am glad they are making 2 watches - one with and one without a camera. I am also extremely excited to see if the "other Samsung" devices this product works with are Samsung phones/tablets running Tizen. Additionally, I am very happy to see that the device got IP67 certification.
So all-in-all, even if the device is Samsung only, I think it has lots of potential and I may just get one!
PS - its also interesting that they went with a "home" button. I wonder if that is going to be their trademark??