Samsung Galaxy Gear

... but there's still plenty of room for improvement.

We've been patiently awaiting the updated firmware for the U.S. version of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and this morning it is finally available.

The firmware update brings the software to MK7. The big seller is you now have better notifications from non-Samsung apps (but you'll have to dive down a couple layers in the Gear Manager app to activate them). Notifications themselves could still see some improving. In Gmail, for example, receiving a single e-mail gives you the ability to actually read the body, as well as the sender and subject. But if you get multiple emails at once, the Gear shows you the sender and subject line, but that's it — and all the subjects run together. (The Qualcomm Toq suffers from this same malady.)

Here's the full changelog:

  • Improved range and connection: Samsung says the Gear can now stray a little farther from the phone before losing its connection. That's good — it felt pretty short before. The automatic connection feature has been improved as well.
  • Improved battery life. Again, that addresses one of the chief complaints about the Gear. We'll have to see how much longer it lasts.
  • S Voice search should be faster.
  • "Your Gear's performance has been improved and its features have been enhanced." Whatever that means.

We're going to spend a few days with this new-and-improved Galaxy Gear to see what's what. For now, make sure you've got the latest version of the Gear Manager app, and see if you can update over the air. If you get a message saying "The maximum number of roll-outs has been exceeded," you can download Samsung's KIES software, say a little prayer, and update over USB.

More: Galaxy Gear forums;


Reader comments

Samsung Galaxy Gear (U.S.) finally gets new firmware and expanded notifications


best looking smartwatch by far. it still will not replace my classic luxury mechanical timepiece.

Gekko, your comment hits the nail right on the head, at least for us Cool Guys/Gals!! (grin)First off, this is a new offering, it is expected to have some glitches. But for COOLNESS and STYLE, this is one sweet number..(old cool wrinkled grin)

WHAR red WHAR!?!?

Dammit man, I am a commenter not a clairvoyant!

LOL. I had to stop posting on that article, my witty comments kept magically disappearing.

Edit: I think the comments were disabled all together. For the best I am sure.

People wear watches in 2013/2014? Wow!!!!!!

Posted via Android Central App Using my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Obviously you can just look at your phone but a good mechsnical watch is a timeless piece of fashion. I have many. My only problem with the gear is that it looks like a toy. Before anyone attacks me with that comment, yes I had one. Used it for almost 2 weeks. Didn't care for it, the style, the materials, the implementation. I returned it and haven't missed it since. Hopefully this update fixes some of the drawbacks I found with the actual use of the watch.

Posted via Android Central App

Yeah i still own a few mechanical watches, even a pocket watch. Never wear them but they are good to have around for the proper occasion

Dammit man, I am a commenter not a clairvoyant!

rchapman80, nobody is going to attack you. However, just because it is not up to your taste in class and style, doesn't mean jack. Your opinion is for you, and rightfully so. Others may have opposite opinions about this watch, and guess what, you and them are correct. Another example, some peeps prize car, they couldn't give it to me, and visa versa..I am daggone glad that we are all not alike!!

In the meantime, the Gear is stylish, cool, and classy..(grin)

Absolutely they do. A good watch is something you can have forever if you take good care of it. Plus, if you get good ones they go UP in value. I get complemented on my watch nearly every day.

Same here I ha d 20 watches I. Total and one is a pebble watch. Lo e it I don't have to look at my phone every 5 min I can choose what to respond to and my others range from Fossil, Invicta
and Bulova

Posted via Android Central App

I guess there's a lot of people updated because now its saying roll out update update limit has exceeded

Posted via Android Central App

Leroy Padilla, Pebble is for you, Galaxy Gear is for me.. We both happy. I am not unhappy that you got a Pebble that's for sure.. (grin)

Can anyone tell me how I use Kies to update the firmware? I have looked it up and it says to open kies, plug in the device and follow the instructions. No instructions are given... -_- please help

Ok, I just figured out what I was doing wrong. I was using Keis 3.

Once I downloaded Keis it recognized the GG and was able to download the

But!!!! upon installing the update i got a warning saying my battery was low!!!!
I was at 41% make sure you are fully charged when trying to update Via. Keis.

I am waiting to charge, keeping fingers crossed this works......

Call me when smart watches actually deserve to be called smart and not just gimmicky technogeek toys. Tried 3 of them, took them all back. I'll stick with my trusty G-Shock that is actually functional & doesn't have to be charged every day or babied.....

Posted via my Nexus 10 using the totally awesome Android Central App

Hey Phil, isn't that gmail problem with multiple messages due to how GMAIL handles notifications like that. The functionality you described is exactly how also works in the notification drawer. Get one Email and you can read most of it in the drawer. Get multiple and it shows you the senders and subjects.

I don't know if I want Samsung hooking into apps like Gmail directly, and only to the notification system. It would be very easy to break if GMail gets updated. It should be up to Gmail to make the Notifications more rubust. I thought a big part of Android 4.4 was a new API to access notifications as well and make it so that say a watch could access a notification, and then it would go away on your phone.

Yeah it seems like what shows up on the gear is exactly what shows up in the phone's notification. I wonder if there is a way to stop the stacking of email notifications.

Posted via Android Central App

Ok, I just figured out what I was doing wrong. I was using Keis 3.

Once I downloaded Keis it recognized the GG and was able to download the

But!!!! upon installing the update i got a warning saying my battery was low!!!!
I was at 41% make sure you are fully charged when trying to update Via. Keis.

I am waiting to charge, keeping fingers crossed this works......

When Gmail comes accross as an individual email the word Archive is always the first word in the body of the email. Does any one else have this problem. I also have the canadian MK7 since I could'nt wait to update. Should I roll it back to get the US version or is there really a difference?

If the Gear had a longer lasting battery and the ability to swap straps I would get one. The ability to swap straps is huge.

Can you read the entire SMS and other messages now? What's the point when I cannot read the entire message, but only part of it on the watch? I brought one so that I can read messages during Winter (Canada) without taking my phone out of the pocket. But no, the Samsung only shows part of the message. Qualcomm toq can display the entire message.

I have always been able to read the whole sms message. Even before the update.

Posted via Android Central App

I was close to getting the Gear over the weekend, but I decided to wait and see if CES will reveal any new and better smartwatches.

Sent from my Galaxy Note II

I tried kies 2.6 it tells me my phone is not compatible to use kies 3, I switched to kies 3 but when I connect it doesn't show any updates or prompts me to update the gear. Anyone know why? I'm on a Galaxy s4 running 4.3.

Posted via Android Central App

I kind of want this but the price and also how it only works with samsung

Sent from my Nexus 7 2013 or Moto G

Sorry samsung, still not buying it. Bring compatibility to all android phones first, then it will have a chance, imho

Posted via Android Central App

I have read so many negative comments and articles about this watch and I just don’t get it. I guess it’s like Iphone/IPads. My kids love them and so I tried them both. Turned them both back in after a couple of weeks. Way to limited to what I was used to. There wonderful for a lot of people, just not for me. I guess this is the case for the GG or any smart watch. I have had the update loaded for a few weeks now and it made the world of difference for me. I can get notifications on pretty much any app and can now use Gmail and Go SMS Pro without any issues. Here is why the GG works for me.
• Battery/Charging - I already charge my phone and my tablet every night so it’s no big deal to charge the watch. When I go to bed, I plug in all 3 devices.
• Wearing a watch in general – I was not a watch wearer before this. In all actuality, the time functionality is really one of the l least reasons I use this watch.
• Quick notifications – this is my biggest reason for the watch. I get an email or text, I can see who it is from and decide to open it or not. If I open it, I can read the message and decide if I want to continue, if so, I can click on show on device and by the time I pull the phone out of my pocket, it’s already open and ready for me to continue.
• Car – I can quickly see what kind of message it is and determine without pulling out my phone if it is something I need to pull over and respond to.
• I am someone that constantly leaves my phone in one room then realizes an hour later that I don’t have it nearby. I then get to wonder around the house trying to remember where I left it. Having the watch vibrate when I get to far is an instant reminder for me that I have done it again. I no longer miss phone calls from my kids.
I am not the best at explaining my thoughts on things so hopefully this will make sense. I guess what I am trying to say is that most of the negative things that are said about the watch, either don’t apply to me or just such a small issue, it doesn’t bother me. Do I think there are improvements to be made, YES! I bought it understanding its limitations and that’s it is a first generation gadget.

I kinda want one of these, but that price though.

Why cant it be $150 or even $200.

I cant believe there havent been any holiday deals on it or anything.

Just bought one for 200 at best buy couple hours ago. They said they were price matching with Verizon. This was the only way I was getting one.

Posted via Android Central App

Actually Verizon is doing 100 off with the purchase of a note 3....why best buy matched this I have no idea, but they did. I only bought the gear.

Posted via Android Central App

Got mine for $209, BestBuy price matched Tmobile way back in October. I got three of them at that price. Sold 2 of them on Ebay for a profit.

AC seems to be getting more and more biased against Samsung I feel. They seem to be more leaning against AOSP devices like Nexus devices more. They keep rating the Nexus and HTC One over Samsung devices even when its the highest selling Android device. They do this year over year and seems more I keep looking at their stuff, they always seem to poke more holes in Samsung products then they do any other product like HTC or Motorola. I find it interesting that simply because there is a plastic back on the GS4 they feel its a "cheap" phone. I don't feel like its a cheap phone, its a lightweight thin plastic cover.

I see the same thing about the watch, they bash it just cause notifications wasn't good enough or didn't like certain things about it. When Samsung fixed the notifications part of it, they still have to poke holes in it. Give it a chance, Samsung rushed it, yes we know, but they will get it right as they always do, look at the GS2, GS3, GS4, Note2, Note3, etc...

These folks don't seem to be an unbiased review of products. That's just my opinion.

Well you know what they say about opinions...

Nobody should be rooting for Samsung right now. They are hell bent on limiting choices of consumers and shotgun releasing every type of device that they can instead of actually bringing great devices to the market and having the customer come to them. WTF...Galaxy Mega? GS4 is a laggy mess. They spend billions on commercials but can't release a simple, elegant product to save their lives.

It does consumers no good to blindly follow any company in the consumer electronics space. I just upgraded from my GS2 to an LG G2 and have not looked back. It is in another league compared to my wife's S4 and I appreciate another company stepping up to the plate to release a compelling flagship in 2013. We are better off if we have multiple strong players in Android. Trust me, Samsung would rather build market share and dump or fork Android to something closed source than just remain a player on the field with everybody else.

Unfortunately, I firmly believe that the buying public at large are just stupid enough to facilitate this travesty. The idea that just because a company has lots of advertising makes their products great is one for the simpletons among us.

You make some good points. I completely agree with you on where they are Hell Bent on making it harder to impossible to root and install custom recoveries to. Not sure why. That's what got them where they are (Like originally with the GS2 and GS3) and then they alienate the rest by blocking it like how apple has by not letting you downgrade anymore.

I agree on the strong players, Im all for it as far as Android goes.

Gee..... no point in declaring yourself as a bonafide Samsung Hater. You've proved you're totally biased against them. Most likely because you are a fan of another company. But why do you have to HATE Samsung's success? No doubt Samsung is the most successful smartphone maker on the planet and that's a fact you can't deny. #1 Electronics Conglomerate by both revenue and volume and that's just one division in the Samsung Chaebol, that includes building skyscrapers to super freighter ships and Ocean Oil Platforms. Along with owning their own Gold, Silver and Platinum mines among many other ventures! Give them some credit..... they exist on the same level as the Saudi Royals with their Oil Empire!

Over the course of 2013, Samsung is projected to easily break 310 Million smartphones sales alone and that doesn't include feature phones. There have been months this year, where they have sold more than half of all smartphones sold. No other phone maker including Apple can boast that. Apple as the second best selling phone maker will barely sell half of that on the year. Along with projections for Samsung to continue to dominate smartphones sales like no other company on the planet in 2014!!! How can you knock that? No good reason!!!

Their Note Series phones have absolutely no real competition and neither does the Gear Smartwatch. Tell me one phone maker that has a better smartwatch? To claim Apple or any other company does have one, makes a mockery of your own judgemental hatred of a great competitor, all because it's Samsung that is out selling every other company on the Planet! Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, because Samsung is only going to do better and actually have no real competition to speak of in the first place!

So keep your ignorant dam simpleton condemnation of Samsung to your lost in your own stupid ignorance of the facts.... ignorance to yourself!!! .....because the buying public's choice is all that really counts. Because nothing iDiots like you can say, is ever going to change the facts I've stated above here! Don't like it? Then move to another Galaxy! ;-P ....but SAMSUNG RULES OUR UNIVERSE WITH IT'S GALAXIES!!!

A little over the top, but I agree with you. There is a reason Samsung sells more phones than anyone - and it's not marketing. In fact, most of their ads are poorly done compared to, say Apple's marketing. They are number 1 because they make feature rich phones that utilize Google's incredible Android operating system that meet or exceed customers expectations. Spend some time with a Galaxy Note 3 and you begin to understand. Having said that, the HTC One and Moto X (yes, even the iPhone 5s) are also great phones with builds and some features that I would like to see on my Note 3 - it's called competition and Samsung's strong performance in recent years has helped fuel the creative innovations we are seeing across the Android Universe. And, it will continue to get better. Is the GG perfect, no. But, it does what no other smart watch can do while complimenting a great Note 3 or S4. The watch will continue to improve and help drive competition in this category. The winners - you and me, the consumers.

Kroneage, couldn't be said any better. I agree 1000% Enjoying the Galaxy Gear, Note 3 like crazy. Plus several, Samsung TVs. Getting ready to get a 10.1 2014..Oh boy..

So I picked up the Gear today. This has to grow on me.

Posted via Android Central App on my Note 3.

I love it!! I look at my phone considerably less, especially driving.

I received one for Christmas, promptly did the firmware upgrade. The reviews are pretty much "why would I use this." But the notification firmware update does enough. My phone battery lasts longer because I am not always checking it anymore. Its quite liberating.

Its not as big on my wrist as it looks like it would be in the store. I think being able to take a picture of myself while taking a picture of myself, its like a selfie squared! Talking into my hand has a sense of "protect the president" flare to it.

What I use the Gear for in order of importance:
1 . Notification of IM's (Hangouts, Trillian)
2 . Caller ID without looking at my phone
3 . Letting my kids play a game and I can still read a message
4 . Leaving my phone at its charger and still get to see whats up.

However, I had to tell Locale to stop "sync"ing email at night so I can sleep with this thing on.

Samsung, if your listening, features I would use if they were to exist.

- RSS reader
- Elevation/Climate data, like a mountaineering watch has. Seems silly to take a rechargeable device climbing, but I never go more than a day or two so it would work.
- Google Now/Voice search. Sorry Samsung, theirs is better