Samsung Gear S2 review
(We first tested the Samsung Gear s2 in November 2015 when it launched. Recently, we've spent more time with the device and added our thoughts on how it holds up and compares to newer devices.)
When it comes to Samsung smartwatches, our Gear S2 review breaks new ground. Never before have we been able to describe a Samsung smartwatch as desirable, intuitive or – most importantly of all – compatible.
Wareable verdict: Samsung Galaxy Watch review
With its Swatch-like looks and ability to play nicely with rival Android smartphones, Samsung has performed a spectacular U-turn. The result is a bold wearable that gets as much right as its predecessors got wrong. Read on to find out why Samsung is back in the game.
Samsung Gear S2: Design
It's impressive how many bases Samsung has covered in just two designs: the standard Gear S2 and the upscaled Gear S2 Classic. It should be noted that the stainless steel and plastic editions look like watches and feel well made – and if you've ever worn a previous Samsung smartwatch, you'll know that is big news.
If we'd had a choice of which Gear S2 design we prefer, we'd have to pick the Classic. The ridged bezel, leather strap and smaller body combine for a premium feel, and it can be easily fitted with third party straps. And both are now the same price after receiving cuts due to the arrival of the Gear S3.
One note to mention, though, is that we haven't had a chance to test the Gear S2 with 3G and GPS – the obvious choice to compare to the Sony SmartWatch 3 or Moto 360 Sport if you want a cheaper smartwatch for everyday use, as well as running or training.
With two different designs and a bunch of different straps, there's some choice of style in the Samsung Gear S2 line-up, though it can't rival the likes of Apple for personalisation options. While the Gear S2 Classic, with its leather strap, looks more in line with a Fossil watch, the plastic strapped Gear S2 has more in common with a Swatch. This is key for a couple of reasons. First, the Samsung Gear S2 doesn't try too hard. With its pre-loaded watch faces it looks fun and off-the-wall. It's not trying to be as classy as an Omega or as blingy as a Michael Kors. It has a confident style and it translates well.
Read this: Samsung Gear S2 v Samsung Gear S3
One of our only criticisms here is that the 11.4mm thick S2 is still quite chunky and sits quite high on the top of your wrist. This is similar to the second gen Motorola and if there's one guarantee about the next generation of devices it's that they will be slimmer, but right now smartwatches are still chunky. The Classic will work for women but it wouldn't be our first recommendation. Still, one thing is for sure – we are so far away from the first Gear watch. This is a polished, unisex, circular smartwatch that no one will be ashamed of wearing.
Samsung Gear S2: That rotating bezel
The Gear S2's rotating bezel is far and away our favourite thing about the piece. Rather than try to disappear the bezel altogether like Motorola or primp it up to look like a traditional wristwatch like LG, Samsung has transformed it into a satisfying, addictive and most importantly, intuitive way of interacting with the smartwatch.
When you move your hand to hover over the watch on your wrist it's the exact place your fingers land, even when you aren't looking down yet, and thanks to some clever UI design in its Tizen OS – more on that later – you can switch between apps, cycle back to notifications, change volume and brightness all in the same smooth motion.
In short, it's genius and we're still yet to see any rivals take advantage of the same feature, despite Android Wear 2.0 possessing the power to make this happen.
It's faster than Apple's Digital Crown on the Watch and the touchscreen prods and gestures of Android Wear. You can control everything with your finger on the right half of the bezel (if you're right handed) which means you will always be able to see the whole display.
The bezel's closest rival here is actually a little known Chinese watch, designed by Frog design, called the Ticwatch which has a capacitive strip on the outer edge.
There are also two buttons on the right-hand edge of the round watch body: 'back' at two o'clock and 'home' at four o'clock. The first of these is in the perfect position, the second can be a bit annoying to shift your hand around to press. You can set a double tap of the home button to launch an app, such as the music player or maps, which is handy, though unlike say, a Pebble, in order to select an app or setting it's back to prodding the touchscreen.
Samsung Gear S2: Screen
With so much love for the rotating bezel you might forget to pay proper attention to the bright, vivid and sharp 1.2-inch Super AMOLED screen. It's smaller than some smartwatch screens and set into the watch so it doesn't look quite as modern as the Moto 360 2. But this just increases its retro/classic charm.
At 360 x 360 pixels, the Gear S2's screen has an impressive pixel density of 302ppi, which means you can choose to set the font very small and see more messages or notifications on one screen as you scroll through them. It's as pin-sharp as the smaller Apple Watch and it shows. And unsurprisingly for a Samsung product, it can go very bright – probably too bright, though, as most days we settled for a low, easily readable setting.
Samsung Gear S2: Tizen
Tizen has always been a gamble for Samsung but this time it has paid off. Unlike all the Android Wear watches from Huawei and LG and Motorola which benefit from recent updates but can't really move the category on, the Gear S2 is doing its own thing. And its thing is a damn well easy to use smartwatch OS. As easy to use, in fact, as our beloved Pebble OS.
The home screen is the watch face screen and you simply rotate left one click for recent notifications. Rotate right to get to a screen with an apps icon, settings, buddies (for quick messages) and S Voice. Keep rotating right and you can get easily glanceable information – weather, S Health progress, heart rate and information from third party apps. Choose the apps menu instead and Tizen makes the most of the circular screen and bezel with round app icons around the edge of the display to cycle through. Keep going with the bezel and it simply takes you to the next screen of apps. It is much quicker than zooming in and out with a Digital Crown.
Notifications are there, messages are there, call logs, third party apps… You can't get lost. One niggle is that images, say from WhatsApp, don't display on the watch but this can be excused for the time being. Tizen performs well too with no lag between transitions – the only thing that keeps you waiting is animations when apps open. Unlike Android Wear, the music player controls work without fail every time. With alerts, the vibration is quite subtle – not refined subtle like Apple's Taptic Engine but more in a you-might-miss-it kind of way. You can set the Gear S2 to long vibrate and there are levels to choose from but even 'strong' isn't that strong.
Our only criticism is that it would be great to be able to customise the aesthetic of the whole UI – it looks a little clownish and in particular will probably look a little odd on the Classic. Apple's watchOS 2 is colourful but looks more suited to a stylish accessory and watches such as the Olio Model One are offering bespoke watch faces and UIs custom to each finish.
Like the Apple Watch, it's missing the contextual alerts of Google Now which can be really handy, but arguably what Tizen offers is – for now – more useful; a quick way to find out and access what's happening. What we really want is a blend of the two – Google's virtual assistant is the future but Android Wear is still a work in progress after 18 months. Outside of Apple and Google, Samsung has obviously been looking elsewhere for its services and maps are taken care of by HERE Maps. It's generally accurate and you can zoom in and out of your location using the bezel but it can be rather slow to load on the watch. Directions are handled by a separate HERE app, Navigator.
Tizen supports Bluetooth – the S2 works with most Android phones, another first for a non-Wear Samsung smartwatch. It also has Wi-Fi on board – pull down to see if it's in 'standalone' mode or paired to a phone – as well as NFC for Samsung Pay, its mobile payment service which is a hit in Korea, just launched in the US and is coming to the UK. We'll update this review with our impressions of using Pay with the Gear S2 very soon.
There is also the small matter of the 3G and GPS Gear S2 with a bigger battery but we haven't seen this model yet, and according to a Samsung exec it's not due to come to the UK or Europe.
Samsung Gear S2: Health and fitness
So many health and fitness features are bolted onto smartwatches these days, we'll focus on what Samsung does well. Step counting is accurate and S Health offers some easily glanceable graphics to show your progress to specific goals set in the smartphone app.
If you want to be more active, the Gear S2 can vibrate to remind you you've been sitting down for nearly an hour and also give you the time you've been inactive as well as active – all useful, motivational stuff. Other alerts include step target achieved and healthy pace. You can also input that you've drank a glass of water or cup of coffee with one tap (once you've reached that screen with the bezel) which is exactly the kind of thing a smartwatch can help with.
The S2 isn't going to replace your sports watch, especially as neither the regular nor Classic models have GPS, but there are some attempts to give you that option. It auto tracks walking, running and cycling, with estimates of calories burned, which is perfect for the kind of casual user who would consider the Gear S2 as an all-rounder. Though it did detect our evening jog, it also had a blip when it once – only once – classed sitting on the sofa as light activity. Nike+ Running is also preloaded and is a better choice for regular runners as it shows time, distance and pace right on the watch face.
The heart rate monitor on the underside of the Gear S2 is a cut above too, and while it's no more accurate than the tech you'll find on an Android Wear watch, it's a lot more useful. It can take on the spot readings and can also be set to continuously take your pulse at intervals with two settings, moderate or frequent.
When you're not exercising, you can also tag your bpm readings as 'resting', 'before exercise', 'after exercise' or with moods such as 'excited' and 'angry' so you can keep an eye on your heart's health. The app also lets you know if your resting heart rate is average or lower/higher than average, though the stats get annoying fairly quickly.
Samsung Gear S2: Apps
Here's the part of the Tizen gamble that might not pay off. There are a handful of preloaded watch faces to choose from – both analogue and digital style, customisable and some with 'complications' to show the date, the weather or whatever you want instant access too.
As for apps, Samsung promised over 1,000 Tizen apps designed for the Gear S2's circular screen and it gave developers plenty of notice to get them ready. What we have is a bunch of big names like Nike, CNN, Yelp and Twitter as well as some smart home control options, and then a lot of, shall we say, interesting apps to sift through. Interesting may be generous.
You can head to the Samsung Gear Apps store via the Samsung Gear app to see the limited selection for yourself, but chances are you won't be too impressed.
But this is Samsung and the Gear S2 has the potential to outsell all Android Wear watches. We haven't seen anything available for Tizen so far that pushes the boundaries of what smartwatches can be great at – we're thinking of standalone options that are genuinely useful.
Things have improved since the early days of the app, but there's no hiding from the fact that Tizen's app support is the weakest of the proverbial 'Big 3'.
Samsung Gear S2: Battery life and charging
The battery life on the Gear S2 is slightly above what you'd expect for smartwatches - it's still not going to blow you away, but also won't kill you within a day. Of course, this also depends how you use it – whether you go for the always on screen, how much you use apps like S Voice and Maps, etc. But when using the S2 as much as we've used Android Wear watches day to day, Samsung's smartwatch is the one left standing. The 300mAh battery inside is officially good for three days – we haven't got more than two and a bit days out of it, even without the screen 'always on', but we're sure it can go for longer with lighter use.
To find out the battery level, you swipe down from the watch face, exactly the same as on Android Wear. Especially worth mentioning is the superb Power Saving mode. We left the house on 15% battery one morning having forgotten to dock the S2 in its tidy wireless charging dock overnight. We popped power saving on and it got us home from work before the Gear conked out. This switches the watch face to a simple grayscale screen, disables everything apart from alerts, calls and messages and turns off Wi-Fi. In short, it's wonderful and it means you won't be wearing a blank circle on your wrist on your commute home.
As for that dock, it's the spitting image of the Moto 360 dock (a little smaller) and helps to build charging into your daily routine. The only annoyance comes with needing to charge your watch at work or when travelling, but nine times out of ten we prefer this kind of dock to a random proprietary cradle.
Amazon PA: Samsung Gear S2
Samsung Gear S2: Voice
Voice controls on the S2 are actually a bit of a letdown – it's one of the only areas Samsung needs to improve on. S Voice can be accessed on the first screen right of the watch face and it can also be set to open by double pressing the home button (as can any app). The software uses Nuance voice recognition tech, like Pebble watches, and this just isn't as reliable as Google Voice or Siri.
The watch's mic picked up what I was saying without having to bring the device up to my mouth, choosing to open a result on my phone was quick and reliable and it's nice being able to add your own command phrase. I also recorded a voice memo with Samsung's built-in app which handily transcribed my mutterings. Annoyingly though, it was with only around 75% accuracy. It's much the same with voice searches, plus it's a bit of a pain that it defaults to Yahoo search results, rather than Google, on the watch. That can make for some odd results.
As ever, voice needs to work more times than it doesn't in order to get people trusting the technology. It could have been a great anti-touchscreen one-two with the rotating bezel, but S Voice isn't quite there yet. Perhaps we'll see improvements with future devices taking advantage of Bixby.
Samsung Gear S2: Long-term view
It's been a long time since the Gear S2 launched and marked Samsung's shift to its own Tizen platform, so we've decided to go back and live with the smartwatch to see how well it stacks up to its rivals 18 months on.
However, unlike in the initial review above, we've been strapping the Gear S2 Classic onto our wrists, as opposed to its plastic twin. And while the latter is by no means provides an uncomfortable fit or ugly look, the leather strap gives the device a more classy feel.
For our money, the overall design holds up well with the current crop of flagship devices, and many would prefer the smaller bezel over the hulking, rugged successor. If you're used to larger watches or you simply have a bigger wrist, it may take some time to the S2, but generally this is a neat and versatile look. We reckon it's a more reasonable size than the S3.
Its small screen does have the potential to dampen notifications, but thankfully its brightness and sharpness are still up there with the best. When you compare it across the board, only really the Apple Watch Series 2 can leave it trailing behind. And while we're on the topic of hitting its strong points, it's worth noting that we still find getting around the device via the rotating bezel better than any others — it just works, and makes going back to other devices and swiping screens feel like a chore.
Now, for the not so good. While the Gear S2 3G and GPS model dropped outside the US and Korea six months after the original variants, we've been testing the standard non-GPS model. With smartwatches adding an increasing amount of sensors since the S2's release, it's been left behind as a device for those in need of an exercise companion.
When you get used to running with an in-built GPS in your watch, it's rough to go back to tethering. And as with any heart rate monitor from the wrist, it can suffer when playing at high intensity, despite offering helpful features to help you keep track of your long-term heart rate.
The lack of support in terms of apps is also a big problem that Samsung has improved over time but ultimately failed to resolve. Strava is a perfect example of this; there's no native app available and only Android smartphone users are able to sync activity data from S Health.
Overall, Samsung's Gear S2 is still a viable smartwatch for those looking to get in on the ground floor with a major player. There have been moves to add more apps and also cater for iOS users, but this still adds up to a slightly feature-dry package when compared to fresher devices.
Samsung Gear S2
As easy to get on with as a Pebble, as stylish as an Apple Watch and with that tactile, rotating bezel as its secret weapon, the Gear S2 is the kind of smartwatch you’d kick yourself for leaving at home. It’s not perfect – this isn’t that dream hybrid of fitness tracker and all-round wrist computer, and the Tizen app store is a big miss – but by giving us decent battery life without sacrificing features it feels like a leap forward. The 3G and GPS model has the chance to change what an everyday smartwatch is capable of, but the regular S2 and the Classic should be on every Android owner’s smartwatch shortlist.
- Rotating bezel FTW
- Simple, speedy to use OS
- Good battery life
- Tizen apps are limited
- Software extras aren’t perfect
- Not as customisable as rivals
Samsung Gear 2 vs Samsung Gear S2 Classic
139 facts in comparison
Samsung Gear 2
Samsung Gear S2 Classic
Why is Samsung Gear 2 better than Samsung Gear S2 Classic?
- 20% more battery power?
- 35.83% bigger screen size?
- 1.4mm thinner?
- 3mm narrower?
- Has a front camera?
Why is Samsung Gear S2 Classic better than Samsung Gear 2?
- Has branded damage-resistant glass?
- Has GPS?
- 0.5 days longer battery life?
3 daysvs2.5 days
- Can be used to answer calls?
- Has NFC?
- Supports Wi-Fi?
- 26.56% higher resolution?
360 x 360pxvs320 x 320px
- Always-On Display?
The device is dustproof and water-resistant. Water-resistant devices can resist the penetration of water, such as powerful water jets, but not being submerged into water.
Damage-resistant glass (such as Corning Gorilla Glass or Asahi Dragontrail Glass) is thin, lightweight, and can withstand high levels of force.
Resistance to sweat makes it ideal for use while doing sports.
You can operate the device easily, by pressing the screen with your fingers.
The watch band is removable and can be replaced by any standard watch band of the correct size, allowing you to customise it to your liking.
The device has an electronic display to present information to the user.
Resolution is an essential indicator of a screen's image quality, representing the maximum amount of pixels that can be shown on the screen. The resolution is given as a compound value, comprised of horizontal and vertical pixels.
The user can see information such as date, time, and notifications even when the screen is off. The functionality can be enabled or disabled.
The bigger the screen size is, the better the user experience.
A heart rate monitor can help show your fitness levels, enabling you to calculate a suitable intensity of exercise.
✖Samsung Gear 2
✔Samsung Gear S2 Classic
GPS enables global positioning, useful in map, geo-tagging or navigation apps.
Your blood oxygen level is a measurement how much oxygen is reaching your muscles. It is important because low levels mean that you will become easily fatigued during exercise. The more exercise you do, the better your blood oxygen levels will become.
An accelerometer is a sensor used to measure the linear acceleration of a device. A common application is detecting when a device changes between vertical and horizontal positions.
A compass is useful for gaming, maps, and navigation software.
This measures barometric air pressure. It can predict weather changes, for example a sudden drop in air pressure could mean a storm is coming. When calibrated correctly it can be used to determine altitude, which helps GPS devices to lock on quicker and with greater accuracy.
With a temperature sensor you can monitor changes in temperature to measure your exertion levels and avoid hyperthermia.
A gyroscope is a sensor that tracks the orientation of a device, more specifically by measuring the angular rotational velocity. Initially, they were built using a spinning rotor to detect changes in orientation, like twisting or rotation.
A cadence sensor measures the number of pedal revolutions per minute when you are cycling. It enables you to monitor how fast you are pedaling.
It can track your sleep, such as how long you sleep for and the quality.
It tracks how far you travel.
It tracks how many steps you take throughout the day, allowing you to see how active you have been.
Measuring pace shows how much time it takes to travel one kilometer or one mile. For example, in running, a 4 minute kilometer would be a very good pace.
Your activity data is analysed to give you reports, available to view through the app or website. This allows you to see how active you have been and to help you make improvements.
Your sleep data is analysed to give you a report, available to view through the app or website. This allows you to see the quality of your sleep and to help you make improvements.
The device automatically detects when you start an activity such as jogging, saving you from entering it manually at a later time.
It can detect changes in elevation, such as when you are climbing stairs.
✖Samsung Gear 2
✔Samsung Gear S2 Classic
NFC (near-field communication) allows a device to perform simple wireless transactions, such as mobile payments. Note: this feature may not be available in all markets.
It is compatible with a range of Android devices such as smartphones and tablets.
The device can connect to Wi-Fi.
The device syncs all of your data wirelessly, without the need for cables.
The device automatically syncs your data when in range of your computer or smartphone.
Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard that allows data transfers between devices placed in close proximity, using short-wavelength, ultra-high frequency radio waves. Newer versions provide faster data transfers.
It is compatible with a range of iOS devices such as iPhones, iPads and the iPod Touch.
Devices that use cellular technology can connect to mobile networks. Cellular networks have much wider signal coverage than Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) is a wireless standard released in 2009. It has faster transfer rates and improved security compared to its predecessors – a, b, and g.
With a longer battery life, you don’t have to worry about charging the device as often.
Battery power, or battery capacity, represents the amount of electrical energy that a battery can store. More battery power can be an indication of longer battery life.
The manufacturer offers a branded wireless charging kit. To charge the device, you simply put it down on its charging base.
Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Samsung Gear 2)
Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Samsung Gear S2 Classic)
There is less chance that you will run out of battery during an adventure.
Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Samsung Gear 2)
Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Samsung Gear S2 Classic)
The time it takes to fully charge the battery.
In power save mode you can still check what time it is and other basic functions. A long battery life is good if you wear the device day to day.
With a long battery life, you can train for several hours a week and only have to recharge the device every few weeks.
The device has a speaker and microphone that allow you to answer calls made to your smartphone.
The device has a feature that allows you to find your smartphone if you have misplaced it.
The device alerts you to incoming calls on your smartphone, and allows you extra control such as muting or rejecting the call.
If you get a notification such as a call or message, the device will vibrate on your wrist or make a noise to alert you.
The device can wake you using vibration, so as not to disturb anyone else sleeping in the room.
With a stopwatch you can time yourself.
Vibrating alerts have a variety of uses, such as interval training.
It determines when you are in a light state of sleep and wakes you up within a set period of time before your alarm. This can allow you to wake up feeling fresher and more alert.
Random-access memory (RAM) is a form of volatile memory used to store working data and machine code currently in use. It is a quick-access, temporary virtual storage that can be read and changed in any order, thus enabling fast data processing.
You can listen to your own music when working out. This can make exercising more enjoyable and motivate you to push yourself further.
You can download the app for free, from platforms such as Google Play or the App Store.
You can add widgets to the home screen. This allows you to have more flexibility and to see information at a glance, without going into the app.
Your data is synced to the cloud, making it easier to access across different devices and making sure it is always backed up in case you lose your device.
Adverts can be distracting and obtrusive. Apps and blogs without ads are more aesthetically pleasing, nicer to use, and make the content stand out.
The app has a higher rating on Apple’s App Store. The rating measures the overall quality of the app and user satisfaction. The score ranges from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).
You can use a broader range of languages in the app. This allows you to use it in the language you choose and makes it suitable for more users around the world.
The app requires less storage space on your device. A smaller size means there is more space on your device for other apps, as well as other data such as photos and music.
Which are the best smartwatches?
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 LTE Stainless Steel 44mm
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 LTE Aluminium 44mm
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 Stainless Steel 44mm
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic LTE 46mm
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 Aluminium 44mm
Garmin Tactix Delta Solar Edition
Apple Watch Series 5 GPS + Cellular Aluminium Case 44mm
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Update: The Samsung Gear S2 is still a fine choice if you're an Android user, but there are a few reasons that you may want to consider the Samsung Gear S3.
The Gear S3 features a larger battery, has GPS built-in and offers a bit more RAM than the Gear S2. If those features are crucial to you, you may want to redirect your attention to Samsung's newer wearable gear.
Still, almost three years since its initial release, Samsung has released a large software update the overhauls its general user interface. You'll also find improvements to how it handles workouts on the screen, making information like heart rate and pace easier to parse at-a-glace while you're getting fit.
Original review: In the past Samsung had a scattergun approach to wearable design, releasing numerous devices with varying form and functionality. It was great if you were looking for something different to the all-too-similar Android Wear devices, but with hindsight, Samsung's first attempts weren't very good.
In the Gear S2, Samsung offered up a much more cohesive, well thought out approach. It's clear without even touching the second of three generations of the Gear watch, that the company practically went back to the drawing board to craft a wearable truly worth your attention.
When looking at the Gear S2, it's obvious that Samsung has learnt from its past successes and failures. It's much more wearable than their previous attempts, it looks good and it's comfortable. More importantly the updated Tizen OS has been perfectly tailored to a smartwatch screen, with perhaps the best user interface I've seen on a smartwatch, making excellent use of the tactile rotating bezel.
Tizen also, however, leads to one of the devices biggest downfalls - it remains an immature developer platform, and it still lacks apps. But for now, let's look at the positives.
Unlike previous Samsung wearables, you don't need to be a Samsung phone user to use the Gear S2. The Gear S2 is compatible with most Android phones and iPhones too. You'll find exact device compatibility information further on in this review.
Samsung Gear S2 price and release date
The launch price was set at £249.99 ($299.99, around AU$428), and it was competitively priced against the Apple Watch and Moto 360 when it first came out.
Now you can buy the Gear S2 for around £219 ($150, AU$199.99) which is more than £100 cheaper than the Gear S3, Gear Sport and Apple Watch 3.
The Samsung Gear S2 features a fully circular Super AMOLED touchscreen measuring 1.2-inches in diameter. That makes it smaller than the displays on the Gear S3, Huawei Watch and Moto 360. Despite having a smaller screen than its rivals, it doesn't impact usability, at no point during my testing did I feel limited by the size.
The device really impresses with a really high resolution of 360 x 360 pixels. Thanks to the relatively small screen, this gives a pixel density of 302ppi, matching the 42mm Apple Watch's retina display.
The pixel density really stands out when putting the Samsung Gear S2 next to other circular smartwatches of this generation (including the new Moto 360 and LG Watch Urbane). It's visibly much sharper, and clearer as a result.
It's my opinion - and that of the TechRadar team in general - that circular displays are more aesthetically appealing than the square displays of the Apple Watch and Sony Smartwatch 3. It just looks more like a traditional, analogue watch. In terms of functionality, it's hard to make a case for it being better or worse.
Samsung claims the sAMOLED (that's not a typo, the S stands for Super) reflects one-fifth as much sunlight as regular AMOLED displays. I didn't have any problems viewing the watch in direct sunlight, usually keeping to the eighth brightness level (out of ten). As it's AMOLED, the colours look lovely and saturated.
There's a noticeable gap between the display and the top layer of glass on the screen. You'd think this has a negative effect on viewing angles, particular in sunlight, but that is not the case. It does make the watch appear a little more retro however.
Just like ambient mode on Android Wear, the Gear S2 has an 'always on' screen option. In this mode the screen will dim after several seconds of inactivity, however, the time will still be displayed with a reduced interface. It's a useful feature that allows you to view the time without needing to raise your arm and flick your wrist to wake the screen, as with the Apple Watch, though it does reduce battery life.
Design and comfort
The Samsung Gear S2 continued the trend for attractive smartwatch design following the lead of the Apple Watch, Moto 360 and Pebble Round. A mantle that's been carried on by the multitude of smartwatches launched since the S2 arrived too.
The circular Gear S2 comes in two models, the standard model, reviewed here, and a 'Classic' one. The standard Gear S2 features a rubber strap, and a sporty aesthetic, while the Classic has a design which pays homage to more traditional timepieces, with a leather strap.
The two models also have different dimensions, with the sporty model measuring 42.3 x 49.8 x 11.4 mm, and the Classic a slightly smaller 39.9 x 43.6 x 11.4 mm. I'd say they're an optimum size, and although some of the dimensions are larger than that of some rivals, the Gear is less bulky overall, and feels smaller as a result. If you're already a regular watch wearer, male or female, the size of the Samsung Gear S shouldn't be an issue.
The watch weighs 47g, so is comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and doesn't feel like a dead weight on your wrist. If you prefer your watch big and chunky however, you may wish to look elsewhere.
The lack of customisation options costs the Gear S2 some design marks. The Apple Watch, and Moto 360 (via Moto Maker) allow a huge range of design choices to make a watch personal to the wearer. In comparison, Samsung only offers the Gear S2 in white or black.
The Classic is only available with a black leather strap, too, but it accepts any 22mm watch strap, allowing you to customise it with any third party strap.
However, the more sporty S2 features a proprietary locking mechanism, which very few accessory manufacturers have decided to adopt, so far.
It's not the end of the world that Samsung has included so few personalisation options, but it does seem like a decision that's counter to the more personalised way wearables are advancing.
The Samsung Gear S2 isn't a particularly premium feeling device, it's certainly no match for the Huawei Watch or Apple Watch, but the rubber strap and metal casing feels durable and well made.
The design doesn't look cheap, it's understated and looks good, just in a slightly utilitarian kind of way.
Others in the office think the Gear S2 looks more like a tech product than a watch. Personally, I like the fact it doesn't try to copy a traditional watch design, it looks futuristic, but not overly so.
The Samsung Gear S2 features two buttons on the right-hand side of the device. These act as a home button, and a back button. They're well positioned, making them easy to press, although, as they're identical, learning which button does what might take a while.
The main control of the Gear S2 is hidden in plain sight - the rotating metal bezel. It's not an exaggeration when I say this bezel is one of the best things that has happened to smartwatch user experience. It's better than Apple's Digital Crown, for a start. It works in a similar way to Apple's controller, scrolling through various menus and information pages, but the bezel feels much more intuitive, and very tactile, with a pleasing click motion.
On the rear of the watch you'll find a centralised optical heart rate monitor, and two mechanisms for releasing the straps. Despite these clips being on the rear of the device, there's no chance of accidentally unlocking the straps. They're in place very securely.
The Samsung Gear S2 is rated IP68, which means it's dust and water resistant. You could happily wear it in the shower or during torrential rain.
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Galaxy Wearable (Samsung Gear)
The Galaxy Wearable application connects your wearable devices to your mobile device. It also manages and monitors the wearable device features and applications you've installed through Galaxy Apps.
Use the Galaxy Wearable application to set up and manage the following features:
- Mobile device connection/disconnection
- Software updates
- Clock settings
- Application download and settings
- Find my Watch
- Notification type and settings, etc.
Install the Galaxy Wearable application on your mobile device, then pair your wearable devices via Bluetooth to enjoy all of its features.
※ Settings and features provided by the Galaxy Wearable application are only available when your wearable device is connected to your mobile device. Features will not work properly without a stable connection between your wearable device and your mobile device.
※ The Galaxy Wearable application does not support the Gear VR or Gear 360.
※ only for Galaxy Buds models, The Galaxy Wearable application can be used with tablets .
※ Supported devices vary depending on your region, operator, and device model.
※ Please allow the Galaxy Wearable application permissions in Android Settings so you can use all the functions in Android 6.0.
Settings > Apps > Galaxy Wearable > Permissions
※ App permissions
The following permissions are required for the app service. For optional permissions, the default functionality of the service is turned on, but not allowed.
• Location: Used to search for nearby devices for Gear through Bluetooth
• Storage: Used to transmit and receive the stored files with Gear
• Telephone: Used to check device-unique identification information for updating apps and installing plug-in apps
• Contacts: Used to provide services that need to be linked with accounts using registered Samsung account information
Gear s2 galaxy samsung
Samsung Gear S2
Call, text, email, receive notifications and track activities directly from your wrist, Samsung Gear S2, a stylish 4G connected smartwatch is designed for the speed of your life.
Samsung Gear S3 frontier
The Gear S3 has the aesthetics of a truly premium watch with advanced features built into the design. With an always-on watch face and rotating bezel, accessing apps and checking notifications has never been easier. Because the Gear S3 is 4G LTE connected, you can receive texts, respond to emails and track your activity with the built-in GPS while your phone’s at home. And, with Samsung Pay you can easily make payments from your wrist almost anywhere you can swipe your credit card. Get the best wearable plan in wireless when you add your Gear S3 to your current smartphone plan for just an additional $10/month, only at T-Mobile.
Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch - Dark Gray
Easy Access to Notifications and Apps
With the Samsung Gear S2, you can receive notifications from your smartphone without having to take the phone out of your pocket (2). You can have calendar notifications, texts, or even news and sports updates right on your wrist with a glance.
Convenient Wireless Charging Dock
Enjoy convenient built-in wireless charging with the Samsung Gear S2. Simply place your Samsung Gear S2 on the included wireless charging dock to power up.
Track Fitness Goals and Stay Motivated with S Health
The Samsung Gear S2 offers several built-in features to help you keep track of your daily activity levels and meet your exercise goals. The included S Health app lets you enter and track dietary concerns such as calorie, water, and caffeine intake and utilizes the watch's accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, and heart rate monitor to track your activity. You can even set notifications to warn you if you have been inactive for too long.
Durable Design is Ready for the Demands of Your Day
Made of durable stainless steel and scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass, the Samsung Gear S2 is designed for daily use. The Gear S2 is IP68 rated to withstand dust and water and is also sweat resistant, so you can get the most out of your workouts and confidently wear the Gear S2 to the gym and work.
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Samsung Gear S2
The Samsung Gear S2 is a smartwatch developed by Samsung Electronics running Samsung's Tizen operating system. It was unveiled at IFA in 2015.
Its successor, the Samsung Gear S3, was released on November 18, 2016.
The watch features a rotating bezel user interface and an IP68 rating for water resistance up to 1.5 meters deep in 30 minutes. It is compatible with 20mm width watch straps. It has a Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 360 x 360 pixels and a screen size of 1.2 inches. The watch has a dual-core Exynos processor running at 1 GHz. Samsung Pay can be used through NFC payment terminals.
Comparison of models
|Model||Gear S2 (WiFi-only)||Gear S2 Classic||Gear S2 (3G)|
|Display||1.2" circular Super AMOLED, 360 x 360 pixels, 302 dpi|
|Dimensions||49.8 x 42.3 x 11.4 mm||43.6 x 39.9 x 11.4 mm||51.8 x 44 x 13.4 mm|
Pedometer (9-axis sensor)
PPG heart rate monitor
Ambient light sensor
Speaker (3G variant only)
|Processor||Exynos 1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A7||Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A7|
|Storage and RAM||4 GB internal storage, 512 MB RAM|
|Battery||250 mAh 3.8v battery||300 mAh 3.8v battery|