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Review: Samsung Gear S is closer to what a smartwatch should be (Includes first-hand account)

Samsung has made the idea of a watch with a large screen much more palatable by curving it. That’s the first way the Gear S separates itself from its two predecessors, the Gear and Gear 2.

As for the screen itself, it’s a two-inch Super AMOLED display, so even on a surface a fraction of the size of a smartphone, the visuals are still quite crisp. And just like a smartphone, touch is everything. Swiping left and right lets users rotate several different screens, including a news feed and a screen that lets you choose from several watch faces. Swiping up lets users access the apps screen, of which there are many already pre-installed. The watch will go black to conserve energy when not in use, but simply looking at the watch will give you the current time without needing to switch it back on.

As is the trend with smart gadgets, the Gear S also features health monitoring, with sensors to measure heart rate and more.

The Samsung Gear S app screen

The Samsung Gear S app screen

Perhaps the biggest way the Gear S stands apart — especially from the upcoming Apple Watch — is that it can actually function without a phone nearby. It can connect to 3G networks and also to Wi-Fi networks, allowing for texting and even calls straight from the watch. While talking into the watch for extended periods of time isn’t physically comfortable, call quality is just as clear as if one were using a phone.

That said, the watch is still reliant on a phone for some aspects. On setup, the watch will ask to be paired with a smartphone via BlueTooth. Samsung says the watch can pair to any phone, though a Samsung brand is recommended.

Apps also need to be installed by use of a phone. While the Galaxy Store is certainly growing in terms of numbers, there aren’t a ton of useful apps there yet. It would be nice to see if developers can figure out how to make Twitter or Facebook work on a small screen for someone who’s truly on the go.

With its next iteration, Samsung may be on the fast track to popularizing a product that has yet to catch on in a big way in the “smart” market.

Samsung Gear S | FindTheBest

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