Samsung GALAXY Note 3 and GALAXY Gear smartwatch has been launched in Malaysia on September 20, 2013. I was invited to the launch event and had the opportunity to experience the products. Read on for the GALAXY Gear smartwatch features and hands-on review.
Table of Contents
Samsung GALAXY Gear is a smartwatch with 1.63 inch Super AMOLED (320 x 320 pixels) colour display. The watch body made of stainless steel. At the watchband, it has a 1.9 Megapixel camera. GALAXY Gear has a speaker and 2 microphones (noise cancellation).
Inside the smartwatch is 800MHz processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB internal memory. GALAXY Gear pairs with compatible devices via bluetooth. Samsung claims that the build-in 315 mAh rechargeable battery could last for 25 hours. Weight 73.8 gram.
Without pairing with GALAXY device, GALAXY Gear is a digital wristwatch with customizable watch face. It comes preloaded with 10 different clock options and you can download more via Samsung Apps.
When pairing with supported GALAXY device (now only Note 3), Galaxy Gear notifies you of incoming calls, text messages, emails and alerts. It supports 70 apps now.
Galaxy Gear allows you to make calls (via S Voice), answer calls, and read text messages. When you receives a lengthy message, Smart Relay feature will automatically open the full content on your GALAXY device when you pick it up.
You can use S Voice to draft messages, create calendar entries, set alarms and check weather on Galaxy Gear. Photos and videos taken by Galaxy Gear 1.9MP camera is automatically sync to GALAXY device.
Pedometer app monitor your steps and sync to your GALAXY device. You can also use GALAXY Gear to control music playback on your GALAXY device.
GALAXY Gear can find your device by command your device to beep, illuminate or vibrate; reverse is also possible. Phone will automatically lock for security when GALAXY Gear goes beyond a limit of 1.5 meter.
Hands-on: Samsung GALAXY Gear
First of all, don’t be tricked by the thickness of GALAXY Gear in the photos in this article. Half of it is the security lock (avoid members of media forget to take off…). GALAXY Gear measures 11.1mm thick.
The rubber watch band has stainless steel flip-lock with build-in speaker. The smartwatch weight is OK, like a man’s stainless steel watch band.
For now, GALAXY Gear only supports GALAXY Note 3. It will support other GALAXY devices like S3, S4, and Note 2.
The watch display is bright and sharp. The touchscreen responses well to my finger swipes. Due to small display size, you need to browse through functions one-by-one. Apps icons are simple white lines on black background, wasted the colour display (save battery juice?). Display is auto rotate, you can read it from any angle.
GALAXY Gear has only a button on the right side. Press it will take you back to home screen. Double-press to activate S Voice.
Admit it, GALAXY Gear camera is a good spy camera. The 1.9MP camera is tiny and blends well in watch band (especially for black colour), photos/videos auto sync to your device. Swipe down from the top to open camera app. Though Samsung force shutter sound “ON” but it is not loud enough to be easily noticed.
I was disappointed that GALAXY Gear only count steps (pedometer). It does not track activity, sleep quality, heartbeats, etc.
GALAXY Gear does not support earphone, you need to lift up your wrist to talk on phone at speaker mode. It is not ideal in public places, but could be useful if you want to answer phone call while driving (dangerous!).
Samsung claims that GALAXY Gear battery last for 25 hours but we guess you would need to recharge it in external charging case after half day usage.
Here are Samsung GALAXY Gear photos taken at the launch event: (click to enlarge)
Price & Availability
Samsung GALAXY Gear is available in 6 colours: Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, Lime Green. The recommended retail price is RM999 (~USD$310). You can buy GALAXY Gear at all Samsung retail outlets, authorised dealers and telco partners including Celcom, DiGi, Maxis and U Mobile.
GALAXY Gear smartwatch is a new concept and it has a great look and kind of cool to show off.
However, GALAXY Gear has limited device support, short battery life, and not support Facebook and Twitter notifications.
Will I pay RM999 for GALAXY Gear? No. But I am looking forward to GALAXY Gear 2nd generation.