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Smartwatches

Samsung Gear 2 review

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After launching its Galaxy Gear smartwatch last year, Samsung is back with the Gear 2 so here's our full review. See: The 7 best smartwatches of 2014.

Wearable devices are booming, with more smartwatches and fitness trackers launching all the time. Along with the Galaxy S5 smartphone, Samsung has launched a trio of wearable gadgets consisting of the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit.

Samsung Gear 2 review

The Gear 2 is the top of range model and as such has a premium price tag. You'll have to splash out a whopping £300 for the smartwatch which is considerably more expensive than most. For example, the Sony SmartWatch 2 is now just £99 so you could buy three.

Before we even start looking at the Gear 2 in detail, it's worth pointing out that the device is only compatible with select Samsung smartphones. A very different approach to other smartwatch makers so you'll need a compatible phone to make it worth buying the Gear 2, or Samsung's other smartwatches.

The Gear 2 is compatible with a total of 17 different Samsung handsets including the Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S4 mini and Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition). Visit the Gear 2 landing page for the full list.

Samsung Gear 2 review: Design and build

We didn't like the bulky design of the Galaxy Gear and unfortunately, things haven't improved much with the Gear 2. The device is only marginally thinner and lighter at 10.1mm and 68g which is not ideal. The weight means you can't forget it's on your arm and the size means it's difficult to find under some clothing – and even if you can, a large bump looks a bit strange.

What the Gear 2 lacks in svelteness, it makes up for in style. There's no Samsung logo which is surprising but give the watch a clean and uninterrupted look. It's well made and the brushed metal finish oozes class. It's a great device for showing off.

Samsung Gear 2 design and build

It's nice to see the Gear 2 gaining the same IP67 certification which you'll find on the Galaxy S5. This means it's fully sealed from dust and water resistant up to a depth of one meter for up to 30 minutes. You can go running in the desert while it rains without worrying about your precious smartwatch.

A physical button sits below the screen and can be used to switch the Gear 2 on and off, but you can also just tap the screen itself. However, built-in sensors mean that the display magically comes to life when you turn your wrist to look at it. This means you can easily check the time or a notification, but the screen doesn't need to be left on constantly, therefore draining the battery.

Instead of adding to the bulk, the Gear 2 charges by clipping on a small plastic module which has a microUSB port. It's a neat solution but if you find yourself without that piece, which is easy to forget about, you've got no way of recharging the smartwatch.

Moving the camera from the strap to the main body (compared to the Galaxy Gear) means that the strap is now changeable for your own. That's always a good design feature for smartwatches.

We took a look at the 'charcoal black' Gear 2 but you can also buy it in 'gold brown' and 'wild orange'. Official straps are available in four different colours.

Next Page: Samsung Gear 2 review: Hardware and specs



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