Samsung Galaxy Gear: Hands-on with the Note 3′s smartwatch

September 4, 2013
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Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 3 and as we had been seeing in the rumors, they also unveiled the Galaxy Gear smartwatch. The Galaxy Gear is arriving as a companion to the Galaxy Note 3 and will be sporting a 1.63-inch display with a resolution of 320 x 320. And with what may be a surprise for some, Samsung has packed a 1.9 megapixel auto-focus camera into the watch.

That camera has macro mode, twin microphones, noise cancellation and is able to capture Full HD video. The watch also has a speaker, which is built-into the adjustable clasp. Samsung has the watch sitting with sapphire glass, a metal frame and non-removable plastic band. While a removable band would have been nice, this is limited due to the electronics that run through it.

The Galaxy Gear measures in at 11.1mm thick and weighs in at 73.8 grams. Overall the watch feels solid and given the metal frame and sapphire glass it should be able to take a few bumps without much to worry about. That non-removable band also brings another point to consider -- the color. Samsung will have the Galaxy Gear available in Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold and Lime Green.

The hardware inside includes a 315 mAh battery and the charging is done with an included cradle. Samsung also packed in 4GB of storage along with an 800MHz Exynox processor and 512MB of RAM. The watch will connect to the handset using a Bluetooth LE connection and is running a custom version of Android. Using the watch will be done with gestures. These include tapping the home button or raising your wrist to trigger the accelerometer.

samsung_galaxy_gear_smartwatch_ac_26

Other gestures include being able to tap the screen to take a photo, then shake to share that photo and a downward swipe will access the camera. There will be 10 pre-loaded watchfaces. As far as the Galaxy Gear being a companion to the Galaxy Note 3 -- this will be done using the Gear Manager app. That app will be notification manager and also allow the user to install smartwatch apps. The initial pairing is done with NFC and then uses Bluetooth. One interesting connection to the phone comes with "Find My Phone" which can be triggered from the Galaxy Gear.

Samsung will have the Galaxy Gear acting as a pedometer out of the box and there will also be a connection to the S Health setup. Samsung has also said third-party app support will come from others such as RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal. Aside from the gestures and movements, the Galaxy Gear will also be controlled using S Voice.

With that, similar to the Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Gear will be available from September 25 and arriving in more than 140 countries. Samsung has yet to announce any pricing, however they have said the watch will have support for other Galaxy devices "soon" and that there are "no current plans" to bring compatibility to other devices.


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  • Alan

    still clunky and limited functionality/compatibility, I think they missed the boat here, tying it too closely to their own product will reduce the sales. Having it not compatible with other android devices is a blow.

    I presume all transfers are done over Bluetooth, so the lack of a basic wifi connection will limit the apps you can download / run / sync on here. Presumably that’s to save battery power.

    Cradle looks a bit clunky too, shame they didn’t build a wireless power charger into the back.

  • Sucksung

    Great Job Samsung!
    You show again that you lack a sense of style and unless you get sued by Sony in some way or another who have been first and offer the better product at a cheaper price, this device only stands a chance which people married to Samsung or oblivious to other makes.
    Blind people might also be a target audience or at least those that are blind to style.
    At least you have that figured out, because the faux leather stitching is in the same category.

    Seems like this years battle wont be samsung vs. apple, but more like Sony vs. the rest with the Z1 and the Z ultra.
    Hell, I wouldn’t normally say this, but LG looks like a more useful company to me now than Samsung. I think I would even pick Alcatel over the today released product because I would simply not be able to tolerate the sheer amount of ugly inherent in the design…

  • Max

    wow!!! apple fan boys on parade!!!
    The device are out of this world and your stupid idevices dont even come close.

    • Alan

      I don’t have any idevices, I’m Sammy and Android all the way baby.

      But this device sucks, in looks, in power, in functionality, and compatibility…. I think I covered it all there. Even Qualcomm might have made a better product.

  • LiiIiikEaBau5

    Sweet mother of South Korea! Shut the hack up and take my money!

  • Nikil K

    Guys, remember few days before this event, the leaked pictures were out all over the web, and everyone called it “Ugly”, my comments still remain the same. Clunky, Ugly looking device with an obnoxious looking camera on the side. And a giant sized microphone block on the bottom. Im not sure how anyone could get along the day wearing this stuff before feeling uncomfortable.

    • Alan

      yep underwhelming …

  • Zoid

    Relax people. This is only the first model. I’m sure Future models will be better looking. Depending on the price I would be willing to try one out.

  • Captain_Doug

    Lose the camera, lose the phone functionality, increase the battery, lower the price. I like the form factor. Not a big fan of having to be stuck with the bands that it comes with. Pebble 2 cannot come out soon enough.

  • Swantina Shakya

    Bond movies coming alive :)

  • http://friv-2.yepi-yepi.com/ Friv2games

    Im not sure how anyone could get along the day wearing this stuff before feeling uncomfortable.

  • vtphotopro

    Verizon has pricing of Gear with Note 3 for $600

  • Msbnax

    Friggin Amazing!! My heart is racing! I can’t believe all that has happened in my lifetime! From no indoor bathroom to the world on my wrist. If mere man can do this just think how amazing God is!

  • Dabudster

    Interesting features that may be useful in some special way. After wearing a bluetooth watch for several months now, I found a few features that work well for me. A display clearly readable in bright sunlight, a silent & informative notification system so I know the caller or the text message while pulling my jawbone or phone to answer or reply and finally a durable, long lasting watch that looks and feels natural to wear. So far, Pebble has done an okay job of this and I don’t see this as being a smarter watch for me.

  • http://www.mobileappsdevelopmentteam.com/ Madt Team

    This technology is something amazing. Tremendous features in this very small device. I can see that the each and every text is clearly readable and the display as well. Really, Samsung offers innovative technology to the world.

  • massiveloop

    I was really excited about this smartwatch until I looked up the price–$400 !!!
    No way I’m dropping that much cash on this. That’s 4x as much as I paid for phone!