Large and bulky, with a rather bulbous camera, the original Galaxy Gear wasn’t quite the sleek, sexy smartwatch of everyone’s dreams.
Sunday night, that all changed, as Samsung introduced two innovative new versions, both sleeker, more discrete and packed full of interesting features.
The new Gear 2 has been made sleeker by moving the camera. Instead of its unusual location in the strap, the 2MP camera is now located on the watch face, which means you can now swap the straps to match your outfits. The colours of the straps are Charcoal Black, Gold Brown and Wild Orange for Gear 2 and Charcoal Black, Mocha Grey and Wild Orange for Gear 2 Neo.
But what if you can’t really see the value of a camera in a watch? The Gear 2 Neo has done away with the camera all together.
Gadget fans are really going to love another fun new feature. Both watches feature an IR blaster, which lets you change TV channels from your watch face.
Another brilliant addition is the new home button, which takes you straight back to the home screen, rather than having to scroll back through.
We’ve spent loads of time wondering how Samsung was going to use its new Tizen software, especially considering it’s recently signed a new deal with Google to use Android. So we’re pleased to see that it’s the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo’s operating system. And because both the hardware and software are made by Samsung, the watches should be a bit speedier.
The real standout feature of the new Gear smartwatches is health and fitness. Just like the Galaxy S5, they have a built in heart rate monitor on the back. You’ll also be able to track your steps and develop your own customised fitness routines with the built in fitness coach.
And there’s extra good news for runners. You no longer need to run with your smartphone as the Gears have 4GB of storage built in, which is more than enough to build the perfect playlist to help you exercise. If you want to carry your smartphone, then you can use the Gear 2 as a music controller.
Essential tech specs include a 1.63” AMOLED display, 512MB of RAM and a new 1GHz dual core chip. And both Gears will work with 12 Samsung Galaxy phones at launch.
Well done Samsung. The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are definitely a stylish makeover for the original Galaxy Gear, so we expect to see it gracing the wrists of a lot more people.