Living with the Samsung Gear S2

We asked one of The Lowdown’s reviewers to spend a week with the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch.
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Living with the Samsung Gear S2

We’ve long been looking forward to a new smartwatch from Samsung. It’s been a whole year since we met its predecessor, the Galaxy Gear S. And while that was the most technically advanced smartwatch we’d seen, it was a little like strapping a tiny, cumbersome smartphone to your wrist.

Fast forward a year, and everything has changed. Faced with some much more stylish competition, Samsung has really pulled out the stops with the new Gear S2. This slimmer, rounder, more ‘watch like’ smartwatch has really captured our imagination.

Great looking design

It’s fair to say we’ve seen a lot of smartwatches. But this was the first time I’d really been keen to wear one. And that was mostly about how it looked. The Gear S2 comes in two different styles. The Classic edition looks like a traditional watch, with leather straps and a notched bezel, while the standard model looks a bit more hi tech, with either white or black rubber straps and a smoother, round bezel.

It’s the bezel that makes this smartwatch pretty unique. It rotates, making apps and notifications much easier to access, and emails and texts much simpler to scroll through. And because you’re not using your finger on the screen to scroll, you can see more of the screen, which is a definite plus.

This is a smartwatch that attracts attention. The standard white edition I wore looks pretty space age, and loads of people wanted to have a play with it. The other beautiful thing about this watch is the number of cool watch faces it has. And you can tailor them to different situations. A simple digital face for work, the Nike watch face for the gym or a sharp, stylish chronograph face for a night on the tiles.

Smart features

The question I’d always asked myself is why do I really need another piece of tech when my smartphone was perfectly capable? The answer was immediately obvious. You can’t avoid notifications, because the watch buzzes to get your attention. And this is a pretty brilliant feature for someone like me, who’s always missing meetings or urgent emails because I’ve set my phone to silent in my pocket or bag.

Its fitness features are pretty useful too. I’ve become addicted to checking how many steps I’ve walked every day, mainly because I don’t want to get a sad face if I don’t.

It vibrates if I’ve been sitting down too long, reminding me to get up and have a stroll. And the heart rate monitor is really valuable to make sure I’m hitting the right mark when I’m doing cardio at the gym.

The Gear S2’s battery life is great. I’ve managed to get through two and a half days before it’s needed a charge. And then it’s really simple, as you just rest it on the tiny wireless charger stand that comes in the box.

The verdict

As I have a Samsung smartphone, this smartwatch is the perfect extension. But it’s not just limited to Samsung. If you have any other kind of Android phone (running an up to date OS) then the Gear S2 will work perfectly well with those as well. Plus there are rumours an iOS app will be coming along soon too.

So what’s the verdict? It’s stylish and easy to use. And it’s proved that smartwatches aren’t just for geeks. It’s a really useful piece of tech for anybody with a busy life. And it will get you some very envious stares too.

You can get your hands on the new Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch now at selected Carphone Warehouse and Currys PC World stores across the country, or online at carphonewarehouse.com.

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