Samsung Gear S review

We strapped the Samsung Gear S onto our wrists to try it out in our day-to-day lives. Here's what we thought of Samsung's newest wearable.
Samsung Gear S review


Think of the Samsung Gear S more as a mini smartphone on your wrist than a smartwatch, and you’ll be close. If you want the smartwatch that can do practically anything a phone can do, and doesn’t even need a phone to function, this is it.


  • Best smartwatch screen
  • Works without a phone and can take a SIM card to make calls and send texts
  • Can also get online with Wi-Fi or data using your SIM
  • GPS and maps capability
  • More features than other smartwatches

    The Samsung Gear S is the smartwatch for people that don’t want to carry their phone with them, for example if you’re going hiking for the day or out on the town. It’ll take calls and get on the internet on its own as well, which can be really handy.


    With a speaker as well as a mic, you really can use the Gear S as a wrist mounted phone. The speaker volume is good, and the quality quite impressive, so while you might feel a little odd, for emergencies it works really well. For texts and emails there’s a full QWERTY keyboard. It’s a little small, but again, for emergencies it’s definitely useable and means you don’t have to use voice recognition.


    When it comes to mapping and GPS, the Gear S is one of the very best smartwatches. The built in GPS means it can track your location very accurately, even without a phone connected. It also has HERE for Gear installed, a mapping app that lets the Gear display full maps as well as directions. We’re really impressed, and the screen’s sharpness and quality really standout using the maps.


    The GPS is really useful for the built in fitness app, S-Health, keeping track of how far you’ve run or cycled. Just like S-Health on Samsung smartphones, this has lots of really great features. It’ll track your heart rate, how you’re sleeping, and even detect UV rays so you know how strong the sun is to help prevent skin problems. It’s also water resistant.


    Most smartwatches have been designed to link up with smartphones. The Gear S can link up to various Samsung devices, but it doesn’t need to. Slot your SIM inside it and it’ll turn into a smartphone that’s strapped on your wrist. This is pretty handy for nights out, or activity days where you’d rather not take your smartphone but still want to receive texts and check the internet.


    Because the Gear S does so much and has a larger screen than most smartwatches, it is bigger and chunkier. The curved body really does help make it fit quite well, but smaller wrists may find it’s a little awkward to wear. The watch does practically as much as a smartphone, so there is a bit of a learning curve to get used to navigating the screens and using the various features too. It uses the Tizen operating system, not Android Wear, so won’t work with Android Wear apps either.


    It takes calls, sends texts, shows you full maps and directions, and can even get online all on its own. As long as you don’t mind the size and have a couple of days to learn how it works, as a temporary replacement to your smartphone, there’s nothing better right now.

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