The Samsung Gear 2 is their second take of making a connected wearable device for its line of Galaxy Smart Phones. In their first version, the Android based Galaxy Gear stood out from the crowd with an integrated camera and a built-in speakerphone on the strap. Less than 6 months later, a new one is introduced which runs on Tizen OS along with updated internals.
Since watches are fashionable items, Samsung has taken most of its electronics away from the strap and the new Gear 2 allows seamless swapping of its watch straps. The microphone and integrated camera is now moved to the watch body. Other new features include a heart rate sensor which is now embedded on the back plate and a IR Blaster which can be used to control your home entertainment appliances.
Has the move to Tizen OS alter the way the Gear works? Not really. From our initial hands-on from Mobile World Congress, the interface is pretty much the same as the previous Galaxy Gear but now they have added a Home Button. Some usability has been changed slightly, for instance the camera function. Previously all you need to do is to swipe downwards from the home screen to activate the camera. On the Gear 2, you would need to load the camera by swiping through the home screen interface, which is a couple of steps extra.
If we compare both the Gear 2 and the original Galaxy Gear, the new version is lighter and thinner than before. We like the fact that the new Gear is also water and dust resistant (IP67 rated) which gives more confidence to take this anywhere outdoors in either rain or shine.
Besides the Gear 2, Samsung has also announced the cheaper Gear 2 Neo and a more sporty focused Gear Fit. The new Gear wearable devices are expected to be available on 11th April alongside the Galaxy S5 flagship smart phone.
Head after the break for more hands-on video and photos of the Samsung Gear 2 Smart Watch