Watch has two versions: Gear S2, with a more sporty footprint and Gear S2 classic, more robust
Samsung presented on Wednesday (7), in São Paulo, the Gear S2 , a smartwatch with circular screen and rotating bezel. Different from what we are accustomed to, it does not run Android Wear: the company has chosen to place the Tizen operating system.
What changes, exactly? The main thing for the end consumer is that, for now, iPhone owners will not be able to buy Gear S2 and expect some integration. Unlike Android Wear, which recently gained iOS support, Samsung has not signaled that it wants to do the same.
Moreover, the usage experience is quite similar to a smartwatch with Android Wear. Gear S2 also supports notification and works with any Android with version 4.4 or higher with more than 1.5 GB of RAM.
One of the dials customized for the watch. There are several styles. (Photo: Paulo Higa)
In Brazil, Samsung chose to bring two models: the basic, more sporty S2 Gear, which costs $ 1,899; And the Gear S2 classic, for those who like the look of a real watch, because of the black finish and genuine leather strap (and has $ 2,099 to shell out).
It’s important that none of these waterproof watches be confused with Galaxy Gear S or Galaxy Gear 2: none is related to what Samsung presented today, despite the extremely similar name.
This time, Samsung decided to adhere to the round design, similar to a regular watch. The rotating ratchet that comes with some watches is also present in the Gear S2: you can rotate it to navigate the menus and clock interface, instead of having to tap the screen to perform any task.
During my tests, I was able to quickly get accustomed to this form of navigation, which throughout the system is quite intuitive. By rotating the ratchet on the home screen, you can navigate widgets such as tempo, heart rate sensor, and other menu with settings options, applications, Buddy (preferred contacts), and S Voice for voice commands.
Gear S2 apps do not necessarily get stuck with your smartphone. You can, for example, put some music in the internal memory of the watch and go out to play by listening without your smartphone (if you have a Bluetooth headset, of course).
Other apps include Nike + Running, which syncs with your smartphone, S Health and even Here Maps. In the latter, although the navigation is mainly by touching the screen, the zoom is made by the rotating bezel, which makes navigation much easier. It would be very bad to have to make the pinch gesture on this 1.2-inch screen.
If you have a BMW car that is compatible with the Gear S2, you will also be able to locate the vehicle, open the door, interrupt the battery charge and even remotely connect it. Just install the manufacturer’s application and pair with your vehicle.
From this menu you can also view recent applications. There are three pages of apps on this screen. (Photo: Paulo Higa)
From what I’ve tested, the Tizen built-in Gear S2 is well polished with a smooth use experience. I had no problem with gagging at the interface, for example. I also found it interesting to have the freedom to unlock the watch from the phone, even though Roberto Soboll, Samsung’s senior director of mobile devices in Brazil, presented the Gear S2 as a “smartphone extension.”
However, I noticed that in some areas of the software Samsung saw no way out other than putting unintuitive elements into a watch. To enter a text message, if the user is very persistent, you can use a predictive keyboard in the standard 3 × 4 (!) And the Wi-Fipassword is typed in the same way. In some sections, there is even an emojis selector by the rotating bezel, a somewhat funny function.
The maximum customization you will be able to make in Gear S2 is to change the dials (ie, faces) of the watch from the Samsung Store or from some that come built-in. You can also add some widgets on the home screen as you install more compatible apps, but nothing more.
Has the finish improved?
And what’s Gear S2 like on the outside? The model is sporty until it is beautiful, as far as possible. The bracelet is plastic and can not be removed; The case has a stainless steel finish and the rotating bezel is slightly camouflaged, but its rotation is very smooth. In Gear S2 classic, this rim is toothed and is much more visible, giving a more robust finish to the watch.
On the right side, Gear S2 has two buttons: the top one serves as a back button, to switch between the system screens, and the bottom one serves as a start button. With it, you can access the home screen from anywhere on the clock; If you press it twice, the application menu appears for you to choose which one you want to open.
On the same side there is also the microphone button, which is not very accurate in noisy environments (such as the presentation hall), but if you bring the watch closer to the mouth and speak loudly, the problem is solved. I tested the smartwatch voice commands by opening the S Voice and spoke “weather” to get the weather forecast – it worked fine.
At the bottom of the watch, which comes in contact with the wrist, there is a heart rate sensor and other important information such as model, version and certifications.
On the Gear S2 classic, the bracelet is made of leather and you can exchange it for both the one offered by Samsung itself and another available on the market, provided it is 20 mm. The watch is also a bit smaller and lighter than the basic Gear S2, but it did not feel that much difference in practice.
For the few minutes I got with the Gear S2 on the wrist, I noticed that it has a similar size to the 42 mm Apple Watch , but make no mistake: because it is round, I think it fit better on my wrist, which is thinner than the average.
If you are the type of person who likes specifications, there goes: the Gear S2 has 4 GB of internal memory, in the demo version only 2 GB were available to the user, 512 MB RAM and a Super AMOLED screen 1.2 inch with resolution of 360 × 360 pixels.
The processor inside it is an Exynos 3250 with two cores at 1 GHz. It has support for Wi-Fi 802.11b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.1 and NFC, to be used with Samsung Pay, which is coming soon to Brazil. Bathing or sweating during a race with the Gear S2 will also be no problem since it has IP68 certification.
In addition to the heart rate sensor, the Gear S2 has accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light and barometer – but there is no GPS, so its location must be estimated by the network.
In practice, these sensors greatly help save battery on the watch: the Gear S2 notices when your wrist is raised and the screen is facing your face. If you divert the pulse or stand too long, the display will turn off. There is also the option to always leave the screen active, but the battery ends up much faster.
Gear S2 classic, a more expensive and more robust model. It has the face of an ordinary watch, basically.
The two versions of the watch have a battery of 250 mAh, inclusive. That means the watch’s battery should last “two to three days” out of the power outlet, according to Samsung. If you’re going to stay for a long time without charging it, you can also turn on power saving mode, which basically turns your smartwatch into a dumbwatch. The screen goes black and white, performance is limited and all functions minus calls, messages and notifications are disabled.
Either way, it’s quite simple to recharge the Gear S2 with the wireless charging cradle that comes with the device. Strangely, during loading, at least in the demo version, there was no indicator that the clock was loading – not a dock mode, which shows just the clock, for example.
If you’re ready to shell out $ 1,899 for a watch, the Gear S2 arrives in Brazil in early November. The basic (or sporty) model comes in silver and gray, while the Gear S2 classic ($ 999) will be available in black only with a leather strap.
Are you planning to buy the Gear S2?