Samsung has come around and revealed a rounded smartwatch for the first time with the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic. Both models are designed to cater to users who are looking for a timepiece that carries a little more elegance with an everyday look and feel. A number of features have been included to make the watch more useful, tapping into a variety of services and functions the company already offers.
Being Samsung’s first rounded watch (and wearable device, for that matter), the Gear S2 sports a 1.2-inch Super AMOLED (360×360) circular display that is lined by a bezel with touch-sensitive controls that also rotates. Home button and back buttons sit on the right side to navigate through menus without touching the face.
Under the hood, the Gear S2 is quite capable. Samsung packed in a 1GHz dual-core Exynos processor, 512MB of RAM and even 4GB of internal storage. Support for e-SIM (electronic SIM card) is also included here, allowing the watch to tap into 3G networks (not LTE) without having to actually slot in a physical SIM card. While unknown at this time, there may be a version of the Gear S2 that doesn’t have e-SIM.
The Gear S2 Classic doesn’t have e-SIM built-in, and is a tad bit smaller than its brethren. Underneath, however, the components are identical, as are the parameters for the body. There is IP68 dust and water resistance, so a splash of water won’t ruin it, but it’s can’t be considered a waterproof smartwatch. And it absolutely has to be kept away from saltwater.
No surprise that both models also run on Tizen and not Android Wear, sticking to a walled garden for Samsung. Although that wall now has a gaping hole in it, since the company announced that the watch will be compatible with any Android phone running version 4.4 or later with over 1GB of RAM. The experience naturally won’t be the same as Android Wear, but the integration is meant to be seamless. As many as 1,000 apps are supposed to be ready for these watches when they launch, though it’s unclear if some of those won’t be available in Canada.
Battery life is being rated at over two days, but only testing will prove if that’s true. Wireless charging is supported, and built-in NFC will be used for mobile payments, coming to South Korea and the United States first. There’s also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth inside, the latter of which is great for listening to music on Bluetooth headphones while running or at the gym. Samsung is also linking the new watches to its S Health app for tracking movement and fitness. No heart rate monitor included here though.
The Gear S2 comes in two schemes. There is a dark grey for both the band and body, or a silver body with a white band. The Gear S2 Classic will only in black with a matching leather band.
Best Buy will be carrying the new Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic when they launch in October. Check for more details in the coming weeks.