The Samsung Galaxy Gear is a smartwatch that brings back many memories of cool cartoons and advanced technology tv shows. If you are enough of a tech enthusiast, the Galaxy Gear may be one of those devices that puts you in the past of future technology. The smartwatch is available at a few retailers, including AT&T, for $299.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear offers great connectivity for calls, texts, and email notifications as long as it is connected to a compatible device. The devices right now are the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or the Note 10.1. The Samsung S4 and other devices are expected to receive the update, but for right now, the Note 3 is the only usable cellular option.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear connects easily to the Note 3. Attaching the charger case to the Gear, turning on Bluetooth and NFC on the Note 3, and tapping the Gear to the back of the Note 3 activated the peering and the Gear app on the Note 3. The app itself needed to be updated on the Note 3 to run, but the connection was easily established.
With a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED touch screen at 320X320 pixels, the Samsung Galaxy Gear provides a decent space for a watch face. With 4GB of space, 500 MB of RAM, and a 315 mAh battery, the Samsung Galaxy Gear is a little more than your basic timepiece. However, it also is not a complete tech solution with those specs. The clock faces can be easily changed. The Samsung Galaxy Gear also tries to save its battery by not constantly displaying the time. The watch activates when you shake the watch or press the power button.
The camera sits nicely on the band of the Samsung Galaxy Gear and is easily activated through an app. With only 4GB of space, even with a 1.9MP camera, you will not be able to store too many pictures on the device itself. However, through the Bluetooth connection with the phone, you can set the device to automatically transfer your pictures to the larger storage on the phone.
While there are many simple apps on the phone such as a pedometer, media controller, and voice memos, you can install additional apps or rearrange the existing ones through the Gear app on the phone. There is a separate app store through Samsung where additional apps can be purchased and installed.
There were a few things about the device that seemed a little awkward. The video capture is limited to 15 seconds. It is possibly due to the low storage available, but it was a little limiting. The wristband is not the highest of quality and a bit uncomfortable if worn for long periods. The design is probably needed for the camera and other technology built into the device.
Lastly, while the idea of talking into a device on your wrist may seem futuristic and fun, you are still having a conversation with your wrist in public where others can hear both sides of the conversation. The mic and speakers on the Samsung Galaxy Gear are just OK. You can tell the difference between a phone call made on the phone itself and the Samsung Galaxy Gear. The calls on the Gear seem to have more static. The voice memo app records your voice well, it is the calls that seem most impacted.
All in all, the Samsung Galaxy Gear is an interesting device with much potential. With a few software updates, and some additional apps, this could be a good device for those who wish to tinker with their technology. Samsung will also need to look at the pricing for this accessory. Even though you can still use it as a watch, $299 is probably a bit steep even for those who enjoy the extra functionality. Lastly, expanding the devices with which the Samsung Galaxy Gear can connect is a must if Samsung wishes to keep this as a viable accessory.