Smart watches have always been around for years (if not decades) but it is only in recent years that they are making some headway to becoming mainstream. Unlike mobile phones that virtually became mainstream overnight the moment they became more affordable, probably due to their practicality, the same can’t be said for smart watches.
Lets admit it, there is still something geeky and nerdy (not in a good way) about wearing a smart watch. There is something awkward and strange about taping, speaking and staring at your watch for prolonged periods of time, and having a fairly large flickering display screen on your wrist may not make the best fashion accessory under many circumstances. Lets home that all this is set to change soon.
2013 has been quite a good year for smart watches seeing many major players rolling out their very own version. Due to the epic success of Samsung Galaxy smartphones, many had high expectations for the company’s very first smart watch that comes in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Gear. Lets take a closer look at this highly anticipated smart watch.
We are glad to report that Samsung has put in great effort in minimizing the geeky, sci-fi vibe found on many smart watches. Sporting an 1.6-inc AMOLED touch screen, the Galaxy Gear as a whole sports a very subtle and minimalist design with its low-gloss stainless steel frame and rubberized strap. At a glance, it may just pass as a regular watch. The buckle area of the strap houses the microphones, which is an excellent location for making calls and giving voice commands. The location of the microphone allows you to discreetly give voice commands or make calls by just lifting your hand towards your face.
On the top strap of the watch, you will find a 1.9MP camera that can record 720p videos. While the camera lens is not exactly discreet, we can tell that great thought has been put into the location of the lens. Having a camera in that location allows you to quickly take snap shots at a moment’s notice, capturing shots that you would have otherwise missed by reaching into your pocket for the phone. It can be also very handy when you need to read a bar code or translate text.
Think of the Samsung Galaxy Gear as a mini, no frill smartphone that fits on your wrist. It can perform many smartphone tasks such as making phone calls, taking photos and receiving notifications. It is best used when paired and synced with your smartphone. The phone is managed by a software called the Gear Manager that allows you to customize the watch’s settings.
Like many first generation devices, the Gear does come with some flaws. For instance, at the time of writing, the watch is only compatible with a handful of devices and apps. At the moment, it is only compatible with to Samsung Galaxy Note models. Nevertheless, there are plans to make it compatible with more devices in the near future.
As comprehensive as the list of features sounds, the watch is also light years away from being a smartphone substitute. For instance, in many cases, the notifications feature on the watch only prompts you that you have received an incoming message. More often than not, you would need to pull out your phone to view the full message or email.
Ideally, with their smart watch, many consumers would expect that they would be able to perform all basic tasks without the need reach their phone. The Samsung Galaxy Gear is still work in progress with regards to this aspect. In some hands on tests, it is reported that the Gear on average last up to 36 hours on one charge, which is ho-hum when compared to other smart watches in its class.
As a whole, we are generally quite pleased with Samsung’s effort to product a mainstream smart watch model. We really like the design of the watch, but there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to its built in features and battery life. At the time of writing, the Samsung Galaxy Gear is priced at $300 per pop.
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