Samsung made every effort to give you power over your virtual life from the comfort of your wrist with the Galaxy Gear smart watch. It sadly didn’t work out as well as could be expected. Improvements were made and hardware was polished, and today it pays off: meet the new Tizen-powered, refined Gear 2 and its new younger brother, the Gear 2 Neo.
The new Gear 2 is packing the same (320×320) 1.63-inch Super-AMOLED screen as its predecessor, but this time it’s packing a beefed up, dual core- processor at 1GHz, making it faster and more fluid to use. There’s also 512MB of RAM, 4GB of on-board storage and a 300mAh battery which Samsung promises will provide around two to three days of normal usage, or even up to six with “low usage”.
The camera is back on the Gear 2, this time upgraded to a 2-megapixel camera with the odd ability to shoot photos at 1920×1080 with an auto-focus capability.
If you’re not a fan of the camera, however, you can opt for the presumably cheaper Gear 2 Neo, which doesn’t pack the shooting options.
Perhaps the most welcome addition to the new Gear smart watches is the IP67 certification, ensuring that the gadget is both dust and water resistant. The last Gear flinched at the very sight of water, so adding resistance to the mix is a boon for those wanting to use it every day.
The same basic features like taking calls via the watch, getting remote notifications, using S Voice and timer apps are all back, along with the addition of an IR blaster app for controlling your media centre from your wrist.
New app partners include BMW, CNN, Expedia, eBay, Feedly, GARMIN, GM, VW and Under Armour. It also has new fitness apps and the ability to track your heart rate.
All these apps now run on Samsung’s own proprietary Tizen operating system, rather than the hacked down version of Android on the first Gear. Perhaps this means we’ll see more Tizen phones in market for 2014-15? We’ll have to wait and see.
No word yet on when the Gear 2 or the Gear 2 Neo hit the Australian market just yet, but we’ll have hands on impressions for you shortly.
Luke Hopewell travelled to Mobile World Congress as a guest of Samsung.