Welcome to my review of the Gear S2 and the Gear S2 Classic. The watches are virtually identical apart from the fact the Gear S2 Classic (on right) uses a standard 20mm leather watch strap and has a fancier rotating front bezel. The other aspect of these smart watches is that they work on all android phones from android 4.4 upwards and soon on iOS.
The Key Specifications
– 250 mAh battery
– RAM 512mb, 4gb rom with 1.9gb storage free
– Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, WiFi
– Sensors – Acc, Gyro, Heart Rate Monitor, Barometer, Ambient Light
– OS Tizen
– Exynos 3250
– Gear S2 – 42.3 x 49.8 x 11.4 mm
– Gear S2 Classic – 39.9 x 43.6 x 11.4 mm
– Wireless Charging Dock included
On the side you have a back button and an apps button. The mode of operation is simple. Either touch the screen and/or rotate the circular bezel. So by gently turning the bezel you can scroll through long emails, zoom in on a map or skip a track during playback. The large watch bezel is so easy to rotate too. The Gear S2 is my favourite smart watch to date. In terms of ease of use it is way ahead of the Apple Watch. I also prefer it to Android Wear. Android Wear does not have a single watch that correctly uses the heart rate monitor for fitness. Now some of you are shouting the Gear S2 doesn’t have any third party app developer support. Maybe so, but neither does it matter. Running apps on a watch is crazy. The heavy processing should be done on your phone. The Apple Watch has very few third party apps worth talking about and being honest they only send data back to the phone app. Also Apple Watch apps are slow to use. So what matters is what the watch does out of the box, not what it might do next year. Next year there will be an advancement in tech, so more will be possible. I can state the Gear S2 does exactly what it says on the tin. Unlike previous Gear watches, the Gear S2 works with all android phones that have android 4.4 and above. iOS support is due later this year.
So using S Health you can stay fit and focused, get heart rate readings and more. The S Health app on the phone is extremely extensive. However, it is worth noting there is no way to export the health data outside of S Health.
The Gear S2 has a decent range of watch faces plus you can buy in the Galaxy Gear app store more apps and watch faces. The watch faces are customisable along with watch complications. You also have watch widgets which again are selectable. The included watch faces in my opinion are extensive enough.
So by swiping the screen to the right or rotating the round bezel, shows your notifications. You can reply to messages using voice, emojis or type a reply with the on screen keyboard which uses T9 for speed. Swiping or rotating the bezel in the other direction you get access to a selection of widgets. You can add or remove the widgets to your liking. The included apps on the Gear S2 are messages, email, phone, timer, stopwatch, S Health, Settings, Schedule, Alarm, S Voice, Nike Running, Music Player (300 songs limit, you connect bluetooth headphones to the Gear S2), Bloomberg, CNN, Gallery, Find My Phone, Maps, Voice Memo and World Clock. Via the Gear S2 phone app you can re-arrange the layout of the apps. The Gear S2 concept works on apps around the edge which you can select by tapping the icon or rotating the bezel. To go to the next page of apps you can either swipe left or right, or select next page.
S Health links into the the Samsung S Health app. The S Health app on the Gear S2 can track your activity from running, walking, cycling, hiking, elliptical training, exercise bike, step machine and treadmill. The Gear S2 can read your heart rate every hour, or every 10 mins or not at all. You can also use the S Health watch up to track water and caffeine intake. However, the Gear S2 does not have built in GPS. It uses the GPS connection from your phone.
In terms of third party apps, the Gear app store includes apps from Fit Evolution,Uber, Line, KLM, eBay, Golf Navi, ESPN, WSJ, Live Soccer, Watchmaster. Samsung have extra apps you can install including Calculator, Find My Car and News Briefing. There are also a number of watch faces. But the app store is not that extensive.
With the Gear S2 Classic you can fit standard 20mm watch straps. I got a brown crocodile leather strap for £7 from Amazon. I think it makes a massive difference to the look and smartness of the Gear S2 Classic. I have provided all the links to the Amazon straps at the end of the article.
With the standard Gear S2 you have to buy Samsung straps. Samsung have a range of designer straps by Mendini. I got this one below which costs around £30.
Personally, I really like the Gear S2. It does exactly what is says on the tin and no more. Is this watch for you? It all depends on what you want your smart watch to do!
Amazon UK Links
Amazon US Links