Tag Archives: samsung gear s

Samsung Gear S – standalone mode

Yesterday it was my works Xmas party. So for once,  I left my Note Edge at home and used the Gear S as a phone that was independent of the Samsung Note Edge.

From my other post you will have read that 3 UK are without a network service within a 10 mile radius of my home address. I’m not sure how much of a battery drain this was on the Gear S,  as it did try to connect to the Note Edge and turn on call forwarding. This was not possible due to lack of service.

However,  and to my surprise any notification that arrived on the Note Edge using wifi got sent to the Gear S.  After 12 hours of using the Gear S you realise how many notifications you receive and perhaps it may be best to turn them all off. Receiving and not being able to reply really highlighted that I had too many notifications.  With the Gear S in independent mode,  you can call, text or email.  Using the Opera Mini Web browser you could respond to other services.

But what about battery life in this mode. 12 hours only versus 2 days when connected via Bluetooth to your samsung phone.

Is the Samsung Gear S smartwatch pointless, genius or something else?

Let’s look at some evidence.

From Samsung Tomorrow they explain the lengths Samsung went to design the Gear S and its intelligent design, prowess and usefulness.

A quote ” This was the first time a wearable device offered such connectivity. And as the Gear S is significantly smaller than smartphones, Samsung engineers had to get creative to fit the necessary components and modules into the device. For example, to implement notification features on wearables, Samsung had to use its own relay server. This relay server would facilitate forwarding of notifications from smartphones to the Gear S ”

From Engadget’s Review of the Gear S

Quote “Samsung Gear S review: an ambitious and painfully flawed smartwatch” I always wonder whether these big sites can get a proper appreciation of a product after a few days!

And yet below is a video from Motorola showing why you need the Moto 360. It’s quite funny and only 15 seconds. But if that is why you buy an android wear watch then it truly is a pointless product at the moment and the video sort of highlights it’s current limited use.

So here I am nearly one month later with my Gear S. And as far as I am concerned it is still the best smart watch for me out there currently. It is not waiting on any updates to add extra functionality. It does everything as advertised. Android Wear is too much version one and unfinished. The Gear S is an excellent fitness device. It is also a phone, music player. Maintains an easy to find list of notifications. Allows replies to emails and texts either with a Samsung phone connected or without. And the remote feature works so well. I have apps that are useful to use on a small screen. Plus it’s not dependent on your voice due to the on screen keyboard. I also think it looks great. Now if you don’t agree I understand 🙂

Wearables – Reviews covering Samsung Gear S, Gear 2 Neo, Gear Fit, LG G Watch R, LG G Watch, Pebble and more

Samsung Gear S, LG G Watch R, LG G Watch, Samsung Gear 2 Neo, Samsung Gear Fit, Samsung Galaxy Gear and Pebble Smart Watches. I owned and reviewed them all.

Wearables

LG G Watch R – review

Samsung Gear S – 9 Part Review

LG G Watch – review – android wear

Samsung Gear Neo Impressions

Samsung Gear Fit review

Samsung Gear review

Pebble Smartwatch review

Samsung Gear S – Smartwatch that makes calls – Master 9 Part Review

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I have written many posts on the Samsung Gear S smart watch. Below are all the links to the review posts. With the Gear S review I also included my thoughts in a few joint posts with my daily usage with the Note 4.

Part 1. https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/samsung-gear-s-first-looks-at-samsungs-watch-that-makes-calls/

Part 2. https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/samsung-gear-s-smartwatch-first-impressions-part-2/

Part 3. https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/samsung-gear-s-thoughts-from-the-weekend/

Part 4. https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/living-the-samsung-dream-note-4-gear-s-and-samsung-notepro-12-2-tablet/

Part 5. https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/living-the-samsung-dream-note-4-gear-s-and-samsung-notepro-12-2-tablet-2/

Part 6. https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/living-the-samsung-nightmare-note-4-gear-s-and-notepro-12-2/

Part 7. https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/living-the-dream-samsung-note-4-gear-s-and-note-pro-12-2/

Part 8. https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/samsung-gear-s-review-final-conclusion/

Misc Posts on the Gear S –

Views from the Wider World – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/samsung-gear-s-note-4-iphone-6-plus-views-from-the-wider-world/

The Samsung Gear S is available from Amazon <a href="Samsung SM-R7500ZKADBT Gear Smart Watch – Black
“>Samsung SM-R7500ZKADBT Gear Smart Watch – Black

LG G Watch R – First and Last Impressions

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And here it is with the Samsung Gear S.

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Apps working on the LG G Watch R. Calculator, Google Fit, Imperihome Home Automation, IFTTT, Instaweather, Google Keep, Tweetings, Play Music , Runkeeper and ViewRanger. These apps are apps I already had installed on my Note 4 that offered some android wear functionality.

The apps all can display really nifty bits of info. The ViewRanger starts recording my tracks as I walk across Dartmoor. Runkeeper I can say start a run and it starts recording. If Google understands my voice I can create new tweets, emails, messages and more. Integrating with apps like Imperihome I can turn on the lights, open the garage and more.

I can use Google Maps to navigate, set timers, alarms, show my my heart rate, show me my steps, start a run, workout, or bike ride, and take a note. I can have fancy watch faces. I have notifications including Google Now appearing regularly.

Now the negatives. The watch feels and looks a bit cheap especially for a £200 plus watch. My wife conceded the Samsung Gear S looked better. It’s dreadfully uncomfortable so no matter what else I think I am returning it at the weekend. The ultra cheap leather strap doesn’t help. At the moment it’s poor as a heart rate and fitness device. It doesn’t continuously monitor your heart rate like the Gear S does during a workout. No point using it to monitor sleep as there is no method built in, plus the display keeps activating and is very bright. Too bright at times. My voice is not always understood correctly. There is no method to completely turn the display off. That means if you wear it at night, the screen will keep turning on. And it’s a bright screen! The Gear S has a do not disturb mode which is ideal for meetings and at nightime.

I describe this watch as work in progress. With apps some of the options are incredible. With no Internet you have a dumb watch and nothing else. There is no on screen keyboard like there is on the Gear S.

Android Wear is the future but I just don’t like the uncomfortable fit and cheapish finish of the LG G Watch R. Plus the original G Watch’s rectangular face worked better than the R’s circular style.

And being honest, I prefer the futuristic look and comfort of the Gear S. It has more purpose and works better at what it is built for. The Gear S is not the future but a watch is a piece of designer jewellery and it ticks that box as well. The G Watch R has future potential. The Gear S works now. I was expecting to prefer the G Watch R over the Gear S but the G Watch R is just not good enough. I would even go as far to say that you are better buying the original G Watch instead of the R.

The LG G Watch R is available from Amazon <a href="LG G Watch R Smartwatch – Black
“>LG G Watch R Smartwatch – Black

Samsung Gear S – review final conclusion

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Today I am going to advise you of my final thoughts on the Gear S, and my views versus the competition, Pebble and Android Wear.

Firstly, I know of many people who will be quick to dismiss the Gear S. It’s running a proprietary operating system, Tizen and the watch will only work if you have a Samsung smartphone to initially set it up. Well put those negatives thoughts to one side for a minute. Can any of you see Apple making its Apple Watch compatible on anything but an iPhone? No, nor can I. I can hear the next throwback question. What about apps? Pebble, Android Wear and when the Apple Watch launches all will have a vast app selection. And that’s a valid point to a point. They all have a much better (or will) app eco system. Does it really matter though. Yes and no.

The Gear S is a finished product. It does exactly what it says on the tin. IMO it looks fantastic and futuristic. So that should count for everything surely. Maybe? Well, it is the only watch, let alone smartwatch that I can wear 24/7. It is so comfortable. It also has 2 days worth of battery life, and it’s own sim card, bluetooth, wifi and more. Yep, heart rate sensor, UV sensor, HERE Navigation with the maps pre download and saved on the phone (I have the whole of map of England stored on the Gear S), S Health data, on board music player (so at gym with bluetooth stereo headset you could use the Gear S to listen to music without the need for your Note 4) or music controller for your Phone, apps (phone, contacts, messages, email, schedule, settings, navigator , S Health, Nike+ Running, Music Player, News Briefing, Weather, S Voice, Alarm, Gallery, Find My Device, Timer , Compass, Opera Mini , Find My Car, Stopwatch, Voice Memo, Calculator ). Below is the screen shot from the Note 4 with data retrieved from the Gear S.

As an example of its polish, in sleep mode, the watch goes into do not disturb mode and the screen does not light up during the night unless you press the home button.
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It is one of the few smart watches that once setup doesn’t need a companion phone to make calls, send texts or emails. You can even browse the Web using Opera Mini. Or if you have a BMW there is an app that works with the car. I’ve not tested it as I don’t drive one. I really like the way the Gear S disconnects the bluetooth if you leave your Samsung phone at home , then sends a signal to the Samsung Phone that turns on call forwarding and also forwards any notifications from your phone to the watch, all remotely. As another example of its polish, remote connection won’t get triggered if the Gear S is not on your wrist. And being able to make phone calls independently is a unique aspect of this device. As it has wifi too, you can use that for data related tasks. Lastly, the 2 inch screen is 300ppi. That makes reading all notifications simple and clear. In fact let’s not forget the iPhone 6 is only 326ppi. One last point, the on screen keyboard or S Voice both work well. I also like the fact that all the notifications are one swipe to the right, in a neat list. You can read them individually and the respective notification is cleared off the phone. All just clear all and again they are removed from the Note 4 as read. Another bonus with the Gear S is the charging cradle is a battery pack, so you could carry this with you on a longer trip and use the cradle to recharge the Gear S.

One issue with S Health is the lack of exporting the data properly out of the Samsung S Health app. It really needs a Web portal. I had setup S Health months ago on my Samsung S5 and when I entered my login details on the Note 4 my information was transferred across. If Samsung opened up S Health, created a web portal, then it would have more value. There are a number of partner apps that work with the Gear S. These include Instructor Live, Nike+ Running, Mapmyrun, Cigna Coach, Workout Trainer, Lark Activity Monitor and Your MD Sympton Checker. Apart from a range of clock faces available in the Samsung Gear App store other notable apps include Deezer, Top Driver (game), Phone Camera Remote, London Underground, Endomondo Sports Tracker, Samsung Wallet, Glympse, Engadget for Gear S, Financial Times, BMW i Remote Gear, Metro (major cities tube maps and planning). The Gear S is brand new so hopefully there will be better apps in the future but in reality you won’t be buying the Gear S to add hundreds of apps.

So welcome to the Gear S paradise. Well hold on, let’s add some reality. The Gear S does do a lot. It’s a great health and fitness device, a phone but with notifications it is not as strong as say android wear. On the Gear S you can only respond/create to emails and text messages. Android Wear apps include support for replying to WhatsApp messages, tweets or even tweeting from the watch. Also, the developer support for android wear and even Pebble is off the charts already. I cannot see the Gear S getting to that point. In fact, it could be a redundant operating system in a few years time. Does that matter? Depends what you want out of your watch. For me the comfort, S Health app, fitness, looks and communications versatility make it a win for now, but I do slightly worry about its longevity. Maybe, Samsung may switch the operating system to android wear in a future update? Wearables is a fast moving platform in terms of software and hardware. It is far from the finished article and it is moving fast, so whatever device you buy will be out of date rapidly. For me, the Gear S is just what I need. I don’t need to fill it with apps as it does nearly everything I need except for the ability to respond to WhatsApp messages and Tweet.

Living the Samsung Dream – Note 4, Gear S and Samsung NotePro 12.2 Tablet

Another day and a load more thoughts, issues and observations. So lets start with the least used item today, that being the NotePro tablet. That is mainly as I have been busy with work, and the time I have had outside of work has been exploring the Note 4 and Gear S, and do you blame me!

So the Samsung NotePro 12.2 seems to have a memory issue. Web browsing whether via Chrome or Samsung’s own internet app, just stops after 30 mins or so and freezes. Normally takes a reboot or clear all running apps. Weird. Not a deal breaker but it is there. It does not always happen either. Maybe tech websites are heavy on graphics? Apart from that the only other aspect I have noticed is its general speed. It is no iPad Air 2 switching between apps. I think we call this lag. But then once you’re in the app do you care!

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So next lets talk about the Note 4 and Gear S. Above is screenshot from my Note 4. I have settled for just one home screen. And Touchwiz is crap on the Note 4 with its QHD screen. Such a waste of space. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Touchwiz but there was too much free space. Anyway, Apex launcher is installed. From top to bottom. Samsung clock widget, Coach Pedometer widget, S-Note widget, middle is the torch widget and then a load of apps and folders. Everything now is in its neat place. During the night I setoff 40 of my android games to install and for some reason every few minutes or so the Note 4 screen kept turning on. This was after all the games installed too. The Note 4 was on charge using the fast charger. But before you ask, I did disconnect the charger but the screen kept popping on. Annoying in a dark room. I will try again tonight to see if the same thing happens. I also had the Gear S monitoring my sleep overnight. I have to say the Gear S battery really isn’t too shabby considering everything it does. I have had loads of notifications pour through and taken several calls via the watch. And I cannot stress how comfy I have found the Gear S. One useless feature of the Gear S is the UV sensor. Yes, aim your watch at the sun, and it will tell you if you need to cover up and more. Or option B, using your common sense. However, joking aside, it is still a feature that may be useful for some. This UV sensor also exists on the Note 4.

What I am noticing with the Note 4 is that I am activating apps on the edge of the screen too much. No wonder touchwiz left large gaps. Also, coming from the iPhone 6 Plus I really do miss the swipe up from the bottom for control centre. That is such a logical place and having quick access to items like the timer, camera, torch and calculator make perfect sense. Just look at the torch widget on my home screen. It is so ugly. And I also miss Touch ID. Apple really nailed the secure way to access your phone. The Note 4 fingerprint scanner works 95% of the time and I am even able to get one handed operation 60% of the time. Maybe next week I will be able to unlock my Note 4 with no hands. Well, maybe that’s coming in the Note 5. But thanks to Jeff’s comment yesterday, the Note 4 does allow access to “OK Google” all the time including the lock screen. Just turn it on in Google Now settings. Neat! I hope Google updates “OK Google” to be better than Siri and Cortana. I now have all my photos, music and videos on the Note 4. For my music I used iSyncr to copy music across from iTunes. 1,000 songs transferred over in 5+ mins. Seemed much quicker than other devices. Videos and photos I used a memory stick. Copied everything from my mac to the memory stick. The using the USB OTG cable, connected the memory stick to the Note 4 and copied across all the photos and videos.

So my final paragraph for today. Is the music quality through the headphone port any good. Is it better than the iPhone 6 Plus? First up the iPhone 6 Plus has excellent audio quality and a decent loudspeaker. The 6 Plus can also power all my big over the ear headphones and sounds excellent over bluetooth even though it doesn’t have APT-X high quality bluetooth codec which is present in the Note 4. So I am sure we all know the Note 4 loudspeaker is lame. But it is clear, just lacks volume. Despite that I was able to conduct a phone call in the car using the loudspeaker and my friend Dave of UKMobileTech was able to hear me just fine. The bluetooth sound is excellent and uses the APT-X codec. I had a problem initially with bluetooth music dropping out occasionally. That was day one. Since then it has not re-appeared. Plugging in headphones using a cable and its OMFG. Well nearly. The Note 4 doesn’t have such a powerful headphone amp as the iPhone 6 Plus, but what is pumps out is of a much higher quality. In fact, I have been listening to my music via the Note 4 as I typed this post. The musicality, separation, soundstage and overall presentation is such a delight. Your choice of headphone is going to be important though. A too demanding headphone will need a headphone amp. I have connected the Note 4 into my car sounds system and its such a full clean sound. For guidance, all my music is ripped at 320mp3 bit rate.

And that’s it folks for today. Any questions please fire away 🙂 Tomorrow’s post is entitled living the Samsung Nightmare. In this post I will describe a massive flaw with the Note 4.

And one last thing. The screen didn’t keep turning on during the night. I used the Gear S charger as though. However, blocking mode still allowed the notification led to blink.

Samsung Gear S – thoughts from the weekend plus info on how the Gear S works remotely

First up the Gear S is very comfortable to wear. Second battery life is good enough for nearly 2 days or at least one full day. As I mentioned there is the cradle that acts as a portable  battery pack to recharge the Gear S.

So I set off walking for nearly an hour and told the Gear S I was walking. As I walked my heart rate was visible when I checked along with other information like time taken and calories. As I haven’t got a micro sim for the Note 4 it wasn’t able to track my GPS movements. So this is what my results from the walk produced back on the Note 4. I need to establish if I need a certain setup with the Gear S.

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This is then included in my S Health main page as below.

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It’s 4pm on Sunday as I type this. The Gear S battery is at 75%.

I still think the cradle is a nightmare to remove versus other options but I do believe from what I’ve seen the Gear S is more accomplished than one thinks. 

Just going back to the Note 4 sim and Gear S nano sim. This is what I understand so far.

You leave your house without your Note 4. The Gear S will disconnect its bluetooth connection to the Note 4. After a few minutes the Gear S does the following –

– It connects to the mobile network using its own nano sim
– It also sends a signal back to the Note 4 which initiates call forwarding and also sends all the notifications received on the Note 4 directly to the Gear S.

All this is achieved by signing into your Samsung account to get the remote access working.

Now if this happens correctly then that is very clever.

Samsung Gear S – Smartwatch – First impressions part 2

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These are my first day observations with the Samsung Gear S.

Out of the box I loved the bold and size of the Gear S. Mark my words it is massive, really massive but I personally think that is a selling point and style point alone which I really like.

I have set up the Gear S with my Note 4 and tested most of the functions. I am pleased to report the battery ended day 1 at 44%. The battery cradle also acts as a power pack so if you are away for a couple of days you can snap on the cradle and it will charge the Gear S. However, compared to the LG G Watch, the battery cradle is a PITA to attach and detach. The LG G Watch has a magnetic base that just pinged together as easy as ABC with its magnets.

The curve of the Gear S is lovely. The screen is responsive and all the functions work as advertised. I inserted a nano sim and made a few phone calls without using the Note 4. First up, the loudspeaker of the Gear S is not loud enough for my ears, so a bluetooth headset will be needed.

I wanted to test the in built music player so I moved my music across from the Note 4 to the watch using the Gear Manager on the Note 4. This process is done via bluetooth and take ages. Next problem is the music quality is just average via bluetooth headphones. In my mind it is not really worth the aggravation of using the Gear S as an mp3 player unless you really wanted to. S Voice worked fine. Notifications seem to work fine, but only after the second software update. Before that I don’t think I was getting any notifications.

Clock faces. There are some great clock faces, but in my mind not enough decent ones to choose from. I wish it was possible to change the background colour on some of these. I need to explore the situation of the nano sim and micro sim of the Note 4. Apparently, according to Carphone Warehouse it is possible to get a duplicate sim with your same number for the watch.

As I have owned the original Gear, Gear 2 and Gear Fit the Gear S held no surprises. It all worked as advertised.

More next week plus my thoughts on the Gear S and Note 4 combination and whether these devices are worth their mustard. Plus my views versus smart watches like Pebble and LG G Watch which I have both owned.

Samsung Gear S – First looks at Samsung’s Watch that makes calls

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So the Gear S has arrived. It is being charged now along with the Note 4 before I have a play. My first impressions of the Gear S is wow. I love the monstrous size. My wife burst out laughing. Said it looked like a prison tag and asked when my visiting hours were up.

So what do you think?

Screen showing the Gear S playing music with Bluetooth stereo headphones.

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