Samsung has finally made the much rumoured GALAXY Gear smartwatch official at its Galaxy Note 3 launch event held in New York earlier today. While the GALAXY Gear is surely not a phone in its own right, it can however let users to make and receive calls through their bluetooth connected Android smartphone, in addition to notifying them about their SMS, Email and other updates.
Offered in six different colours of adjustable wrist band, the GALAXY Gear sports a 1.63-inch AMOLED display, a single-core 800MHz Exynos processor, 512MB of RAM and more surprisingly, a 1.9-megapixel integrated camera with a speaker and two microphones, allowing users to shoot short 720p movies. However, all this hardware is encased in an ugly looking metal face with 4 screws and a mediocre wrist band with buckle. What’s worse is its underpowered 315 mAh battery, which will hardly last a day on “regular” use according to Samsung, meaning you’ll need to keep a sharp eye on its battery status at all times. In comparison, the battery on the much less-flashy Pebble smartwatch lasts 5 to 7 days, while getting the job done.
The folks over at The Verge, who’ve just published an early GALAXY Gear hands-on experience, are reporting that by the end of their briefing with Samsung, the cameras on most of the demo units were refusing to turn on “due to the watches running low on power”. Well, that says a lot doesn’t it?
Here’s what they say about the GALAXY Gear:
The Korean company also claims the bands are very ergonomic, but in trying them on I found them less supple and flexible than the strap on the Pebble. Additionally, with all of its extra integrated tech, the Galaxy Gear is a fair bit bulkier than the Pebble, though Samsung’s correct in saying its watch is lighter than it appears.
There are a couple of significant downsides that temper my enthusiasm for the new Gear. First and foremost is the speed and intuitiveness of the user interface — or rather, the lack thereof. There’s a tangible lag to anything you do with the Gear, while the swipe gestures are hard to figure out and do different things depending on where you are in the menus. Additionally, the speaker built into the buckle is too quiet and makes the old sci-fi action of conducting a phone call via your watch a possibility only in quiet areas; it also doesn’t play back any music, it just controls output on your connected device. Most of all, however, I find it hard to justify spending the $299 asking price on an accessory like the Galaxy Gear.
The Galaxy Gear will cost $299 when it makes its October debut in the U.S. Meanwhile, check out the hands-on video of the device from The Verge (Flash video):
1: "How should we attach the screen?"
2: "Just use four large, hideous flathead screws."
— dustin curtis (@dcurtis) September 4, 2013
Is this a watch you would want to buy?