After launching its first smartwatch back in September, Samsung's line of wearables is about to get a lot bigger. Starting next month, two new smartwatches and one new fitness tracker are about to join the Samsung Gear family. Let's try to cut through the confusion and compare the features and specs of Samsung's original Galaxy Gear to the new Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit (whew!).
Update: We have now published our updated version of this comparison, featuring two newer watches.
It's no surprise that the three full-fledged smartwatches deliver notifications, but you can also get them on the Gear Fit. That looks like the biggest feature that separates it from rival trackers from Fitbit and Jawbone.
Non-Samsung phone compatibility
Don't own a Samsung Galaxy phone? Well, then you're probably out of luck, as you'll need one to enjoy the full features of any of these wrist-based devices. The Gear Fit will still track your activity without a compatible phone, but to get those notifications we mentioned, you'll need a Galaxy.
All three of the full-fledged smartwatches let you take and make calls on the watch (it's technically happening on your phone, but it should feel like you're doing it all on the watch). Samsung says you'll get notifications for calls on the Gear Fit, but without a microphone, you'll have to grab your phone to answer it.
The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo both rock the same AMOLED display found in the OG Galaxy Gear. The Gear Fit's screen is much narrower – and curved.
Heart rate sensor
The Gear Fit may be the only dedicated fitness tracker in this bunch, but it doesn't appear to track anything that the two new smartwatches won't. That includes the heart rate sensor built-in to all three of the new gizmos.
Ditto for sleep tracking, though Samsung lists this feature as "downloadable" for the Gear 2 watches.
Oh look, even the original Gear had a pedometer built-in.
Water and dust resistance
All three of the new models got some extra water and dust protection.
If you've ever used a Galaxy Gear, then you already have a pretty good idea of how big the Gear 2 series will be. The Gear Fit, meanwhile, is a much narrower device: more band than watch.
The Gear Fit is much lighter than the other three, but even the two new watches shed a few grams from the Galaxy Gear.
Several colors to choose from no matter which wrist-computer tickles your fancy.
Two of the watches have cameras (this is the biggest difference between the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo), but Samsung switched things around for the Gear 2. The Galaxy Gear's camera was integrated into its band, but now it lives on the Gear 2's main body. This opens the door to our next category ...
All three of the new Gears let you swap bands. For the Gear 2 and Neo, any standard 22 mm strap will do the trick. It looks like the Fit will require a custom band.
A voice assistant can be a very cool feature to have on your wrist. Unfortunately, Samsung is using a pared-down version of its own S Voice app for the three smartwatches. They let you do things like dictate text messages (very handy) or check the weather (kinda handy). For just about anything else, though, S Voice won't be able to help you.
One cool addition to the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo is an IR blaster. If that sounds like a gun Han Solo would use, you're (unfortunately) wrong. It hooks up to Samsung's WatchOn app to let you change channels on your TV. This is a pretty nifty feature to have on a phone, but I can see myself using it a lot more on a watch.
Both the Gear 2 and Neo have home buttons sitting below their screens. The Galaxy Gear only lets you navigate backwards by swiping down on the screen. The Gear Fit, with its simpler fitness focus, doesn't have a home button either.
Samsung is talking a better game with its battery life estimates in the new models. We can probably chalk most of that up to this next category ...
Yep, Samsung is ditching Android for its own battery-friendly Tizen OS on the two new Gear watches. This probably explains why the app development for the Galaxy Gear has been so abysmal. Samsung was likely plotting this shift for some time, and didn't want to bother stocking up on Android-friendly apps for the OG Gear.
The original Gear, however, is supposedly going to eventually receive an update to Tizen as well. I can't think of any time when a device has received an update that changed its entire operating system. With similar UIs, though, you probably won't notice a huge difference on the surface.
The Gear Fit doesn't run much of anything, with most of what you see on your screen coming from your paired phone.
It looks like the two new smartwatches might get a little speed boost, as their processors jump into the land of dual-core.
RAM, however, hasn't changed from the late 2013 model.
Looks like storage is the same as well, though the scant amount of available Gear apps don't appear to be putting that 4 GB cap in danger of filling up anytime soon.
The Gear is dead ... long live the Gear. Just over six months after the Galaxy Gear hit store shelves, its three successors will be elbowing their way past it.
We expected the Gear 2 to run for the same US$300 that the Galaxy Gear launched for, and now that part is official. What's a little more surprising is that the Neo and Fit both have the same $200 price tag. It looks like the Neo has all of the Fit's fitness capabilities on board, so the Neo ends up giving you more features for the same price. So the Fit's slimmer, band-like form factor is what you're paying for.
While the original Galaxy Gear still technically goes for $300, we'd expect it to see some healthy price cuts as retailers offload their stock.