After churning out six smartwatches in the span of a year in 2013 and 2014, Samsung had been silent on the wearables front for a full year. That changed today, with the introduction of the round-faced Gear S2.
The Tizen-running Gear S2 will ship in two different styles: the Gear S2 Classic (above), with a traditional watch look and leather band, and the standard Gear S2 (below), which looks a bit more smartwatchy with what appears to be a plastic band. Samsung hasn't announced any pricing, but we imagine the standard version will almost certainly be the cheaper option.
There will also be a (likely more expensive) 3G-enabled variant of the Gear S2, which last year's Gear S had by default.
All versions have round 1.2-inch Super AMOLED displays with 360 x 360 resolution (302 pixels per inch). Samsung had already told developers that its next smartwatch would have a rotating bezel, similar to how the Apple Watch's digital crown works. Since smartwatch displays are small, scrolling through long lists by swiping on the screen can make for a tedious process. Rotating crowns and wheels are one answer to that problem (with echoes of the old iPods' scroll wheels).
The non-3G versions measure 11.4 mm (0.45-inch) thick and have an estimated 2-3 days battery life. The 3G model is a bit fatter (13.4 mm/0.53-inch thick) with estimated "2 days" battery life.
The watch has built-in NFC and will support mobile payments (presumably Samsung Pay). The watch doesn't, however, appear to have the built-in Magnetic Secure Transmission tech that will allow Samsung's 2015 flagships to pay at standard credit card readers, so we're likely looking at only the NFC-based portion of Samsung Pay, which, by nature of requiring equipment, will have a much lower retailer adoption rate.
Samsung hasn't announced any exact release or pricing details yet for the smartwatch. The company will be showcasing the Gear S2 at IFA in Berlin this week, where Gizmag will be on the ground.