Smartwatches

Samsung Gear S2: Hands-on

How does the Gear S2 measure up in the flesh?
How does the Gear S2 measure up in the flesh?
View 14 Images
How does the Gear S2 measure up in the flesh?
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How does the Gear S2 measure up in the flesh?
Both the rubber and leather bands feel comfortable
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Both the rubber and leather bands feel comfortable
Gizmag checked out the Gear S2 in Berlin
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Gizmag checked out the Gear S2 in Berlin
The rotating bezel adds depth to the user experience, but doesn't make things feel more complicated
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The rotating bezel adds depth to the user experience, but doesn't make things feel more complicated
We personally prefer the look of the classic version, as it's a little more refined and high-end
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We personally prefer the look of the classic version, as it's a little more refined and high-end
The circular screen packs a 360 x 360 resolution
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The circular screen packs a 360 x 360 resolution
The proportions of the watch as a whole are about right – it's not too bulky, but also feels reasonably substantial on the wrist
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The proportions of the watch as a whole are about right – it's not too bulky, but also feels reasonably substantial on the wrist
Ever part of the user interface shared the same simple, appealing look
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Ever part of the user interface shared the same simple, appealing look
The Gear S2 might just be the best looking smartwatch that Samsung has ever made
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The Gear S2 might just be the best looking smartwatch that Samsung has ever made
There are two buttons on the side of the S2, one for going back and one for accessing the app menu
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There are two buttons on the side of the S2, one for going back and one for accessing the app menu
The bezel lets you scroll through length emails without obscuring them with your finger
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The bezel lets you scroll through length emails without obscuring them with your finger
The standard version of the Gear S2 has a more sporty look
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The standard version of the Gear S2 has a more sporty look
The design of the bezel is simpler on the standard model, with a smooth aesthetic as opposed to the ridged look on the classic
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The design of the bezel is simpler on the standard model, with a smooth aesthetic as opposed to the ridged look on the classic
We prefer the leather, but the rubber band option doesn't feel cheap
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We prefer the leather, but the rubber band option doesn't feel cheap

Samsung's newly announced Gear S2 smartwatch is instantly appealing. It offers a compelling combination of touch and physical controls, a sharp colorful interface and two distinct flavors of hardware. Read on for Gizmag's full hands-on impressions.

Like many smartwatches these days, there are two variants of the Gear S2. There's only one size on offer here, but two very distinct models – the sporty Gear S2 and the more traditional looking S2 classic.

Not only do the straps differ between the two versions, but the way they attach to the body also varies (it disappears into the body on the standard model),. The design of the bezel is also simpler on the standard model, with a smooth aesthetic as opposed to the ridged look on the classic. The design of both versions is clean and appealing. It's easily the best-looking smartwatch that Samsung has ever made (and it's made quite a few).

The rotating bezel adds depth to the user experience, but doesn't make things feel more complicated
The rotating bezel adds depth to the user experience, but doesn't make things feel more complicated

Both the rubber and leather bands feel comfortable, and the proportions of the watch as a whole are about right – it's not too bulky, but also feels reasonably substantial on the wrist. We prefer the look of the classic version, as it's a little more refined, high-end and closer to the look of a traditional watch.

The circular screen packs a 360 x 360 resolution, and because that's only over 1.2-inches, you're getting a pretty sharp 302 pixels per inch. Graphics looked crisp and clear on the AMOLED panel, and colors were vivid and bright.

Navigation of the Tizen OS software is handled through a combination of touch input, two physical buttons on the right hand side of the case and a rotating bezel. You turn the bezel to scroll through menus, tap the screen to make selections, and use the buttons both to go back and to access the app menu.

The design of the bezel is simpler on the standard model, with a smooth aesthetic as opposed to the ridged look on the classic
The design of the bezel is simpler on the standard model, with a smooth aesthetic as opposed to the ridged look on the classic

After five or ten minutes of use, the combination of controls is intuitive and enjoyable, and makes smartwatches with touchscreen-only input feel a little more basic than they did before.

The software has multiple layers, including a main app carousel and dedicated app menu. There are also complex, multi-screen apps for fitness, calendar, email, and much more. The UI is far more complicated than an Android Wear-based wearable, but nothing felt too cramped during testing, with clean and simple menus and graphics.

The Gear S2 is a very promising smartwatch. The physical product looks great, the software has a unified, appealing aesthetic, and the rotating bezel input adds to the experience.

Luckily, you won't need the latest and greatest Samsung smartphone to pair it with, as it will work with any Android handset running version 4.4 of the OS and up, with at least 1.5 GB RAM (that includes just about every high-end phone from the last two or three years, along with plenty of mid-ranged handsets). Android Wear watches recently got iPhone support, though, so Samsung's Tizen is still behind them in terms of compatibility.

Samsung's new wearable is set to land in October; no official pricing info just yet.

For more on the new smartwatches at IFA, you can hit up Gizmag's hands-ons with the Huawei Watch, new Moto 360 and Asus ZenWatch 2.

Product page: Samsung

4 comments
hkmk23
and the most important information...... is it waterproof? how long does the battery last? missing!
Tanstar
The previous introduction article showed a 2-3 day battery, but no information on waterproof rating.
Knut
This runs Tizen - which is news, because Tizen can run the Android emulator made by Jolla, and it is GNOME, which means that it is X11 based. The user interface can then be on another device - say a Jolla phone or a Nokia N900 running Maemo with a keyboard. What I am waiting for is then a confirmation that this has a SIM slot, and also SD card - and that will make it the communication centre on your hand. There is no need for any iPhone, so why bother make them "compatible"? A battery of 8000mAh should last a week, and can be attached on the micro-USB port and strapped to the arm. We can wish for a battery in the band, which should be possible.
Phyzzi
Knut, if Samsung actually delivers a watch (not a bracelet, but an actual watch) that can act independently as a phone and then has any local data transfer (that part's pretty standard) I'll be pretty darn excited. Actually, I don't even care if it's a smart watch at that point if I can call out and use the data connection.