Samsung Gear S Revealed: A Big, Bold 3G Phone On Your Wrist

Samsung Gear S

Yesterday, Samsung revealed more details on their latest smart watch, the Gear S.

The Gear S differs from Samsung’s companion watches – the Gear 2, Gear Neo, Gear Live and Gear Fit – in two big ways.

To begin with, the S stands for “Solo”, emphasizing the fact that this watch doesn’t have to be paired with a smart phone to function. The Gear S carries a nano-SIM card so it can be used as a standalone 3G watch-on-your-wrist.

Meaning: you can text and call directly from your wrist. This single feature should appeal to customers who rely on their smart watch for fitness and other outdoor activities. It also provides a handy backup phone in case your other one dies.

Secondly, it’s significantly larger than any of Samsung’s other wearables. The Gear S sports a 2″ AMOLED touch screen that should make it much easier to type short messages, interact with menus, read navigation directions and dial numbers. But it remains to be seen whether people really want to interact with their watch for these functions – or want such a large device on their wrist.

Design

Samsung Gear S two colors

The Gear S is a big, bold device than probably won’t appeal to everyone.  We’re divided on its looks. It sort of reminds us of an oversized Gear Fit, but we like the slimmer Fit better.

That said, it’s an ideal solution for anyone who needs to leave their phone at home.

For example, bike riders like me. I hate carrying my smart phone with me on exercise runs. I constantly worry that I’ll drop my phone on the ground. And, I need to pull my phone out to check messages, catch an important call or text message, navigate, etc. The Gear S seems to solve all of these problems.

Apps

We have to admit that Samsung has really upped the game on watch faces.

Just take a look at the two beautiful designs below. They honestly make the Gear S look like an upscale fashion watch. Big win.

Most smart watch owners like me care about style, and manufacturers have ignored this far too long. Thanks for listening, Samsung.

Samsung Gear S Luxury Watch Face Samsung Gear S Traditional Watch Face

Ok, now for the bad news.

Because the Gear S runs Tizen, not Android Wear,  it doesn’t have access to Google Now nor any of the many cool Android Wear app choices coming online now.

We expect that new apps for the Gear S will trickle out more slowly than those intended for Android Wear.

This might change if the Gear S and its other Tizen brothers, the Gear 2 and Gear Neo, can win in the market against the upcoming iWatch and the many Android Wear competitors coming online – most notably the new LG G Watch R and Moto 360, both of whom are arguably better-looking with more familiar (and beautiful) round face designs.

That said, Samsung recently announced that their Gear watches now have access to more than 1,000 apps.

And, to emphasize the point that the Gear S can do a lot already, Samsung released the following infographic that explains the many things you can do with their new watch phone on a typical Sunday afternoon – and most do not require a smartphone in your pocket.

A Typical Sunday Afternoon with the Samsung Gear S

Specifications

The Gear S sports an onboard SIM card which can make and receive 3G calls and text messages directly on the watch, eliminating another reason to pull your phone out of your pocket or purse.

The new watch also sports a large, curved 2-inch 360×480 pixels AMOLED screen, a 1GHz dual-core processor with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of available storage and a 300mAh battery which should deliver enough juice for 2 days of use.  Just like

The Gear S is also IP67 water- and dust-resistant and comes with a 9-Axis Gyro/Accelerometer/Compass sensor, a barometer and a PPG heart rate sensor.

Hands-On With the Gear S

Here’s a SlashGear video of the Gear S as it looked when it was announced at IFA 2014. It gives you a feel for how slick the interface is and the size factor you’re dealing with.

Availability

If you like what you hear so far, then you won’t have long to wait. The Samsung Gear S should arrive at major retailers and telco carriers sometime in October.

Price hasn’t been announced yet, but we’re guessing the Gear S will be the highest-priced smart watch from Samsung, which means a price tag of more than $299.

WatchGeek

Gadget Geek & Shopaholic.

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