by Sandy Berger
Samsung has an excellent entry in the current battle for best smartwatch: the Samsung Gear S2. It’s well designed, wearable and good-looking to boot. The Apple Watch has a lot of flash, but the Gear is a solid workhorse that won’t disappoint.
The Gear S2 has a traditional round watch face. The 42 mm sAMOLED, 360 x 360 (302dpi) screen is crisp and clear. It doesn’t have GPS, but it does include all the other features that I’ve come to expect in a late model smart watch. It has an ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer and heart rate monitor. It’s even water and dust resistant and comes with a wireless charger.
The watch uses Samsung’s proprietary Tizen operating system. The operating system hasn’t been very popular, but it’s a good fit for this phone. With an Exynos3250 chipset and 4GB internal memory with 512 MB RAM, it performs smoothly and speedily.
I really like the rotating bezel that is the watch’s main navigation tool. It’s intuitive and the slight click when you turn feels great. The watch also has two buttons on the right side that can be used to turn the screen on. The upper button also functions as a back button.
Making and receiving calls is where this watch excels. However, you have to be sure you purchase the proper version. The S2 sold in stores doesn’t have this calling ability. The one sold by Verizon and other cellular services has the necessary built-in microphone and speakers. Calls are crisp and clear on both sides of the conversation. To make calls, you must have cell service from your carrier. Verizon charges $5 a month for the service. Not bad.
For that price, you get a separate telephone number. That’s a sweet deal if you ask me. All calls are forwarded from your mobile phone so you can leave your phone at home and still be able to make and receive calls. Of course, you can also get notifications and perform email and texting. Dick Tracy had a two-way wrist radio way back in the 1930s. It’s nice to see technology has finally caught up the famous comic strip dick.
The Gear S2 works perfectly with all Galaxy smartphones. It’s also compatible with phones running Android 4.4 and later with at least 1.5GB RAM. Keep in mind that some features may not be available when paired with non-Samsung phones. You can check compatibility at the Samsung website.
Overall, the $299 Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch is a device that I really enjoy wearing and using. If you see the Gear S3 for sale alongside the Gear S2, don’t worry. There’s little difference between the two. The S3 has a different, larger look and all Gear S3’s can handle calls.
Sandy began her career as a computer programmer and over the years has become a trusted authority on a variety of tech, gadgets and gizmos. A regular on TV, radio and podcasts, Sandy speaks at tech events around the world.