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Samsung Enter the Smartwatch Race with the Galaxy Gear. [Update: It’ll cost £299]

At Samsung’s Unpacked Episode 2 event this evening we were finally given the official look at the oft rumoured Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch and let me tell you, it’s not as bad looking as we first thought. Revealed seamlessly by Samsung’s President and CEO JK Shin who happened to “receive a message” whilst talking about the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, instead of reaching for his pocket, he drew back his sleeve and received applause from the audience.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear is “a perfect companion device that further integrates the Samsung GALAXY experience into everyday life,” according to Samsung. It’s a handy little smartwatch which is home to an 800 MHz processor with 512MB of RAM, a 1.63 inch Super AMOLED touch screen with a resolution of 320 x 320 pixels, and a 1.9 Megapixel camera which can record and play back 720p HD video, finally the Galaxy Gear comes with 4GB Internal memory, and a huge variety of colours to choose from.

Galaxy Gear_001_Front_Jet BlackFor me, that’s enough. It’s a Samsung smartwatch for one, it’s got a pretty decent screen, and a camera which I can use secretly and pretend to be James Bond. There are however a plethora of features in this little device, so let’s begin.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear does everything we’re to expect from a smartwatch, it notifies us when we’re receiving calls, when we have texts, emails and alerts, as well as delivering a preview of those messages and creates the opportunity for users to accept or discreetly ignore those messages in a single tap. When an incoming message requires more than a quick glance, users can simply pick up their Samsung Galaxy devices and the Smart Relay feature will instantly reveal the full content on the screen.

Unlike other Smartwatches the Galaxy Gear allows us to answer and talk to those who are calling us, hands free. Yeah, you can pretend you’re a spy even more by talking secretly into your wrist, the only problem is that the person on the other hand will be on loud speaker, so it won’t be so secretive after all.

The Galaxy Gear is also more of a two way device allowing you to draft messages, create new calendar entries, set alarms, and check the weather on the Galaxy Gear with S Voice.

Moving back to the more spy-themed features the Samsung Galaxy Gear has a Memographer feature which, using a 1.9 Megapixel camera, allows users to capture both video and photo’s of opportunities they may have otherwise missed, it also allows those images to be shared on Social Networks. The Galaxy Gear also allows you to take quick snippets of voice memos using the Voice Memo feature, obviously. Worryingly the press release reads “capture important thoughts or conversations”, presumably Samsung knows you’re going to ask permission from the other person when you’re recording conversations?

In terms of security the Samsung Galaxy Gear hopes to improve things even more with a new security enhancement named Auto Lock, this feature automatically secures the companion smartphone screen any time that Galaxy Gear is more than 1.5 meters away from the smartphone, and then unlocks the smartphone when the companion devices are near each other again. The Galaxy Gear also has the “Find My Device” feature built in allowing you to locate your smartphone if you lose it down the sofa.

Galaxy Gear-008-Set1 Side_Six

In terms of fashion, Samsung have thought about this too because ultimately, it’s still a watch. The Galaxy Gear includes several face options that create the opportunity for users to personalize their watch face. It will come preloaded with 10 different clock options and more choices will be downloadable via Samsung Apps.

Finally the Galaxy Gear experience can be further personalized by selecting from six colors that will be available at launch: Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, and Lime Green.

Samsung Galaxy Gear will be launched with the Galaxy Note 3 in more than 140 countries around the world starting from September 25. From what I’ve read about the Galaxy Gear it seems to be the perfect companion with a Galaxy device, whether it’s compatible with other smartphones is yet to be known.
In a press release from Phones4U it appears that Samsung have set the RRP for the Galaxy Gear at £299. Will you be getting a Galaxy Gear? Let me know in the comments below!
  • Ollie

    Ordered the bundle from Phones4u. Looking forward to receiving the Note 3 and Galaxy gear. Need to point out that you do not get a choice of watch color if you pre-order from Phones4u. Black is the only color available. They don’t tell you this at point of sale….