Galaxy Gear Review Round-up: How does Samsung’s smartwatch stack up?

BY Kelly Hodgkins

Published 1 Oct 2013

Galaxy Gear_Lime Green

Samsung is jumping feet first into the growing wearables market with its Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Introduced last month, the Gear is a companion to Samsung’s new Note 3 phablet. Reviews for the smartwatch have hit the internet, so read on to see what they have to say about Samsung’s latest mobile offering. Will it be this year’s smash hit or a rush job that Samsung will regret?

The Galaxy Gear  sports a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen and a colorful, flexible band. It also rocks am 800 MHz processor, 4GB internal storage, 512 MB RAM, a 1.9 megapixel camera, Bluetooth 4.0 with BLE support, 2 microphones, one speaker and a 315 mAh Li-Ion battery. It’s on the big side for a watch with dimensions of 36.8 x 56.6 x 11.1 mm and 73.8 grams.

It’s not a standalone device and needs a companion Samsung smartphone to be functional. The early hands-on reviews with the device were mixed, and this latest crop of comprehensive echo that same sentiment.

Wired: “It’s an admirable push in mobile technology for sure, but the execution — both on the hardware and software side — isn’t enough to justify the $300 price tag. And in many ways, the smartwatch ends up being more of a nuisance than a convenience.”

The Washington Post: “For true tech enthusiasts who want to be in on the first step of wearable device adoption, the Gear is a solid device. But for the average person, it’s probably worth waiting for the next generation.”

SlashGear: “Samsung proves here in the Galaxy Gear that they’ll be ready to roll when the time comes for them to create a stand-alone smartwatch: hardware, software, and a developer backing that reflects the already surprisingly diverse support this first iteration has seen. At the moment, with a market limited to those looking to purchase the Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Gear is more of an exercise in paving the way for future devices.”

Phone Arena: “When it comes down to it, the Samsung Galaxy Gear is simply trying to do so much in such a short period of time. We’ll mention that it’s a good starting point, but it’s still very far from being perfect.”

BGR: “Samsung is pitching the Gear as a smartphone companion device that is designed to make your life easier. It does not. In some cases the Gear adds conveniences to the mobile experience but they are minor at best and they come at too great a price: Another device to charge each day, an awful experience where voice controls are concerned, and a constant uncomfortable feeling shared by the user and those around him or her.”

The Verge: “A smartwatch the Galaxy Gear is not. Frankly, I’m not sure exactly what it’s supposed to be. Samsung describes it as a companion device, and the Gear is indeed chronically dependent on an umbilical link to another Samsung device, but it never left me feeling like it was a helpful companion”

AnandTech: “Ultimately the Galaxy Gear isn’t the perfect solution to wearable computing, but rather a first attempt. It’s more a proof of concept that you can own. If we look at Samsung’s history in nearly every market we’ve followed it (SoCs, SSDs, smartphones), the company has a tendency to show up early with the wrong solution, but iterate aggressively to the point where it ends up with a very good solution.”

CNET: “Samsung’s take on the smartwatch has some potential, and it does get some things right, but its inability to perform truly “smart” functions means it falls far short of expectations.”

Engadget: “The Galaxy Gear is a solid effort from Samsung, but it needs time to grow and develop. The things it does, it does well, and it’s certainly more feature-rich and involved than any other smartwatch we’ve used so far.”

ZDNet: “The Galaxy Gear is a well designed product and everyone I showed it to has been impressed with the camera quality, brilliance of the display, coolness factor of the functionality with the Note 3, and overall look and feel of the design. This is likely to appeal to the gadget fan and is a great step forward in wearable technology.”

Foxnews: “But at present, tied to the Tab 3, with too few apps and too thick for most wrists, it’s hard to say this $300 smartwatch is a smartbuy.”

The Galaxy Gear is available for $299 and currently works with the Galaxy Note 3, though support for Samsung’s other Galaxy devices are coming soon. Based on the mediocre reviews, are you planning on buying the Gear or will you wait for version 2.0?