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Samsung’s Gear S Smartwatch Hands-On – Big Enough for Full Apps

by Jacob Kleinman | September 3, 2014September 3, 2014 7:30 am PST

Samsung announced the Gear S last week, but today the company finally gave us a closer look at its latest Tizen-powered smartwatch. We got a chance to try out the curved 3G smartwatch for ourselves.

Visually, the Gear S is basically a stretched out version of the Gear Fit, offering double the screen space found on the smaller fitness tracker. The display still looks great, but now it’s actually big enough to run full apps. Samsung notes that it already has more than 1,000 applications available to download, though that still may not be enough to convince us to pick up the Tizen-powered device.

The big screen also means it’s even bulkier than Samsung’s earlier wearable devices, and the bands the company is offering to go with the Gear S are way too wide and heavy to look very good on your wrist. You can also remove the display from its wristband pretty easily—like on the Gear Fit—but Samsung admits that it still hasn’t seen much interest from third-party companies looking to create new accessories for either curved AMOLED wearable.

The other big thing the Gear S has going for a built-in 3G connection, meaning you can access the Internet even if your smartphone is out of range. If you’d rather leave your phone at home, the Gear S could be a good option in some cases, but it’s not exactly self-sufficient. You still can’t download new apps without first reaching for a larger synced device, so you might want to think twice before heading out with just your smartwatch to keep you company.

The software isn’t much of a step up from what we’ve seen before, and Samsung told us it’s more of an evolution than a revolution. Tizen definitely looks better on a bigger screen, but it’s still somewhat tricky to navigate. Most of the time you’ll be swiping side-to-side between apps, or down from the top of the screen to jump back when you hit a dead end.

On the plus side, the Gear S is water resistant and can even connect to Wi-Fi so you won’t always have to rely on its 3G connection. It also packs a 1GHz dual-core processor, 4GB of built-in storage, 512MB of RAM and a 300mAh battery. Samsung even threw in a heart rate monitor, S Voice controls and a power saving mode, though like we said the final product didn’t exactly blow us away.

We’ll be taking a closer look at the Gear S and everything else Samsung announced in the very near future, so stay tuned as we dive into the company’s newest product lineup.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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