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  • purerice - Wednesday, September 04, 2013 - link

    It took Microsoft 4 1/2 years to make Windows usable with Win.3
    Maybe in 4 1/2 years these watches will be usable but right now it looks like something out of a B-movie spy flick except it costs $300 and at best gives 10 hours of battery life. Maybe for $200 and a 10 DAY battery life I could go for it.
    Still, Anand, my critique of the device is no knock on you. Please keep reviewing them. I look forward to seeing them improve over the years.
  • SunLord - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    We'd need new batterysuper tech to have a 10day battery life with a color real screen and decent CPU in a tiny watch format. E-ink might do 10days but its unlikely Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    What we don't need are color screens on our wrists. The whole purpose of this device is to make functions of your phone available without using your phone.

    If you need a color screen, take your phone out of your pocket.

    The addition of a camera is nice, but the resolution is kind of a joke. Why wouldn't you use the 8-13MP camera in your pocket and not regret taking that awesome picture with a crappy lens at low-res?

    I'd say the only compelling thing this watch has over the pebble is voice functionality. Other than that, it costs 3x more, is quite large, does not have a universal strap, doesn't even last a day without a charge, works with TWO devices and to top it all off, the screen doesn't stay on so you can't even use it as a watch!

    Even the Pebble has an accelerator that engages the back-light. And it was made by a bunch of hipsters on a shoe-string budget.
  • theduckofdeath - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    E-Ink is frustrating on a smart device. You never know when the screen will refresh, which give the impression that everything lags constantly. OLED is a better choice for this kind of device with more active information displayed.

    Though, I personally wouldn't get any, as I am one of those who thinks that the most important feature of a wrist watch is to always be able to tell you the current time, no matter how long you've been away from a power outlet.
  • taltamir - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    eink actually has a worse battery life under frequent screen refreshes. (eg, when doing anything other than reading a book with a very compact font)
    The reason it gives the illusion of high battery life is that when a hypothetical person is reading a book with a small font they are assumed to wait a few minutes between each page turn. If you are a fast reader and like a very large font, or if you are using it to surf the internet instead of reading a book, then you get a better battery life out of an LCD then you do out of eink
  • blue_urban_sky - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    The same holds true for a watch too, I'd be ok with 15min update unless I request it, you can use sound for alerts n such.

    You could possibly have it update once if you position your wrist a certain way?
  • name99 - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    I assume you want a WATCH to update at least once a minute? Personally I'd be pissed off if it didn't update once a second... Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    mirasol is the PERFECT technology for this application.
    Qualcomm may be talking up their book, but they are not wrong. Anyone who builds a watch with a non-mirasol display is simply dumb. (And if that means I can't watch movies at 30 fps on my wrist, so be it. I care about always visible and long battery life far more than the gimmick of movies on the wrist.)
  • Crono - Wednesday, September 04, 2013 - link

    The display looks better than I thought it would, but I'm still worried about battery life and the Samsung app market for it, as well as it working/working well only with other Samsung devices. Reply
  • blacks329 - Wednesday, September 04, 2013 - link

    This seems more along the lines of trying to get something to market, before understanding what it can do for the market and how it should be made.

    It'll be interesting to see how it's design and functions evolve over time as other enter this "smart watch market"
  • theduckofdeath - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    I would have said that about the two attempts Sony has made. This watch actually does smart things, both with camera alignment, microphone position and the use of sensors. Reply
  • fteoath64 - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    Using the market as a test-bench is what something many companies have done. The impact would be faster obsolescence of the current version of the product, and allows for innovative evolution faster. You see that Google Glass is one such effort at a high starting price yet there are many takers since the buyers were convinced of the value of the product even in alpha form. So a crude beta might just be the thing that many people can live with. There is not much wrong with this idea if the manufacturer is sincere about the approach to the customers. Reply
  • whyso - Wednesday, September 04, 2013 - link

    Kinda sad that a $100 G-Shock has a feature that can be turned on that lights up the screen when the wrist is held a certain way (angle the watch toward you and the screen lights up) and this device does not. Reply
  • SunLord - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Should be easy to add it as it has the right sensors to make it turn on with say a wrist flick Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    The Pebble uses an accelerator to power on the backlight when you flick your wrist, and it works great. The problem with the Galaxy Gear is if the flick action is hypersensitive like the Pebble, it will drain the battery quickly by constantly turning the screen on. The Pebble doesn't suffer from its hypersensitivity much because the backlight is a single side-lit LED, not 102,400 LED's. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, September 09, 2013 - link

    You don't need all OLEDs to turn on, just to tell you the time, do you? Reply
  • doobydoo - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    I think in the case of the Gear, yes, you do. Reply
  • bigboxes - Wednesday, September 04, 2013 - link

    I like the idea. With the proliferation of larger screen phones (5"+) there is a market for a controller that can access basic functions without the need to pull out the phone: time, read texts messages, read e-mails, phone dialer/answer, voice mail. Also, using the accessory to view data collected by main phone: GPS, pedometer, photo of caller, etc.

    The way I look at it this device is just the start. They will get better and offer more options. This accessory isn't for me. The battery life is too short and the charging port is proprietary. The camera should be mounted to the top of the watch and not the watch band. Watch bands need to be replaced from time to time and are usually the most likely to come in contact with other surfaces. The watch band needs some ventilation. How else would one use this while being active? Cost too much. Maybe for ~$200, but @ $300 forget it. The device also needs to work with the majority of phones through an app (for the phone).

    Cute first attempt. I'll pass and keep an eye open for further improvements on the form factor.
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, September 04, 2013 - link

    Good first attempt but no one will buy this at $299. No one. Reply
  • Dentons - Wednesday, September 04, 2013 - link

    You're very, very wrong. A lot of people will buy them.

    Samsung will market the hell out of them, and there will be a lot of them purchased. Millions and millions for Christmas alone.

    It's not a perfect product, but it's being released 6 to 10 months before the counter product from Apple. By the time Apple released their 1st gen watch, Sammy will be readying, or releasing, their 2nd generation watch. A product that will fix, many if not most of the deficiencies and probably feature a larger, curved screen.

    This looks "Dick Tracy". The next version will look "Star Trek".
  • Crono - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    And the one after that - the first successful one - will look like Predator. Reply
  • icetorch - Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - link

    I doubt millions, but I think smartwatches will catch on, especially as it becomes more refined. Reply
  • althaz - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    You're wrong, it's probably not going to sell tens of millions, but a million is not out of the question (I would consider that number a success, not sure what Samsung are expecting). Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    I'd be shocked if it sold a million, especially considering it only works with Android 4.3 and requires Bluetooth 4.0 LE (BLE devices) of which there are only 7 devices in production (4 phones) that have this hardware, and only two devices are currently supported at ALL by this thing, coincidentally, both Samsung's.

    Not supporting iOS or WP8 will dent its sales, and not supporting Android 4.0-4.2 devices will definitely shelve it as a niche product. All other Smartwatches, ALL OF THEM, are cross-platform. Every single one supports Android AND iOS, and many newer ones, including the upcoming Agent Smartwatch, support WP8.

    Samsung is doing well, but they're not in the position to become a proprietary manufacture like Apple. Not yet. They don't have the cult.
  • arthur449 - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Many manufacturers used their own Bluetooth stack on their Android handsets to add Bluetooth 4.0 support to Android 4.0.4 - 4.2.2. My LG OG, for instance, is running 4.1.2 but supports Bluetooth 4.0 LE. Reply
  • Dentons - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Yes, it will only with a handful of 7 devices.

    What you've failed to mention is that one of those devices is the world's best selling smartphone.

    Samsung will sell Millions of Gear watches. One reason is that Gear will be bundled with compatible smartphones. Clearly, Gear's manufacturing cost is nowhere near the listed $300 price. This suggests carrier subsidized bundles have been anticipated from the start.

    We'll very likely see the following ads in the coming weeks "Get the Galaxy Note 3 for just $200* or the Galaxy Note 3 PLUS a Galaxy Gear watch for just $300*

    * requires 2-year contract.

    Samsung will sell millions
  • KoolAidMan1 - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Samsung will do better with their watch once Apple has given them another template to copy. Reply
  • noeldillabough - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    I don't really see anyone with a watch anymore...I saw a guy today and I was like ... "woah a watch!" Reply
  • p05esto - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Agreed, watches are only an accessory when you are all dressed up fancy. They serve no purpose any longer. Only a total tool would wear one of these in this day and age. Reply
  • Friendly0Fire - Wednesday, September 04, 2013 - link

    It looks interesting, but it reassures me that my Pebble won't be deprecated immediately. I'll take battery life over a shiny color screen which is default off. Reply
  • ruzveh - Wednesday, September 04, 2013 - link

    I cant imagine to now charge my watch every few hours. Shocking.. Why doesnt it come with solar charging? Reply
  • chaos215bar2 - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Solar charging is used on watches that would already get years of battery life on a normal lithium cell. It wouldn't make a dent in the battery life of something that uses this much power. Reply
  • Subyman - Wednesday, September 04, 2013 - link

    That thing is huge. I used to wear watches, but I found myself never using it. I wear them in formal situations (you don't want to pull a phone out if your boss asks you for the time.) I don't see myself ever wanting a device on my wrist like that. Wearable tech sounds interesting, but just like we are finally getting away from skeuomorphism in iOS, companies need to think of the best solution instead of jamming tech into familiar forms. Samsung took a basic watch and bolted a screen on it. Not very inventive or practical. Reply
  • Winterblade - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    I'll could say that I'm going to wait untill someone sells a smartwatch with sub $150 flexible mirasol (or similar low energy display technology) and at least 3 days battery life, but I'm prety sure that by the time that became posible, HUD devices like Google Glass will eat out smart watches market.
    I really think that there are no place for both.
  • Yofa - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Terrible... I have the Sony Smartwatch. Did Samsung even pay attention? This looks comparitively terrible with regards to price, battery life, and concept in comparison... Why do I need storage on the watch?! Reply
  • - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Z1 FULL Android Watch Phone came out 1 yr ago, and Z2 will be out soon with dual core cpu, water resistance etc.. absolutely kill this gear crap. Reply
  • - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    and will also kill icrap watch Reply
  • xinthius - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    lol dual core, in a watch, you must be having a laugh. Reply
  • - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Learn to read, I said, Next version will be dual core Reply
  • steven75 - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    I just googled the Z1.

    Let me just say... LMAO. What an absolute turd. Like wearing a pocket protector and claiming it's cool.
  • - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    you Google it and you think you know? I actually purchased it and wrote a review on it. its not the fastest, but it actually works. Reply
  • R3MF - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Tizen as the OS? Reply
  • jabber - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Daily charging for a watch.

    Incredible. Who buys this cr*p?
  • enealDC - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    As much as I love new tech and am thrilled by the advancements there-in, there are somethings that in my mind, don't need a high tech makeover and the watch is one of them.
    So much of what they are giving you, you already have in your pocket in the form of a smart phone.
  • Murloc - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    I think the camera, color display, photo displaying etc. are useless because you can just take out your phone to do that stuff, it's easier to point and shoot with the phone, it has higher quality and the bigger screen is preferable for pic viewing.
    Also the fact that you can't just glance at it fast and it needs recharging every 10 hours kills it as a watch. I understand that increasing battery life is difficult though.

    What will really make these things sell is the fact that you can answer the phone knowing who's calling and start calls and read single texts (answering them or engaging multitext conversations will still need the phone), and select music and radio channels that are on your phone without taking it out. It's like the car's navigator's bluetooth phone connection but you always have it on you. Just make it connect to bluetooth earphones (in addition to the smartphone) and put an audio jack in the thing.
    This stuff really has a future.
  • dusk007 - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    What I would like to see, is a sort of wrist band with a flexible oled screen a big battery that can do lots of stuff and is especially aimed for outdoor sports use.
    Flexible so I can put it on the arm or over whatever I am wearing. Display heart rate, maps while hiking, ...
    Stuff like that and a flat big battery pack that allows bending (some company displayed such) and wide like 5-7cm width.

    That would be great. I don't like wearing watches. That is for old people or people who consider it jewelry and have a thing for jewelry. Hardly anybody from the newer generation today wears watches. The only watch I wear is for a sport.

    I agree with Subyman. Don't just cram existing tech in familiar form factors. See what great products one could make with existing tech.
  • cjs150 - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    "Rather than an always on display like you'd have with an actual watch, ... but it looks like the only option, at least initially, is to hit the power/lock button on the side."

    I cannot be the only old bloke who reads anandtech. Someone else must remember the first digital watches with crappy LCD displays where you had to press a button on side to get time to flash on. Seems like only yesterday (!). Clearly Samsung have taken inspiration from 1970s
  • chaos215bar2 - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    I'm pretty sure those were LED displays. (Actual LED displays, not the modern misuse of the term by TV manufacturers.) Reply
  • RAgnol - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Boy Wonder would say - "Hole crap, Batman!". Who needs a huge watch (maybe the folks that buy huge Fossil, A/X and Diesel watches) with so many questionable useful functions?
    The whole concept of a smartwatch makes sense only to Queen-Size "Mine is bigger than yours" smartphone users - the current trend to have bigger and bigger screen size are making phones NOT practical to use, so let's spoil more money from the kids throwing a secondary screen in their wrists. Anand, great review, and I completely agree that this stuff is ugly, it fulfil the ugly line of Samsung phones. I would like to see if Nokia, HTC and Apple could bring some better design (form and functionality) to this category with a more adequate price. Samsung has the balls to charge USD 300 for this ugly piece of crap.
  • HisDivineOrder - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    I'm reminded of that old "smart watch" that connected to Microsoft servers. I suppose there's a market for this (ie., people who bought special straps for their iPod Nano's), but I can't help laughing at the idea of people lookin' like Dick Tracy with a watchphone (TM pending, totally mine!). Reply
  • Devfarce - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    I have a Garmin Forerunner 405 with GPS and ANT+ and it's several years old and believe it or not the battery will last a week with around 3 hours of GPS use on it. A lot of these watches are headed in the wrong direction.

    The watch should be able to function on its own without a smartphone. However you don't need much CPU for this. GPS, BT 4.0 accessories like bike computers and heart rate monitors and other cool stuff that hasnt been imagnined yet. When it is paired to the phone, it leverages that CPU via bluetooth for additional features. Push notifications, Siri, etc, calls apps. It's the same concept as cloud compute resources; you have a low power device that is functional on its own and then connect it to more capable resources and you get next level functionality
  • Icehawk - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    I don't get these overly complicated wearables - for a "watch" all I'd want is the ability to see the time/date, use it for caller ID, and initiate/answer calls. Anything else I'd pull out the base station, ie my phone, to do. A watch with those functions doesn't need color or much processor power since it would function almost entirely via BT and then we'd get the 48hr+ battery life that is pretty much a requirement IMO. At this point I think they should act more like a 2nd screen vs discrete device. Reply
  • Maltz - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Ugh. This is what happens when someone releases a product without waiting to copy Apple's. lol Reply
  • R-Type - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Which watch company will Microsoft buy up to stay competitive in this market? Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Uhh, Fossil?
  • p05esto - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Hopefully none, this is a STUPID, horrible idea. Only a totally hipster douche would even consider wearing something like this or Google Glass. Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    "Banjo gives you the power to see what's happening, right now, anywhere in the world"

    I must admit, I thought $300 was a little high for what looks like a giant pile of 🐂💩, but that was before I saw this. $300 to see anything, anywhere! Damn, that's one hell of a deal. I wonder how many the CIA and NSA will be ordering?
  • cmdrdredd - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    For me a watch is worthless if it isn't water proof to at least one atmosphere. I''m intrigued by this but for every function this does, I have my phone in my pocket to do it better. Reply
  • pj_camp - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Not sure why my arm needs notification of what is going on in my pocket. Lifting my arm to see if it needs to continue on to the pocket seems like it is worth a whole lot less than $300. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Haha. Perfect explanation of Smart Watches. Reply
  • barry spock - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Seeing how much of a failure this is, I'm curious about how apple could possibly make a watch that people "have to have". Considering that the iphone will stay at a size that is convenient enough to pull out of the pocket, I could only imagine the iwatch as being a Nano with gps built in, ie. a jogging accessory.

    All up, this "Gear" is the perfect example of when in the two-horse race, what happens when the second horse gets its nose in front--> it doesn't know where to go.
    Samsung have never understood aesthetics and the spec. choices are a confused mess.
  • sadsteve - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    Hm, this sounds more useful than the Ronco In-The-Shell Electric Egg Scrambler!!

    This sure sounds like a waste of money to me. Also, it's freakin huge, I doubt I'd be able to wear one since I'm a small guy. Another, also, is that when I do wear a watch, it's a pocket watch!
  • Draconian - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    I hope they make a version for people who wear watches on their right wrist. If I wore the one pictured on my right wrist, the camera would be facing toward me. Reply
  • fteoath64 - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    "If I wore the one pictured on my right wrist, the camera would be facing toward me." Perhaps, the next iteration with 2 cameras on either side would allow people to select a default camera to use!. Not that the camera is going to be a key feature for everyone. So want and some don't. But long battery life is for everyone, so is a very clear usable screen. Not everyone wants a talking watch!. Reply
  • p05esto - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    I wouldn't be caught dead wearing one of these geeky pieces of crap. This is almost as dorky looking as Google Glass.... these companies are using us, selling us crap we don't need. Only suckers will buy these watches. This is harsh, but REALLY. Wow is this a stupid product. Reply
  • doobydoo - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    Completely agree.

    Companies trying to create markets which nobody wants or needs just to continue the smartphone/tablet gold run.

    The sad thing is that so many people will fall for it.
  • Little Leo - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Calling Dick Tracy, Calling Dick Tracy, come in please.... man I'm dating myself, lol. Reply
  • fteoath64 - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    I am shocked that it is a 800Mhz SoC in there!. It seems like an overkill since a 300Mhz would be more than sufficient for most tasks except video capture (here it would have discrete DSP chip). If you look at the original iPhone with 400Mhz practically was lag free in almost all things except recording video. Reply
  • nomster - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    "Overall the styling isn't bad but it doesn't scream beauty to me"

    The styling is bad in my book - 4 big screws on the front! They must have been in a crazy rush to get this out - almost as if they had heard rumours about a competitor or something! $300 for something that looks so cheap - it's an insult to potential consumers.

    "There is an accelerometer inside the device, so presumably Samsung could try and detect when you're moving your arm as if you're about to check the time and wake the screen up automatically but that didn't seem to be enabled on the devices I used."

    I tend to move my arms during the working day without wanting to check a watch. I know you do a lot of writing at a desk Anand but you surely move your arms occasionally to, y'now, scratch your ear or lift a cup? I think having the watch use the accelerometer to wake up would not be a good idea with battery conservation being more important.
  • Stringtheory1 - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    Has anyone told Samsung that wearing watches is a dying custom? Less and less people are willing to carry both a watch and a phone so this strikes me as a very high-risk gamble. It's not that people consciously decide NOT to grab it when they leave the house, it's just that if they are in a hurry and are going to grab one item besides their keys and wallet, it's gonna be their phone. Your phone will tell you the time but you can't call on your watch. Watches will forever be a tiny market because it doesn't have the indispensable quality of a smartphone. Reply
  • piiman - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    Where did you get the idea that watches were a tiny market?
    And I don't have to grab my watch when heading out the door because its strapped to my wrist at all times. Now smart watches (which don't seem all that smart to me are a tiny market and since you have to charge it every 10 hours I'd probably forget it. But since I'll never buy one (at least not in their current state) I'll stick to my phone and good old wrist watch that cost me 60.00 and can display the time without a charge for several years..
    I just don’t see any need for this thing. Make it a complete stand alone phone and maybe you have something..oh and make it water proof. Oh and $300.00 pleaaaaseee! I rather just strap my phone to my wrist and kill two birds with one stone.
  • theduckofdeath - Sunday, September 08, 2013 - link

    I personally don't see the use of a mini display for the phone you have easily accessible in your pocket. These will not be the next big thing, no matter who sells them. Though, the niche market will be big enough for a company to rake in a pretty neat profit from selling "a few" $300 watches.

    Some time down the road when battery life is less of an issue, these types of watches will replace a lot of the feature phone sales, but I doubt many will find the usefulness in having a half-sentence notification centre for your phone you carry around in your pocket, no matter how clever and intuitive the interaction is between those two devices.
  • theduckofdeath - Sunday, September 08, 2013 - link

    "Most of the Galaxy Gear samples at Samsung's press event were tethered to tables, a process which I believe obscured the Gear's micro USB port. If you dig around in the settings you'll even see an option to enable USB debug mode (lending further credibility to the OS having Android roots)."

    There is no USB port on it, there's a pogo connector on the inside. I guess this is to make it more water resistant than the likes of MOTOACTV, which are actually reported from time to time to break even from sweat damage. You don't want your $300 watch to die just because it's a hot day... :)
  • Wwhat - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    Odd that it has accelerometer and gyro sensors but not a magnetic (compass) one. Reply
  • pete1229 - Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - link

    Great, now the NSA will only be limited to spying on youe emails and phone calls, they'll be able to track your exact position on the planet whenever and wherever they want. Reply
  • theduckofdeath - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link


    A phone tracks you more accurately than this watch. Troll.
  • A4i - Monday, September 30, 2013 - link

    How so? It is difficult to hold a smartphone when pissing, because your hands are occupied. Same holds truth when making love to your wife. Smartwatch will be an excellent spying platform. Reply
  • Wade_Jensen - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    I think the smartwatch form factor could do brilliantly as an RSS reader. News could just trickle in on your wrist. Maybe not a killer app, but news aggregation would be useful.
    Price point is not going to be viable above $150 IMO though.
  • rohan.jindal - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Seems like all the Gadgets company are now looking into Smartwatch segment as the New "Smart" thing to develop and attract more buyers to invest unnecessarily. And in India the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gears are available for pre-booking. Reply

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