Hands on with the Samsung Gear S2 watches at IFA 2015

Samsung officially took the covers off the Gear S2 watches last night, revealing at the same time that these Tizen based watches will now work with Android smartphones – although without some of the functionality.

The new watch has a rotating bezel and is available as a classic model (with removable 20mm strap) or a sport model, with a fixed strap. All of them are gender neutral, and are also fitted with NFC for use with Samsung’s take on Apple Pay, called Samsung Pay.

Following a day of talking about Internet of Things (IoT) and how all Samsung devices by 2020 will be enabled for IoT, the company was keen to talk about a range of possible futures where the watch will be able to manage your front door security, manage your car (turn on the air con before you arrive to give you a nice cool car, lock the car or manage the electric charging), and loads of other great ideas – in theory at least.

Putting such ideas into practice will require getting people to buy into the whole mindset, but for the time being it would be good to just get people to want to buy a smartwatch at all.

However, the Gear S2 watches are quite interesting in their design and user interface – offering an alternative to Android Wear, which is behind the watches from most other companies like Sony, LG, Motorola, Huawei and many more.

Check out my short video that shows the watches, in a range of colours (more designs will be available thanks to the creativity of Italian designer Alessandro Mendini), and demonstrates how the rotating bezel and back button makes it easy to navigate all of the apps and engage with each of them.

The watches go on sale in October, with pricing information to follow nearer to launch. I’d expect Samsung to be offering the watches at a large range of prices, in line with Apple’s own pricing strategy.

Press Release

LONDON, UK – 1st September, 2015 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today announced the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch, the company’s latest offering in the wearables category.

The Samsung Gear S2 comes in a versatile, circular design with an intuitive, custom UX and advanced features that allows users to enhance and personalise their mobile experience.

The Gear S2’s unique rotating bezel, along with the Home and Back buttons, ensures people will have a quicker, more precise method to comfortably access notifications and applications.

Available as two different options – the Gear S2 and the Gear S2 classic – Samsung has designed the Gear S2 to appeal to a wide range of people. The Gear S2 classic is made for those who prefer a more timeless watch design, offering an elegant black finish with a matching genuine leather band. The Gear S2 is ideal for those who are on-the-go and want a smartwatch with a minimal and more modern design.

“Samsung has pioneered and led the wearables category over the last few years, bringing exciting new innovations into the market,” said Conor Pierce, Vice President, IT & Mobile Division, Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland. “The Samsung Gear S2 is the most exciting smartwatch to date and offers customers a completely new wearable experience. With an incredibly vibrant screen, it’s the first-ever watch with voice capability and a host of connected features like being able to make calls without the need for a smartphone. You’ll want to wear it from day to night as the ultimate fashion accessory.”

At 11.4-millimeter thin, the Samsung Gear S2 brings a light and compact design to your wrist. It offers an incredibly vibrant viewing experience for a smartwatch, thanks to its 1.2-inch circular screen and its 360 x 360 resolution (302 ppi). The applications on the Gear S2 can be viewed with amazing clarity so that users don’t miss notification pop-ups. Also, with the latest Tizen OS and an optimized 1-GHz dual core processor, the Samsung Gear S2 can perform tasks easily and efficiently.

Users can stay connected with at-a-glance notifications to check calendars, e-mails, news and can even send important texts directly from their wrist. Users can choose the Gear S2 with 3G connectivity which incorporates the first-ever e-SIM with voice capability, to perform quick functions without being closely tethered to their phone.

New fitness functions on the Samsung Gear S2 will encourage consumers to stay healthy and active. The 24-hour activity log lets users view daily activity progress and patterns at a glance. It will also send reminder updates to motivate users to stay on track with their fitness goals.

For the ultimate convenience, the Samsung Gear S2 comes with NFC technology which will enable mobile payments without the need for a wallet. Samsung is working with a wide selection of partners across different industries to expand the usability of wearables and streamline consumers’ mobile lives in a variety of ways, including smart car keys, residential room keys, and remote controls to manage a connected home.

All of these connected features will be supported by a battery that can last up to 2-3 days, allowing consumers to stay connected without the hassle of constantly having to recharge. To charge, simply place the Samsung Gear S2 on the wireless charging dock right out of the box.

The Samsung Gear S2 reflects Samsung’s commitment to openly collaborate with developers and partners to bring increased customization and applications to its devices. Samsung is working closely with partners to offer a range of watch faces and watch bands so users can pick the design that best suits their style. Users can easily change the band with one click, and change the watch face for a more personalised Gear experience.

A variety of apps optimised for the Gear S2’s circular user interface will be available at launch. Through open collaboration with developers and partners, Samsung is continuing to enrich its wearable ecosystem and provide users with a more optimized and unique smart wearable experience.

The Samsung Gear S2 will be available in a Dark Gray case with a Dark Gray band and Silver case with a White band. The Samsung Gear S2 classic will be available in a Black case with a Leather band.

The Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S2 classic will be showcased for full media hands-on and more applications will be demonstrated with partners at Tempodrum, Berlin on 3 September.


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