Review: Samsung Galaxy Gear

Review: Samsung Galaxy Gear

Samsung's new smartwatch is not the first computer for the wrist, but for those who grew up on Dick Tracy and Knight Rider, it is the closest that any company has come to wearable wrist technology.

When it is paired with the upcoming Galaxy Note 3, a user can use it to answer and make calls and execute hands-free voice operations. It even has a 1.9-megapixel camera for snapping quick photos, without having to whip out your phone.

Imagine being in a meeting and being able to check phone notifications and messages discreetly, or you can use it to call a friend by simply tapping on the screen so you do not have to let go of the hand strap in a packed MRT train.

Swiping between the various apps is a breeze, as a simple gesture to the left or right allows you to scroll through the watch's functions. A simple swipe at the top of the screen turns the camera on. Samsung said it has optimised 70 Android apps to work with the watch, including note-taking app Evernote, messaging app Line and activity tracker RunKeeper.

Of course, it is far from perfect. It needs to be in close proximity to the Note 3 to function properly and I was not able to test its microphone and speaker, but I suspect that, unlike using a Bluetooth headset, few would want their conversations to be made public.

As for those looking to take a run or cycle without their phones but still have apps such as RunKeeper track it, the lack of a GPS chip in the watch means you cannot get a route map of your activity, so you still need to take your phone with you during a run.

The 25-hour battery life also means that users would need to charge the single-core powered watch daily, which is a huge departure from wearing a watch that needs a battery change only every few months, or even years.

Samsung said the Galaxy Gear will eventually work with current Galaxy devices such as the Galaxy S4, but those devices will require a software upgrade that will be made available later.

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