The Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch was announced last week, and although it won’t officially be released until October, reviewers have had some time to play with preview copies. According to a report from Tech Times, they’re pretty pleased with the results.
For those of you who haven’t heard the hype yet, the Samsung Gear S2 is the successor to Samsung’s Gear S smartwatch. If you hadn’t even realized that Samsung makes smartwatches, please join the club; although reviewers have generally been satisfied with them, they’ve never seen much adoption by the public; perhaps, oddly enough, due to a lack of marketing on Samsung’s part, normally one of their strengths.
Samsung is aiming to change all of that, riding the coattails of the Apple Watch, which really put smartwatches into the public eye. The new Gear S2 has a lot to recommend it, both over its predecessors and over the Apple Watch; and although the hardware is top-of-the-line, that’s really not where the Gear S2 smartwatch shines.
The Gear S2 certainly does have the hardware chops. A Super AMOLED 360 x 360 display, a dual-core 1 GHz processor, 4 GB of locker space, and 512 (what we have to assume are MB, in spite of the assertion that it carries 512 GB) of RAM. A wrist-based powerhouse, to be sure.
What really makes the Samsung Gear S2 amazing, though, is the design. It has a perfectly-round face. It’s minimalist. A lot of its function is accessed with a rotating bezel; something that’s just never occurred to smartwatch designers before now. There are actually two different options; the S2 and the S2 Classic. As per the Financial Post, the Gear S2 is 42mm across, mounted on a special Samsung-exclusive plastic band. The real magic though, and possibly the answer to the question of how to get people wearing smartwatches, is the Gear S2 Classic; it features a 40mm face with a glossy-black finish, a knurled ceramic bezel, and a leather strap that can be swapped for any other watch strap.
Both sit nicely on the wrist, and that’s also a very important feature, but I’m not certain I can stress this enough. The Gear S2 Classic is a smartwatch that doesn’t look stupid.
That’s not to say that most smartwatches look bad, per se, but in spite of the obvious advantages, there are reasons that we don’t see a lot of the upper-class walking around with them; Samsung may have solved this with a couple of ridiculously simple (in retrospect) design choices.
The Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch hasn’t had a precise release date or price point nailed down, but it should be available in stores sometime in October, and prices are likely to be comparable to the Apple Watch.
For the first time, a smartwatch designer has chosen “classy” over “gimmicky” – and although we can’t say for sure, it may well pay off.
[Image courtesy of Samsung]