Samsung Gear S2 Review: Design Overhaul Seen as Improvement But Hardware, Software Disappoints

Samsung has proudly launched the newest member of their smartwatch family, the Samsung Gear S2. With all eyes on Samsung, the tech industry is looking forward to the innovation that comes with the new Samsung Gear S2.

Upon the unveiling, it is clear that Samsung has achieved an impeccable design structure for the new smartwatch. It has a simplistic round design that appears to be a mix of classic and futuristic fashion.

Aside from the great first impression, the Samsung Gear S2 also has a rotating bezel that makes navigation so much easier. Navigation has been one of the biggest challenges of smartwatch makers since the screen is too small for advanced touch screen controls.

The bezel also allows the user to easily control from the far end of the menu to the top menu. It has a good tactile feedback that makes navigation not only easy but also more intuitive. Even with the bezel controls, the Samsung Gear S2 still has the option to use the touch screen for navigation.

The screen, 1.2-inch 360×360 pixel Amoled screen, is of a very high quality. It is arguably the best screen on the market today. The Samsung Gear S2 has a round design comparable to the Moto 360 2nd Gen, but the sharp colors of the screen make it stand out, according to NDTV.

A Samsung Gear S2 Classic smart watch is on display during a Samsung news conference at CES Press Day at CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Hardware and Software Competitiveness

Samsung has already faced its fair share of criticisms when they first tried creating their very first smartwatch. With the Samsung Gear S2, they plan to eliminate the preliminary issues with the first version, but according to The National, the Samsung Gear S2 still needs a lot of improvements.

The Samsung Gear S2 has a dual-core Exynos 3250 SoC, which is compatible for Samsung’s wearables. It has a 4GB of internal storage and a 250 mAh battery. It can last for up to two days without charging and this is a slightly better performance than that of the Apple Watch.

The Samsung Gear S2 also has the Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi connectivity. It has the basic fitness features like gyroscope, barometer, accelerometer and light sensor. Adding to the bezel functionality is its pop up on-screen T9 keyboard. Though the screen is small, Samsung has found a way to provide its users with easier controls with the keyboard. They have also added voice recognition to its list of features.

Tizen is the operating system of the new Samsung Gear S2. Though major smartwatch makers now use Tizen, the Samsung Gear S2 has a slight variation. The Tizen primarily works in a circular interface, while the Samsung Gear S2 has a vertical and horizontal navigation.

This Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, photo shows the application menu on Samsung’s Gear S2 Classic smartwatch during a presentation in New York. Samsung says it expects about 1,000 apps to be available when the S2 launches. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Though the Samsung Gear S2 has had a strong launch, it could still be improved with a built-in speaker and GPS capabilities. Other smartwatches already have the GPS feature, but sadly, the Samsung Gear S2 does not have it yet.

The other feature it is lacking is the ability to use the Samsung Gear S2 as a smartphone alternative. The Samsung Gear S2 cannot be used to make phone calls, but it has the S Voice app that can send a text to the users’ contacts and tell the weather only in the “Bognor Regis.” The National noted that they did not understand “where Bognor Regis is.”

The Samsung Gear S2 is compatible only to Android 4.4. Surprisingly, Samsung announced that they will be releasing an iOS Support Version for the Samsung Gear S2, but it is unlikely to be released this year.

Samsung Gear S2 is available for $499 and the Samsung Gear S2 Classic is sold at $599.

[Image Credit: AP Photo/John Locher]