Age of Wearables: First Look at Samsung Gear 2 Neo

Age of Wearables: First Look at Samsung Gear 2 Neo

Samsung has gone big into the wearable market, with not one but three new wearable devices to build on their existing Gear series. And it seems like the Age of the Wearables is upon us, with Samsung, Sony all having gone big into the wearable watch space, as they look to compete with incumbent Pebble.

In addition, LG would also soon be announcing their G Watch soon. So stay tuned for that. There is a lot of anticipation for the LG Watch, thanks to their close tie up and collaboration with Google and many expect the G watch to be tied closely to Android Wear. Just the video alone from Google has excited many tech bloggers worldwide and we are eagerly waiting for the launch.

Back to the Gear 2 Neo, first and foremost, here’s a quick look at the specifications.

Gear 2 Neo R381 Specification

  • Display: 1.63-inch Super AMOLED (320 x 320)
  • Processor: 1.0 GHz Dual Core Processor
  • Operating system: Tizen-based wearable platform
  • Video Codec: H.264, H.263; Format: 3GP, MP4; HD(720p, @30fps) Playback & Recording
  • Audio Codec: MP3/AAC/AMR/Vorbis; Format: MP3, M4A, AAC, OGG
  • Fitness features: 1. Heart Rate sensor; 2. Pedometer; 3. Exercise (Standalone Modes: Running, Walking; Companion Modes: Cycling, Hiking); 4. Sleep & Stress (Downloadable)
  • Music: Music Player with Bluetooth Headset and Speaker
  • Remote: Remote Controller via IrLED Sensor
  • Basic Features: Bluetooth Call, Camera, Notification(SMS, E-mail, Apps)
  • Apps: Media Controller, Schedule, Smart Relay, S Voice, Stopwatch, Timer, Weather
  • Downloadable features: Calculator, ChatON, Flashlight, Quick Settings, Voice Memo
  • Gear 2 Neo strap options Charcoal Black, Mocha Grey and Wild Orange
  • Ruggedness IP67 Certified Dust and Water Resistant, Noise Cancellation
  • Featured apps: Banjo, BMW, CNN , Conde Nast, Expedia, eBay, Evernote, Feedly, GARMIN, Glympse, GM (Onstar 4GLTE), iControl, Line, Path, Paypal, RUNTASTIC, Volkswagen, Weather Channel, Under Armour (Map my fitness).
  • Samsung Services: Samsung Apps
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth® v4.0 LE, IrLED
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart Rate
  • Memory: 512MB RAM
  • Storage: 4GB
  • Dimensions: Gear 2 Neo: 37.9 x 58.8 x 10.0mm, 55g
  • Battery life Li-ion 300mAh; Typical Usage 2~3 days, Low Usage up to 6 days

The main difference between Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo is the Gear 2 R380 comes with a 2.0 Megapixel Auto Focus (1920×1080, 1080×1080, 1280×960) camera.


Price and Availability of the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo

The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are actually quite affordable in Singapore. As compared to US RRP, the two new Samsung Gear watches retail at a significant discount at approximately S$320 and S$225 respectively. You can buy them off Qoo10 with the links provided here. The link here is the cheapest from Qoo10 I found, with non-exorbitant shipping.

Opinions on the Gear 2 Neo

At a good S$95 cheaper, I would definitely buy the Gear 2 Neo over the Gear 2. I don’t think a camera on the watch is particularly useful unless you want to pretend like you are in a spy movie. The location of the camera, and obvious lens also means you would be hard pressed to take photos without others knowing. Just save the $90 and go for the Neo 2. My only preference for the Gear 2 is for the nicer rose gold colour.

One of the greatest benefit of the Gear 2 Neo is as a fitness tracking device, the ability to go for runs and then track heart rate, distance, calories etc is pretty useful. Bluetooth 4.0 connects smartwatch to smartphone or tablet of which there’s 17 Samsung-only devices that are compatible. That includes the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Sadly, there’s no love for Apple or other Android-running phones or tablets. Folks on XDA have managed to get other devices to pair with the watch, so notifications etc are linked, but the health monitoring functions are not. The watch requires S Health, which is limited to Samsung phones and also requires part of the Samsung TouchWiz Framework.

If you still want to try, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are known to work with the LG G2, and also the HTC One M8. The Gear Fit, seems to have better compatibility though, and has shown to be working with the Nexus 5, which includes the installation of the fitness tracking apps.

Also, the Gear 2 Neo runs on Tizen and not Android, so developers and apps would be limited. Although Samsung has gone ahead to release the SDK, the operating system is still in its infancy and it shows with the distinct lack of app support for one of the first Tizen-running devices to go on sale.