Has Samsung Gear S2 camera

Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic: Round smartwatch in the test

Classically round: the Samsung Gear S2.

The Samsung Gear S2 and the technically identical Gear S2 classic are great in many ways. The operation via rotating bezel, the crisp display with a discreet “clock” appearance, all of this is successful. However, the short battery life and the small number of apps available for it spoil the fun. (In the course of adapting the test procedure in issue 15/2018, the grade has changed from 2.7 to 3.5.)

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  • Simple operating concept
  • Good display
  • Fitness functions not just for runners
  • Heart rate measurement
  • Short battery life
  • Few apps (Tizen) available
  • Voice control not very functional
Update (February 11, 2016): The Samsung Gear S2 classic is coming to the market in Germany this month in two additional housing variants: in 18K rose gold and in platinum. Both models cost around 480 euros each. For the rose gold version of the new Gear S2, Samsung includes an ivory-colored real leather strap, while the platinum version includes a black real leather strap.

Samsung Gear S2 and S2 Classic: The first impression

The Gear S2 has nothing in common with the unbelievably clunky design of earlier Samsung Gear smartwatches, nothing at all. It seems that Samsung first has to create half a dozen comfort monsters like the Gear S in order to devote itself to a fundamentally different idea in the successor S2. The Gear S2 no longer wants to be a complete smartphone on the arm, but a comfortable, not even particularly large watch with a few smart extras. The metal case lies comfortably light and flat on the arm, the bracelets are interchangeable and not inflated with hidden electronics. The spy camera, one of the gimmicks in Gear and Gear 2, has disappeared - because it was nothing more than that: a gimmick. In addition to the normal Samsung Gear S2 in a simple design, there is also the Gear S2 Classic with a classic decorative bezel and an optional leather strap. The Classic can use any 20 millimeter bracelets, while the sportier S2 uses a proprietary strap connector. The straps can also be removed here. The processing is at a high level, the gaps are great and the materials used give no reason for complaint.

The Samsung Gear S2 reinvents the bezel

The most important advance, however, is the operation. Just as Apple has gained a new function from the classic crown, Samsung is now taking on the edge of the case, the so-called bezel. A simple turn of the ceramic bezel to the left or right is enough to scroll through the menu or to switch between different display areas in open apps. The advantage is the same as with Apple's rotary knob: During operation, the fingers do not cover the comparatively tiny screen (1.2-inch diagonal with 360x360 pixels). In addition to the bezel, there is a back and a home button and a touchscreen. Some functions can be triggered both by touchscreen and by button, others not. You can only go one step back in the menu by pressing a button; conversely, apps can be started by tapping the touchscreen. The switch between buttons and touchscreen in particular takes some getting used to, but overall the operating concept is much more coherent than that of the Apple Watch with its numerous hidden gestures.

How Good Is The Samsung Gear S2? How convenient is the smartwatch? COMPUTER BILD shows the functions and whether the watch is worth buying.

Samsung Gear S2 in the test: the Apple Watch killer from Korea?

Despite WiFi: Little goes without a cell phone

To set it up, you have to install a suitable app (Gear Manager) on your smartphone. Special feature: This should be available for the first time not only for Samsung but also for other Android smartphones (from Android 4.4 and with at least 1.5 GB of RAM). Thus, Samsung's new smartwatch is now practically open to a broad Android community. Currently, however, the matching manager app for coupling is not yet available in the Play Store, but is only available on Samsung developer devices. Therefore, the connection with a Sony cell phone, for example, has not yet been tested. With the Samsung Galaxy S5, however, the necessary software could easily be downloaded from the Samsung app store. In Germany, the Gear S2 is only available for sale without a built-in cellular module; in the USA and Korea, there is also an eSIM version with its own cellular chip. Background: So far, no European provider has supported the virtual SIM card technology (eSIM) built into the 3G model. This means that many functions are only available with a smartphone coupled (via Bluetooth) even after the setup has been completed. After all: the Gear S2 has WiFi. But that's not really useful. Because even when the WLAN connection is activated, the Gear S2 does not become more independent. The S2 only uses the WLAN if it cannot establish a Bluetooth connection to the smartphone. For example, if you have forgotten your cell phone at home, but it is still connected to the network and at the same time you are connected to the company's WLAN, for example. The watch then does not call up the information it has requested itself via WLAN, but only tries to establish a connection with its “mother ship” - the smartphone. That then gets the information and sends it on the long journey to the clock - that is slow and usually only as useful as a small steak. Some apps even have to be started on the smartphone, otherwise nothing will happen. This is especially true for apps that are not preinstalled. The music player, on the other hand, works both with music stored on the mobile phone and with music directly in the clock's nominally 4 GB memory, of which only around 1.9 gigabytes are free. This is great if you want to listen to music without a smartphone while jogging with the Bluetooth headphones (there is no other way). Not so good, however: If you want to transfer an entire album to the watch, you have to be patient: In the test, it lasted 20 minutes with the smallest possible distance between the watch and smartphone.

Email and other notifications

When the mobile phone is paired, new SMS, e-mails, Google Hangouts, Facebook or WhatsApp notifications end up in the notification area, which can be reached from the standby time display by turning the bezel to the left. It first shows the subject of the latest e-mail, including the number of new unread messages. If you tap on the number, you can scroll through the list of subject lines and senders using the bezel. If you tap on an email, the clock shows the entire text it contains. But this shows why a round display for a smartwatch is actually anything but ideal: The text does not completely fill the display, but only appears in a narrow area with many breaks. That looks strange and wastes display space. After all: you can also answer. Either you choose a few given answer phrases like “yes” or “no”, type in text on a tiny on-screen keyboard or dictate texts via speech recognition (S-Voice). This usually works quite well as long as the background noise is not too strong - and of course only works when the mobile phone is connected to the Internet. Actually very practical: You can wake up the voice assistant in the Gear S2 with a magic word (such as “Ok Google” on Google Now) from half-sleep in order to operate the watch hands-free. To do this, you have to set a personal voice command in advance. In the test, however, the Gear S2 was a bit tricky: The S2 only understood short commands in very quiet surroundings and rarely immediately. Converting a voice memo into text should also be avoided because it takes a long time.

Samsung: Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic presented

S-Voice for SMS and more

SMS can also be sent by voice. All you have to do is tap the S-Voice icon in the menu and say a command such as “Send message to Gaby”. If the contact is correctly fished out of the address book, you can then speak the text and send it over the existing cell phone connection. That worked perfectly in the test. In addition, S-Voice also masters the usual knowledge dialogues that are already known from Siri: When asked "Who is the Mayor of Berlin?", The Gear S2 opened the Wikipedia entry on the Mayor of Berlin in no time at all. To the disappointment of the tester, however, he did not know the answer to the question “Who is the Mayor of Bremen?” And only offered an Internet search. An important difference to S-Voice on the mobile phone: The answers are not given by voice, but on the screen. Because the Gear S2 has no loudspeaker (only allows sound output via Bluetooth headphones). In the test, reminders could be set up perfectly using commands such as “Remind me at 4:45 p.m.” via voice commands. However, entering an appointment in the calendar is neither possible nor intended. If you want to save yourself having to press the buttons for voice commands, you can also set a magic word to wake up the voice input. However, this is not recommended, because constantly listening to the watch for a possible wake-up command costs valuable battery juice.

The advantages of the telephone connection

When the mobile phone is connected, the watch can also be operated as a remote control for the smartphone. For example, you can control the music player in your mobile phone, initiate or accept calls. The actual phone call, however, continues to run via the smartphone, unlike the Apple Watch, the watch does not work as a hands-free phone. If you have misplaced your cell phone, all you need to do is tap the “Find my Phone” app and the cell phone rings - even if it was actually set to silent. The watch can enter into a kind of long-distance relationship with your paired mobile phone via an active WLAN connection: If the mobile phone is at home (or on the desk one floor below), the watch continues to display SMS or e-mail notifications thanks to the internet connection via WLAN . Disadvantage: The WLAN connection swallows a lot of power, at least on the pre-production model used, and it caused the battery charge to drop by double-digit percentages within an hour in the test.

Smartwatch innovations 2016


Smartwatches have two core functions: On the one hand, they display notifications without having to take the mobile phone out of your pocket. And on the other hand, the built-in fitness functions. The Gear S2 offers solid features: In addition to the normal step counter, similar to the Apple Watch, there is also color-coded feedback on how active or sporty you are. And if you wish, the watch, like the Microsoft Band, can even measure your pulse continuously throughout the day at regular intervals. The results of the measurements can then be evaluated in the S-Health app on the mobile phone. The watch offers training measurement programs for several sports: some, such as jogging and running, are also possible without a paired mobile phone, others such as cycling require the GPS function in the mobile phone - because only the 3G version of the Gear S2, which is not planned in Germany, has its own GPS Chip built in. After all, the watch can do more than just step-based sports in fitness mode.

This is how the Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic tick

Technical specifications

A 1 gigahertz dual-core processor works in both clocks, the main memory is 512 megabytes. The first test models reacted quickly and without any time delay. A gross 4 gigabyte (GB) internal memory is available for storing music, pictures, etc. As an operating system, Samsung uses Tizen instead of AndroidWear, which is used by the Moto360, for example. But there are only very few apps for this, with a lot of benevolence closer to 100 than the announced 1000 apps. Most of the apps are clock screens right now. By contrast, offshoots of large smartphone apps are rare. The clocks work with WLAN (802.11 b / g / n), Bluetooth 4.1 and NFC. Via WLAN reception, notifications from the smartphone are also sent to the watch on the go, if the smartphone is at home. Samsung, on the other hand, wants to use NFC for mobile payment, but could soon replace the keycard in the hotel or the ticket. Could, because a practical application is not in sight in Germany. If the battery is running low, the S2 is charged wirelessly, which, according to Samsung, is required every three days at the latest. As usual, this is optimistic: In the test, the battery only lasted just under a day with activated Wi-Fi and the wake-up command for voice control and a brightly set display. With pure Bluetooth and without permanently active voice control, there are almost two days of service time before the watch automatically goes into power-saving mode (black and white display and limited functions). Charging the watch with the practical inductive charger (with widespread QI standard technology) took around two hours in the test. Overall, the S2 Classic lasts longer than the Apple Watch, for example.

»Overview: The best smartwatches

Samsung has also packed the usual portion of sensors into the watches: gyroscope, acceleration sensor, heart rate and light meters and a barometer. The position sensor, for example, activates the screen when the wrist is tilted. It is a shame, however, that the Gear S2 does not allow the coupling of external sensors (somewhat pedal sensors for the bike) - unfortunately this is typical for smartwatches. The round AMOLED screen has a very fine resolution of 360x360 pixels, very brilliant and measures around 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) in diameter on both watches. They are 11.4 millimeters thick and thus even 0.1 millimeters thicker than the chunkier-looking Huawei Watch. The case of the Classic is slightly smaller than that of the sports version Gear S2.

Price, availability

The Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic will go on sale in October. The Gear S2 is available from 349 euros, the Gear S2 classic from 379 euros.

The smartphone innovations 2018

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