Samsung kicked off the wearable wars with a bunch of smartwatches, but in the past few years, it’s backed off — until now. Samsung’s fantastic new Gear S2 smartwatch is official. Here are all the specs and features Samsung packed into its new smartwatch.
The Gear S2 runs Tizen, but unlike its predecessor, it brought compatibility to select non-Samsung Android devices, as well. And at CES, the company confirmed rumors that it’d introduce iPhone compatibility to the round smartwatch later this year.
In adding support for iOS devices, Samsung’s following in Google’s footsteps — the search engine giant recently opened up Android Wear smartwatches to iPhone users.
SamMobile was the first to report in September that Samsung’s Gear Manager app would make its way to iOS. It’ll allow users to pair their iPhone with the Gear S2, but there was no specific date on when the support will arrive.
However, the Gear Manager app leaked online in mid-April, which could be an indication that it’s close to launching in the App Store. iOS users can download the app now, but unfortunately it can’t be installed on an iPhone unless it’s jailbroken. Since the app hasn’t been thoroughly checked by Apple, it’s probably not a good idea to install it anyway.
It’s also unknown if it’s the final version of the app or even if it’s officially from Samsung. However, it’s unlikely a random person took the time to develop the app, so there’s a good chance that it’s legit. Assuming that’s the case, the fact that it’s already an .ipa app file means that it could launch very soon.
You can check if your Android device is compatible with the Gear S2 here. There are some phones that aren’t on the list, which also support the Gear S2. If you want to see if your phone is one of them, just check if the Gear app works on your device. Here’s a link to it on the Google Play Store.
Samsung’s Gear S2 smartwatch is available for purchase in the United States. The regular Gear S2 costs $300 and the Classic costs $350. You can buy both versions of the round watch at Samsung.com, Amazon.com, Best Buy, and Macy’s.
The following U.S. carriers announced intentions to carry the 3G version of the Gear S2:
Verizon – The Gear S2 arrived at Verizon on November 6. It costs $350 at full retail, but customers can get it for $300 with a new two-year contract activation. Customers can add the Gear S2 to their current Verizon account for $5 a month. Verizon offers both the Dark Gray and Silver color options, too.
T-Mobile – The Gear S2 is available online and in T-Mobile stores. Customers can add the Gear S2 to existing plans for only $5 extra per month. The Gear S2 will then have unlimited talk, text, and data, although only 500MB of that data will be high-speed data. T-Mobile will sell the Gear S2 in two colors – Dark Gray and Silver for $0 down and 23 payments of $15 plus one payment of $15. Alternatively, customers can buy it for the full-retail price of $360.
AT&T – The Gear S2 is available on AT&T for $15 per month for 20 months, which equals out to $300, or you can grab it for $200 with a contract.
U.S. Cellular – The Gear S2 is available on U.S. Cellular, costing $300. The company does not list a contract price on its website.
We’ll keep you updated on carrier pricing.
Samsung struggled with smartwatch design early on. All of it’s devices tended toward futuristic over-the-top designs that looked odd on most people’s wrists. The Gear S with its massive 2-inch curved screen was the epitome of strange design choices. However, the Gear S2 is much more in line with the current thinking about smartwatches: They should look like normal wristwatches.
Related: The complete list of Android phones that are compatible with the Samsung Gear S2
The Gear S2 has a perfectly round screen, relatively small profile, and a few sleek band options. It comes in three different options, all of which have slightly different dimensions:
To put that in perspective, here are the LG Watch Urbane‘s measurements: 45.5 x 52.2 x 10.9mm and 66.5 grams. Samsung’s Gear S2 seems to be lighter and smaller across than the Urbane, though it is thicker, which comes as something of a surprise. The Urbane is already pretty hefty.
Samsung’s Gear S2 does have a neat rotating bezel, though, a home button, and a back button to make navigation easier. The buttons also add an element of style to the watch and make it look more like a standard wristwatch.
Related: The redeemer: Why the Gear S2 is the best Samsung product in years
The Gear S2 is also available in a dark gray case with a dark gray band and silver case with a white band. Meanwhile, those who opt for the Gear S2 Classic will be able to dress their smartwatch up with a black case with a real leather band. Regardless of which model you buy, the Gear S2 will be water and dust resistant, thanks to its IP68 rating.
Inside that rotating bezel is a 1.2-inch circular AMOLED screen with a 360 x 360 pixel resolution, which amounts to a pixel density of 302ppi (pixels per inch). For a smartwatch, that’s actually quite high resolution, so the Gear S2 should look sharp and bright on the wrist. The Gear S2 runs Tizen, which has been tweaked to fit the smartwatch interface and optimized to suit the 1GHz dual-core processor that’s inside the device. The watch comes with 512MB of RAM, which is pretty standard on a smartwatch, and 4GB of storage.
Just like every other wearable, the Gear S2 connects to your phone via Bluetooth, but it also has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC. You could use this device to make mobile payments via Samsung Pay and control other NFC-enabled devices. The 3G model has built-in connectivity and can work on its own without your phone, thanks to the “first-ever e-SIM with voice capability,” as Samsung puts it.
Samsung alerted its Tizen developers to the existence of the Gear S2 long ago, so Samsung says there are a good number of apps available for the device. Regardless, it’ll sync to your phone, giving you notifications from all your Android apps. The Gear S2 can send texts and other replies, too.
A slew of sensors — including an accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate, ambient light, and barometer — all ensure that the Gear S2 tracks your activity with as much accuracy as possible. To encourage Gear S2 users to be even more active, Samsung added new activity features to the smartwatch, including a 24-hour activity log that shows you daily activity progress and patterns at a glance. Much like the Apple Watch, the Gear S2 will send reminders to motivate users to meet their goals.
Related: Best wearables for your money
The regular Gear S2 models without 3G connectivity contain 250mAh batteries, which Samsung claims last 2-3 days. The 3G model packs a slightly larger 300mAh battery, which is said to last 2 days. Both charge wirelessly via a charging dock.
Updated on 04-14-2016 by Robert Nazarian: Added in information about leaked Gear Manager app for iOS.
Updated on 01-05-2016 by Kyle Wiggers: Added official Samsung announcement of iOS compatibility.
Updated on 10-15-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added in news that T-Mobile and Verizon will offer the Gear S2 on November 15 and November 6, respectively. Also added pricing for the LTE model at both carriers.
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