One of the most talked about gadgets in the last few weeks has been that of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch. This is mainly due to the fact that there has been speculation by many that Apple would be releasing their own smart watch and instead of playing follow the leader, Samsung released their smart watch first. That’s mainly why I think the Galaxy Gear exists today. The Galaxy Gear is an Android based smart watch although locked to currently supporting only one device, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Yup, this smart watch only works on Samsung’s latest smart phone with support for other devices later down the road.
Now that the introduction is out of the way, the main purpose of this preview is to just give you a glimpse of what to expect with the Galaxy Gear. This isn’t a full in-depth review because I’ve only had it for a couple of days and I don’t think it’s fair posting up a hasty review of it in such a short amount of time. That’s why for now, these are just my initial impressions of the device.
The Galaxy Gear itself is not as large as I initially thought it was. When watching the reveal for it, I thought it looked rather huge for a watch and a bit awkward. However upon receiving it, it certainly wasn’t what I expected. It’s a bit smaller than I expected with a watch face that is certainly manageable in size and doesn’t look huge on my wrist. The wrist strap is also a good width while the camera hump isn’t as noticeable as I would have thought, although this could be because I received the Galaxy Gear with a black wrist strap. More on all that a bit later.
No matter which color you choose, the design of the Galaxy Gear will be the same. It will have a brushed stainless steal watch face, a 320 x 320 Super AMOLED touch screen, a plastic back, rubber straps, and stainless steel clasps. The rubber band has a nice lined texture to it that gives it a unique look, making the rubber a bit classier look than if it were smooth. The entire watch is controlled using the touch screen, though there is a physical button on the side that can be used for sleep/wake functions, powering on and off the device, and allowing it to launch a specific app with a double press. In terms of quality, I’d say it is a step up from the usual Samsung plastic feeling devices we’ve seen in the past and it’s not a bad first outing in terms of build quality and looks.
There are a couple areas that bothers me about the Galaxy Gear however are the screws that are prominently shown on the watch face. You’d figure that with a design element like this being front and center, you’d at least have all the screws facing in the same direction for a more uniformed look. Instead, none of them are even remotely lined up which is a bit sloppy in my opinion. Hopefully they work on this with future model revisions.
The last area that is a bit awkward is the method in which the Galaxy Gear needs to charge. You don’t just plug in a USB cable. You have to use this included plastic dock that wraps around the Galaxy Gear and then you plug the USB charge cable into that. That means if you go on trips, you have to remember to bring the plastic dock other wise there is no way you’ll be able to charge up the Gear. You also need this plastic dock to initiate the first setup process with the Note 3 via NFC.
Technically, this isn’t my final thoughts as this is really just the conclusion to my preview. All I can say is that build wise, I like the Galaxy Gear. It’s not overly large, though I can see it maybe being too large for women. It looks very classy in black which also helps hide the fact that there is a little camera bulge sticking out of the back. It’s fairly comfortable to wear and isn’t very heavy at all.
There are only a few areas of awkwardness, but that mainly has to do with the way it needs to be charged and a slight cosmetic annoyance.
Again, this preview right now is mainly just judging the Galaxy Gear based on initial hardware impressions. Nothing here is about the software which I will cover later in the full review.