I recently discovered the Samsung Gear 2 Neo while on a recent shopping trip here in New Jersey. A lot of people may not know that the Samsung Gear line has been out quite a bit longer than the popular Apple Watch.
A huge amount of hype has circulated around the Apple Watch release. An entirely new category of product called wearable technology is getting off the ground. There’s a wide variety of opinions that range from this category being very limited to the greatest idea since the smartphone itself. Personally, I think it’s somewhere in between. I see a real use for activities such as fitness and a quick weather update but this isn’t going to replace your smartphone.
It does some of what the Apple Watch does and best of all, it is made to work with a lot of popular Samsung phones such as the Galaxy S5, Galaxy Mega, Galaxy Note 3. It even works with many of Samsung’s tablets including the Galaxy Note 10.1. You need a Samsung device that’s compatible with the Gear 2 and is running Android 4.3 or higher. The Samsung Gear 2 will pair with your Samsung device using Bluetooth and will use an application called the Samsung Gear Manager. The Samsung Gear Manager will reside on your phone or tablet to enable many functions on your wrist that you typically would rely on your smartphone for. The Gear 2 will be using the cellular or data connection on your smartphone to receive information from the outside world.
The connectivity between the smartphone and your Gear 2 Neo is going to be somewhat limited. No more than 30 feet and that’s probably pushing it.
The most common use for the Gear 2 Neo will be to receive notifications from your phone for incoming calls, email, texts and calendar reminders. These are pushed from your paired Galaxy device to your Gear 2 Neo and you can react to them without checking your phone or tablet. This is fairly useful if your phone or tablet is in your desk drawer or pants pocket. When there is an incoming call or any notification, your watch will vibrate on your wrist. You just need to look at your wrist to see what’s up.
Using an application called Samsung’s S Voice, you can talk to your watch. You can initiate calls and verbally reply to texts as well as give it basic commands. The watch has a speaker and microphone so you can talk to someone using the watch but be aware the microphone and speaker are really small and you will need to put your wrist up to your mouth for clear articulation. This might be a useful feature if your phone isn’t hooked up to your car’s Bluetooth. I wonder if the New Jersey cops would write a ticket if they saw you talking to your watch?
The Gear 2 will also hold up to 2.5 GB of music so you can download quite a bit of stuff to listen to independent of your phone. This is a nice feature for workouts as you can attach a Bluetooth headset directly to the watch and not even need your phone or tablet.
I think one of the most useful features of the watch is the integration of the Samsung S Health app from your phone or tablet. You can measure your heart rate when the watch is on your wrist using the built-in monitor. The watch will also measure the number of steps using your watch and it pairs up nicely with the app on your paired phone or tablet. The watch includes all the basics for a workout including a stopwatch and timer.
Misplace your phone? Use the Find My Phone feature on your watch to page the phone. If you have your watch on, this is slightly more convenient than finding a landline to call it.
The Samsung Gear 2 Neo is a nice accompaniment for your phone or tablet. It delivers basic functionality on your wrist that most users are after. While perhaps not as eccentric as the Apple Watch, it’s perfect for the basic user that is simply looking for notification, music, voice and a fitness accompaniment.