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Monday, 3 October 2016

Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch - Classic - DETAILED review and comparison to Android Wear ... plus a tip



Oct 3, 2016, 10:24:11 PM

Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch - Classic

Review Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch - Classic - DETAILED review and comparison to Android Wear ... plus a tip

AS OF FEBRUARY, 2016, I AM RAISING MY REVIEW TO 5 STARS (fróm 4). I USE THIS EVERYDAY, IT LOOKS LIKE A WATCH AND IT'S GOTTEN EVEN BETTER WITH THE LATEST SOFTWARE UPDATE. I ALSO EXCHANGED THE SPORT AND GOT THE CLASSIC. I'M GLAD I DID. THE CLASSIC IS GREAT LOOKING AND THE RING IS EVEN EASIER TO GRASP.

Thís révíéw ís bàséd ón thé Géàr S2 Spórt/Dàrk Gréy édítíón, nót thé clàssíc. I àlsó ówn à móré fórmàl LG Wàtch Urbàné whích ís àn Andróíd Wéàr bàséd wàtch. Thé Géàr S2 usés à dífférént ópéràtíng systém knówn às Tízén.

NOTIFICATIONS – THE MAIN REASON I WANT A SMART WATCH
Oné thíng I wàs cóncérnéd àbóut wàs whéthér ór nót I cóuld usé my préférréd téxt méssàgíng àpp (Téxtrà) às óppóséd tó thé stóck SMS méssàgíng àpp ànd stíll gét nótífícàtíóns. Thé ànswér ís YES, yóu càn. Yóu càn àlsó réply usíng thé límítéd réply méthóds àvàílàblé fór téxt méssàgés.

In fàct, yóu càn díréct àny nótífícàtíón thàt nórmàlly àppéàrs àt thé tóp óf yóur Andróíd phóné tó thé Géàr S2 (é.g. córpóràté émàíl, Gmàíl, étc.). Thé Géàr phóné àpp léts yóu turn nótífícàtíóns ón ànd óff ón à pér àpp bàsís. Só – turn ón yóur SMS prógràm, turn óff thé ónés yóu dón’t wànt shówíng up ón yóur wàtch.

Yóu’ll wànt tó límít whàt góés tó thé wàtch bécàusé ít wíll gét crówdéd ànd thé íntérfàcé ísn’t thé bést fór mànàgíng lóts óf nótífícàtíóns (séé bélów).

INTERFACE
Yóu íntéràct wíth thé wàtch by tóuchíng thé scréén ór thé wàtch’s róund bézél. Déspíté thé tíny ón scréén buttóns, my régulàr fíngérs àlwàys séém tó hít thé ríght buttón. Yóu càn tàlk tó thé wàtch às wéll. Fór éxàmplé, yóu càn wàké ít up wíth à custóm phràsé (é.g. “Héy Géàr”) ànd thén màké vàríóus réquésts víà S-Vóícé (nót Góóglé’s vóícé systém, unfórtunàtély). I fóund thé vóícé récógnítíón “àccéptàblé” – nót gréàt. Pérsónàlly, I’m nót bíg ón tàlkíng tó my wàtch.

Tó réàd à full méssàgé, yóu tàp ón thé méssàgé ànd ít swítchés tó à módé thàt léts yóu scróll dówn thróugh thé whólé méssàgé usíng yóur fíngér ór thé whéél.

Tó tàké àctíón ón à méssàgé, yóu tàp thé sídé óf thé scréén ànd rótàté thé ríng tó píck réply, dísmíss, sàvé, àctuàlly délété thé méssàgé, étc. thén tàp ón thé buttón. Yóu càn àlsó just tàp ón thé buttón wíthóut séléctíng ít wíth thé ríng. I séém tó bé géttíng hàndy àt móvíng thróugh thé ménus quíckly thé móré I usé ít. It’s just nót às símplé às thé bàsíc swípé-àwày uséd ín Andróíd Wéàr whích ís véry éfféctívé.

Yóu càn àlsó sénd méssàgés usíng íts “buddy” féàturé. Yóu séléct thé buddy fróm yóur àddréss bóók, thén thé phóné numbér. Yóu càn thén càll thém ór sénd à téxt. If yóu chóósé tó sénd à téxt, yóu àré gívén thréé óptíóns: spéàk ít, usé óné óf thé cànnéd réspónsés ór sénd àn Emójí. Thé cànnéd réspónsés càn bé édítéd só yóu càn àdd yóur ówn – thàt’s nícé. As fór càllíng, yóu’ll nééd tó pull àt yóur phóné tó àctuàlly tàlk.

It’s gót twó buttóns ón thé sídé. Oné fór BACK ànd óné fór HOME. Héré’s sómé ínsídér ínfó: Yóu càn prógràm thé HOME buttón só thàt íf yóu préss ít twícé, ít pérfórms à custóm àctíón (é.g. ópén thé BUDDY méssàgé séndíng tóól).

APPS
Héré’s thé Achíllés héél. Andróíd Wéàr hàs MANY móré àpps. Sàmsung hàs àn “àpp stóré” but ít pàthétíc ín cómpàrísón tó thé màss óf Andróíd Wéàr àpps ín thé plày stóré. Thé quéstíón ís – dóés ít màttér? Thé Géàr S2 hàs àll thé bàsícs ànd wíll délívér yóur full suíté óf nótífícàtíóns. I dó fínd mysélf míssíng my móré róbust AW méssàgíng àpp (Cófféé) ànd Evérnóté àmóng óthérs. Cómpàréd tó AW, yóu àrén’t góíng tó fínd lóàds óf wàtch fàcés fór thé Géàr S2 éíthér.

SCREEN
Thé Géàr S2’s scréén ís górgéóus. Hígh résólutíón, béàutíful cólór réndítíón. Cómpàréd tó thé Urbàné, whích I bélíévé hàs thé bést scréén óf thé AW wàtchés óut nów (10/2015), thé wínnér ís thé Géàr S2. Nót thàt thé Urbàné ís bàd, ít’s thàt thé Géàr tóps ít.

Líké AW, thé Géàr S2 hàs àn àmbíént módé whéré thé wàtch fàcé ís àlwàys àctívé évén whén yóu’ré nót lóókíng àt ít. It just shóws thé clóck hànds ór thé dígítàl tímé untíl yóu bríng yóur wríst up tó lóók àt ít – thén ít fílls thé scréén wíth thé cómplété wàtch fàcé.

ALERTS
Théré ís nó spéàkér ón thís wàtch. Yóu càn’t màké càlls ón thé wàtch àlóné. Thé wàtch àlérts yóu wíth víbràtíóns whích hàvé twó ínténsíty séttíngs. I àm usíng thé lówér séttíng ànd géttíng uséd tó thé líght buzz. I fóund thé hígh séttíng tóó lóud. Yóu cóuld héàr ít buzzíng.

SIZE
I hàvé rélàtívély thín wrísts ànd thís ís thé ónly wàtch tó dàté thàt dóésn’t bórdér ón rídículóus whén I’m wéàríng ít. My Urbàné ís ríght ón thé líné bécàusé ít’s só thíck but ít lóóks líké à réàl wàtch só I dón’t thínk péóplé séé ít às à T.V. stràppéd tó my wríst. If yóu hàvé thín tó módéràté wrísts, thé Géàr S2 ís thé wày tó gó. Lóóks góód ànd nót óut óf plàcé.

BANDS
Thé wàtch cómés wíth 4 própríétàry, sàmé-cólór bànds óf dífférént léngths thàt yóu càn míx ànd màtch. Théy unhóók but ít tàkés sómé éffórt. I àm usíng óné smàll ànd óné làrgé bànd tó gét just thé ríght fít. Yóu càn usé bóth smàll ór bóth làrgé. I fóund thàt usíng bóth làrgé wàs just tóó bíg. I wàs ín thé làst hólé. Bóth smàll… wày tóó smàll.

BATTERY
I’vé hàd nó próblém wíth thé wàtch éàsíly màkíng ít fróm mórníng tó bédtímé ànd hàvíng àt léàst 25% tó spàré. Thàt’s wíth híghér “I just gót à néw tóy” usàgé (I’vé hàd thé wàtch fór à wéék)

BOTTOM LINE....
Andróíd Wéàr ís thé béttér íntérfàcé ànd só màny móré àpps but thé Géàr S2 ís béttér lóókíng (physícàlly ànd thé scréén) éspécíàlly ón à smàllér wríst. Thé Géàr S2 réàlly nàíléd thé íntéràctíón méthód wíth thé rótàtíng díàl. I wísh yóu cóuld màrry thé twó íntó óné wàtch!

Whàt wíll I bé wéàríng? Thé Géàr S2 às àn évérydày wàtch ànd thé Urbàné fór móré dréssy óccàsíóns, whén I féél líké à slíghtly upscàlé lóók ór whén I just nééd thé móré róbust àpps àvàílàblé ín AW.

I’m gívíng ít fóur stàrs. I’ll ràísé ít tó fívé íf thé numbér óf àvàílàblé àpps íncréàsés àllówíng fór móré custómízàtíón ànd functíónàlíty.

MY TIP… Yóu càn réórdér thé màín scrééns by tóuch-hóldíng thé scrééns ànd délétíng/àddíng bàck thé scrééns ín thé órdér yóu wànt. I fóund thé défàult órdér óf thé màín scrééns léss thàn àppéàlíng untíl I díscóvéréd yóu càn réórdér thém (é.g. I dídn’t nééd S-Héàlth às à prímàry scréén). It’s nót thé gréàtést systém tó réàrràngé thé scrééns but ít càn bé dóné créàtíng à móré pérsónàlízéd éxpéríéncé.


Comments on Review Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch - Classic - DETAILED review and comparison to Android Wear ... plus a tip

Paul Q says:
No. The watch is almost always receiving data that the phone has already pulled down from the network for itself anyway. For example, the mail and text notifications are already coming in on the phone. The Samsung app is just directing copies of those notifications to the watch. The only exception I can think of is the weather information. The Samsung app may be using your data to collect the weather information specifically for the Samsung app to send to the watch. Data use for that has got to be miniscule. (I hope this isn't a duplicate post - it didn't seem to post the first one I typed)

Rob says:
No other data plan is needed-

tony says:
I read a review on another site about his watch not staying connected to his phone. Have you noticed problem? He also mentioned he had to do a lot of factory resets. Have you experienced that?

Paul Q says:
That sounds a lot like the problem the watch had soon after its release with phones running Android Marshmallow (v. 6.0). Samsung resolved the issue with a software update months ago. I use a Nexus phone that is running Marshmallow. I have zero problems with disconnections. The watch stays connected. If I turn the watch off for a period of time then turn it back on, it links right up again.

D. Reiter says:
i have a question. In order to have my phone synch with my corporate email, I have to always type in my code to access anything on the phone. Would that work the same with the watch (would I have to type in my code to "wake up" or access any feature?

Paul Q says:
The watch basically reflects notifications you get on your phone. So if your email program displays notifications (the kind that generate an icon at the top of your phone screen and entry in the pull-down shade), that notification will probably appear on your watch. For example, Gmail generates an icon and the subject of the email in your notification shade. That information appears on the watch too. In the case of Gmail, you can actually tap the notification on your watch and read the whole message. I also use Nine for my corporate email. It works exactly the same way.

If your corporate email is syncing in the background and generates that kind of notification on your phone on its own prior to you having to enter the pass code, there's a chance the watch will show the notification too. However, I don't think it's going to let you read the contents of the message on your watch unless there happens to be a big hole in your corporate email client that lets watches bypass the pass code.

If your corporate email program doesn't even notify you of new email until you log into it, the watch isn't going to notify you of anything related to that corporate email account.

It is highly likely you cannot initiate access to your corporate email from the watch either. In your case, i would only get the watch with the understanding that it has no function related to your corporate email. Other notifications will work (e.g. Gmail, text messages, Google Now alerts, etc.).

playnasc says:
What phone are you using with the S2? It seems that unless you have a samsung phone, the messaging and email app is very limited.

Paul Q says:
I was using an LG G3 and now I'm using a Nexus 6P. The messaging works fine for me. I mean, within the limits of the watch. Gmail and my Exchange mail comes up on my watch fine. I don't reply to email on my watch. I think that is a pain on any watch especially since my phone is about 2 feet away in my pocket where I can type my full reply. It's going to depend on what you expect from a watch. The one thing that I know wouldn't work is Samsung Pay but I'm not even sure if that's available on the S2. I've seen bits and pieces about it but I never really looked into it because I don't use a Samsung Phone.

Howard A. Smith Jr. says:
I'm on the fence about getting this watch because there were a lot of complaints with the band breaking completely off from the watch, have you heard/had that issue?

Paul Q says:
I'm guessing those are people with the plastic "dark grey" model.

I ended up with the CLASSIC model. It has a leather band. I have had absolutely no problem with the band but I am not swapping bands. I will note that the bands are designed to be swappable so on the leather band, you can slide the pin inward to remove the band (kind of like a toilet paper holder). I find the mechanism to be very difficult to operate and would question its durability. The pin is buried in the leather. Like i said though, I don't swap the bands and everything has been fine.

I had the "dark grey" model first. It came with several different sized bands. I found removing the bands to be a little challenging. I only kept that model for a few days before I switched to the "Classic." I can see it is possible there could be issues with the plastic band but I have no evidence. In my opinion, the "Classic" is a much better looking watch. It's personal preference though.

Kenneth M. Hopkins says:
How close does your phone have to be to the watch for notifications? Example. If my phone was in the car on my cell data plan and the watch was on a wifi network at home or work would you still get notifications?

Paul Q says:
My watch loses connection if I exit Bluetooth range. I don't think it has the WiFi "cloud" feature that my Urbane features. I would say 30 feet max. and that's probably within direct sight of the phone.

Ewin Sofian Winata says:
is anyone knows what is the difference between US version and International version?
thank you

Gary says:
Thanks for the detailed review. I, too, have smaller wrists and own an LG Urbane. Your included picture of both watches on your wrist was exceptionally helpful in influencing me to buy the S2 Classic. I will probably keep the Urbane as well. Questions: when you get a call on your phone, does the watch Vibrate? Can you reject a call from the watch? Are you using a non-Samsung Android phone, and if so, does the connectivity work well?

Thanks again!

Paul Q says:
Yes, you do get a vibrating alert on the watch when you get a call that is similar to what you get on Android Wear. I have dismissed many calls with it. I used the Gear S2 with my LG G3 and have since upgraded to a Nexus 6P. The watch works fine with both. Connectivity works perfectly. I think I read it does something extra when it's paired with a Samsung phone but I can't remember what that is... ? Obviously, I'm not missing it!

I kept my Urbane because I don't think it's worth selling but I have almost stopped wearing it entirely because it is so big on my wrist.

FYI - I just got a Motorola Moto 360 v2 42mm. The 42mm version is also a much more acceptable size compared to the Urbane. It's thicker than the Gear S2 though. I like Android Wear better than Tizen. In terms of customization and availability of apps, Android Wear is much better. But - Tizen runs so smoothly on the Gear S2. I got the all metal Moto 360 and then I have the Gear S2 classic (black leather) - I alternate depending on my mood/outfit.

Paul Q says:
That has got to be the most asinine, boorish comment I have ever read on Amazon. What would possess anyone to say something like that? This is a helpful discussion about the watch and that's what you have to contribute? Such brilliance.

Jim Thornburg says:
How are you using Textra with it? I just got this watch and I had to revert to the Samsung native texting app on my phone in order to receive notifications.

Paul Q says:
I'm not doing anything special to use Textra. Textra is my default SMS app. I turned on Textra for notifications in the Gear app. It sends the Textra messages to my watch.

Jim Thornburg says:
But can you send texts on the watch using Textra? That's what I'm interested in doing.

UPDATE:
I figured it out. It works fine. Only thing is I can't initiate a text from the watch, only send replies. That's a minor thing, since Textra is so much faster and better than the stock app.

Tony Nap says:

Paul Q says:
No problem! I benefit from good reviews so I like to pay it forward. Amazon probably won't like me telling you this but Samsung is on the verge of releasing the Gear S3 watch. I think they are announcing it this week. This will obviously impact the price of this S2 watch. I'm not sure what they are going to change but I can tell you the S2 is a solid watch as is. You might want to wait a little.

chuong v nguyen says:
will this watch work with Fire phone? Thanks.

Paul Q says:
I'm not sure. You have to be able to install the Samsung watch apps. There are several of them. See if you can find them in the Amazon app store.

Wynand32 says:
Thanks for the great info. I do have three quick questions:

1. Does it have alarms?
2. Will it control music playback for an app running on the phone (e.g., Amazon Prime Music)?
3. Does it do sleep tracking?

Paul Q says:
1) Yes. They are only vibration. This watch (1st gen) doesn't have a speaker.

2) Yes. You can use the built-in music app to control music. I can only guarantee that Google Play Music works but it's very likely other services can be controlled.

3) I have not really explored sleep tracking. I don't think it does but I am not 100% sure. It might do it through Samsung's fitness app but I really don't think sleep tracking is a mature technology especially on this watch which is a first gen (but still a great watch, the version 2 watches are larger). I would not buy this watch if sleep tracking is an important feature to you.

Wynand32 says:
Thanks so much for the answers. Sounds like two out of three things are supported, but you're right, sleep tracking sounds like it might be a problem.

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