The Samsung Gear S is a smartwatch that you can use to make phone calls or surf the web without first pairing the watch with a smartphone. You can still pair it with a phone to receive notifications on your wrist, but what makes the Gear S unusual is that you can use it with or without a phone.
Samsung introduced the watch in August and it’ll be available for purchase in the US starting Friday, November 7th.
Sprint is offering the Gear S for $384 or $16 spread over 24 monthly payments. AT&T will sell the watch for $199 with a 2-year contract. And T-Mobile will sell it for $349 or $14.58 per month over 24 months.
The Gear S runs Samsung’s Tizen-based smartwatch software and it supports a number of third-party apps. You can also use it to make or receive phone calls or text messages and read and send email messages.
Sprint says it’ll provide Gear S users with a phone number specifically for the watch/phone, but you can forward calls from your phone to your watch to answer calls even when your phone isn’t around.
The watch has a 2 inch curved 360 x 480 pixel Super AMOLED touchscreen display, a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, and 3G.
It has a heart rate monitor, accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor,and an IP67 water and dust-resistant case. The watch has a 300mAh battery.
The Gear S features Samsung’s S Voice software for voice actions including search and in a lot of ways, it’s basically a smartphone that you wear on your wrist. But it’s one that Samsung and Sprint are still positioning as a companion to your normal phone.
Sprint and AT&T, for instance, suggest adding the watch to a family share plan for $10 per month while T-Mobile is introducing a new wearable plan at just $5 per month. Those low rates are only available for customers adding the S Watch to an existing plan.
I think the main issue with these ‘wearables’ is battery life. Here’s my take on these devices…
If it can function as a stand-alone device that doesn’t require pairing to a phone (as is the case with this device), then the battery life issue somehow seems less of an inconvenience to me.
But if it is a device that only augments a phone and cannot work as a stand-alone device, then it should have very low power requirements and not require frequent charging.
This is the reason I own a Sony Smartwatch 2. 3.5 days or so battery life, colour screen, customizable watchbands and faces.
Sure, it’s not as full-featured as the Android or Apple watches, but its cheaper and can still do basic functions when it doesn’t have a phone around (such as stopwatch, timer and torch).
My current smartphone can go about 3.5 days on a charge. I’m talking about going for WEEKS on a charge the way the Kindle eReaders do.
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