The Samsung Gear S2 is now available at select retailers in the US with a starting price of $299. To say that this is the first Samsung smartwatch to be taken seriously and worth at least considering, is probably an understatement. It features a beautiful round amoled display, solid specs, a clean minimal design, and works with all Android phones. It could also be a much needed alternate to Android Wear.
Samsung has plunged into the round dial smartwatch game. This is the Gear S2, the same thing we looked at a month ago at IFA 2015 but now, it’s available for you to buy. It comes in two variants—the normal S2 and the S2 Classic. The S2 is now available starting at $299 and the S2 Classic will be available for an extra $50.
Inside the box, you are presented with the Gear S2. This one in the dark gray color. The watch itself is constructed out of 316L brushed stainless steel which should prove to conceal way more scratches than that Apple product that also uses 316L stainless steel. Also in the box is the magnetic charger, which looks a lot like Moto’s charger for the 360, a micro USB cable, a wall wart, an extra strap, and finally some documentation.
For design and size, Samsung’s Gear S2 definitely falls in the smallest and least noticeable category. The Gear S2, in this particular color, looks as futuristic as it gets yet it’s quite discreet. Its gray on black color combination could easily be mistaken for some kind of fitness tracker but it’s clearly way more capable. But the size is definitely something to get used to. While the screen is a nice 1.2 inches, its complete diameter is 30.2mm. Compared to the Huawei Watch, which comes in at 42mm (which by the way isn’t exactly big either), the Gear S2 just looks way tiny. Bring in the Moto 360, spanning a 46mm diameter and the Gear S2 just looks point silly. Even the Apple Watch looks large compared to the Samsung Gear S2. But there’s something with the design that makes the Gear S2 look good. Even though in technical terms, it’s the smallest device here.
But perhaps, that’s all down to how good that display looks. Given Samsung’s experience with Super AMOLED, the Gear S2 benefits a 1.2-inch 360×360 Super AMOLED panel. It’s the highest ppi for an Android-oriented smartwatch at 302ppi; a number that matches the 42mm Apple Watch’s ppi.
Internal hardware is also really good. It’s running Samsung’s own Exynos 3250 chipset, 4GB of internal storage, and 512MB of RAM. But the thing with the Samsung wearables is that it run your typical Android Wear software. This one is running Tizen, just like the other wearables from Samsung. Though things are actually really responsive here, that’s mainly due to the hardware internally but there’s also one big thing that makes the software way more interactive. Samsung has added a new physical interface called the rotating bezel, something that has been around on real watches for nearly a century. Unlike Apple’s digital crown, the bezel feels 10 times more natural to use. And the great thing is, you can use it anywhere around the bezel. This lets users go through the menus, notifications, applications, and a whole lot more way more efficiently than using your finger on the display.
I’m definitely looking forward to putting the Gear S2 through its paces to see if the rotating bezel is the way to go for all features smartwatches and also everything else included in the software experience. It seems worth buying.