Barely six months on and Samsung’s much-hyped, over-marketed and much-maligned Galaxy Gear smartwatch has been replaced by version 2.0 already. The new Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 and the Galaxy Gear 2 Neo have been announced just shy of the opening of Monday’s Mobile World Congress with a host of changes that seek to address some of the most talked about issues of the original wrist based companion from the South Korean electronics giant.
There are two versions of the new Galaxy Gear; the full spec Galaxy Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo which are externally identical save for the camera module on the former.
Both Gears use the same 1.63-inch 320X320 resolution AMOLED touchscreen of their predecessor but with upgraded internals. Those include a 1GHz dual core processor, up from the single core 800MHz processor the first time around, with the same 4GB internal storage and 512MB of RAM.
Software wise, the Galaxy Gears now run on, the Samsung and Intel developed, Tizen OS as opposed to a heavily skinned version of Android. S Voice also returns to handle all of the voice related requests while a new focus on pairing with Samsung’s range of televisions and other home entertainment equipment comes in the form of the WatchON app and an infra-red sensor that we’ve seen on previous flagship Galaxy devices.
The pair of Gears receive an IP67 rating for water and dustproof-ness which is the same as last year’s ruggedised version of the S4, the Galaxy S4 Active. Better ruggedisation (the original was rated at a lower IP55) along with the inclusion of a heart-rate monitor, pedometer and the ability to communicate with external sensors for sports like cycling help position the new Gears in the much talked about fitness wearables category which dominated CES last month.
The Galaxy Gear 2 proper is a clear evolution of last year’s smart watch. Gone is the annoyance of having the camera and wireless radios built into the wrist band which prevented it from being user replaceable. The camera now sits on the body of the watch and is rated at 2 megapixels instead of the 1.9 of its predecessor.
We’re at Mobile World Congress all week and will be making a pass at the Samsung stand before our time is up, so keep an eye open for more info on the Gears in the next few days.