The curved, 260×480 AMOLED screen may be large, but the QWERTY keyboard it displays for sending texts may prove challenging to all but typists with diminutive thumbs. The rest of you will be happy to hear that the Gear S includes S Voice, Samsung’s voice transcription software. There’s also a new Circle Bluetooth headset. But then, you’re syncing with another device to make your call.
The Gear S is more than just a wrist-phone. The “watch dial” face communicates information including remaining battery life, how many unread notifications you have, how many steps you’ve taken, and, like a traditional watch, the date. Swipe left to access your favorite apps, right to view notifications, and up for the full menu. Onboard GPS vibrates to signal turn-by-turn directions.
For many, short battery life is a major disincentive to purchase, and the Gear S comes in at about two days.
Samsung appears to be demonstrating that its new 3G smartwatch is at least one generation ahead of the anticipated Apple smartwatch, and though Samsung’s technology is impressive, the package must appeal to consumers before it will sell.
We expect that any new Apple smartwatch will be priced above Samsung’s latest offering. Apple’s mantra is premium products with premium prices. Apple happily leaves the lower rungs on the pricing ladder to others.
The Gear S is certainly two steps forward on the technology front, but it’s one step back for wearability. The Gear S is a monster, but probably not a monster hit.