We won’t lie—giving up our borrowed Samsung Gear S2 Classic smartwatch after two weeks of testing gave us a little hit of #sepanx (or separation anxiety for those not of the hashtag generation).
It’s not just because the Gear S2 is one handsome mofo. Sammy's ditched the square, toy-watch look and slightly shrank the screen of the original Gear to give a style upgrade to the Gear S2. Leather strap, circular face, thin form-factor...classic, indeed.
It also has a best-in-class 1.2-inch Super AMOLED screen, a 300mAh battery that actually lasted a lot longer than we gave it credit for, and a refined—if slightly too colorful—interface. Their most brilliant innovation, though, would be the rotating bezel control. You can twist the watch bezel to the left or the right to scroll through apps, screens, or messages. Trust us: It works better than it sounds.
For two weeks, we paired it with our daily driver Android phone (unlike the old Gear, you could now use it with any capable non-Samsung Android device), and took it through its paces—in meetings, in runs, in the gym, inside the house.
Long story short: It made our daily life run smoother, thanks to the reasons below.
You don’t have to keep swiping on the watch
Less fingerprints...and more importantly, less fingers covering up the important data on the screen. The rotating bezel trick is actually an intuitive way of controlling the watch. And it feels cool.
There’s a back button
Anyone who’s used an Android device knows the importance of a dedicated back button. To have it here and on the side of the watch—instead of the rectangular button on the front of the watch like in the original Gear—makes scrolling through the MANY screens of the Gear S2 so much easier.
You can set an app to launch at a double tap of the Home button
It’s good to not have to swipe/rotate the bezel/tap through so many screens just to launch one measly app. In our case, we set it to S Health. This feature saved us a few seconds—a nice feeling considering how jam-packed our daily schedules are.
That S Health stat-tracking feature is seriously slick
The screen real estate may be small, but in the case of the S Health feature, it manages to fit in useful info that you can view on the watch right after every exercise session. A red line measures how high your heart rate is throughout the session, and—if you ran, jogged, or played a sport—a green line is overlaid on top of it. If you want to know how long your heart rate’s been in the training zone, and your running pace, well, this is the cool way to know how.
Phone battery was saved because we didn’t have to keep checking it every time
Here’s the situation: Your watch buzzes because an email came in. No matter how long it is, you can read the entire thing on this smartwatch, and decide if it’s worth pulling your phone out for to actually reply. (Or you can use the watch to send an auto-reply like "Ok" or "Got it.")
And because the Gear S2's battery is particularly impressive, we were able to outsource a lot of our usual pull-out-your-phone tasks to the smartwatch. This saved a bit of our handset's juice for more important stuff.
Charging it was a matter of "set-it-and-forget-it"
The Gear S2's battery life was good enough to last one-and-a-half days, solid. But eventually, you’ll need to top it up. With the magnetic wireless charging dock, there was no more need to fiddle in the dark, trying to insert USB plugs the right way. Just slam it onto the cradle, and the device will snap right into place. The high-tech magnetic magic will do the rest. Easy-peasy.
We knew what song was playing in our phone just by looking at the smartwatch.
No more guessing the title of the song playing on Spotify. A quick glance at the Gear S2 is all you need.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear S2 is now available in the Philippines for P13,490 (Sport edition) and P15,490 (Classic edition).
Photography Lio Mangubat