This morning Samsung dropped some news ahead of its Unpacked 5 event with the announcement of a refresh of its smart watch lineup, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. We reviewed the original Android 4.2 based Samsung Galaxy Gear, which offered an interesting combination of unique features in the smartwatch category (a strap mounted camera, Android platform, and bluetooth calling capabilities), but found that battery life left a lot to be desired partly thanks to it running the entire platform on an Exynos 4212. The new Gear 2 drops the "Galaxy" prefix and Android with it, instead opting for Samsung's own Tizen platform. Samsung doesn't call out an SoC specifically, but the Gear 2 is based on a dual core platform with maximum clocks of 1.0 GHz – previously Galaxy Gear was based on the dual core 4212 platform but with one core disabled and a maximum frequency of 800 MHz. The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo appear to be primarily differentiated by the presence of a body-mounted camera, with the 2 Neo eschewing the camera and likely coming in at a lower price point. 

  Galaxy Gear Gear 2 Gear 2 Neo
Display 1.63 inch 320x320 SAMOLED 1.63 inch 320x320 SAMOLED
SoC 800 MHz Exynos 4212 Dual Core Cortex A9 1 GHz "Dual Core"
OS Android 4.2 Tizen
Camera 2.0 MP w/AF 2.0 MP w/AF N/A
Video 720p30 720p30 N/A
Memory 4 GB + 512 MB RAM 4 GB + 512 MB RAM
Dimensions 36.8 x 56.6 x 11.1 mm, 73.8 g 36.9 x 58.4x 10.0 mm, 68g 37.9 x 58.8 x 10.0mm, 55g
Battery Li-ion 315 mAh Li-ion 300 mAh
Connectivity BT 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0, IrLED
Sensors Accelerometer, Gyroscope Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart Rate

The Gear 2 series adds some new functionality, including a heart rate sensor for health and fitness applications, IR led for controlling appliances with WatchOn, and the ability to change the wrist strap since the camera is now integrated into the body of the watch rather than on the strap. 

There also appears to be a hardware home button mounted below the display, although overall industrial design appears relatively unchanged from the original Galaxy Gear. Samsung also purports that battery life is now 2-3 days on the Gear 2, likely thanks to the change in software platform. Gear 2 will be available in April and we hope to get hands on with the watches as soon as possible.

Source: Samsung

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  • Homeles - Sunday, February 23, 2014 - link

    I heard a rumor that Intel won some Tizen design wins with Merrifield. This would also explain the secrecy behind the SoC powering the Gear 2, although it could be a soon-to-be-disclosed Exynos part as well.

    Guess we'll find out in the next few days.
  • atpham.wpi - Sunday, February 23, 2014 - link

    based on the specs table
    does that mean Tizen is more energy efficient than Android?
  • Daniel Egger - Sunday, February 23, 2014 - link

    Continuously running Apps in an Java VM create some unique power management challenges. So at least there's potential that Tizen might be power efficient, but of course the proof is in the pudding.
  • hojnikb - Sunday, February 23, 2014 - link

    Why the hell does a smartwatch need a dualcore processor ?!
  • Darkstone - Sunday, February 23, 2014 - link

    Dualcore processors are more energy efficient than single core processors if their performance is identical. It is often better to have 2 lower clocked cores than one higher clocked core.

    The fact that is is a single, dual or quad-core processor also does not tell you much about the complexity of the cores.
  • name99 - Sunday, February 23, 2014 - link

    Because the designers are idiots who think it makes sense to put all the logic in the watch, rather than putting minimal logic in the watch and have it shunt all the hard work to a phone.

    It's like thinking that your phone should have a 3GHz i5 Haswell in it, rather than an ARM so that it can do voice recognition locally. Sure, we can all imagine some scenario where that would be nice, but considered across the ENTIRE range of uses, it makes more sense to go with a weaker, lower-power core in the phone, and ship the hard jobs off to the cloud...
  • ahduth - Sunday, February 23, 2014 - link

    I'm still a little amazed at myself - everytime I read about one of these things, I go straight to the heartrate monitor, and ask myself, does it actually work? Watch-only heartrate monitors have a very poor reputation, but it's a bit of a holy grail, since no one wants to wear the full chest-strap Polaris setup.

    Will have to wait a few months for the reviews to roll in on the heartrate monitor accuracy.
  • Dentons - Sunday, February 23, 2014 - link

    Part of Samsung's recent armistice with Google was that they drop Tizen. The agreement came too late for this product, it's grandfathered in.

    This should be the last Tizen product from Samsung.
  • cstring625 - Monday, February 24, 2014 - link

    If it doesn't have integrated GPS it still won't capture the fitness market. I would love for samsung to develop a watch to compete with the Garmin 620.

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