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7 reasons you shouldn't buy the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch - and 2 you should

Al Sacco | Sept. 11, 2013
The Gear smartwatch grabbed my attention but it was for all the wrong reasons.

In the United States, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have all announced plans to sell the Note 3 and Gear, so it should be widely available. But $600 is a whole lot of scratch to drop on a brand new device that's largely untested by anyone outside of Samsung.

3) Galaxy Gear Specs Aren't Impressive
Samsung's official list of technical specifications for the Galaxy Gear is a small one, consisting mostly of processor, display resolution, internal storage, and size and weight numbers. The specs it did release aren't exactly impressive, especially for the price.

See for yourself:

  • 800 MHz processor
  • 1.63 inch (41.4mm) Super AMOLED (320 x 320) screen
  • 36.8 x 56.6 x 11.1 mm, 73.8g
  • IP55 dust and water resistance. IP stands for International Protection against ingress of solid foreign objects and harmful ingress of water.
  • Bluetooth v 4.0 LE (low energy)
  • 4GB user memory and 512 MB RAM
  • Li-ion 315mAh battery
  • 1.9MP camera with autofocus, no flash

Again, the Gear is supposed to be a companion device, so it doesn't need top-of-the-line hardware in most cases. As of now, the only thing that's actually stored on the device is your image gallery and, presumably, a small amount of application data, so 4GB should be more than enough.

But that 1.9 megapixel camera jumps out as particularly low quality. The battery has a relatively small capacity, so you shouldn't expect much more than a day's battery life on a single charge. Finally, the device is "water resistant" but not "waterproof," which means it's probably OK in the shower but in not in the pool.

For $300, I'd want a little more hardware muscle.

4) The Galaxy Gear is...Ugly
The Galaxy Gear isn't exactly stylish, despite a bold claim from Samsung's JK Shin, president of mobile communications, suggesting Gear will be "a new fashion icon around the world." Yeah. OK.

Of course, you could very well think the Gear is downright chic. Or maybe you simply don't care how it looks. If so, good for you. But if you're considering the Gear as style statement or fashion accessory, you could do much better with your $300.

The Gear's software interface also isn't pretty. Gear runs Android, but it's unlike any version of Android I've ever seen. The UI is very simple; you navigate with up, down or side-to-side gestures and access your collection of apps by tapping on the apps screen. A single, customizable hardware button on the side of the watch lets quickly access specific apps or action, though the actions you can choose are limited.


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