Gear S2 3G

marshac

American Hero
Joined
Mar 25, 2003
Messages
2,543
I picked up one of these watches the other day from T-Mobile- I figured that some others might be interested and there simply aren't many reviews of the 3G model out there on the internet, so here's my quick rundown.

Service cost- $15 minus a $10 bill credit from TMo, net $5 cost for unlimited talk/text/500MB data

As a phone: Surprisingly easy to use with fairly decent speaker phone quality- everyone I've called has said that they can hear me just fine. Volume from the watch is loud enough to cut through road noise while in the car. Reception is generally quite good. There is a menu option to initiate or cancel forwarding from your phone's number to your watch's number.

Music player- Haven't loaded any music onto the watch yet, but of the 4GB of memory only about 2GB is actually free for use. On screen controls are easy enough and the phone can pair with any bluetooth device. I haven't yet figured out how to get podcasts, etc onto the watch. No streaming apps like Spotify so far that I've found.

Notifications- Seems fairly similar to how messages came across on my Moto 360. If you're outside of range of your phone the S2 will remain connected via the 3G connection remotely- notifications still make their way to the watch, but you can't push files, etc.

As a watch- it's more responsive to wrist movements activating the screen than my 360 was... almost to a fault. There are some decent watch faces to use, but none are as creative as some out there for android wear. I've yet to find a decent watch face that will display a weather forecast.

Battery life- Sooo variable. There are several modes for use
Auto 3G/Bluetooth vs Always on 3G - the former seems like a no-brainer option, but if enabled you'll miss phone calls or text messages sent to your watch's phone number. Both ATT and TMo are working on converging one number for multiple devices, but TMo isn't there quite yet- if you don't care about missing some calls or text you can save a lot of juice in the auto mode. Auto will cost you about 2% per hour of battery while 3G runs about 5%.
Battey Saving Mode- Super impressive, but also really gimps your phone (black and what screen, radios off, reduced processor speed). <0.5%/hr in battery use in this mode. I ran my watch in this mode while on a 28 hour shift for about 8 hours.... without this mode I wouldn't have had a working watch by the end of my shift.
Charging- Qi? Maybe? The straps are rigid so the watch can't lay flat like a 360 could and charge off a Qi pad. The S2 will NOT charge in the 360 cradle for some reason.

Is it worth $400? Probably not, but it is still a near bit of kit. If someone else is buying it for you then is most certainly is worth the cost. A lot of reviews that looked at the S2 made comments along the line of "omigerd! S2 3G so thick!" without actually having the device in-hand to assess... it's really not bad, and considering the technology in the watch is actually pretty amazing.
 

Aurelius

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
Messages
3,190
My main question: how do you find the app selection as a whole? To me, that may be the real make-or-break issue with the Gear S2. What I've seen so far suggests that Android Wear and the Apple Watch have much better app catalogs, if just because they're building on existing mobile apps from major platforms.

Samsung is basically asking developers to write watch-only apps for a niche operating system. That's a tough ask, especially given that Samsung is failing in the high end smartphone market where smartwatch owners tend to be. I wouldn't be surprised if Samsung ends up going back to Android Wear to get a sustainable ecosystem.
 

marshac

American Hero
Joined
Mar 25, 2003
Messages
2,543
The app ecosystem is pretty terrible overall, but at least the Samsung apps that come with the watch are pretty decent. I wouldn't buy the watch hoping for additional functionality since I doubt it will ever come, but who knows...given the popularity of Samsung within Korea that alone might drive a fair amount of overall development. Starbucks for example has an app for payments, etc in Korea. With the abrupt recall of the Urbane LTE and the complete lack of any cellular android wear devices in the pipeline it seems as though Samsung will have more time to be the sole player in this field- from my experience so far they clearly haven't been wasting their time since the current product seems pretty polished. I swore I would never buy a Tizen product, but so far it's not bad.

BTW- with more charge/discharge cycles the watch's battery life has improved a fair amount. I ended my work day (shorter day- 6AM->5PM) with 60% left. Mixed cellular/bluetooth, no power saving mode.
 
Top