Smart watches have been around for decades, but the concept of this device has not been completely formed, and the existing options are not won significant popularity. Large and small technology companies, are periodically alternate device, trying to stake out a new niche. They are well aware that in the highly competitive market of smartphones and tablets new accessory can open previously unknown prospects. Breathing new life into the segment of smart watches and decided in the company Samsung, presenting at IFA 2013 smart watches Galaxy Gear. This device, as if descended from the pages of a science fiction novel, is about to go on sale in Ukraine. Let’s see how successful was the implementation of smart watches from Samsung.
Design and construction
The designers Galaxy Gear had a difficult task to make an appearance versatile gadget. She and her generally succeeded.
Samsung Smart watches are suitable for both men and women, as well as look good as a business and a sports suit. Achieve this effect was due to the visual separation device into two parts: the top with the display is made of glass and metal, the bottom – made of plastic and rubber.
Naturally, the upper part looks more rigorous and more solid.
In the design of the case is dominated by Galaxy Gear sleek lines, there are no sharp edges, making the device smaller and easier to visually – with dimensions 36,8 x56, 6×11, 1 mm, on the hand watches do not look too bulky.
Designers did their best, but they would be worth to pay attention to such minor details as cogs. On the top panel, they are twisted so that the groove for the screwdriver looking in different directions.
This, of course, a trifle, but the clock itself is a small device, and where every detail is noteworthy. In the case of the Gear, it is clear that we are talking about mass production, but Samsung might try to move the charm of mechanical watches for the modern electronic device, which is designed to replace them. In all other respects, the appearance Gear no claims.
The design of smart Samsung hours fully monolithic battery access is available only to disassemble the cabinet. Parts fit very well, no squeaks or backlash here. Almost the entire front part of the display gadget is covered with a protective glass, which is located around the steel plate. The bottom is made of frosted hard plastic, which gradually becomes a hard rubber strap. Key controls on the Gear is only one and it is on the right side.
Galaxy Gear is protected against splashes. It will not save the device from falling into the water, but to see what time it is without much risk can be even in the pouring rain.
In general, with the Galaxy Gear on hand man does not look like a character from Star Trek. Someone is probably upset, but most probably will attract potential buyers. Gear can use completely different people, yet they do not look like a desperate geeks with another electronic toys on hand.
The design of the strap Galaxy Gear deserves a separate description. It is made of hypoallergenic rubber, but quite rigid and fixed so as not to bend too much.
The fact that the strap is integrated e-filling, which are connected to the camera unit, located directly on it, as well as to the external dynamics in the buckle.
Thus, the strap is an integral part of the device and can not replace it yourself.
The camera unit slightly above the surface of the strap, but not enough to spoil the look.
The external speaker Gear integrated into the metal buckle, thanks to which the device is fixed to the arm. With its help you can adjust the size of the strap, moving buckle under the pre-made holes.
Despite the fact that the mere strap Gear hard, special fears it does not cause damage to the electronics in it will be difficult, however, break to pieces it I would not recommend it.
In Galaxy Gear, as in the past smartphones Samsung, used touch-screen display with a matrix of Super AMOLED, a diagonal of 1.63 inches, with a resolution – 320×320 pixels.
The screen has excellent viewing angles and a good range of adjustment of brightness. However, the display Gear fade in direct sunlight, although it remains readable.
By default, the display Gear is only 7 seconds and then turns off, this is done to conserve battery power.
In fact, the clock all the time off, and the screen lights up, but if you make a gesture, familiar to everyone, at least once worn a wristwatch. Thanks to the built-in accelerometer device knows when the arm is lifted and turned slightly, if a user wants to know the time.
Responsiveness of the touchscreen Galaxy Gear is good, sometimes he misses touch, but it happens very rarely and is due, most likely, with the size of the unit.
Camera and privacy
The camera in the Galaxy Gear has a resolution of 1.9 megapixels. Such BSI modules with auto focus today is often used in smart phones and personal cameras designed for video calls.
In the case of Gear photomodule you can take photos or 1392h1392 resolution of 1280×960 pixels and 15-second video in the resolution of 1280×720 or 640h640 points. On the quality of shots Gear, certainly can not compete with modern smartphones, but at the same time, with the help of hours sometimes get very good pictures, the quality is quite enough for publication on the web.
Of course, the camera pulls Gear not all the details, has problems with white balance, and also makes the blurred images in low light. However, in good light, it allows you to get shots of acceptable quality, and most importantly, very quickly. Galaxy Gear is always on hand to help with their photos can be literally a couple of seconds.
Camera Gear is in the strap, so imposing it on the subject with just one hand, on the other hand is not very convenient. Sometimes the hand has almost no twist. In any case, take a picture with a watch discreetly easier than a smartphone, but not the fact that the photographer did not notice it. The device is just as well to put things on the subject that catches the eye. In addition, video recording in Galaxy Gear is limited to 15 seconds.
Perhaps this is done for the sake of saving built-in memory clock, but most of all, the question of privacy. This approach opens the way to the Gear Ukrainian market, as well as other markets. Certified in Ukraine device is almost gone, and will soon go on sale.
Made by Galaxy Gear photos are stored in the memory, but it is small, and once completed, the old photos are removed. Solves the problem of ability to transfer images to a smartphone that can be done manually or automatically. To save energy, you have the option of transferring photos only when the clocks are charging.
The platform, interface and applications
Heart Samsung Galaxy Gear – single-core processor with a frequency of 800 MHz, 512 MB RAM amended, and 4 GB of internal memory. Of the sensors in the device has only an accelerometer and a gyroscope. A connection with a smartphone meets module Bluetooth 4.0. It is worth noting that at this point Galaxy Gear is able to work only with the Galaxy Note 3, but Samsung promises to implement support for hours in several models of smartphones, one of which will definitely Galaxy S4 and Note II.
Obviously, the support of other smartphone manufacturers, Samsung is not planning to. As for working with Note 3, it is via Bluetooth 4.0 using the Gear Manager, which allows you to manage the connection, set on Gear applications, and change the settings of smart hours.
The first connection to a smartphone Galaxy Gear by using the charger that is equipped with a module NFC. Sufficient to apply Note 3 to the charge that he was able to pick up the watch.
At the same time, the use of all smartphone never lost Gear, a Bluetooth 4.0 connection to these devices, Samsung sold just fine. It’s a pity that at a distance greater than 10 meters connection still dropped.
Gear Manager program allows you to set the watch in itself, and also install additional applications. From the settings, you can choose the look of clock dial (electronic or “mechanical” arrows), set up alerts and gestures.
Support alerts Gear is quite extensive, except SMS, watch warn about the meeting, the new Gmail messages or message on to Facebook.
However, if in the case of SMS text it is displayed immediately on the display device, when receiving a letter offering to open Gmail watch it on the screen of a smartphone, which is not very convenient.
However, most likely, over time, the developers Samsung solve this problem.
In the settings you can choose for which action will be in charge of mechanical double tap keys on the body. By default, it is responsible for running S Voice, but you can specify other applications.
In addition to the settings of the clock, which is not so much with the Gear Manager you can change the settings of some built-in Galaxy Gear applications. For example, you can change the voice memos, weather, pedometer, gallery, camera, contacts, and S Voice. All other options are only available with the Galaxy Gear and for them I’ll discuss later.
Install programs on the smart watch is only possible through the Samsung smartphone and comes through the store Samsung Apps. At this point in his catalog available for about 50 programs.
Useful for myself, I found Evernote, RunKeeper, miniSquare and Pocket. At the same applications run on Gear is not always correct, such as RunKeeper, which displays the time, distance and average pace while jogging, going to sleep hours are often turned off, and it needs to be run again.
Apparently, not all developers have time to optimize their programs for the new device. Best of all, as for me, it worked out Evernote.
This application is very well integrated with the capabilities Gear, it can be saved in Evernote photos and audio recordings, as well as open and celebrate the right to watch lists.
But watch your notes, unfortunately, will not work, for some reason, the program shows only the last couple of entries, and they are still cut off.
Since the Galaxy Gear works on the platform Android, albeit with a modified interface, this watch is open to developers. In this case, the performance of the platform will be sufficient for the further development of the software ecosystem. This makes the watch Samsung interesting option for growth.
As for the interface Galaxy Gear, your first point worth noting is that participate in its development took Pranav Mistry (Pranav Mistry), a young inventor who became famous for developing the concept of “The Sixth Sense,” about which more can be learned from this video . Currently Mistry serves as the head of the research center at Samsung America, and leads a team of Think Tank, is responsible for the development of new technologies. In general, the fact that the interface Galaxy Gear had a hand in a professional, it is felt from the very first minutes of the meeting with the device. It is controlled via the touch screen and is based on the use of gestures.
The main menu is in the form of large icons on the screen, which can flip through the right or to the left.
The only exception is the “program” in which are placed on the four icons.
This transition does not look very logical, though, with the Gear Manager user can configure the device’s main menu, having taken out the needed application.
With a gesture from the top of the display down to the main clock screen, you can quickly start the camera in the other menus, the same gesture is responsible for access to the previous menu or close the program. Gesture from the bottom up on the display starts numeric keypad for dialing. As for me, this gesture would cost to assign a different function, unfortunately, to change it in the settings can not be. In general, management realized Galaxy Gear is very good to get used to it very quickly.
Galaxy Gear In the settings you can change the look of the watch. Choose options such as displaying the weather forecast, calendar, touch launch applications or analog clocks.
The date and time can be set manually or synchronized with your smartphone.
The volume buttons on the body of Gear is not, so you can quickly turn on vibrate mode or long press the power key, or in the settings.
Here you can select the ring tone and message, and the level of vibration. An interesting choice is to set up your hands. Based on the fact on which hand the watch, the system reconfigures the work of microphones, to better recognize voice input.
Volume control is also configurable through the menu hours, while it can be adjusted separately for multimedia playback, audio calls, alerts and system events.
Despite the small size of the external speaker, it sounds pretty loud.
In the display settings, you can adjust the brightness, screen timeout to choose the background color and font size.
With settings you can also set the lock screen clock. This is a standard way for Android protection in which you need to unlock the device in a certain sequence to connect several points.
Interface localization Gear you can not select yourself, it depends on the language selected in tandem with the clock smartphone.
S Voice and voice calls
Voice control is one of the important components of the Galaxy Gear. With it, you can dial a contact, send messages, create new events and tasks, as well as perform an Internet search. S Voice is really working, and in principle, even accurately recognizes voice.
The problems with this function are exactly two. The first is the voice of S Voice, a woman’s voice said as the robot and rarely guesses accented. And the second – slow work. If you enter a voice command, it will have to wait until the clock it will be processed and will be contacted with a smartphone. However, behind the wheel of this functionality, despite the slowness, often helps out.
Another interesting feature of the Galaxy Gear is to work as a wireless headset. On the sides of the device are two microphones, while the speaker is in the buckle strap. In a public place a call to take the watch is not very convenient, first talk will be heard, and secondly, people are guaranteed to be pissed off at a person talking with a clock.
But, again, in the car to use this feature handy companion heard well, with both hands free. Similarly, when you are at home, and the phone lying around somewhere on the table faster to take a call on the clock than looking for a smartphone.
Autonomy and charging
The declared autonomy Galaxy Gear at 25 hours caused a lot of questions. Must watch so little battery operated? How not forget to charge them? And so forth. On the first day of using my Galaxy Gear screen they almost turned down, and I was able to put them up to 40%, after which they were asked to charge at noon the next day. Subsequently I expended per day from 20% to 30% of the battery. As a result, a charge I was missed by two days.
To watch, it’s certainly not a very good result, people do not change over the years in his watch batteries. But the Galaxy Gear – this is not the usual hours, respectively, and the requirements for them to be different. Given the fact that even for a smartphone 2 days of autonomy – a good result, Samsung has squeezed out of the battery 315 mAh best. However, the clock is still not good enough.
Galaxy Gear charged through a special charger that literally put on their body.
To fully charge the battery should be about 1.5 hours, while already in the first 40 minutes the device is charged up to 50%.
Using the Galaxy Gear, I said to myself that used to charge the clock every two days is pretty easy.
Just a list of devices that need to be periodically connected to the charge, added another. Much discomfort it causes.
As a result,
At Samsung’s imperfect, but overall an interesting concept of smart hours. Given the limited compatibility, as well as certain high price at launch, Galaxy Gear is unlikely to make a big sale.
However, if you look at the available solutions on the market in this category, the version of the Samsung still stands out against the background of exciting hardware and software platform that will certainly improve. As a result, we can say that the Galaxy Gear – it’s a smart watch for growth that may be palatable to enthusiasts, as well as indifferent to devices such users. Undoubtedly, Samsung still need to refine his concept, but if you do not be too categorical, it’s a good start.
+ Is always stable Bluetooth-connection
+ Android Platform
+ The wireless headset
Did not like:
– Do not always informative alerts
– A small number of third-party applications
– The slowness of the S Voice and voice
– Compatible only with certain smartphones Galaxy
Read another very interesting article about alternative energy of the Sun, water and air.