The Samsung Gear S2 is a far cry from its predecessor, the Gear S. It is sleeker, smaller, and most of all, doesn’t look like a small computer on your wrist. In fact, it looks every bit like a regular wristwatch, which is a step in the right direction if smartwatches were to be widely adopted. After spending some time with the Gear S2, I can say that it’s one promising wearable.
In terms of hardware, the Gear S2 is equipped with a gorgeous 1.2-inch 360 x 360 circular Super AMOLED display. With a pixel density of 302ppi, the round display looks plenty sharp, especially for a smartwatch. Other than that, the Gear S2 has a 1.0GHz Exynos 3250 dual-core processor paired with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of built-in storage, and a 250mAh battery.
Unlike other wearables on the market now, the Gear S2 is arguably one of the sleekest-looking smartwatches, although the Huawei Watch is quite elegant as well. What I really like about the Gear S2 is the fact that there is a certain amount of space between the display itself and the Gorilla Glass. It’s akin to how the glass of a conventional wristwatch protects the delicate internal. This design choice definitely differentiates the Gear S2 from other smartwatches.
That brings us to another point: the physical size of the Gear S2, which isn’t as bulky as other smartwatches. Measuring only 11.4mm thin, it’s no thicker than a conventional wristwatch. While our review unit is the standard Gear S2 – which looks good on both men and women, those who prefer something more masculine-looking will prefer the Gear S2 classic, which has a leather band and bigger bezel.
Speaking of bezel, this is one of the most interesting aspects of the Gear S2. As the 1.2-inch display isn’t all that big, those with bigger hands will love the rotating bezel. It can be used to scroll through notifications, widgets, apps, and even emails. The best part is, there is a soft click with every rotation. I found myself rotating the bezel just for the fun of it; it’s oddly satisfying and therapeutic.
Although the 1.0GHz Exynos 3250 dual-core processor powering the Gear S2 doesn’t sound particularly impressive, it is definitely up to the task. Scrolling through widgets on the home screen is fast and very responsive; there’s barely any noticeable lag or stutter. Launching apps such as Weather and Schedule is equally fast as well.
In the software side of things, the Gear S2 is immediately intuitive to use. The top button on the right side of the smartwatch acts as a back button, while the bottom one brings me to the watch face. Swiping to the left (or rotating the bezel counterclockwise) shows me any notification from my paired smartphone, and swiping to the right brings me to a list of widgets. The list is customisable, and the default ones include a heart rate measurement, a step counter, a weather widget, and also music controls.
Everything considered, Samsung definitely got the Gear S2’s hardware right. The rotating bezel is satisfying and intuitive to use, and the Super AMOLED display is absolutely gorgeous. That being said, as the S2 is running on Tizen OS, its third-party app offerings will not be as extensive as an Android Wear device.
It remains to be seen if more third-party apps will be made available for the Gear S2. After all, Samsung mentioned it was partnering with developers to get more apps on the platform. For now, I’m enjoying the Gear S2’s sleek looks, beautiful display and satisfyingly clicky rotating bezel. As I spend more time with it, I’ll find out if the small library of third-party apps will matter.