This is the Samsung Gear S2 and S2 Classic. It’s Samsung’s latest Tizen-based smartwatches and they are definitely something worth taking a look at.
First off, the huge deal of these watches is the brand new design. It’s now a round form factor on both models and they both use the 316L stainless steel and even the Classic has ceramic coatings on the back and front. Starting out with the normal Gear S2, we can see an all stainless steel build with rubber straps. The display is a 1.2-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 360x360 that rakes in a 302ppi and it definitely looks like it does. From a near distance, this watch, especially the classic, looks absolutely real—I mean really real. Internally, there’s a dual-core 1GHz processor, 4GB of internal storage, and half a GB of RAM. Also, there’s a 250mAh internal battery.
Over to the S2 Classic, you can see a huge change in the physical aesthetic. The Classic is definitely aimed at watch people and you can see that from the metal surrounding the front of the watch. The internals are exactly the same though. Same processor, same storage and RAM configuration, same screen as well.
But the big story of these watches is the new interface between user and smartwatch. Unlike Apple’s digital crown which stays on the side of the watch, Samsung has figured out a way to use the bezel to interact with the software. On both the S2 and S2 Classic, the bezel is able to rotate. This will allow you to scroll through pages on applications and information and able to navigate without blocking basically the whole display with your fingers. And to be completely honest, it feels a whole lot more natural than using the digital crown on the Apple Watch.
On the normal S2, it’s almost impossible to tell that the bezel rotates. But on the Classic, thanks to the nudge bezel, it’s easily distinguishable. And it’s a satisfying feeling as well. Super mechanical and it even makes the clicks. It may prove to be pretty annoying in the long run since it’s not actually a software feature and it’s not omitting a sound but the mechanical clicks are very addicting.
Software-wise, the S2 watches are running an improved version of Tizen and it’s actually really responsive this year. I love the notifications being on the left side of the face and the ability to go through applications with the rotating bezel. A huge reveal for this generation is the ability to pair with non-Samsung phones. The two S2 watches will work with any Android phone that has Android 4.4 and above and should work flawlessly with all OEM applications but some may not work fully.
The last big reveal is NFC and Samsung Pay capabilities. These will require you to have a Samsung Pay capable phone, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 running a super tight-looking Slickwraps carbon fiber skin. This will allow you for wireless payments using Samsung Pay and NFC starting later this month. The S2 watches will be available sometime in October but there will also be a 3G variant that will come slightly later. That variant has a slightly larger 300mAh battery but other than that, everything’s exactly the same. So far, there’s no say on the availability of the 3G model.
But to be completely and brutally honest, I’m completely impressed with these watches, especially the Classic and how it’s built and the software. And I’m definitely hooked on this rotating bezel. Expect more coverage including the full review of these two new watches.