Wicked Review of the Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch

Review of Samsung Galaxy Gear SmartwatchWhile I was reviewing Verizon’s Samsung Note 3,  the Verizon Galaxy Gear smartwatch arrived for my perusal… I must admit it’s kinda cool. It’s not petite. It’s pretty dang large, but aside from a little irritation brought on by the squared off clasp, It’s surprisingly comfortable to wear. Of course, I wish it were waterproof 🙂

Clasp on Galaxy Gear

Favorite Functions At First Glance

Find my phone – YES!  There are two things I lose several times a day. One is my phone and the winner — by a LARGE MARGIN — is my glasses. This smartphone finder feature will make the phone ring even with the volume all the way down — a saving grace for people like me who keep the cell phone on mute. (That’s another reason I like this watch… it alerts me silently when my phone needs attention)

Now, if only I could stick a tag on my glasses to find them with my phone?!?! 😀

Camera

Yep, there’s a tiny little camera in this bad boy! That’s what makes this watch all Dick-Tracy and stuff. Well, that and talking to people on it. I’m surprised with the clarity of the images I took this way. And, if you slip your thumb over the speaker in the latch, you can even be all sneaky about taking them (no camera shutter noise). That got more “oohhhs” and “ahhha” from the people I know than any other feature. I think one of the best uses of this (beyond capturing images for “People of Walmart”) would be to add a faces to contacts. I’ve become a real maniac about that since I remember faces better than I do names.

Pedometer

My second favorite function is the pedometer. It’s UBER accurate. I know, I tested it and counted manually and compared it against what the gear said. It was spot-on every time. Yes, the Galaxy Note 3 has a pedometer function too — and it’s not bad, but this Galaxy Gear one is better. Since the gear “watch” is worn, I don’t miss all those steps that I take when I leave my phone on my desk. And it syncs the steps when I forget to put on the watch or carry the phone. For those steps that are at different times, it adds them together. For those that are duplicates, it deletes them. I’ve tested this too.

Answering the Phone

I LOVE that I can answer the phone on my watch. It eliminates the checking in all four pockets of my jeans, my jacket pockets and my purse before I can see who is calling and answer it. No more missed calls because my “where is the @#$% phone?” dance takes too long. Downside: If you are in a public place, you are stuck with hands-free speaker mode (and that might not be what you want).

Notification Could Improve

I’d like to be able to see the notifications (even in a headline-only) form on the watch. Now, when one comes in I get the vibration on my wrist and the face lights up to say I have a Facebook notification or a Google Hangouts message, but I have to go to the handset to see it. So it alerts to tell me there IS an update, but I have no idea who it is from or what it’s about. A marquee-style headline reader would be great here, and I’m sure an app is on the way to do just that.

Not a Health Band

I wish there was an app to monitor sleep patterns. For this to be an extraordinary device, it should offer a little more in the “health” arena. It would also be great if there was a way to quick-add favorite meals and snacks into a dieting app. Maybe a check box option for the top 50 foods or meals programmed into a full-blown app on the phone (like a favorites playlist). The ability to work more closely with the built-in S-Health app would only make sense. Why not make it easy to input a daily weigh-in and to measure things like pulse?

Evernote Rocks the Galaxy Gear

The implementation of Evernote on this Smartwatch blew me away. I love the idea of being able to take quick photos of things or voice a quick note to myself and add them to my Evernote. I do wish there was a way to organize them on the spot and add them to my existing notebooks, but I’ll live. The checklists makes grocery shopping a snap (just go through and check off the things you need as you buy them!)  And, of course I wish that the “recent notes” were scrollable to the end of the file. But, the ability to capture that quick thought or image without dragging out the phone is a very nice feature indeed.

Conclusion

Although the apps for this gadget are still a bit limited, I expect that they will expand as time goes on, especially as more Samsung phones become compatible with this device.

Will I buy one of these to go with the Galaxy Note 3, I’m now planning to buy? Maybe. I will say that I’m going to be keeping an eye on the apps and extended applications of this device in the meantime.

Disclaimer: I reviewed this product on request and gave my honest opinions of the strengths and weaknesses. There was no agreement as to the content of my review and the opinions expressed herein are my own.

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