Samsung Announces Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo Smartwatches

Samsung's Galaxy Gear isn't all that old, but the company has already debuted a second version of the device. This makes sense, given wearable tech is a relatively new market and manufacturers haven't quite figured out what customers want from their high-tech accessories.


We had heard Samsung would be unveiling a new version of the Gear 2 at MWC, but we didn't expect to see three new versions of the Gear at the show this week. First up is the Galaxy Gear 2, which packs the same 1.63-inch 320 x 320 display we saw on the first generation model, but this one is based on Samsung's Tizen, which means all the applications for the first generation Galaxy Gear are not compatible with the second generation model. Users hoping Samsung would get rid of the camera will be disappointed. It's still there, but now it takes full HD video as well as photos. The Gear 2 is expected to get two to three days of battery life, though that will obviously depend on how you use the device.


The device runs on a dual-core CPU clocked at 1 GHz, features 512 MB of RAM, and 4 GB of storage. Also new is that the band is replaceable, so users can use any 22 mm band they like with the watch. This is big news, as the band that came with the original Galaxy Gear was bulky and only available in a few colors. To facilitate this change, the camera and mic are built into the watch face as opposed to the strap. The watch face also now has a home button, is water resistant, and can change the channel on your TV thanks to an app and an IR blaster on the front of the watch. Samsung says this remote function (which features numbers as well as volume up and down) may also be compatible with other Samsung appliances equipped with infrared.  The Gear 2 also checks your heart rate as you wear it via an LED on the back of the watch face, monitors your activity via a pedometer while you're walking, running, swimming, or cycling. You can also use it to track sleep data.

If you really hate the camera that much, Samsung has another version of the Gear 2, this one called the Gear 2 Neo, which ditches the camera. Other than that, it's basically the same watch. It's a bit of an interesting move from Samsung as it tells us enough people disliked the camera to warrant making a Gear without it, but Samsung obviously felt strongly enough about the camera feature that it didn't want to get rid of it. The end result is two nearly identical Gear smart watches.

We're still waiting on price and availability but we'll let you know. So far, all we know is that these two are arriving in April.

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