AT&T NumberSync and Samsung Gear S2 Classic: Leave your phone home

Smartwatches continue to evolve and it's services like AT&T's NumberSync that finally make it clear these wrist-mounted wearables can be essential tools.

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The Samsung Gear S2 3G, see my full review, is an amazing smartwatch that keeps getting better. While T-Mobile only supports call forwarding to the Gear S2, AT&T has its excellent NumberSync service providing the best overall connected experience on a smartwatch today.

Call forwarding, default function in all Gear S2 3G units, can by handy for sending calls from your phone to your Gear S2, but anything initiated out from the smartwatch results in people receiving calls and texts from yet another phone number. Over the past several months of using my Gear S2, I've had a number of people ignore my calls or reply to texts asking who I was.

AT&T's NumberSync service solves this issue by providing your single phone number across all of your tablets and compatible wearables. This means when your phone number rings then your other mobile gear can also ring so you can truly leave the phone behind and stay connected. Calling or texting out from those devices also results in recipients seeing your single phone number without them realizing you are contacting them from a watch or tablet.

I've been using the Samsung Gear S2 Classic and a Samsung Galaxy S7 on AT&T for the past week to test out the service. As a T-Mobile customer with a Gear S2 3G and Galaxy S7 Edge, I am jealous of the seamless functionality provided by NumberSync and hope T-Mobile eventually provides the service, as promised way back in October.

AT&T NumberSync

After purchasing a compatible AT&T NumberSync device, you then manage your NumberSync connectivity via the MyAT&T website. Supported devices include the latest iPads, LG G Pad X 10.1, Samsung Gear S2 and S2 Classic, and LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE. You can also extend the functionality from your iPhone to an Apple Watch or iPod touch or iPad, but these devices do not have SIM cards so cannot serve as stand-alone NumberSync devices like the LTE iPad, LG G Pad, and smartwatches.

To setup the Gear S2 Classic, you simply go to settings, then connections, then select AT&T NumberSync. You choose to enable it the first time and then have to enter in a special NumberSync code that appears on your watch into the applicable location in your MyAT&T account page. After it's all set, you then have the option to toggle it off or on right from the Gear S2. It's quick and easy to setup.

To fully test out the NumberSync service, I turned off the companion Galaxy S7 for a couple of days. I then made phone calls and sent text messages to other test devices, family, and friends to test out the system. It performed flawlessly with all calls and texts appearing to come from the single AT&T phone number.

The incoming text history is synced across devices, but the outgoing ones sent from the watch do not appear on your phone, unless you are connected directly to your phone via a local Bluetooth connection. You can also check your voicemail from any NumberSync device as these are synced across all of them.

There is no additional charge to use the NumberSync service so if you have a compatible device then I highly recommend trying it out. If you don't like it, you can always choose to deactivate it.

Samsung Gear S2 Classic

One of the primary reasons I purchased the Gear S2 3G was to take it running and cycling with me without a phone strapped on my arm. I like using it for the most part, the inability to export GPS run data is problematic when cycling data can be exported, but find the Gear S2 Classic to be a more attractive option for everyday wear around the office.

The Gear S2 Classic has a ridged bezel that is much easier to rotate than the smooth finish one on my Gear S2. It also comes with a leather strap and standard pin arrangement to make swapping out the band much simpler and universal.

The display is sharp and bright, phone calls sound great, you can listen to music without a headset, you can get through a day with the battery, and applications continue to appear regularly in the Galaxy Gear store front. There are a ton of available watch faces, but I would like to see more key apps released as well.