MWC 2014: Samsung announces Tizen-powered Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches

Samsung kicked things off at MWC with their new generation Gear 2 smartwatches. They both run Tizen and connect to a number of Galaxy smartphones.

MWC 2014: Samsung announces Tizen-powered Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches
Image: Samsung

Mobile World Congress takes place this week in Spain and Samsung is getting things started with their Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatch announcement ahead of their Samsung Unpacked 5 event.

These two new watches are powered by Tizen rather than Android, but still look to have the same functionality and rather poor battery life of the current Galaxy Gear.

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It looks like Samsung addressed some of the issues I had with the Galaxy Gear, including moving the camera bulge off of the band, adding a dust and water resistant rating, adding more support for fitness functionality, and adding the ability to listen to music through a Bluetooth headset with music stored on the watch.

These new Gear watches look closest to replacing my fabulous MotoACTV, but are still missing the GPS radio.

Samsung also surprised me with some functions, such as the heart rate sensor and infrared remote control capability. These are both welcome though and I look forward to testing out these watches.

Gear 2 Neo
Image: Samsung

The difference between the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo (notice that Galaxy brand is gone) is that the camera is only found on the Gear 2 which also adds a bit to the weight. I never found the camera to be essential and personally would consider the Neo 2 for myself.

Strap color options including Charcoal Black, Gold Brown and Wild Orange for Gear 2 and Charcoal Black, Mocha Grey and Wild Orange for Gear 2 Neo.

Specifications for the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo include the following:

  • 1.63 inch Super AMOLED 320x320 pixels resolution display
  • 1 GHz dual core processor
  • Tizen powered mobile operating system
  • 2 megapixel camera on the Gear 2
  • Bluetooth 4 low energy, Infrared, heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope
  • 512 MB RAM and 4GB internal storage capacity
  • 300 mAh battery
  • Gear 2 dimensions: 36.9 x 58.4x 10.0 mm and weight of 68 grams
  • Gear 2 Neo dimensions: 37.9 x 58.8 x 10.0mm and weight of 55 grams

The reported battery life is 2-3 days of typical usage and up to 6 days of low usage. The Galaxy Gear had something like 24 hours of battery and I was able to go about a day and a half with it. The Pebble Steel seems to get less battery than the first Pebble, on the order now of about 5 days, so these new Gear smartwatches may be just fine. I’m not sure if they use the same charging mechanism or not and will be looking at people’s hands-on experiences at MWC this week.

I loved the hardware of the Galaxy Gear and almost bought one. I am glad I held off as the Gear 2 Neo looks like one I may want to pick up. You still need a Galaxy smartphone to connect with though so I may consider the Note 3 again, but will first wait to see what Samsung announces with the Galaxy S 5 tomorrow.

We don't yet know the pricing of these two smartwatches, but availability is slated for April.

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