We have discussed the specs and the apps on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Gear, and needless to say, they were pretty impressive. But to what extent is the gear actually effective in day to day usage? Let’s find out in this review. We had our team review the gear and they have scrutinized every bit of software and hardware component. Here is what they had to say.
The gear is a nice smart watch with a considerable price tag (approx. $300) but the only catch to the situation is that this specific gear only works with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 smartphone. Believe it or not, you just cannot get this to work with any other phone regardless of the efforts that you put into cracking it. You must be thinking that at least the watch would be able to tell the time (that is the least that one can expect from it), but the device is not able to perform even this function without its better half.
From the moment you unbox the device, it only takes a couple of minutes before the smartphone and the gear are paired up. Once that is taken care of, you can be assured of getting some pretty good surprises with some of the fancier aspects of the device’s operations. Its home screen tells time and can also display current weather, a few app icons, your pedometer step total or your next calendar appointment.
We all know fidgety users can become and sometimes their inquisitiveness can damage the device. It seems the company has found a way to keep the gear safe from such people. The gear is housed in a metal bezel with a rubber band (semi-flexible) and the best part is that none of this can be changed or removed by the user. So if you want a replacement or you wish to get it changed, then you would have to go to an authorized service centre. You could try to get it done elsewhere, but that would only make the warranty null and void.
And yes, if you are worried about the device getting damaged due to water, then don’t worry, it is adequately hydrophobic with good water resistance capabilities. In terms of durability, the watch is decently equipped with the required measures. It is thick as a pencil and is more than 2 inches in length. This should take care of the concerns regarding incurring damages due to minor incidents.
Coming to the user interface and software capability, the device does pretty well in providing a comfortable interface. You can easily access the various apps and screens with a swipe (similar to what you would expect on a regular smartphone). And yes, the gear does come with its own menu with a world of functions for your convenience. So if you are not used to the “finger-swiping-navigation”, then you better get used to it real soon.
Here is a quick rundown of the various swipe actions that are available on the device.
- Left / Right Swipe (from Home Screen) – Get access to the apps on the gear.
- Swipe Down (from top of the screen) – Activate the 2 megapixel camera on the gear
- Swipe Up (from the bottom of the screen) – Bring up the phone dialer.
Now the camera is not meant to replace the ones on your phone or a digital camera, but it is good for taking quick snaps when you want. Don’t expect the camera to shy away as it is well placed with adequate visibility and the diameter of the lens is larger than that of a regular pen / pencil. The pictures taken from this device can be transferred to a camera both manually and automatically. It completely depends on your preference.
With such facilities, it is but obvious that the company would have integrated a decent amount of data storage on the gear. The watch has 4 GB of storage available where the pictures or any other data are stored. In my opinion, 4 GB storage for a gear is more than sufficient as you can always shift data or access the one on your phone whenever you want it. There is absolutely no need for the gear to be overloaded and stuffed to the last bit of memory.
The calling features on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Gear are by far the coolest that I have come across. The device, in all sense, is literally a Bluetooth headset where you can place and receive calls directly without having to take out your smartphone. (This kind of reminds you of the high tech spy gear that they show in the movies!) The speaker and microphone are placed in the gear’s band buckle.
Outgoing calls had good enough call clarity which seemed at par with that of the Note 3 itself and some of the high end Bluetooth devices. The same applies for incoming calls and the best thing about the gear is that the calls are pretty audible even when driving. This is never advised but in case of emergency or when you are in a crowded area, you will be able to hear the conversation. The volume on the speaker is good enough but if you want it to become a tad bit better, then you should consider placing the speaker in the direction of your ears.
With the Samsung gear it is also possible to see incoming text messages and reply to them with S Voice dictation. You can also use the device to locate the phone by activating vibration or sounds, and vice versa. It seems that this amazing duo will really bring a new experience to the users. And for all those who wished to act like James Bond, they can do that now (at least for the communication part).
So let’s summarize things,
PROS: Nice Features, Convenient Pairing and Amazing Calling Functionalities
CONS: Slightly heavy on the pocket, Mono-Device Compatibility
BOTTOM LINE: A pretty good attempt by Samsung to offer greater convenience and better accessibility. But I would still wait for more apps and an enhanced version of the gadget before I really invest in one. Samsung has given us a glimpse into what the future holds and it would be really interesting to see the developments that are done for the gear.
FEATURES THAT I EXPECT FOR FUTURE VERSIONS: Video Calling, Video Playback, Web Browsing and Increased Device Compatibility.
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