Samsung’s first smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, was released back in September 2013 and left a lot to be desired with its lack of functionality and subpar design. However, a little over two years later in October 2015, Samsung hit back hard with the monumental release of the Samsung Gear S2, which showed signs of improvement with its futuristic design and a host of intriguing features.
The Gear S2 was released in 2 flavors, the S2 Gear Classic, and S2 Sport. While the Gear S2 Sport had an LTE model available at launch, the LTE model for the Gear S2 Classic wasn’t released until February 2016. Samsung has since released the Gear S3, announcing it only a year after the release of the Gear S2, and if you want to find out more about the differences between the S2 and S3, read our comparison articlehere.
There are so many smartwatch options available to consumers, and with the Gear S3 and various other competitors aiming for a top spot in today’s wearable market, is the Gear S2 worth buying in 2019? Let’s find out with our Samsung Gear S2 Review.
For fairness in our testing, we will be comparing both non-LTE models of smartwatch, which were released at the same time.
The price at launch was set at $299.99 and was competitively priced compared to its competitor, the Apple Watch Series 2. This amount has since been reduced a lot, with the Gear S2 Classic being found for as low as $125 on Amazon.
The Gear S2 Sport can also be found much cheaper, coming in only a little higher than the Classic at $137.99. It can be found here on Amazon. If you want to find out more about the apple watch series, read our comparison of the Series 2 and 3 here.
When purchasing a Gear S2 Watch, it comes with an additional strap, a wireless charging dock, a travel adapter, and a quick start guide to get your watch up and running.
The design of the Gear S2 varies significantly between the two models. The Samsung Gear Sport favors a contemporary design and a smooth edgeless finish, which created a new and distinctive design for the smartwatch market.
The Samsung Gear Classic model decided to take a different approach with its design. Due to its simplicity and rugged exterior, the watch is more suitable for those who prefer analog-type styles. The circular rotating bezel is also a staple feature of Samsung’s watches, it not only looks unique, but makes navigating the watch even more effortless with just a simple twist of the bezel, or swipe of the screen.
The 1.2-inch display on the S2 watches has a 360 x 360 resolution, and a 302 PPI density. Samsung Galaxy also uses its notable Super AMOLED displays for each of their watches, which creates a vibrant and colorful experience that packs a big punch. To make use of this stunning screen, Samsung offers tonnes of unique watch faces in its Galaxy App Store. These watch faces can be downloaded over Wi-Fi and switched between at the click of a button, giving you endless options to customize your watch.
Both watches are made of stainless steel, which is one of the most durable and corrosion-resistant materials used on a smartwatch. Pairing this alongside the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 screen protection and IP68 water-resistance makes this watch incredibly versatile to use in the toughest of everyday situations. The IP68 water-resistant rating protects your watch from both dust and water, but only up to 1.5m.
The Gear S2 Sport watchband is made of a comfortable silicone material, which grips nicely to your wrist and feels reasonably comfortable too. The Samsung Gear Classic has more strap options since it is compatible with any 20mm watchband. The choices are endless with anything from nylon to leather bands, available in an assortment of pleasing colors.
These bands are available directly from Samsung, but also many third-party retailers who offer a wider variety of watch bands and at a lower price. The Sport model comes in 2 colors, Dark Gray and Silver, whereas the S2 Classic comes in Black, Rose Gold, Platinum, and ceramic bracelet. These color options are fantastic, and all fit perfectly with the watches premium design.
It’s not only Samsung who use the circular design on their watches, many other brands like Huawei, Garmin, and Mobvoi use a similar design. To discover more watches that look similar to the Gear S2, check out our list of the best round smartwatches here.
Features & Performance
Tizen OS is Samsung’s proprietary operating system used for its smartwatches. Most smartwatches these days prefer to use Android Wear, but Samsung has always chosen to stick with their own Tizen OS, much like their use of TouchWiz on their Samsung phones.
Android Wear OS does come with its benefits, though, like increased compatibility with Google Apps and a wider variety of third-party app support. While the app selection available on the Samsung Gear S2 may feel somewhat limited, it does offer your usual everyday apps, including Spotify and Samsung’s fitness app, S Health.
Speaking of fitness tracking, the S2 Samsung Gear comes with a variety of features that make it an excellent option for fitness lovers everywhere. Every model comes with an accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate monitor, and barometer as standard, but only the Gear S2 Sport 3G version is equipped with GPS. Many people were disappointed with the classic variants not coming with GPS, but this issue was resolved with the S3.
The S Health app is Samsung’s alternative to Google Fit, which is the default fitness tracking app for most Wear OS smartwatches. Much like google fit, the S Health app tracks your nutrition, heart rate, sleep, and activity levels, and is compatible with most smartphones, allowing you to sync your fitness data between your watch and smartphone.
Not only does the app monitor and track your fitness progress, but it offers wellness and other health-related content, such as meditation programs, relaxation music, and the option to set your own fitness goals so you can stay motivated during your workouts.
Both the Classic and Sport models of the watch have a 250 mAh battery that lasts around 48 hours depending on the usage. This battery life is relatively good for an all-purpose smartwatch and is considerably better than the Apple Watch Series which all offer an 18-hour average battery life.
The battery on this watch not only lasts a long time but charges from 0 to 100 in as little as 2 hours. Charging the watch is also really simple due to the Qi wireless charging, which makes charging your smartwatch an effortless task.
Alongside all these features, the Gear S2 also uses Samsung Pay. This may be a new and emerging technology, but through the use of NFC, it is possible to pay quickly while on the move, by using your watch like a contactless card.
Another feature used on both Samsung phones and watches is S Voice. This is Samsung’s virtual assistant that can manage various functions on your phone and allows you to save time and effort every day. It can do the basics such as telling you the time or providing weather updates, but it can also open apps and even schedule appointments, all hands-free from your devices.
While we’ve already discussed Samsung’s fitness app, it’s important to note some other apps like Spotify and Uber, which are available on the watch too. For those of you who enjoy traveling, or have a tendency to get lost, don’t fret, HERE WeGo is a navigation app that works perfectly with the Samsung watch.
If you’re searching for a fitness tracker that excels in these areas, then take a look at our fitness tracker buying guide, to get an insight into how to choose the right fitness tracker for you.
Value for Money
This watch can be found for a price as low as $125, and it’s safe to say that it is not going to break the bank. This review has shown that the watch has a great design and a host of handy features, which make this watch an affordable and justified expense in 2019. For more insight into some of the best cheap smartwatches available, read our article here.
Who is the Gear S2 For?
You will love the gear S2 if you…
Want an affordable smartwatch that doesn’t lack features.
Enjoy a premium-looking design and robust build quality
Want lots of customization options on your watch.
You might not like the gear S2 if you…
Want a watch with GPS.
Want a watch that is compatible with more google apps.
With so many smartwatch options out there, it can be confusing to find what you’re looking for. This Samsung watch might not be the newest watch for 2019, nor is it as feature-packed as some of its successors, but it holds its own against its competitors. The S2 is a suitable choice as a general-purpose smartwatch but lacks depth in the fitness tracking department.
While the watch offers enough tracking features to be considered a fitness wearable, the lack of GPS and no full waterproofing limit its capability in that department. The watch does, however, make up for its shortcomings with its impressive design and competitive price point. If GPS is a necessary smartwatch feature for you, check out our review of the S2’s successor, the Gear S3 here.
If you’re looking for a general-purpose smartwatch that dips its toes in a little bit of everything, then this watch is a great starting point, especially at this price. But if you’re looking for a fitness tracker or something that shines in that department, there are better options out there.
With almost anything these days, there will be better alternatives available somewhere. The question is, what is it you’re looking for? To help you find the most suitable wearable we’ve comprised a list of different options that excel in various aspects, so you can take a look at what you need and find out what does it the best.
Fitbit Charge 2
The Fitbit specializes in being a fitness wearable, offering up to 5-day battery life and all-day activity tracking, so you can make the most out of being on the move. Its successor, the Charge 3, has since added full waterproofing, extended battery life and a variety of new features to make it one of the best fitness trackers available on the market. To find out more about the differences between the Charge 2 and Charge 3, read our article here.
If you are looking for a fitness tracker with a long battery life, then either of those Fitbit Charge models would be suitable. The Charge 2 can be found here on Amazon for only $100. But if you need that waterproofing and extended battery life, the Charge 3 is available for only $40 more. To help you make an informed decision, our full review of the Fitbit Charge 2 can also be found here, as well as full review of Charge 3 here.
The Ticwatch is an upcoming smartwatch from Mobvoi that offers a good quality design and a feature-packed experience for its users. Unlike the Samsung watches, the Ticwatch runs Wear OS, which increases compatibility and provides a broader app selection. For those who prefer to use Google’s Apps, this watch is a budget-friendly alternative that also offers GPS.
The only downside to the Ticwatch E is that it’s reported as feeling slightly chunky on your wrist, and the polycarbonate plastic it’s made from can feel rather inexpensive in comparison to stainless steel. But, if you can set aside the materials and bulkiness, the watch is full of exciting features and can be found for a meager price of $111.99. To discover more about the features offered by the Ticwatch E, read our full review here.
Fitbit Versa 2
The Fitbit Versa 2 is a fitness tracker on steroids, offering a superior fitness tracking experience, alongside a plethora of smartwatch features. If you’re looking for the tracking capabilities of the Fitbit Charge, but don’t want to lose out on the smartwatch experience, then the Versa 2 combines the best of both worlds.
With 5-day battery life, full waterproofing, and access to Fitbit Pay, this fitness tracker/ smartwatch hybrid, combines the two without sacrificing quality. The only downside is that the Versa is a bit more expensive, but for the build quality and surplus of features, the $199.95 price tag isn’t too unreasonable. It can be found here on Amazon.