I had the treat to play with Samsung’s newest device line-up this week, the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3 and its companion in wearable tech, the Galaxy Gear smart watch.
Neither device was quite ready for production, but Samsung wanted us to get a feel for what will likely be a very potent technology combo when they launch together on October 4th.
While we didn’t get a long time with the Gear, I can tell you that it’s a lot more usable than it appeared to be when launched at IFA earlier this year. The watch comes with a standard clasp band that, combined with the metal frame, lends it size and weight that I haven’t seen from another device in its category. One can make the argument that the Gear is too big to wear comfortably for hours at a time, but it didn’t appear to be that way on my average-width wrist.
The software took a bit of time to react to touch input, one of the main criticisms we’ve seen levelled against it in early previews, but for the most part it was an enjoyable experience to browse through the various apps and built-in functions. Taking a photo with the Gear is a bit strange, since you’re pointing to an object like Inspector Gadget, but changing watch faces and communicating with the Note 3′s Gear Manager app over Bluetooth is extremely simple.
The device charges in a little clasp that allows it to stand upright and be used as a bedside alarm clock, for example. The default screen simply shows the time and weather on the OLED display, but there are at least a dozen faces to choose from.
Many of the apps I saw, like this one from Vivino, are simple and single task-focused. While I am legitimately concerned that developers won’t take to the proprietary SDK as kindly as they would if it was an offshoot of the Android SDK, the Gear has a better chance of working than, say, Sony’s Smart Watch, which has struggled to attract big-name developers. See more at: mobilesyrub