Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch: specs, pics, video, and all the details!

by: Nate SwannerSeptember 4, 2013

samsung galaxy gear aa 8

It’s finally here: The Galaxy Gear from Samsung. The highly anticipated, oft rumored smartwatch from Samsung has finally been officially announced, and we’ve got all the details. For Samsung fans, this will be a very useful device. For those of you desirous for the Note 3, this may be a must have accompaniment.


While the metal frame around the screen will come in two colors — silver and rose gold — the band will offer many more choices. Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, Jet Black, Mocha Grey, Wild Orange, and Lime Green will make up the wrist strap choices at launch, but don’t get excited for third party bands just yet: the camera is actually built into the band, as you can see in the picture below.

Samsung didn’t give a megapixel count for the camera, but did note it can take 10 second videos in high definition.

The Super AMOLED screen is 1.63-inches square, with a 320 x 320 resolution and 278 PPI. The 315mAh battery is said to get you a full 24 hours under “normal use”, but will diminish much faster with any intensive activity. Samsung does report the device will charge in about 1.5 hours on the included cradle, and uses pins on the back of the face to connect to the Gear.

The 800 MHz Exynos processor powering the Gear was of unspecified type (dual core or quad core), and our crew on the ground report it felt sluggish in many circumstances. The two microphones on either side of the screen are used to help with noise cancellation, and can be used for voice-to-text input, or to control a voice call. The home button will rest on the right side, and clicking that will take you to S-Voice, Samsung’s Google Now substitute.

samsung galaxy gear aa 25


Samsung says the Gear is based on Android Jelly Bean, but is heavily modified. The home screen shows a clock face by default, and you can swipe to the left or right for notifications, much like the Google Glass interface. Swiping left will give you notifications like text or email from the parent device (more on that in a minute), settings, and apps. Lifting your hand will wake the display, and when paired to a device, it will disable the pattern lock screen. Dragging down from the top will send you back to the home screen, and dragging down from the home screen launches the camera.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with Samsung Galaxy Gear

A package deal

For now, the Galaxy Gear will only work with the Note 3. We can surmise this has to do with the Note 3’s updated TouchWiz skin, but Samsung wasn’t willing to confirm why the Note 3 was the only compatible device. With music playback controls, and a “find my device” feature being used harmoniously with the Note 3 and Gear, this smartwatch may just be proprietary to Samsung smartphones.

The Gear is not a standalone device, but offers much of the same features as current smartwatches (pedometer, notifications, music controls, etc.). Samsung reports it will have over 70 compatible apps at launch, including Evernote, Pinterest, and RunKeeper. Gear Manager, an app available for the Note 3, will control settings and apps for the Gear.

Tell us, are you interested in the Gear? We want to hear what you think!

  • Aravind Sagar

    As long as it works only with the note 3, or just some select Samsung devices for thatmatter, iit’s a disappointment.

    • Bryan Z

      it is still a disappointment even if it worked with all their other devices and other android phones

  • Thom Murphy
  • Funes Bubble

    Nothing wonderful

  • asian101

    The same as the leaks. I was not expecting the actual design to be like this. And I meant that in a bad way.

  • Jorge

    What a lame attempt from Samsung. Omate Smartwatch is so much a better option.

    • Bryan Z

      I am still not sold on the Omate Smartwatch but it sure seems to be better than samsungs last minute attempt to “innovate”

  • simpleas

    What an awesome amalgamation of beauty and technology. The mody dick feature was freakin amazing.

  • bob

    this is what you get when samsung innovates. designed by engineers and geeks in Korea ;)

    • Bryan Z

      hahahahahaa!!!!! thats messed up but funny nonetheless. They really don’t get the American market yet.. Most Americans will look at this and think to themselves “wtf is this toy?”

  • So you can’t make phone calls with it, it has a very limited number of apps and currently only works with a Note 3. Why would I even consider this when there are better products?

    • Bryan Z

      I guess it wasnt about innovating anymore it was just about coming out with a smartwatch before Apple did

    • Jaun Lombard

      It can make calls!

      • So by itself, with no smartphone or wifi network you can make phone calls with the Gear?

  • Andy McDearmon

    My rooted motoactv from like almost 2 years ago is far more capable than this thing it seems…

    • Bryan Z


  • PeterBlood

    This is the lame unnovative crap you get from Samsung when they don’t have someone to “show them the way” aka copy, like, eh heh, Apple. Watch when the iWatch comes out, people gasp at it’s greatness and then folks here say “oh it’s sooo obvious” and then Samsung copies and many of you will deny they did anything wrong and “Apple doesn’t innovate” nonsense spews forth once again. Apple smart phone market share is on the rise world wide and the Samsung Emperor has no clothes and this piece of tech dreck emphasizes the point. Android’s best days are now behind it. IMHO, I know denial mileage here will vary.

    • Bryan Z

      Look as much as I agree with you on the crappy watch samsung showed us today and their failed attempt to be as great as Apple I highly doubt Android’s best days are over. I can see Google moving in a different direction with Android and so will other phone makers that license Android once Samsung decides to just use their own OS “Tizen” but to me what Samsung does does not reflect on Android. And I’ve been following Android before Google bought it.

      • PeterBlood

        Well Samsung is a major face to Android though Google is actually responsible for it’s OS, yet Samsung is sometimes given credit for Android “innovations.” The only Samsung innovation which is not an innovation I’ve seen is simply a larger phone which didn’t require an Einstein to figure out. Truthfully I hope they abandon Android and go all out on Tizen to truly “show what they got” in a total vertical system. It’s the only way Samsung can remove the shackles of Google and truly be free to innovate top to bottom.

        Respectfully I think the Android ship is starting to run out of steam whereas Apple is only getting started and they already have a vertically integrated system for everything they make. And those that control the whole widget are going to be the ultimate winners, especially in profit. I’ve been following everything tech since the Apple One. :)

        • Adam

          I think you need to do a little more reading concerning the current market state/saturation and how Apple’s role will be played out. Asfor iOS7… IIt’s merely a 90% cosmetic change to the vehicle Apple has been riding since the beginning. I’m sorry but the Apple that ruled from 2007 to 2010 is long gone. It’s just as stale (if not more so) as Android. Also, Apple will gain market share… But purely due to the fact that China and Japan’s largest carriers will now be carrying the iPhone. Let’s also not forget that they will be releasing a budget iPhone as well as a potential ‘phablet’ is in the works. At this point they’re pursuing the same things Android manufacturers have already done… Including their updates to their software. Also, with your knowledge I have to believe you realize that with the release of a budget iPhone that the value of the iPhone itself will drop…

          • Adam

            You also speak of a vertically integrated system for everything they make thousands of products. They make macs, I phones, ipods/pads, and tvs. It’s that awe inspiring… It’s one manufacturer with barely a handful of products.

          • Adam

            Like* it’s thousands of products

    • There’s nothing that any of the big boys could do that hasn’t already been done by the Chinese and independents. China had a 4.x Android watchphone months ago and the independents asked what people wanted and listened. It not just Samsung but all the big names that are killing innovation.Why innovate when you can increase profit margins.

      • PeterBlood

        Yeah and there were music players around before the iPod. Asking the people what they want dooms a product often to failure. After all what do most people know? BUT they know it when they see it. That takes a real company with vision like Apple. Of course there has to be a period where company’s can monetize their ideas. It’s not fair to expect regular world shattering paradigm innovation shifts from tech companies. Maybe every 3-5 years. There’s a cycle to these things and it’s not a conspiracy. Just my 2 Cents.

        • Apple may have marketing and pretty wrapping on it’s side but I get tired of the “Innovation” garbage that they and others spew out. The majority of the “innovations” are simply repackaging of work done by somebody else. A 10-20% increase in specs every release cycle is not innovative, it’s predictable. My phone having less capabilities than an eight year old PDA is not “innovation”. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve raked Android device manufacturers (Motorola in particular) over the coals as well as Apple. Maybe it’s because I’m not typical. Marketing doesn’t work on me, I read data sheets from the individual component manufacturers and base my evaluation of the tech from that then compare it to previous devices. It also may have to do with I’ve been doing mobile device development and repair for ten years now and know BS when I hear it.

          • PeterBlood

            Really? So the 2010 iPad, the 2007 iPhone, the 2001 iPod were all just lucky guesses moving the stick forward? All just clever marketing? If Apple isn’t innovative, no one is. That’s a very disingenuous comment. Personally I’m sick of those who put down the tremendous contribution Apple has made in the tech world. Or who attribute it just to marketing. EVERY company markets, it’s not a sin, it’s good business. Some, like Microsoft, have lately been terrible at it.

            If it’s so easy why has Apple usually been the first to show how a computer or particular portable device or technology should be used? Granted Apple takes existing technologies but they also put their own stamp on them with a great ecosystem as the glue. You can’t expect 100% paradigm busting innovation every year or every 6 months. Companies make gradual improvements to recoup R&D but that’s the nature of almost every established device or appliance on the market. Plus who wants to re-learn a new phone every year? How come I don’t see the same sort of outrage with refrigerators or washing machines? There’s some good work coming from others too but I don’t see Apple being mutually exclusive out of the innovation club at all. Hardly.

            I appreciate your extra savvy and demanding nature but as you say you are not a typical consumer. Sounds like you beat up your stuff pretty good. I don’t know what you mean about how the current phones don’t have 8 year old PDA technology in them. With built-in apps and regular apps I think it’s pretty well covered but there’s always room for improvement no doubt. It will be interesting to see new fall Apples wares on Sept.10th. Of course there will be those who are never satisfied and put them down no matter what they do.

            It’s a forlorn hope that devices will have every trick built in to them you can think of or ever truly be finished as a technology. There’s no Holy Grail smart phone and you’ll be driven mad trying to find it. It’s sort of like what Walt Disney said about Disneyland: “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.’ I think Apple has a LOT of imagination left, in fact, more than it’s corporate share.

          • iOS=OSX ARM with UI modifications and thinning. iPad= OSX ARM on an updated Fujitsu CT-2020. iPhone= OSX ARM on a Palm TX or LifeDrive with cell radios added. iPod, I have to give you that one as prior to that most MP3 players were not well thought out.

            I have three mint condition working iPhones sitting on my desk as paperweights along with a number of mint condition working flagship Android devices. Why, because that eight year old PDA (Zaurus SL-C3000) supports more external devices and has access to almost every Linux program every released. As far as waiting for a major shift, it took til 2011 for the smartphone industry to even come close to what the devices like the Zaurus and Nokia N series could do back in 2004-5. Today there is yet again nothing on the market. Hell, NFC is old tech with it’s roots going back around 100 years, same with wireless charging and “free power” backscatter radios.

            As far as ” paradigm busting innovation every year or every 6 months “. Take almost every smart phone on the market from 2008 and add 10-20% in performance and specs every release cycle and tell me what you see. Like I said before, I go after Android manufacturers as well because with Apple’s release cycles being twice as long, the percentage is higher but even then that’s simply due to slower release cycles. It is almost a perfect match for Moore’s Law.

            I will say that Apple follows a path similar to what Palm used to do and that is consistency, something Android manufacturers could use a bit of. Microsoft has been on my garbage list for years. Win Phone 7 was the first phone OS that I had to read a manual for in the entire time I’ve used cellphones. I’ve called out Palm and BlackBerry for waiting til the last moment to even consider updating their OS.

            So my comments are not a Apple bashing but an industry bashing. When you see unpaid developers fixing things in their spare time that manufacturers say can’t be fixed with multi-million dollar R&D budgets and teenagers fixing devices from parts that cost pennies to purchase retail the monetization argument doesn’t fit. Because if it did then replacing an $.03 diode must cost $30 per device to implement, fixing a single line of code must charge by the character to edit on every device. But again, don’t add tech that has been around for some time and claim genius, it’s not. If it is the case then I have an innovative disk made of rubber that makes moving things easier.

          • PeterBlood

            It’s the OS of the device, including iPad and iPhone, as well as it’s functional design that are the key to the innovation of user friendly ergonomics. Mere technology and technology concepts gets you nothing. Steve Jobs proved it’s how you put all the disparate elements together that matters. Apple opened many people’s eyes to the possibilities. And I’m sure you know what happens when just engineers are involved – devices that are usually unfriendly, kludgy and fugly. Just like those first digital music players.

            My hats off to what seems to be your very serious awareness of technology but you are not the average consumer nor are the things you want the things probably what most people need. The technologies you mention were probably in their infancy or not ready for prime time. All the pieces weren’t in place. Technology for technologies sake doesn’t always work. There is a time and place for bringing forth technology that can be widely implemented. Even if it’s roots go way back. It’s like owning an iBM mainframe computer in the 50’s but complaining about wanting a Mac or PC from 2013. Someday you’ll get there though computing technology is the common thread.

            Well I may not be the most demanding of consumers as I love having a cell phone that does so much more than my flip phone of yore. And the Treo’s and all those I was never tempted because the screens looked like crap and the ecosystem very klunky. I had PDA’s too but they were never that impressive. I use my iPad much more than the iPhone and get everything I need like most. If you are a bleeding edge engineer anything like this might prove to be frustrating because of the need to control all facets on devices not meant to be taken apart, code or component wise, precisely to keep them secure and dependable.

            I think Apple might have fallen behind a little but iOS 7 should be a major catch up and beyond. I am not really concerned about how fast these improvements come as we have already reached a high level of usefulness. But again everything can be improved. I think a certain amount of consistency is good but Apple is not like others like Blackberry where if they see a better idea they are not afraid to sacrifice older products lines. I think Apple needs to be judged over time, not moment by moment, to see the wisdom of what they are doing. That goes for everyone actually.

            That reminds of this 15 year old who recently devised a $.03 test that could accurately produce near 100% accurate results for pancreatic and other cancers where no such test existed before. And yet the medical companies couldn’t do this same basic and obvious after-the-fact research this kid did and come up with similar solutions? God bless the garage inventors.

            Well I hope you get your dream device someday but something tells me it may be a long wait. :)

  • Bryan Z

    My thoughts on this:

    -Retail price should not be more than $149

    -Samsung should not use the word innovate in their commercials or marketing efforts any more

    -This watch looks pathetic

    -Only compatible with the Note 3?? not only should samsung have made this compatible with their other devices but also other Android Devices… Cmon Samsung without Android you’d be nothing (Tizen sucks) how about you give back a little.

    -Samsung please stop trying to be Apple (again)

    -I am happy with my nexus4 and I look forward to the next Nexus.

  • Jaun Lombard

    Well everybody is dissing the Samsung watch, but to me it looks more premium than the Sony…plus with moderate use the watch will last 24 hours…avarage but remember you switch of the watch at home so it will last about 2 days!