Is the Gear S capable of permanently replacing your smartphone?

by: Andrew GrushAugust 28, 2014

Sasmung Black Gear S White Gear S

Over the last few years we’ve seen an increasing number of smartwatches introduced to the market. Some of these watches have B&W displays, some color, some with Android and others without — but nearly all of them have one thing in common: they are companion devices that augment your mobile experience and aren’t designed to replace other devices like your smartphone.

One of the few exceptions to the rule is the Omate TrueSmart, though this particular product has been met with pretty mixed reception due to issues with performance and build quality, despite its highly successful Kickstarter campaign. Now Samsung has jumped into the ring with its Gear S, a curved smartwatch with a SIM slot that doesn’t rely on your phone at all.

So does the Gear S come any closer to being able to replace our smartphone for good?

The Pros and Cons of using Gear S as your smartphone

Until we get our hands on the device and do a full review, we won’t be able to truly answer this question, but we can certainly take a look at some of the pros and cons of utilizing the Gear S as your primary mobile device.


  • No need to carry two mobile devices
  • You’ll stand out from the crowd with the Gear S
  • Finally a phone with (reportedly) two day battery life!
  • Easier access to everything since your phone is on your wrist
  • No need for any other device during running, biking and other physical activities
  • Less stuff weighing down your pockets or purse


  • Low resolution (360×480) 2-inch display isn’t ideal for media consumption and gaming
  • Tizen has considerably fewer apps than Android
  • You have less say over your mobile experience (in terms of customization)
  • Modest specs and modest storage space
  • You’ll look a bit like an idiot when making calls of this thing
  • You’ll probably still rely on a tablet or PC for your media needs

Let’s be honest, the small form factor of a watch probably isn’t ideal when it comes to the kind of things most of us do with our smartphones like watching movies, checking into social networks, surfing the web and playing games. Typing messages with a 2-inch screen probably won’t result in the most desirable experience either.

Will some folks find the experience more than enough to ditch their phone, instead turning to their tablet for things that need a big display? Very possibly, but we have a feeling that this will be a pretty small number of users. It’s also worth noting that this type of usage scenario means you’re still regularly relying on two mobile devices to get the job done.

Smartwatch Gear S Curved AMOLED Tizen Black White

So who is the Gear S really for?

If not for those looking to replace their smartphone, who is the Gear S really for? Bottom-line, the Gear S’ purpose  is likely less about replacing our smartphone and more about allowing us more flexibility when it comes to our mobile lifestyle.

the Gear S has the opportunity to shine in select situations where bringing your phone doesn't make sense

Out for a run or a long bike ride? Taking the Gear S over your phone makes sense. You won’t have much need for media consumption in this scenario, but you’ll probably want an easy-to-access device for GPS, tracking your work out and responding to any messages that come your way. At work? You might want to respond to texts and emergency phone calls while at the office or during a meeting, but perhaps you’re better off leaving your phone at home or on the charger in your office. Camping for the weekend? If you’re the ‘true outdoorsman’ you won’t want or need the media consumption aspects of a smartphone, but having a way to make an emergency call or text could still be very important to you.

These types of situations are where the Gear S has the opportunity to shine and all it takes is a simple SIM card swap and you’ll get to keep the same number. Of course you can always have a second line for the Gear S as well, if you’d rather go that route and not have to worry about constantly yanking out your SIM card.

Omate TrueSmart

Can the smartwatch ever fully replace the smartphone?

At least when it comes to the mainstream user, the Gear S will likely remain as nothing more than a secondary mobile device. But can the smartwatch ever fully replace the smartphone? That’s a good question.

In order to have mainstream appeal as a primary device, a smartwatch would likely need much more aggressive specs, bigger storage capacity and a higher resolution display. All the while, folks would expect it to have decent battery life because, well, it’s a watch. As an added bonus, it would also be nice if it had some kind of foldable display, like the kind we’ve seen in Samsung patents. In 2014, that’s a lot to ask for out of a smartwatch form factor and while the day might eventually come that an OEM will be able to deliver such a smartphone killer, it’s a long ways off we’d wager.

What do you think of the Gear S? Would you use it as a primary mobile device? What would it take for you to permanently trade-in your smartphone for a smartwatch?

[poll id=”720″]

  • Anonymousfella

    Not really. Not with such a small battery…

    • interstellarmind

      You idiot. The low specs will make the battery last longer than any smartphone out there. Did you even read the article?

      • Anonymousfella

        No I admit that I didn’t. The idea that this smartwatch could replace the device with which able to write you a reply, was too unrealistic and I shot straight to the comment to express my view.

  • Haseeb

    I can’t vote or see the results of they polls on my phone since 3 or 4 days. Anyone else?

  • pat

    If it last longer then a day. I am in.

    • Brandon Power

      Phone don’t even last a day

      • Kelly

        If I charge my G flex at night it still has 40-50% charge by the time I’m done with it for the day 1 charge last’s 1.5-2 days.

  • wat

    If it lasts a full day then yes

  • JayMars84

    No. One huge reason, among others, is that so many people today prefer texting to calling and do it throughout the day, and that’s just not going to fly with any watch

    Second huge reason, no camera! You’d still be carrying two devices.

    • JDMillest

      why would you want to use your watch to take pictures, with such a small screen? you will look like 007 trying to laser someone with your watch.

  • Stachura5

    Insert a Aero2 card in it and have free internet

  • Nathan Powell

    With Tizen absolutely not, Samsung thinks they’re Apple and just like Apple their ego is going to be their downfall (S4 and S5 being like iPhone 4and 5 basicly the same)

    • Giovonni Fareed

      couldn’t of said it better..

    • MasterMuffin

      The Os of a smartwatch really doesn’t matter that much unless you’re a hardcore Google/whatever fan

      • crutchcorn

        Uhm… That’s where I have to disagree. Although in a smaller formfactor things might not matter AS much, they still matter. It’s like saying it doesn’t matter whether iOS or Android…

        • MasterMuffin

          That’s what the “that much” is for :)

          • crutchcorn

            Touche my friend

        • Nathan Powell

          not really cause android wear means more apps and the software will be more universally supported. Tizen isn’t bad from what I’ve seen it’s just very unnecessary and just adds to fragmentation. I agree at this point it doesn’t make much of a difference but it’s gonna start to matter soon

          • crutchcorn

            Okay, but using that theology there wouldn’t be an android. No competition means no room for improvment and that you run and set the standards for whatever you’re in

  • Low resolution (360×480) 2-inch display isn’t ideal for media consumption and gaming
    ——It’s a smartwatch remember

    Tizen has considerably fewer apps than Android
    —————-it’s a smartwatch remember, what u want apps for (there are 1000 apps already)

    You have less say over your mobile experience (in terms of customization)
    ————————-you just need a watch damn it

    Modest specs and modest storage space
    —————————-it’s a smartwatch, are u really going to try installing asphalt 8 on it

    You’ll look a bit like an idiot when making calls of this thing
    ————yes, that’s why they also announced a bluetooth headset with it

    You’ll probably still rely on a tablet or PC for your media needs
    —————-it is a smart watch

  • Charles Bosse

    What I would like to see is a watch or small form factor long(ish) battery life phone and data capable device that can create a Bluetooth network that allowes tablets or iPod form factor devices to get internet without being the primary device for calls. This watch might be a close enough compromise on that if it can switch to VoIP calls on WiFi.

  • Abd

    “You’ll look a bit like an idiot when making calls of this thing”
    —– I’ll look like someone that came from the future. Other people that use a brick just to make a phone call will sure look like idiots

  • Will S.

    Smartphones – no. Feature phones – yes.

  • ThunderCrackR

    It needs higher resolution display? Really? It has a 2inchi screen, so it has 300ppi! It is ”Retina” grade. Why would you need more at that size?

  • JeremyWayneJones

    I’d like to trial using this to replace my phone and keep a tablet handy for other purposes

  • BZ

    The next wearable to replace a smartphone should be something like Google Glass not something that still requires you to hold your arm up in order to use it.

  • TemporalArc

    Why are manufacturers so adamant on giving these wearables phone-like features. They don’t even need to be companion devices…there has to be a more innovative use-case. Until such a use-case is found, these devices will continue to be frivolous accessories.

  • Luvsa Dawagiv

    I think Moto 360 will have a better always-on listening feature like Moto X. So far no other smart phone nor watch has this ability.

  • Hermione333

    it is a PERFECT smartphone replacement for those who ALSO own a TABLET. Think about it: all the things that you can do with your smartphone you can do better with a tablet, and when you don’t have space for a tablet (clubbing, playing sports, going to the movies), a smartphone would also be cumbersome and useless, while the gear s is perfect in all those situations!!!

    So Tablet+Gear S= perfect combo with no overlapping!