-Accessible and durable design
-Premium version available for those who want it, at a price
-Manageable size makes it suitable for most wrists
-Unique input method with rotating bezel is useful
-Battery life is quite impressive
-Good display experience
-Smooth performance


-Limited application support is a let down
-No auto brightness setting with the display

Our Rating
Bottom Line

Samsung gets a lot right with their first round face smartwatch, including a unique and useful input method, but the limited applications that currently support the Samsung Gear S2 is what may ultimately give the edge to the competition.

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Samsung has been in the smartwatch game for a while now, long before the introduction of Android Wear even, though these earlier devices were compatible only with the company’s flagship smartphones of the time. The only exception to this was Samsung’s only Android Wear smartwatch, the Gear Live. The latest wearable from Samsung continues the company’s tradition of pushing Tizen as their primary smartphone OS, though this time the watch adds some firsts for the Tizen-powered Gear family: a circular display, support for nearly all Android devices, and a new form of input that goes beyond just touch.

Does this device manage to stand tall against the growing competition in the wearable space? We find out, in this comprehensive review of the Samsung Gear S2!

Buy Gear S2 on Amazon
Buy Gear S2 Classic on Amazon


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There are a couple of iterations of the Samsung Gear S2 available, with the Classic edition featuring a more conventional construction, especially when considering the lugs on the top and bottom that allow for the easy replacement of the watch straps. On the other hand, the original version, which is featured in this review, puts all that aside for a more durable, and decidedly sportier look.

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The silicone bands that are used here are actually proprietary and connect to the stainless steel body via some specific connectors. This means that you won’t really be able to change the look of the watch, but rather just the overall size of it, with the inclusion of a different sized set of these straps in the box.

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As mentioned, the body of the watch is of a stainless steel construction, and there are a couple of buttons on the right side for going back, going to the home screen, or opening the apps screen, as well as a heart rate sensor on the back of the watch. The most important part about this device however is its bezel, which brings some added functionality to the mix, rather than just being a design element that lines the 1.2-inch display.

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The bezel rotates with a very audible and satisfying click, and is the main way for users to interact with the different screens and elements that would otherwise be swiped through. From an aesthetic point of view, the Classic Gear S2 comes with ridges on this rotating bezel that add to its more stylish look and makes it easier to turn as well, but the smooth bezel in this edition doesn’t prove difficult to rotate either.

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Overall, the Samsung Gear S feels pretty nice on the wrist, with the body featuring a noticeable, but manageable, amount of weight. While there aren’t different sizes available for this smartwatch, it won’t look out of place on most wrists, and in fact, may even be a little small if you have really large wrists. The round construction keeps the device inconspicuous as well, until the curious stares begin when you start rotating the bezel.

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While we might be a little more inclined towards the Classic edition because of its style-forward look, the more neutral aesthetic of this iteration does make it more accessible. It may not be suited for formal wear, but for all other forms of dress, it manages to fit right in. In a long line of odd choices with regards to their smartwatch designs, we do think that the latest Gear smartwatch from Samsung does finally get it right.


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The Samsung Gear S2 comes with a 1.2-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 360 x 360. With Samsung’s signature Super AMOLED tech in tow, the expected high saturation is available, and colors do tend to pop on this display, with the Tizen OS user interface looking really good here. Even though there is no auto adjustment to be found, the brightness of this screen is more than enough in most situations without needing to be at the highest levels.

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The device does benefit from the AMOLED construction when it comes to aspects like keeping the display always on, with only the hour and minute hands showing up on the display in this case. Samsung did run into some difficulties with the round display however, with any applications and menus that haven’t been adapted to the round shape becoming quite difficult to navigate on.


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Under the hood, the Gear S2 comes with a dual-core processor, clocked at 1 GHz, and backed by 512 MB of RAM, which seems to be just enough to keeping the device moving along nicely. Luckily, the bit of stutter that was found during our past experiences with the Tizen OS on previous Samsung smartwatches is no longer to be seen this time around, with all of the menus and elements moving about smoothly, and moving along screens is about as snappy as the click of the rotating bezel would suggest.


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It’s important to note that unlike its predecessor, the Samsung Gear  S2 does not allow for making voice calls directly from the watch itself, with there being no speakerphone on the device. While voice dictation and voice commands are possible, Samsung’s S Voice doesn’t offer as many options as the other, bigger smartwatch systems.

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Connectivity is possible via Bluetooth to a smartphone, or with a dedicated Wi-Fi connection. The great news here is also that the Gear S2 can be used with non-Samsung devices as well, but it does require the installation of a number of Samsung specific applications on thie device in order to make everything work. When not connected to its paired smartphone, the watch can still receive notifications and alerts from it, as long as both devices have connectivity and are signed into the same Samsung account. This is a nice function, made even better by the availability of a 3G edition of the Gear S2 that will remain perpetually connected to the Internet. The version seen in this review is of the Wi-Fi-only variant however.

samsung gear s2 review aa (8 of 24)

Bluetooth also gets a boost, as local music files can be stored on the device with its 4 GB of inbuilt storage, and then listened to via any paired Bluetooth headset. If you are already listening to music on your phone, controlling tracks is also very nice when using the rotating bezel.

samsung gear s2 review aa (15 of 24)

Moving on to the health aspect of the Samsung Gear S2, S-Health is at the helm, and can keep track of a number of different metrics. For example, how much water or caffeine one is drinking is a homescreen widget. When actually being active, S-Health can act like a coach of sorts by tracking your heart rate during a workout. GPS support is available only with the 3G version of the phone however, so saving one’s actual running route is out of the question with this Wi-Fi only iteration. It also has to be mentioned that the Nike application is the only one that currently works with this current version of Tizen, with other popular apps like RunKeeper not supported as yet.

samsung gear s2 review aa (2 of 9)

Finally, in battery, Samsung has done well to include an easy to use magnetic charging dock that gets the watch back to a full charge in about an hour. The 250 mAh capacity of the battery may sound pretty small, but it manages to work quite well under the right circumstances. With the ambient watch face turned off, brightness turned down, and average use when it comes to general tasks, the Gear S2 manages to last for as long as 2 days, which is nice. It is probably best to charge the device every night, but if you do forget, it is possible to get along without too many problems on that second day.


samsung gear s2 review aa (4 of 9)

On the software side of things, the Samsung Gear S2 brings Tizen back to the smartwatch game, and that proves to be both a good and bad thing.

Starting with what is good, Tizen is a welcome breath of fresh air from Android Wear, with the rotating bezel actually making it very easy to use. The software does feel far more intuitive than other software suites, even though the back and apps buttons might take some getting used to in terms of where they take you. Tizen also adds in a number of different functions, including the availability of a T9 keyboard to accompany the voice dictation. Granted, typing on such a small screen isn’t a particularly comfortable experience, but is still welcome as an alternative input method in situations where using your voice may not be the best option.

samsung gear s2 review aa (5 of 24)

With the rotating bezel, there is a marriage of different forms of input, with users allowed to swipe or roll around the screens, but you’ll still tap the screen to select elements, or swipe up to dismiss any notifications, while using the buttons to to either return to the previous screen or the home screen. The great thing here is that Samsung somehow manages to make this mix and match work very naturally together.

samsung gear s2 review aa (20 of 24)

When it comes to notifications, the rotating bezel provides another benefit, allowing for scrolling through text. Notifications are found to the left of the watchface, where they are listed one after the other, and can be expanded when they’re tapped on. From there, the entirety of the e-mail or message can be scrolled through, making it possible to actually read an entire notification on this device, without one’s finger covering the action. A small menu button on the right will lead to the different actions one can take, such as replying or muting the application, for example.

samsung gear s2 review aa (8 of 9)

There are some negatives here as well, however. For starters, the number of applications that aren’t readily available for usage on the Gear S2 is glaring, even though Tizen is not a very young operating system by any means. For example, the lack of Google Maps support makes navigation on this smartwatch moot, and anyone that is used to getting reminders and contextual notifications from Google won’t get them here either. Productivity apps like Evernote, third party music streaming controls, and fitness trackers like RunKeeper are other applications that come to mind.

samsung gear s2 review aa (19 of 24)

Widgets, found on the right side of the watchface, are also pretty limited, and are mostly relegated to Samsung and S-Heath information. Just one look in the Gear Manager shows this lack of app support, and it might not get too much better, with Android Wear now considered the standard when it comes to Android wearables. Applications that are available, such as Yelp, are great examples of how the rotating bezel can be leveraged, but until more apps do appear, the software experience of the Gear S2 remains quite limited.


Pricing and final thoughts

The Samsung Gear S2 is priced at $299 for the Original edition, with the Classic version setting you back an additional $150, putting them squarely among the typical Android Wear offerings out there.

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So there you have it for this in-depth look at the Samsung Gear S2! Whether this smartwatch offers enough to justify its price point is going to be a personal decision, but so far, we’ve had a love/hate relationship with the Gear S2. An accessible, and actually fun design with the rotating bezel keeps us coming back for more, but the lack of essential applications supported in this version of Tizen makes for consistent frustration. Samsung actually gets a lot right with its best smartwatch yet, and in an increasingly saturated market, it will perhaps result in some out of the box thinking from other OEMs as well. When it comes to applications and overall features however, the S2 will likely be a let down, and this is where competing devices may actually have the upper hand.

Buy Gear S2 on Amazon
Buy Gear S2 Classic on Amazon
  • love my moto 360 but hate the battery life. this thing has peaked my interest and i’m normally a Samsung hater. Anyone have it? I find it over priced, but how are the watch faces?? are there just as many as you would find for Android?

    • Brendon

      Buy the new moto 360 or wait the Sport version the battery is the best in the new models

      • deal

        • Scr-U-gle

          Have you seen a Lenovo 360? Terrible design, far too big, and parts so old they almost pre-date android.

          Buy the 360, if you have no taste, do not care for style, and don’t mind lugging around a giant ugly flat tyre.

  • Marty

    Had an S2 for a couple of days. Returned it because it was less useful than my Android Wear watches. S-Voice required too much interaction and it wouldn’t do navigation. The rotating bezel seemed redundant and needless because I could more easily accomplish everything the rotating bezel could just by swiping the display.

    One thing that stuck with me was how much it felt like a regular Gear 2. The system was very much like the Gear 2 and no more functional. With Android Wear, Google Now is its shining star. You can reliably initiate a call, send a text or run apps just by saying the simple command. Not so with S-Voice. You can initiate a call, but it requires extra voice input. And I just felt like the S2 was much less useful than what I can do with Android Wear.

    Sorry, Samsung. You still need to go back to the drawing board and reinvent your smartwatch.

    • SnakeSplitskin

      Marty, you copied and pasted this same bozo paragraph from more than one site: AND ALSO ON

      Those are just a few of the sites you’ve posted the exact comments on. It’s as if you’re part of a campaign that is against the Gear S2. I would normally accept the premise that you just want everyone to know what your experience was but then you totally blew it when you complain about the rotating bezel being redundant.

      The rotating bezel is one of the S2’s standout features vs. other smartwatches much like the Apple Watch has the rotating crown. Therefore it is no secret that the S2 has this feature which means you knew that BEFORE you bought the watch. So it begs the question, why would anyone buy a watch knowing ahead of time what it can do and then get pissed because it does exactly what it advertised? The answer is that people don’t do that. Only someone who didn’t actually buy the watch but instead wanted to create negative comments on every tech side on the Internet would point out as fault something that they would have known prior to making a buying decision.

      Simply put, Marty, you’re a complete fraud and you have been called out.

      • Marty

        Strange because I just got through typing this AA post from scratch. I didn’t copy and paste and that’s provable because the words aren’t the same, but the experience is.

        You are a liar and you’ve been called out!

        From Android Police:

        “I’m returning mine. It just isn’t as useful or convenient as Android Wear. And I really want to find a reason to keep it, but I can’t.

        I got mine a couple days ago and though it looks nice and fits well on my wrist, it doesn’t have very good watch faces and no Google Now functionality. S-Voice is inconvenient because it requires more interaction than what I’m used to with GN. On GN when I want to make a phone call I bring up the GN voice prompt then say “call —-“. It immediately initiates a call. On the Gear S2 I double press the home button and say “call —-“. Then it asks me to confirm rather than immediately initiating the call.

        That may seem like nitpicking, but it makes a difference while driving down the road. I’m finding the Gear less useful than my Android Wear watches. Initiating a navigation is likewise less functional on the Gear. I can easily tell GN to navigate to a particular location without any further interaction except to pick from available similar results. Can’t do that with S-Voice.”

        From a different article on AA:

        “I had an S2. Returned it because it was less useful than my AW watches. And the lack of apps and watchfaces really hurt it. But it felt very much like the Gear 2. And the rotating bezel seemed like an unnecessary addition and complexity because you can do just about everything the rotating bezel can do just by swiping the display. And I found it easier and more convenient to swipe the display.

        S-Voice wasn’t as easy or useful as Google Now. It required extra interaction for things like placing a call. However, it wouldn’t do a navigation. And for the NFC, trying to make use of that for payments, Samsung Pay is required and is limited to just a very small number of credit cards, none of which I had.”

        • Scr-U-gle

          Paranoid Androners are in the vast majority.

        • SnakeSplitskin

          No, I copied one single line from your comment and googled it. Google presented me with links to the same comment that you posted under “Marty” pseudonym across several different tech sites. What are the odds that I could do that googling just one line from your comment? You can google anything I say in this comment section and you won’t find a copy of it on another tech site. But you have gone all out to post your S2 comment for reviews of devices that aren’t the S2.

          • Marty

            An internet harasser. I got your number…

            By the way, just for official records. I am requesting you stop stalking me and harassing me.

          • SnakeSplitskin

            don’t reply to my comments if you’re not comfortable with my responses. No one is stalking you, they are merely reacting to your ridiculous fake posts that you keep posting across multiple tech sites. Are you being paid to do this? I’m sure you are a fan but you’ve posted more than 3000 times across multiple tech sites. To me, that’s a bit excessive and seems like you’re more of a paid hack than an actual fan. By calling you out like this others will be able to put your comments into their proper perspective (fake) and weight them accordingly.

          • Marty

            I can really understand the push these days to deal with internet harassers. I never really understood it before, but I do now. You have enlightened me as to why there are many websites to report such harassing behavior. I will be collecting screenshots of everything you say to me and about me.

          • SnakeSplitskin

            What these tech sites really need to do is have a major push to remove paid commenters that troll all the tech sites with the same comment. I had seen many people reply to comments with “Paid Troll” and now I finally understand why.

      • Degus Jacoby Pradana

        Yeaa so much BS people right now especially samsung n apple hater

      • Otto Andersson

        To be fair, there is a difference between knowing the features and experiencing the features. When using a feature in practice, a user can more decidedly gauge whether or not something is useful. If you don’t like what he has to say, fine. But, your logic is a bit flawed.

        • SnakeSplitskin

          My logic is spot on. I think it’s your ability to interpret reality that’s flawed. You don’t have to use the watch’s rotating bezel to know that rotating the bezel allows you to navigate. You also don’t have to touch the screen to know that touching the screen allows you to navigate. Anyone with any cognitive sense and ability to read knows PRIOR TO PURCHASING THE WATCH that the rotating bezel is the alternative method to navigating. Perhaps the act of rotating a bezel is a turn-off to some people. Perhaps the benefit of seeing the screen that you’re navigating isn’t really worth it to some people. These are things you would know prior to buying a $299 watch. Concluding that you dislike a watch because after using it, you discovered its rotating bezel is redundant is just downright ridiculous. No one in their right mind would believe this guy which is probably why you do.

          • Otto Andersson

            Your crusade is weird, and you seem to have some issues. The guy has his opinion, get over it if you don’t think it’s real.

          • SnakeSplitskin

            why are you taking issue with the fact that I take issue with someone’s consistently fake comments? I can just as easily tell you that you’re weird for calling me out for sharing with the public the doubt they should cast about his opinion. You should get over the fact that I don’t think his opinion is real and that I share that point with everyone in the forum. But thank you for your opinion nonetheless.

    • James Theodore Retuya

      Nope. No oem will cater to a minority.

    • Derek923

      Paid by Apple, I am sure.

      • SnakeSplitskin

        he’s made over 3,000 posts across multiple tech sites. his comment on the gear S2 was posted over several of these sites even when the article wasn’t about the S2. He purchases the S2 and returns it within a few days only to claim that he prefers the latest Android Wear and its features more. Why the heck did he buy the watch in the first place if he was just a regular consumer? Oh, that’s right. He isn’t.

    • VerlandersPhone

      Seriously? You create similar posts every time a new piece of Samsung Hardware is released. “Oh, I purchased it, but then returned it a few days later”… You’re full of it. Either A.) You never actually made the purchase, which is more than likely, or B.) You’re so obsessed and infatuated with Samsung you feel the need to have repeated one night stands with them.

      Also your take on the rotating bezel is off base. It allows you to scan without blocking the screen. Your agenda is see-through, but your finger isn’t. I don’t think smart watches are useful so I’m not purchasing the s2 or any other watch, but the s2 is clearly a cut above in many aspects.

      • Marty

        What’s it to you? Seriously, why is what I say a bother to you?

        • SnakeSplitskin

          because you’re a complete fraud?

          • Marty

            And you are a complete liar.

          • SnakeSplitskin

            What have I lied about? You posted lies about buying a $299 watch (S2) and then said you returned it because you discovered the rotating bezel was redundant. Whoa, you didn’t know that before you bought it? Of course you knew it but you didn’t actually buy it. This is what makes you a fraud….and a liar. Please stop posting that fraudulent comment across all the text sites.

          • Marty

            Another screenshot for my records.

          • SnakeSplitskin

            How about this:
            1) explain why you’ve posted the same comments on multiple tech sites even when the articles you commented on are not about the Gear S2. ** this will help us decide if in fact your comments are honest or not because this is very important to most of the people who read these articles**
            2) respond to the issue relating to the rotating bezel. I have pointed this out multiple times but you still haven’t responded to why you would buy a $299 watch when you knew you didn’t like a “redundant” navigation feature.
            3) Stick to the discussion. threatening stalker accusations are just weird. If you don’t like people’s replies then simply don’t post a comment. You don’t get to make a comment in an open forum and not expect to get responses, especially if your comments don’t seem genuine.

      • VerlandersPhone

        Hi Marty. It’s not a bother at all. It’s just, i came home last night after a nice dinner and wasn’t really hungry for the Bull-Sh!t Sandwich you were serving.

        • Marty

          Hmmm…so someone had a gun to your head forcing you to read what I say? I see….

    • Marty

      This is an update to my review, adding proof of purchase. I’ve blocked personal information which is still present in the original.

  • southerndinner

    Bought this last week and it quickly replaced my moto 360. Better battery by a mile (I get 3 days) and I love the bezel navigation.

    • James Theodore Retuya

      Will buy this next year. Hopefully by then the app ecosystem will be a bit broader. Anyway, the design and ui are what im after. More than sending text messages or making calls. I have my note 4 for those lol.

  • Mark Kendrick

    I find it strange that you can’t set a reminder using the watch, it seems like that would be a must have feature.

  • Krishna Santhanam

    Other app issues sure … but NAV works with Here from Nokia. Give the directions I need … not sure why people think that is not possible.
    Only two … but big complaints
    Number of apps is abysmal
    cannot delete gmail … only remove notifications

    classic/3g are only $50 more not $150

  • Scr-U-gle

    What a croc of poop! Basically everything this website and its readers hate about Apple Watch has been badly copied by Similarsung and is now a great feature.

    Steal your next idea at the Mac World Convention.

    • Degus Jacoby Pradana

      So irony when gear watch already release almost 3 years ago with square display and the next apple watch came with square displau too, who’s copy now?

      • Diego

        samsung came out with geer watch based on apple watch rumors.

        • Scr-U-gle

          All roid and Similarsung not so smart watches only happened because of the Apple Watch rumour.

          But don’t these moroids don’t let facts get in the way.

          Next they will be saying Similarsung brought out a watch three years ago when they jumped in the wrong direction again only two years ago.

          Next they’ll tell you that androne came out before iPhone a year after.

      • Scr-U-gle

        i guess oblong watches have never been made before TWO years ago when the shameless Similarsung heard the rumour of the Apple Watch?

        Oh look a round watch, now that’s a new concept?

        But the Digital Crown is a new concept, that has been lambasted by Andrones, until some Similarsung copy hits the streets, just like fingerprint scanners that work, multitouch interface, Continuity, hi-density screens, sealed phones? Oh that’s right the failure of swipe finger print scanning, eyes roll and the rest of the shit thrown against the wall by androne that is a massive failure.

        No wonder Scr-U-gle are waiting for the Apple Car, that noddy car is never going to sell.

    • James Theodore Retuya

      Please eat your croc of poop like a good little kid and let the adults talk.

      • Scr-U-gle

        You bought a child toy, and you have the front to call anyone a child? Typical moRoid, nothing to say, zero to add, nothing new.

        Ps: I do not want to go large

  • Ramshambo2001

    So can you take phone calls if you have a bluetooth headset connected?

  • Godswill Nyoni

    This is the best smartwatch available.

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    • Marty

      It’s a nice looking, well made, watch, for sure. But it’s less useful than Android Wear. And if you try to use the NFC for payments, there’s only a handful of supported cards.

      • Wjdzm

        enlighten me why you say android wear is better.

        • Marty

          Rather than repeat myself, I’ll point you to my review below, deeper in the comments, where I speak about why AW is more useful. If after reading that my point is still unclear, I’ll try to point it out a bit better.

      • Matt Allen

        Why would you need NFC for payment when you could use MST with Samsung Pay?

        • Marty

          Can’t use Samsung Pay. It doesn’t support my card. And it only supports a handful of cards.

  • Jimmy Donta

    Love the Gear s2 classic! But enjoying my Huawei watch now, maybe pick one up when the price drops!

    • Scr-U-gle

      That’ll be be a week after release, just like the S6/Edge, S5, S4, S3, S2, S1.

      I’d like to hear how the people who paid full price for a Similarsung device feel when the price drops immediately after they over paid.

  • SMD79

    Your “con” is no auto brightness, but I’ve heard there is a sort of auto brightness since it has an ambient light sensor. Thing is it won’t drop below your set brightness level. It will go above however, to compensate for the brighter environments. For example, if you set the brightness to 3, then when you are in the dark it won’t go below level 3 brightness…but step outside in the sun and the brightness would raise automatically to adjust for the brighter setting all the way to the top. I’d say that’s auto-brightness.

  • SnakeSplitskin

    For those of you that needed to post a receipt of your purchase to prove you actually bought it (Marty), please explain why you purchased the watch in the first place. Why would someone who already enjoys what they perceive as benefits with the latest Android Wear watches go out and buy a Tizen based smartwatch by Samsung? You already knew full well that it had Tizen and a rotating bezel. Would you have kept the watch if you liked it even though you already own Android Wear watches? It just doesn’t make any sense unless you already knew you’d be returning it with no risk of losing your money.

    One can only conclude that you purchased it knowing you’d return it just so you can berate it in all the tech sites. Are you being paid to do this? I just can’t imagine a normal person doing this. Perhaps you should start your own tech review site. Maybe that’s what’s driving you.

  • Matt Allen

    I ordered the S2 3g. Not sure why people would get the s2 when the 3g has a speaker (worth the the $50 alone to me), GPS and a bit bigger battery to help.

  • Chizusyo

    Am i the only who feels that the inspiration of this smartwatch is ben 10

  • tasneem choudhury

    Would you say that the Samsung Gear S2 is actually a successor to the Samsung Gear fit when taking into account the limitations of the device?

  • Tac

    Loving mine !

  • Gerry

    its compatible with xperia Z5?

  • Ircham Ardani

    does Gear S2 works with Oneplus X?

  • Andrea

    Anyone know how to get Gmail or social media apps on the watch?