Why I prefer Samsung Gear’s Tizen to Android Wear

by: Matthew BensonJanuary 26, 2015
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A few months ago our US Senior Editor Andrew Grush offered his praise of the Moto 360, having spent a month with it. Despite the quality of the writing itself, I took issue with the core of the content: that Android Wear is a suitable platform for wearables. I have to disagree, at least as things now stand. Android Wear seems fundamentally broken due to its being chained to Google Now and a smartphone, something not so true of Samsung’s Gear products, which run on Tizen.

After a discussion with Andrew however, a larger issue surfaced: the divergent opinion is largely based on the individual’s needs and expectations. To this end, I felt it an interesting experiment to delve into the functionality of both, and try and give readers a bit more insight into the very different paths that Google and Samsung are taking with their wearables.

Moto 360 vs LG G Watch R-13

Good on Google

Android Wear is Google’s answer to the wearable wars, a battle that in no small way ramped up big-time when rumors started flying about Apple releasing an “iWatch” well over a year ago. Ironically it wasn’t until last Fall that the Apple Watch actually came to fruition, though it has yet to be released at the time of writing this piece.

Android Wear looks very clean, serves as an extension of Google Now, and has very basic functionality. Presumably Google was aiming for all three when it designed the software. While this is not intended to be a review of the platform, I will nonetheless discuss some pros and cons. For reference, I have spent considerable time with the Samsung Gear Live, the Moto 360, the LG G Watch, and the LG G Watch R. I tested both the 4.X software version and then more recently, the 5.X build.

The Good

Wear has a very clean interface that perfectly complements the Google Now functionality it is tied to. It is quite literally, an extension, in every sense of the word. The various swipe-based gestures work well to navigate the various menus and screens, and I absolutely love the “face-palm” motion that will turn-off the screen: it not only feels cool to do, but it’s a highly effective way to turn off the screen when it might have turned on by accident. I also like the ability to enable Developer Mode, just like on standard Android: hit the Build Version a few times and presto!

The real “big deal” with Android Wear seems to be the fact that it works on any Android device running on Jelly Bean 4.3 or higher. The element of proprietary requirements completely go out the window, something that Samsung seriously needs to address (something I will be addressing later). It is also worth noting that, even though there’s not much of an out-of-box experience, there are a growing number of apps available that are compatible with Android Wear.

LG-G-Watch-R-2

The Bad

Android Wear is fairly limited without its accompanying smartphone or tablet tether. Ask it the weather? It needs to connect to Google Now. Ask for directions? Google Now. Ask for movie info? Google Now. Sure, some apps do work even when your phone connection is dropped or your phone’s battery dies, but they still have to be synced initially to the phone and the apps have to be installed on the phone in order to continue to be available on the watch.

Also, Google seriously needs to do something about its search hot phrase: “OK Google” is just ridiculous at this point. If Motorola managed to solve this problem with the Moto X (2014) by allowing the user to select any phrase or word to activate it, there is really no excuse Google can’t. The company wants Android Wear to catch on, yet the key out-of-box functionality requires talking to the watch – something many people aren’t comfortable with for the potential embarrassment of doing it in public – and you need to use the most unoriginal phrase ever to do it. This “hotword” gripe extends to the Android OS as a whole however: it needs to change.

Probably my biggest gripe is that a Bluetooth tether must constantly be connected between your handset and smartwatch, and that means battery on both is going to drain faster than normal. I also just don’t feel that AW offers enough of an experience that it is necessary, and in many situations I’d rather just go for my phone or tablet in order to check notifications and perform some of the other basic tasks Android Wear is capable of. Of course, not everyone will feel this way. Some folks, like Andrew, like the idea of a companion device and don’t mind that it is tied to a phone in order to provide a great number of its functions.

ASUS Zenwatch-3

Smitten with Samsung

Turning to the other side, let’s take a look at the Tizen build running on Samsung’s Gear products. For reference I have spent considerable time with the Gear Fit, Gear 2, and Gear S. For the sake of this commentary, I will use the SIM-enabled Gear S, however the majority will also apply to the Gear 2.

The Good

To be quite blunt, from a user-interface perspective, one would be hard pressed to believe the Gear series isn’t running Android TouchWiz. The bridge between the two is so tight it’s almost as if they are one-and-the-same. The icons, the settings, the features. Gear devices even have a truly stunning level of depth in the Settings menu, allowing you to change the text size, font, window colors, backgrounds, motions, and with the Gear S, even toggle on/off WiFi, 3G, and the GPS.

The Gear S has a pre-installed Contact List (Address Book) for starters, along with an SMS application, a Calendar App, a Phone Dialer and various Widgets (like a news filter that can use 3G to update) among other features, things that just mop the floor with Android Wear in terms of productivity. Heck, you can even download Opera Mobile from the Samsung App store. Now I will be the first to admit that typing anything on the tiny virtual keyboard the Gear S has isn’t exactly easy to do, but the fact is you can do it, and surprisingly with minimal mistakes assuming your fingers aren’t excessively thick. It is very much a smart watch, and one that serves to legitimize the genre.

Gear-S-Fleksy_02

Fleksy, one of the downloadable keyboards for the Gear S, however the device comes pre-installed with Samsung’s own for reference.

Looking at other features, the Gear series also has a built-in music player and a camera (on some models). The speakers are quite loud and while their actual use is somewhat questionable (there is no microphone jack) again, you can use it as an impromptu speaker if necessary while exercising by loading the internal memory with albums. Android Wear on the other hand, is limited to vibrations and that’s it. Google doesn’t believe in cameras, speakers, or anything else “smart”, rather it views the wearable platform as an extension of vanilla Android: plain and simple.

Special mention also needs to be made to the fact that the Gear S’s charger is actually a mini battery. Snap it onto the back of the device and it will begin charging the battery of the watch even without a USB connection. This is an absolutely brilliant addition and serves as a legitimate reason to carry around the charger piece when you worry the device’s battery might die before you get home.

Nexus 9 Vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-11

The Nexus 9 and Galaxy Tab S have a surprising similarity despite otherwise irreconcilable differences: neither will work with a Gear S.

The Bad

First and foremost, it is absolutely shameful the manner in which Samsung supports its Gear devices. The question isn’t what is compatible with it, but rather, how many of the devices you own aren’t. Let’s put aside the fact that the Gear is 100% proprietary: Samsung wants you to use Samsung products much like Apple wants customers to use Apple. This is just an unavoidable reality. The problem however, is the fact that there is no clear “cut off” to compatibility as there is with Android Wear and its 4.3 minimum requirement.

Last year Samsung released the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and 8.4 and for reasons totally unknown, neither work with the Gear S, not even the LTE variants. Mind you, it’s possible to download the Gear Manager software, but the wearable won’t be found when pairing is initiated. It’s been how many months since the Gear S released and this still isn’t fixed? While basically any other product from 2014 works seemingly without a hitch, things are a different nature when you travel a bit farther back in time. Are we actually supposed to believe it takes 2014-era CPU processing power to handle a watch application?

Other issues with Tizen include the aforementioned minuscule keyboard that makes typing quite difficult, the almost overly-confusing number of menus and actions that are possible, the fact that (with the Gear S) a tether with your phone is still required for some functionality that should be 100% functional on the device itself (e-mail for example), and (also with the Gear S) the fact that the camera was removed.

Moto 360 vs LG G Watch R-10

Round and round they go, but try to sync with a second device and you’re dealing with a flat.

Grouped Gripe

Finally, I want to share another major, major gripe with both Android Wear and Tizen: the fact that they can only be synced with a single device. Let’s say that you have a smartphone and a tablet, something that companies like both Google and Samsung seem to encourage (see the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 or the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Tab S, respectively). Let’s say that you have your wearable linked with the phone, but you want to sync it with your tablet. Well, you can’t. In Samsung’s case this is hardware compatibility, but with Google’s it’s possible assuming you format the device and make a new profile on the tablet.

Better yet, let’s say you upgrade your phone. Well say “Goodbye” to everything on your watch, because there is no way to simply link it to a new device. No, you need to completely format the software and pair it fresh with the new device. Why is this? The tablet issue I can understand given that the device is meant to pair with the phone, but the fact that you can’t have it linked to more than one device is just poor execution if you ask me. Maybe most customers don’t change phones regularly, but some do.

simband

Could a device like the Simband take Samsung’s wearable platform to the next level?

Wrap up

Disclaimer: As this was written as an opinion piece, I make no claim whatsoever that my views are in any way, shape, or form the “correct” ones. You, the reader, are free, welcome, and encouraged to disagree.

So the question is, what is the purpose of a wearable device? Clearly for me, it’s about functionality. If I’m spending $300 on a piece of technology that offers very little watch-related perks (it needs to be constantly recharged, you are encouraged to disable the perpetual always on watch condition, the designs have yet to reach those of genuine timepieces, especially in Samsung’s case), the barren out-of-box functionality of Google Wear is such that I’d be better off just sticking with my phone.

This is why I found the Gear S to be absolutely fantastic. The design is borderline horrible, so much so that it’s more like a bracelet than a watch, and the rubber strap lacks any conviction of premium whatsoever. Heck, the actual device itself appears to be a return to plastic: the tacky chrome rim highlights the fact that the Gear 2 used metal for its face. Yet, Tizen/the Gear S has a large SAMOLED screen, it has so many features right out of the box, and even allows you to make a phone call, for crying out loud. This is very much as smart as smart can get for the moment.

While I’m not writing off Android Wear by any means (heck, the LG G Watch R is just plain awesome as far as I’m concerned), for me at least, it doesn’t provide the basic innate features that I feel a smartwatch should have.

  • Hijak

    having used the Galaxy Gear (Original) since it first came out, I have to say that Tizen did wonders for the original device. It shipped with Android on it, had about 1 day of battery if you were lucky, and was a bit sluggish. Since they upgraded it to Tizen, I get 2 to 3 days of battery, is more responsive, and there are a lot more apps available, though it is still a bit limited. I feel that Tizen was a great move for the wearables, and the integration of it with Android on a samsung device is great.

    • Craig Trunzo

      No offense, but this kind of thing kind of makes you sound like an iSheep.

      I mean, the entire iSheep mentality is “OMG LOOK HOW AWESOME THIS APPLE PRODUCT WORKS WITH MY OTHER APPLE PRODUCTS SO FLAWLESSLY EVEN THOUGH IT WON’T WORK WITH ANY OTHER PRODUCT OMGOMG”

      Yes, Samsung’s OS on Samsung’s watch works well and you get 2 or 3 days of battery life. Some manufactures make AW watches that get 24 hours, Sony makes one that get 12. Asus makes one that gets 5-7. Yes, An AndroidWear smartwatch that gets 5-7 days of battery life.

      You really can’t make a blanket statement like all AW watches have crappy battery life because there are a dozen companies making various watches. Some will work, some won’t. Either way, you aren’t stuck with a Sammy watch that only works with other Sammy products, and not even all of them (a.k.a. Apple).

      • Mike Bastable

        Do android fans dream of android (i)sheep? These mythical watches with a week long battery life? My Unicorn owns one.
        Battery life poor in all wearables, if you actually use the thing. Across all platforms universally bad.
        How you managed to turn a discussion of Samsung and its wearable OS strategy into an attack on Apple is all very 2013…..move along please

        • Major Sceptic

          I like the idea of a full functioning smart watch with a Sim (even though I don’t own one), not having to have the phone in your pocket and still being able to communicate with others, I can’t see the point of them otherwise.
          Just had a thought about typing, how would it be if an s pen could be used ?

          • Mike Bastable

            I would like that..the Dick Tracy in me would love it

      • Hijak

        First off, yes I have owned 4 samsung phones and 1 motorola phone. I keep buying Samsung because I really like thier propduct line, but I am always interested in android phones period. I personally feel they are superior to apple in every way, and working in the tech industry, and having to fix F^&* iphones I can respect how wonderful the android world is. I bought into the first Samsung smartwatch after many weeks of debating about it, trying it out on display, reading reviews about how horrid the battery life was etc.. but I still went out and bought it anyway, and to this day I stand by that purchase. I wear it, and use it every day, constantly. It has become a very useful tool in my every day life.

        This article offers a decent comparison between Android wear and Tizen. Tizen is going to gain momentum, as Samsung is going to start putting it into their appliances etc… Overall, I don’t know it is a good OS for phones, but it is doing well on wearables in my opinion. I hope to see more from Samsung on this. As for Android wear, I’ll keep reading all the updates and learning more as I go. I know my old Gear original won’t last forever, and eventually it will need to be replaced, so I’ll keep looking and see what comes out and maybe buy something new. If I had to buy one right away, I’d probably get the moto 360

      • Karly Johnston

        that would be Ssheep?

      • PoisonApple31

        5-7 battery life on an Android Wear smartwatch? Not anything on the market today.

  • dandroid13

    If I could buy a smartwatch I’d choose Samsung without a doubt. Not only because I’m a S series fan but also because Google Now functionality is very limited outside big markets like the US. Paying top dollar for something that’s limited seems very dumb to me.

    • Kwetsima Maluleke

      This is why Android Wear won’t take off because of how Google products just work better in the US and Europe and works poorly outside of those areas.

      • Luka Bulatović

        Europe?
        Yeah, right. Try living somewhere out of France, Germany or UK. Balkans for example. I can’t even buy apps from Google Play store… There’s no Google Now, which pretty much limits the already limited Android Wear to almost nothing (luckily there’s a hack for enabling Google Now) Probably the same in Eastern Europe or similar at least.

        • Kwetsima Maluleke

          Really? I honestly didn’t think they’d exclude you guys. If anything, your situation is actually worse than mine and I’m from South Africa. We kind of have everything but wallet based apps and Need For Speed No Limits for example.

    • Craig Trunzo

      You confuse me with “Paying top dollar for something that’s limited seems very dumb to me.”

      Isn’t a Samsung watch that only works with Samsung phones/tablet, and not even all of them, or even every “Recent” one more limiting than Google Now’s availablility?

      • dandroid13

        I won’t pay $300+ only to get notifications and weather updates. That’s the point, even if you can only use it with Sammy devices, they’re the best selling ones.

        • Craig Trunzo

          I don’t think Samsung is going to be holding it’s lead for that much longer. Either way, I’m not spending $300+ on something that will only work with a single manufacturer and not even all devices that manufacturer makes. My phone is an S4, my table is a Note 10.1 (2014). I like Samsung products. Don;t get me wrong. But I won;t be limited by a product that ONLY works with a specific manufacturer. If I did, I’d buy Apple products.

          Also,
          “I won’t pay $300+ only to get notifications and weather updates”

          I’m not sure where you get that prom but it’s such a vast understatement of AW’s abilities that you really need to do some research for yourself.

          Just that fact that you can load something like AutoWear (https://plus.google.com/communities/110193399489813640793) onto any Android Wear watch pretty much invalidates you argument.

          • dandroid13

            Ok, I don’t have issues with it working only with Samsung devices, but I remember there was a way to make it work with the HTC One.
            Sure, AW may have better 3rd party support but, if it was supposed to be smart, it should include features out of the box. I had a Galaxy Nexus and couldn’t stand the fact that stock Android lacks a file manager, and that if I used a 3rd party one and say, deleted a file, I had to reboot the device for it to disappear when connected to a computer because it won’t trigger the media scanner.
            I love a lot of things Google does, but their approach is too much simplistic, iPhone-like to justify the price.

      • iKrontologist

        XDA Developers hacked Gear S almost immediately to find a secret way of syncing it to near any smartphone, including iPhones. The only problem that you can’t do initial setup. Get it going once though via bypassing setup and syncing it to another phone is a piece of cake we Gear S found out fast. Basically he’s right…. Tizen beats Android Wear to a mush filled pulp. I’ve now owned 4 smartwatches and I only ever use one now. That being Gear S!

        But I’m a little confused by this review with it’s Orwellian Doublethink comments. I find that he’s wrong on about half the negatives and I’ve actually been using my Gear S for 2 months without all the complaints he’s claiming are problems. I’m really not so sure he actually owns one and only did a review on a unit sent to him or maybe just demoed at a carrier or Best Buy!

        I have owned HTC, Moto, LG and Samsung phones and I can sync them all up just fine. Even a friend’s iPhone 5s syncs up. But the only problem is you limit the potential of Gear S dramatically. Even so again you don’t need to sync with your phone at all to view Twitter and Facebook in Opera browser directly. I also don’t think he’s really spent much time checking out Gear Store. But again you need to be synced to a Samsung phone to do that. While some have problems syncing devices, I’ve never run into even one on any phones. It’s simple Bluetooth syncing or Wifi syncing and music, exercising, etc is simply awesome while jogging. Google Now use has a simple hack even a 5yr old could do now:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49Y96zK-R7I

        I guess that’s why I’m so much more impressed after 2 months using Gear S on a constant basis with very few complaints, than this reviewer is! The Big Difference for me is the difference between 3G Call Quality and that when you are synced to phone. Bluetooth headsets are awesome too, but that’s a connection that spans only a few feet. Leave your phone sat down more than 5ft and the call connection via bluetooth syncing is abysmal. Just they will most likely be over any smartphone that requires bluetooth syncing w/o stand alone calling features!

  • Kwetsima Maluleke

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. The Gear S is the only Smartwatch out right now. It’s not just an extension of a phone but a device on it’s own.

  • jrod3737

    “the divergent opinion is largely based on the individual’s needs and expectations”

    Yep.

    I’ve been using the Moto 360 since October.

    I don’t need a phone on my wrist. I need an extension of the phone that is in my pocket so that I can stay connected without being rude (in a meeting, religious service, dinner) or flat out dangerous (driving a car). I also need something that won’t box me in to a particular family of devices (Samsung, Apple). And I need it to have a speaker that allows me to interact with very minimal or no physical interaction (Pebble).

    I agree creating an email or text message should be possible without a data connection (Google Now). Google’s voice recognition relies heavily on sending your voice recording to the internet where the transcription happens. This has always been true of Google’s VR. So this is something that could be improved upon.

    But as you said, it comes down to your expectations.

    • Benjamin Pavel

      Well said!

    • antman1

      Well, i guess people don’t know what they need untill they gives something a try. Imagine all the people who say they don’t need an extension of a phone on their wrist. Once they try, they love it.

  • Foosa Noble

    I love my gear s. My poor gear live is collecting dust on my shelf. Not impressed at all with android wear at all….

  • Well, I just came here to say: Pebble Rules!

  • Carlos Romero

    I’ve had my Pebble for over a year now. Wouldn’t change it for any other smartwatch at the moment.

  • Jim Thibault

    I think these positive reviews all miss the main point, what happens when you do not want a Samsung Note 4 or S5. The Tizen based watches could be the perfect watch but I do not want a Samsung Smartphone.
    Android wear more watches to pick, you can use the watches with just about any current android Smartphone. Battery drain? Bluetooth has minimum effect on my battery life. I leave it on, my phone sees the watch, my jaybird bluetooth headset and car.

    • Craig Trunzo

      This is exactly where I am. I currently own an S4 GPE and a Note 10.1 (2014). Neither device will connect to my brother’s Gear S.

      It’s a beautiful watch, but it won’t work with either Galaxy devices I currently own. Why the hell should I trust Samsung to make future devices compatible with their current watch lineup if the “Flagship” phone from 1.5 years ago won’t work.

      • antman1

        Maybe because its a Google Play Edition?

        • Craig Trunzo

          Does that really matter? I own a top-end Samsung product that doesn’t work with Samsung watches.

          The S4 GPE DOES have the Touchwiz framework installed.

          S-View works on the phone just like it does on a regular S4. Samsung proprietary services such as WatchOn and their other bloatware all work. Why won’t a Gear 2?

          What’s the excuse for the completely stock Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) not working?

          • antman1

            Whatever is officially listed to work with Gear S should work. Why don’t you take it to the Best Buy Samsung experience center and have the techies sort it out? That’s what they’re paid to do. I believe even the S3 should work with the Gear S.

  • Benjamin Pavel

    A smartwatch supposed to be an accessory to your smartphone experience and not to replace your phone itself! What Android Wear does it’s perfect. I don’t want to freaking snap and look at the pictures on my watch or write long texts or even play games on it as I rather use the big screen on my phone…isn’t because of better media consumption screens are getting bigger too? But then again it’s jusz my opinion versus yours. :)

    • Kwetsima Maluleke

      Well then it isn’t that “smart” now is it?

    • n900mixalot

      So then what makes any Android Wear device better than a Pebble?

  • wmsco1

    I appreciate your article. As a owner of the Gear 2 you should of checked out the app store lots and lots of cool handy apps, and complete your opinion.

  • Slapshotsaint

    Samsung Gear is Junk. I bought 2. Both overheated at will by flicking tiles left red marks. You could flip tiles and the batter could go down in 45 minutes. They never could get the devices to call eachother. At the gym if you have any sweat on finger the touch is dead. Music will kill the watch in hour.. JUNK!

    • PoisonApple31

      You must have been using those before the Tizen update then.

  • StacyD

    I OWN 2 Android Wear devices, Smartwatch 1/2, Metawatch, Pebble, and a Gear 2 Neo.

    The best interface was honestly something between the Smartwatch 1 and Android Wear which I believe it will grow into.

    The Tizen setup is way over the top. Its an OS for the Middle ground and beginner. I have written programs for Tizen and have a Tizen Phone as well.

    Its sounds like you are more infatuated with what you can do it and how much it abstracts your phone use, than becomes a compliment to prevent you from doing annoying things or UI items that make no sense on a Phone.

    Its the opinion of someone who has not been there since the real beginning of the modern smartwatch.

    DID YOU START WITH THE FOSSIL BLUETOOTH WATCH????!!!

    That is the granddaddy of all of this.

  • Slapshotsaint

    has the cheapest poorest quality giant battery attachment. Little pins that break. Rushed out.

  • Slapshotsaint

    It was the burn marks.

  • Slapshotsaint

    Samsung is ditching the batteries inside because they are bad.

  • Pascal reymond

    Tizen et un monde pour vous pas pour
    Tout le monde

  • geospa300

    Why would anyone want to type a message on a small watch screen when they can use their phone? it’s an idiotic feature.
    I’m not bagging the watch but to say it’s better because you can type a message and play music is ridiculous!

    • antman1

      Why would anyone need to type messages on a tiny phone when they have the desktop? This is 2015 dude.

      • geospa300

        You type messages on a tiny phone instead of a desktop because you cant carry a desktop around with you all day dude! By the way since when do people send sms messages from their desktop genius?

        • Abel

          I agree with you, but since when do people still send sms?

        • antman1

          You can also carry a netbook around in a slung over bag. Yes, you can send sms over phones, but that still doesn’t explain why people comment on reddit or news articles using their phones, according to the logic “why do I need to view messages on the watch when I have the phone?”. Maybe when you’re skydiving, you can’t take the phone out of your pocket without risk of dropping it? If any work requires both hands, it’s easier to just raise your wrist, and read off the screen as it turns itself on automatically.

  • DW Duck

    I love my gear s. I’m waiting on a red band I ordered from Korea. I wish Samsung would sell the here in the states!

  • galaxyNote4isBoss

    Android Wear is worthless period.

  • ichuck7

    I sold some junk around the house and bought my G Watch for $100. I’m very happy with it. The only minor gripe I have is if I want to use the stopwatch feature, and I turn off the screen, I have to reopen it.

    • Use Bubble Cloud Launcher’s sticky open feature: if you open an app by double clicking on its icon, it will be reopened when the screen lights up the next time.

  • Jaydizzle

    Google is well capable of changing the voice recognition key phrase; they choose not to because they want to develop brand recognition.

    • Abel

      Obviously, because in 2015, barely no one knows what Google is…

  • T.K.

    I think many of you miss the point of Samsung being able to use 3g costs more money! Some don’t want the extra charge for the limited capability.

  • TK Kruse

    Am I missing something? Is nobody a real professional in a job other than tech here where it’s rude or prohibited to be on your phone during the day? For me AW is perfect. I need an extension of my phone so I know if I need to excuse myself. Also, it costs money to have more 3g on my watch! Apparently I’m the only one on a budget.

  • jimtravis

    When the Gear S was announced, the 2″ screen caught my attention. I have added a Gear S to my gadget collection along with several Android Wear watches. My favorite Android Wear watch is the ASUS Zen watch.

    Overall, I like the S, and provided a plethora of 3rd party apps are added, it will be a competent platform. My main complaint with the S is, the last time I checked, the only browser available was Opera Mini. I have been a fan of Opera browsers since my WinMo days. Unfortunately, Opera Mini does not auto refresh, and I have not found any setting to turn it on.

    I have not been able to find an Android Wear, or Tizen bus tracking app. I use several buses daily, so a tracking app, or auto refresh browser is essential. On Android Wear, the WIB browser auto refreshes so the time displayed is always the latest update, no manual update required. With Opera Mini, the page has to be manually updated for the latest actual arrival times. When you are running for the bus, auto refresh is an essential feature for me.

    If I missed a setting to turn on auto refresh for Opera Mini, or another browser is available with auto refresh, please let me know.

  • Hnnnnnnnnnnng

    Tizen sucks massive horse cock. I can’t even play Google Play Music on my Gear S and I am throughly pissed about it.

  • Carter

    The Gear S isn’t as tethered to the phone as Android Wear devices are, but you still need a /Samsung/ phone to get new apps, and set it up. This is a huge disappointment to me, despite the fact that I use a Samsung phone currently. I don’t want to be locked in to Samsung’s ecosystem, nor do I want to be required to have a phone to get apps on my watch-phone. Android Wear has a fundamentally different focus in that it is designed as a conduit to your phone, and a way to avoid pulling your phone out at every vibration or every notification “pop”. Instead, it filters information that you receive, and in some ways, makes getting that information more convenient. I use my G Watch R almost exclusively to send and receive texts. My only complain with that feature is that it doesn’t allow me to send Hangouts messages to those without SMS.

  • player911

    The Gear S is a lovely sight but its limited connectivity to other devices is frustrating. Everyone needs to remember that these smart watches are designed to dismiss notifications and tell time. Some of the basic requirements would be a speakerphone, AMOLED, WiFi, waterproof, battery life, and app support. I just bought the LG G Watch refurb for $50 to play with. I think at that price, it is worth investment. It lacks almost everything on my “basic requirements” list but gets me most of the way there. The lacking features are optional features that make the experience better. With the Gear S, you might as well ditch the phone and carry a watch/tablet.

  • Bill

    I had an LG G watch (Android Wear) as my first smart watch and I couldn’t live without it. Having a phone remote came in handy for changing songs and checking email reading feeds while on a squishy bus. Didn’t need to pull out my phone awkwardly. I recently sold it cause I really wanted to wait for the next gen of wearables that had speakers and could handle calls. However I picked up an Neo 2 for only $80 for now. I am head over heels for this thing. Works so well even without a phone connected. Feels very comfortable and there are hacks to make it work on any android phone even on IOS (not all functions). Theres even a hack to install android wear on it if you wanted to try it. I can take calls on it when I need to and take it on a run without my phone. It handles my music, tracks my running, tracks my sleep and tells time of course. I highly recommend Tizen os its smoother than I thought and very intuitive .

  • DeWayneLehman

    So, I have an original Samsung Gear 1. It is completely useless on any phone I have now, because Samsung locked the Gear Manager to their own phones. I moved from a Note 3 to a Nexus 6P. Sorry, my phone choice trumps my toy accessory choice (and that includes my Google Glass, which I rarely use anymore. So, no offence, but this is a $400 pile of junk now. I like features such as… connecting. And, time. And it’s all cherries after that. The watch still works, charges, turns on. But the time is wrong, and connecting it caused a factory reset and a brick, basically. So, I’ll NEVER be buying SamDumb again. If I wanted lock in, I’d go with Apple.

  • Dave

    A Friend of a Friend told me he was selling his Smart Watch , a samsung gear s and for only 100$ i thought what a steal then i get it home to find out my Nexus 6 phone which i paid about 600$ for is not compatible with it…because its made for samsung only. I had a cheap china made smartwatch from ebay for 5$ and get more functionality out of it. now i can either try and sell my Nexus 6 and get a Samsung Galaxy s6/Note 5 or have an expensive and nearly useless watch on my wrist..