samsung galaxy gear aa 9

Despite unflattering reviews and a steep price, the Galaxy Gear is performing in the market better than most expected. That’s according to Samsung, who announced today it sold an impressive 800,000 units of the smartwatch since its launch in late September.

Earlier this week, market sources cited by the Korea Herald claimed Samsung had managed to move less than 50,000 Gear units, due to low consumer interest and the relatively steep $300 price tag. But as Reuters reports today, Samsung claims it sold 800,000 Gear worldwide, making it, according to the Korean conglomerate, “the most popular smartwatch in the world”. The Korean news agency Yonhap reports that the 50,000 units statistic actually refers to sales of the device in South Korea alone.

There’s a bit of confusion around the actual term used by Samsung: according to Reuters, Samsung sold 800,000 Gears, while the automated translation of the Yonhap report suggests Samsung shipped the same number of devices. Samsung usually announces shipments, the number of devices acquired by retailers and carriers for resale purposes.

Many reviewers have criticized the Gear for its short battery life, clunky operation, and limited compatibility with smartphones. It seems that at least some customers shared the same critical view, because return rates have been reportedly high, as much as 30 percent in one case.

Samsung poured tens of millions of dollars into promoting the Galaxy Gear, through flashy marketing campaigns, endorsements from sports stars, and price cuts and promos. The Gear sells along the Galaxy Note 3 or standalone, and is compatible with several other Samsung devices, including (following the Android 4.3 update) the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, and Galaxy Note 2. To promote sales, Samsung offered the smartwatch at reduced prices of even for free when purchased along the Note 3. The Korean conglomerate shipped 5 million Note 3 units in the first 28 eight days of availability.

Do you know people who bought a Gear or did you spot it in the wild? Tell us in the comments.