Samsung Gear review

Is this the smartwatch to put the wind up Apple?

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Ah, now this is a good one. The 1.9MP camera attached to the Galaxy Gear strap (called a Memographer, if you're interested) is a cool addition to the device - we just can't decide if it's worth having there or not.

On the one hand, it's a really unique feature, it works very quickly, and the convenience is brilliant. If you've got an image that you want to capture in a couple of seconds, the Gear is a great option for that.

Galaxy Gear review

It matters that what you're trying to snap doesn't really have a great amount of detail, as the image quality isn't super high - although there are some elements we're really impressed with.

For instance, you can take Sound and Shot pictures with the Gear, activate macro mode for really close up images and even choose a 1:1 or 4:3 ratio (although we'd recommend the former as it gives a higher-res shot.)

On top of that, you can shoot video in 15 second bursts, which is good for things like Vine videos.

The main drawbacks of having a camera mount up though. For one, trying to angle your arm to take the photo isn't the easiest, and you also have to explain to people what you're up to most of the time.

There's a shutter sound to make sure that people can tell that you're being a super spy too, and that noise can't be turned off either. This is probably a good thing, but causes embarrassment when you're just playing with the camera to see what it can do.

There's also the point that it raises the cost of the Gear quite a lot, and that's one of the biggest gripes we have with the device.

The convenience of the camera is really good, and although the quality is mostly rather poor, it's better to have a poor camera helping you snap a moment than none at all.

Transferring the pictures is good, as you can either set it to manually do so on your command (enabled by default) or have them automatically get sent to the Note 3 when taken. You can even set it so this only happens when the Gear is charging, thus saving that vital battery power.

Annoyingly you're taken to the gallery of your phone as soon as you tap on the notification to let you know the transfer has worked - this is a hotch potch of tiles that just looks messy, and can take ages to find the Galaxy Gear folder if you've got Facebook or Dropbox pics enabled.

Why can't it just show the picture straight away when you tap on the notification?

Camera samples

Galaxy Gear review
Indoor shots come out pleasingly well

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Galaxy Gear review
Quick snaps can make you look like a rubbish spy

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Galaxy Gear review
Perspective can be gained easily

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Galaxy Gear review
This close up shows a lot of impressive detail

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Galaxy Gear review
Almost touching the wall, the camera's auto mode worked exceptionally well

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Galaxy Gear review
As you can see, detail, colour and brightness are not high on the list

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Galaxy Gear review
Get the conditions wrong and focus can be lost - this was the third attempt at this pic

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Galaxy Gear review
Another quick snap, and high levels of brightness again ruin the picture

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Tech Specs

Product TypeWrist Watch
Watch FormatDigital
Band TypeStrap
Band ColorBlack
Brand NameSamsung
Watch DesignRectangle Face
Face1 Digital AMOLED
Wrist BandBlack Strap
Built-in ComponentsBluetooth, Pedometer
Height56.6 mm
Width36.8 mm
Depth11.1 mm
FeaturesStopwatch, Timer
Product ModelSM-V700
Product NameGalaxy Gear
Manufacturer Part NumberSM-V7000ZKABTU
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing InformationThis elegant wearable device gives a new meaning to the phrase "dressing smart". The Galaxy Gear connects wirelessly with your Note 3 and makes sure you have everything you need right there on your wrist and within reach. You can keep your Note 3 in your pocket or bag, and Gear will tell you when you receive a call or message. When you get a important notification on your Gear, Smart Relay brings up the full message when you open your phone. You'll have seamless communication from your Gear to your phone.

Experience new mobile communications freedoms
Samsung Galaxy Gear lets users live in the moment while staying connected to their Samsung Galaxy devices. It notifies users of incoming messages, such as calls, texts, emails and alerts, delivers a preview of those messages and creates the opportunity for users to accept or discreetly ignore those messages. When an incoming message requires more than a quick glance, users can simply pick up their Samsung Galaxy devices and the Smart Relay feature will instantly reveal the full content on the screen.

Voice operation
The built-in speaker allows users to conduct hands-free calls directly from the Gear, maintaining connections to their mobile communications without disrupting their daily routines. For example, a user leaving the grocery store, whose hands are full with shopping bags, could still make a call by speaking into the Galaxy Gear without touching the screen. Users can also draft messages, create new calendar entries, set alarms, and check the weather on the Galaxy Gear with S Voice.

Capture daily life from your wrist
In addition to enabling smart device controls, Samsung Galaxy Gear introduces several features that help users easily capture life's meaningful moments which otherwise might be missed. With the Memographer feature, a 1.9 Megapixel camera, users who are on the move or participating in physical activities can record both photos and video to create quick, visual records of important information or events from their daily lives, as well as share them on their social networks. Extending the quick-record concept, Voice Memo lets users capture important thoughts or conversations from their wrists and save those voice recordings into texts on their Samsung Galaxy devices.

A growing list of controls for favourite features
With the Galaxy Gear, users gain a wide range of favourite features that further increase the benefits of this new accessory. New security enhancement Auto Lock automatically secures the companion smartphone screen any time that Galaxy Gear is more than 1.5 meters away from the smartphone, and then unlocks the smartphone when the companion devices are near each other again. Find My Device helps users find the location of their smart devices when they have been misplaced by making them beep, illuminate and vibrate. With Samsung Galaxy Gear, users can also control the music played on their Samsung Galaxy devices. As with traditional music players, it helps users browse, play and pause songs even when their smart device is not within reach. Finally, the Galaxy Gear also works like a Pedometer to track physical activity via enhanced, built-in sensor technology. This feature systematically and automatically monitors users so they can track key personal data such as calories burned, steps taken and distance covered.

Weight (Approximate)73.8 g