Samsung Gear Live review

An Android Wear smartwatch for early adopters who can't wait for Moto 360

Samsung Gear Live review
The surprise smartwatch at Google IO with an unsurprising design

Android Wear is a simplified version of Google's increasingly inescapable mobile operating system, and it's meant for wearables like the Samsung Gear Live.

Sliding through its card-based interface, it's clear that the software borrows heavily from Google Now and the Google Glass UI, which is a modified version of Android KitKat.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Watch review

The contextually-aware intelligent personal assistant often lays out commute times based on events in your calendar or places you commonly visit at certain times of the day.

Samsung Gear Live review

The weather forecast is always closer than your fingertips

Google also knows which sports teams are your favorite based on search and automatically displays them with real-time score updates.

The same applies to appointments, friends' birthdays, stocks you're interested in, tracking of packages and so on. It all sits right under the current time without you needing to set anything up.

Samsung Gear Live review

The watch mirrors Google Now shipping notifications

Swiping up and down moves between the different notifications, while flinging them to the right dismisses them like a bad Tinder match.

Landing on a notification card and moving your finger to the left allows you to explore more choices within the notification. Often times, the options are generic with "reply," "delete" or "open on your phone."

Voice recognition, initiated by saying "Okay Google" any time the screen is active, handles everything from text message dictation to calling up apps.

Samsung Gear Live review

Annoying: I said 'Take my heart rate' and it came up with a 'Take my heart' music video

For the most part, Google's software picks up the right words, but there are glitches. It also doesn't wait long enough before cutting off your sentence. There's no time to think.

This is extra annoying when, instead of the "Take my heart rate" command opening the Google Fit app, the Gear Live hears "Take my heart" and displays search results for a music video you can't open.

The errors are just as common as we previously experienced with Google Glass and require a lot of quick canceling, repeating and methodically speaking sentences in quasi-noisy environments.