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

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Samsung Gear Live is compatible with phones running Android 4.3 and above, a requirement it shares with the LG G Watch and forthcoming Moto 360.

It's easy to pair with your device via Bluetooth and the required Android Wear app. But we weren't able to connect on our Nexus 7 2013 tablet. This is strictly a phone affair.

Samsung Gear Live review

Gear Live works with Android 4.3 devices and above. Sorry, iPhone fans

We also have no way of syncing the Gear Live or any Google-powered smartwatch with an iPhone 5S, even when running the iOS 8 beta.

Android Wear watches aren't compatible with Apple's closed ecosystem just yet, which isn't surprising. The Cupertino company is expected to launch an iWatch later this year.

Samsung Gear Live review

The UI takes a lot from Google Now and Google Glass

Plus, Google has run into issues trying to bring Google Glass up to speed when tethered to an iPhone. Some features like replying to texts still don't work as well as when using an Android.

The fact that iPhone isn't compatible with Android Wear isn't a problem right now, but it may be a sticking point for Apple fans when that stylish Moto 360 finally releases and there's still no iWatch.

Battery life

Samsung Gear Live has a lot going for it, but it doesn't last long enough between recharges. The battery life is about a day max with a decent brightness setting.

Its 300mAh battery is actually smaller than the 400mAh size found in the LG G Watch, which can last a safer day and a half.

Samsung Gear Live review

Don't lose this travel-sized charging adapter

Contrast that to the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, which could triple Gear Live's battery life with a the same 300mAh battery, but 2-3 days on a full charge.

All of this is especially inconvenient because of how Gear Live charges. It comes with a small proprietary travel charger that is just begging to be lost.

Samsung Gear Live review

Sadly, you'll need this every 24 hours

Keeping the Pogo charger with you even if you're taking a day trip is a must since there's no way to insert a micro USB like one might expect.

By contrast, the Moto 360 is set to include Qi inductive wireless charging. It's still likely to require toting around a different set of cables, but at least it's an open platform that could charge the Qi-compatible the Nexus 7.

Matt Swider