We compare all three of Samsung’s new smartwatches, the Samsung Gear 2, Samsung Gear 2 Neo and Samsung Gear Fit, to decide which is best for you…
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch hit the UK just a few months ago, but Samsung has already launched three new wrist rockets, revealed at MWC 2014. The ‘Galaxy’ bit has dropped from the name now, giving you the Samsung Gear 2, Samsung Gear 2 Neo and Samsung Gear Fit – but what’s the difference, and which one should you buy, if any?
Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo
Let’s start with the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. These two smartwatches are practically the same except for one key difference – the Gear 2 has a camera built in, while the Gear 2 Neo does away with the miniature snapper to shave some pennies off the price.
The Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are spiritual successors to the original Samsung Galaxy Gear watch, offering a similar design and specs with a few little tweaks and upgrades. Gone are the ugly face plate screws and the sticky-out camera lens, replaced with a smooth finish that looks neat and tidy (and seriously premium).
Specs-wise, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo sport a slightly faster processor (now a 1GHz dual-core chip). However, both Gear 2 watches rock the same 1.63-inch Super AMOLED screen of the old Galaxy Gear, with a 320 x 320 resolution producing crisp (and tiny) images. The new Gear watches also have a downsized battery (300mAh down from 315mAh) but can still survive for around three days between charges.
The Samsung Gear 2 has a built-in 2-megapixel camera which can shoot 720p video as well as photos. You get a handful of basic features including voice control (yell ‘shoot’ to take a photo, which gets interesting results in public) and location tagging, plus an effective auto focus. The camera is missing from the Samsung Gear 2 Neo, so if you’re keen to take quick-and-dirty snaps without pulling out your phone, the Gear 2 is your best bet.
On the other hand, the Gear 2 Neo is a great option if you’re hooked on owning a Samsung smartwatch but don’t have cash to burn – and would be our personal choice.
The only other difference between these two watches is the design. The Gear 2 Neo is a little lighter than the Gear 2 thanks to that lack of camera tech – it’s just 55g compared to the 68g Gear 2. They’re both IP67 water and dust resistant, but they come in different colours too. They can both be snapped up in Black and Wild Orange (got to admit, it’s pretty wild), but the Gear 2 also has a Gold Brown model while the Gear 2 Neo comes in Mocha Grey.
And then the Samsung Gear Fit…
The Gear Fit is a big departure from the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, with a massively different design and pared-down specs and features. It’s a sleek little beast and more simple to operate, while the compact, light build makes it more suitable for active users.
At just 27g you can barely feel the Gear Fit on your wrist, and while the plastic body is a little chunky, it’s not intrusive. The build quality may not be as premium as the Gear 2’s metallic finish, but we prefer the slender, curved design of the Fit. The customisable clock faces are very cool, and you can quickly and easily change the wrist band, just as you can swap out the Gear 2’s strap.
As with the Gear 2 you get a built-in heart rate monitor, but the Fit doesn’t come with an IR sensor (bang goes your subterfuge TV control), there’s no camera and you can’t answer calls on it. If that’s a big deal, you’ll have to choose a Gear 2 instead.
The Gear Fit’s specs are also cut down from the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, but that’s down to the different OS (see below) – we found the Gear Fit still ran perfectly well.
Delving into the more geeky details, the Gear Fit runs a different OS to the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. While the Gear 2 watches run Tizen (Samsung’s specially-developed operating system), the Gear Fit runs an entirely different custom OS. The rationale is that the Fit’s OS is more battery-friendly (expect an extra day or so of use), although it’s also more limited than Tizen, hence the missing features.
So which Samsung Gear smartwatch should I buy?
The Gear 2 is the only watch of this trio with a camera, but we honestly still don’t see the point of it – apart from rather dubious illegal practices, of course. And considering the Gear 2 Neo essentially packs all of the other features for a lower cost, we’d recommend the Neo any day.
But then there’s the Gear Fit. This curvy watch loses a lot of key features such as IR support and call answering, but makes up for it with a gorgeous slim-n-light design which we easily prefer over the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. If you’re after a watch purely for the fitness features (pedometer, heart rate monitor etc,) then the Gear Fit would be our choice.
Got a different opinion? Let us know in the comments below, along with the customary abuse about our mothers.