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Samsung unleashes new Gear 2 smartwatches (MWC 2014)

The Samsung Gear 2 and Samsung Gear 2 Neo have been unveiled at MWC, offering a premium smartwatch experience in a range of colours and more flexible connectivity

UPDATE: We’ve just heard from Samsung that the initial press info was incorrect, and the new Galaxy Gear 2 and Galaxy Gear 2 Neo will actually drop the ‘Galaxy’, and be known simply as the Samsung Gear 2 and Samsung Gear 2 Neo. Apologies for any confusion.

Last year’s Galaxy Gear was a first for Samsung, a sleek smartwatch with a built-in camera set to rival Sony’s SmartWatch 2 and the Pebble range. Now Samsung’s back with an updated model, the Samsung Gear 2, and a lighter model that’s missing the built-in camera called the Gear Neo.

Samsung launches Galaxy Gear 2 and Galaxy Gear 2 Neo smart watches at MWC 2014

The Samsung Gear 2 Neo comes in these three eye-catching colours, while the Gear 2 opts for orange, black and ‘gold brown’

 

Although they’re roughly the same size, the Gear 2 Neo weighs just 55g compared to the Gear 2’s 68g, thanks to the lack of snapper. Both models feature a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED screen, the same size and resolution as last year’s Galaxy Gear, which should prove just as pleasing to squint at. Every model is IP67 water and dust resistant

The main change design-wise over the old model is that built-in 2-megapixel camera, which moves from the original Galaxy Gear’s wrist strap to just above the screen. The overall look is neater, and the screws are thankfully MIA, but we’ll wait and see if the new camera position makes snapping impromptu shots any more or less comfortable. It’s an auto-focus lens and you can shoot video and play it back on the device.

Samsung launches Galaxy Gear 2 and Galaxy Gear 2 Neo smart watches at MWC 2014Samsung launches Galaxy Gear 2 and Galaxy Gear 2 Neo smart watches at MWC 2014

The Gear 2 (left) looks similar to the Gear 2 Neo (right), except for the camera above the screen – above the Neo’s screen you only have the IR sensor

 

Speaking of colours, the new Gears come in three different colours apiece. The Gear 2 can be snapped up in Black, Gold Brown and Wild Orange (got to admit, it’s pretty wild) and the Gear 2 Neo comes in Black, Wild Orange and Mocha Grey.

Tucked away inside the Gear 2 is a 1GHz dual-core processor plus 512MB of RAM. You also get 4GB of storage space for apps and photos. Samsung predicts 2-3 days of typical usage, or up to 6 days if you just use it as an actual watch.

Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 smartwatch range t MWC 2014

The usual features are also on board, including an accelerometer, gyroscope and heart rate monitor, so you can use the Gear 2 to track your daily movements and exercise regimes. There’s an IR sensor to fiddle with your telly, and yes, you can once more take calls directly through the watch.

We’re hoping that Samsung will open up the Gear 2 to other Android phones soon, but so far it looks like just a dozen+ Samsung phones will be supported from launch.

The Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo will be available globally from April, although pricing is yet to be confirmed. Check back soon for a full hands-on review and photos.

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