We’ve all been waiting for one of the giants of the mobile industry to make a move and insert itself into the smartwatch conversation. As of today, Samsung has officially made the jump. It’s Galaxy Gear smart watch was unveiled at the Unpacked 2013 Episode 2 event in Berlin, Germany. Samsung is one of the largest mobile device makers in the world, a company used to competing with other heavy hitters. It’s biggest challenge with the Galaxy Gear will come from Pebble, an upstart company that produced its watch thanks to crowdsourced funding on Kickstarter. We’ll see if the Galaxy Gear gets the added benefit of being made by a company with a history of making solid devices or if the ingenuity and startup sensibilities of the Pebble Smartwatch win out in a spec showdown.
Samsung Galaxy Gear
|Size||36.8 x 56.6 x 11.1 (mm)||50.3 x 32 x 8.4 (mm)|
|Screen||1.63-inch Super AMOLED||1.26-inch LCD|
|Resolution||320 x 320 pixels||144 × 168 pixels|
|Processor||800MHz Exynos processor||ARM Cortex-M3 processor|
|Connectivity||Galaxy Note 3, Note 10.1||iOS 5+, Android 2.3+|
|Bluetooth||Version 4.0 + BLE||2.1+ EDR, 4.0 BLE|
|Battery||25 hours (315mAh)||7 days (140mAh)|
|Charger||Micro USB||Modified USB|
|Marketplace||Galaxy Gear Manager||My Pebble Faces|
|Availability||9-25-2013 Global (US early Oct.)||Out now, GetPebble.com|
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear definitely benefits from Samsung’s strength in smartphones. It’s capable of Wi-Fi connectivity, responding to voice commands, and it has a camera built right into the strap that can record 720p video. You can even make calls right from the Galaxy Gear. It’s a fuller offering, leaning more toward a stand alone device (though it isn’t, you’ll need certain Galaxy devices to run it) rather than an accessory for a device like the Pebble Smartwatch. It comes pre-loaded with tons of apps and gives you control over them with swipe commands that are completed right on the face of the watch. It seems like it will be a pretty impressive piece of wearable tech.
That said, Pebble may have a leg up by going a little lower-tech. Its apps are tiny meaning the limited RAM and internal memory, which don’t impress on a spec sheet, serve the device well. The ability to connect to both iOS and Android gives Pebble users more flexibility and the long battery life means you won’t be charging it every night like you’ll have to with the Galaxy Gear. The Gear may also have a price issue, nearly doubling the retail cost of the Pebble Smartwatch – a steep price for a device that isn’t independent and requires you to purchase another device at around the same price just to run it.
Though these devices technically occupy the same category, they seem as though they’re different and have different goals for what they offer. To really figure out which smartwatch will be the best wrist companion for you, you’ll want to try out both devices. You can get your hands on Pebble Smartwatch now and the Galaxy Gear will be available starting September 25, 2013 globally and early October here in the US.