Back in August, we found mention of a new Samsung Gear product hidden in the Gear S press release. The Gear Circle is not another smartwatch, but a new type of crossover device, this time combining Bluetooth earpiece-style functionality with a set of sports earbuds. Then, because Samsung’s never happy with a product until it spans several genres, it throws in a hint of designer-style smart jewelry too. Now the smart and sporty Gear Circle Bluetooth headphones are available to buy in the U.S.
Updated on 12-16-2014 by Andy Boxall: Added further availability and pricing information, plus a video showing the Gear Circle in action.
The Gear Circle Gear Circle comes in black and blue and is currently available at a handful of retail stores, networks, and through Samsung.com. An exclusive white version of the Gear Circle is available at Best Buy for $100, just in case you don’t fancy the other color options. The earbuds cost $100 from Samsung’s website and through AT&T, while T-Mobile’s online store has them up for $130.
The Gear Circle uses a Bluetooth 3.0 connection to link up with your smartphone, and supports all the usual Bluetooth profiles, plus apt-X for improved sound quality, provided the other device has it too. Once it’s connected to your phone, you can listen to streamed music, plus the Gear Circle can be used to make and receive calls, and it’ll listen out for voice control commands too.
Inside is a 180mAh battery, which Samsung says will keep playing music for nine hours, or sit in standby for 300 hours. Total talk time is somewhere around 11 hours. A micro USB port is used for charging, and we’re willing to bet Samsung will be happy to sell Gear Circle owners one of its new multi-cord USB cables to charge all your gadgets from a single power outlet too.
If you’re wondering where the smart jewelry aspect comes in, it’s when you want to store the Gear Circle. Instead of taking it off and bundling it up in a bag, it has a magnetic clasp that turns it into a futuristic necklace, hence the Gear Circle name. It sounds convenient, but we remain unconvinced by its style until we’ve seen it round a few necks in real life.
Updated on 11-05-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added availability and pricing info for the Gear Circle in the U.S.
Article originally published 8-28-2014.