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Samsung’s Gear 2 ditches Android (and the Galaxy name), picks up fitness sensors

For more check out our full Samsung Gear 2 review.

Samsung, unable to hold itself back until its Monday MWC 2014 event, has announced two new smartwatches, the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo. Rumors had been stacking up the firm was about to reveal the wrist-worn pair, apparently prompting it to just go ahead and send out the press release. Hands-on time will still have to wait, but at least we’ve got all the specs to examine.

The major change over the first Galaxy Gear comes with the operating system, which is no longer Android, but Tizen. Samsung glosses over how this will impact apps for the watch, aside from saying wearers will have access to an “enriched application ecosystem,” without naming any apps available. It’s possible to alter the watch face, change the font used, and add a different background to the display, so there’s plenty of opportunity to personalize the look. The overall design appears sleeker and more stylish in the press images, and the face seems to have slimmed down too.

Both the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo – note the disappearance of the Galaxy brand name – have a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display with a 320 x 320 pixel resolution, and run a 1GHz dual-core processor with 512MB of RAM. A total of 4GB internal storage memory is ready to fill up. Samsung has integrated a range of fitness sensors for tracking your heart rate, steps and movement. The option to select a running or walking exercise mode is standard, while a cycling and hiking mode runs with the help of an app.

If you’re wondering where the difference between the two is, it comes with the camera. Buy a Gear 2 and you get a 2-megapixel autofocus camera with 720p video recording, a feature missing from the Gear 2 Neo. Otherwise, the spec list remains the same, including a remote controller for your TV, Bluetooth call functions, and S Voice commands. The battery life from the 300mAh cell is quoted as two to three days under normal usage.

Samsung will launch the new Gear 2 watches around the world from April, but specific dates and locations aren’t confirmed yet. More importantly, the price is a mystery at this stage, although we can assume the Gear 2 Neo will be cheaper than the Gear 2, but it remains to be seen how much cheaper they’ll both be compared to the $300 Galaxy Gear. We’ll bring you more news from Samsung’s Unpacked 5 event on February 24.

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