Samsung kicked off the wearable wars with a bunch of smartwatches, but in the past few years, it’s backed off — until now. Samsung’s fantastic new Gear S2 smartwatch is official. Here are all the specs and features Samsung packed into its new smartwatch.
The Gear S2 runs Tizen, but unlike its predecessor, it brought compatibility to select non-Samsung Android devices, as well. And at CES, the company confirmed rumors that it’d introduce iPhone compatibility to the round smartwatch later this year.
In adding support for iOS devices, Samsung’s following in Google’s footsteps — the search engine giant recently opened up Android Wear smartwatches to iPhone users.
SamMobile was the first to report in September that Samsung’s Gear Manager app would make its way to iOS. It’ll allow users to pair their iPhone with the Gear S2, but there was no specific date on when the support will arrive.
However, the Gear Manager app leaked online in mid-April, which could be an indication that it’s close to launching in the App Store. iOS users can download the app now, but unfortunately it can’t be installed on an iPhone unless it’s jailbroken. Since the app hasn’t been thoroughly checked by Apple, it’s probably not a good idea to install it anyway.
It’s also unknown if it’s the final version of the app or even if it’s officially from Samsung. However, it’s unlikely a random person took the time to develop the app, so there’s a good chance that it’s legit. Assuming that’s the case, the fact that it’s already an .ipa app file means that it could launch very soon.
You can check if your Android device is compatible with the Gear S2 here. There are some phones that aren’t on the list, which also support the Gear S2. If you want to see if your phone is one of them, just check if the Gear app works on your device. Here’s a link to it on the Google Play Store.
Pricing and availability
Samsung’s Gear S2 smartwatch is available for purchase in the United States. The regular Gear S2 costs $300 and the Classic costs $350. You can buy both versions of the round watch at Samsung.com, Amazon.com, Best Buy, and Macy’s.
The following U.S. carriers announced intentions to carry the 3G version of the Gear S2:
Verizon – The Gear S2 arrived at Verizon on November 6. It costs $350 at full retail, but customers can get it for $300 with a new two-year contract activation. Customers can add the Gear S2 to their current Verizon account for $5 a month. Verizon offers both the Dark Gray and Silver color options, too.
T-Mobile – The Gear S2 is available online and in T-Mobile stores. Customers can add the Gear S2 to existing plans for only $5 extra per month. The Gear S2 will then have unlimited talk, text, and data, although only 500MB of that data will be high-speed data. T-Mobile will sell the Gear S2 in two colors – Dark Gray and Silver for $0 down and 23 payments of $15 plus one payment of $15. Alternatively, customers can buy it for the full-retail price of $360.
AT&T – The Gear S2 is available on AT&T for $15 per month for 20 months, which equals out to $300, or you can grab it for $200 with a contract.
U.S. Cellular – The Gear S2 is available on U.S. Cellular, costing $300. The company does not list a contract price on its website.
We’ll keep you updated on carrier pricing.
Fully round smartwatch with classic design
Samsung struggled with smartwatch design early on. All of it’s devices tended toward futuristic over-the-top designs that looked odd on most people’s wrists. The Gear S with its massive 2-inch curved screen was the epitome of strange design choices. However, the Gear S2 is much more in line with the current thinking about smartwatches: They should look like normal wristwatches.
The Gear S2 has a perfectly round screen, relatively small profile, and a few sleek band options. It comes in three different options, all of which have slightly different dimensions:
- The regular Gear S2 measures 42.3 x 49.8 x 11.4mm and weighs a mere 47 grams.
- The Gear S2 Classic is slightly smaller at 39.9 x 43.6 x 11.4mm and 42 grams.
- The Gear S2 with 3G connectivity is the bulkiest version, at 44.0 x 51.8 x 13.4mm and 51 grams — but that’s to be expected from a watch with its own connectivity.
To put that in perspective, here are the LG Watch Urbane‘s measurements: 45.5 x 52.2 x 10.9mm and 66.5 grams. Samsung’s Gear S2 seems to be lighter and smaller across than the Urbane, though it is thicker, which comes as something of a surprise. The Urbane is already pretty hefty.
Samsung’s Gear S2 does have a neat rotating bezel, though, a home button, and a back button to make navigation easier. The buttons also add an element of style to the watch and make it look more like a standard wristwatch.
The Gear S2 is also available in a dark gray case with a dark gray band and silver case with a white band. Meanwhile, those who opt for the Gear S2 Classic will be able to dress their smartwatch up with a black case with a real leather band. Regardless of which model you buy, the Gear S2 will be water and dust resistant, thanks to its IP68 rating.
Typical smartwatch specs and Tizen OS
Inside that rotating bezel is a 1.2-inch circular AMOLED screen with a 360 x 360 pixel resolution, which amounts to a pixel density of 302ppi (pixels per inch). For a smartwatch, that’s actually quite high resolution, so the Gear S2 should look sharp and bright on the wrist. The Gear S2 runs Tizen, which has been tweaked to fit the smartwatch interface and optimized to suit the 1GHz dual-core processor that’s inside the device. The watch comes with 512MB of RAM, which is pretty standard on a smartwatch, and 4GB of storage.
Just like every other wearable, the Gear S2 connects to your phone via Bluetooth, but it also has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC. You could use this device to make mobile payments via Samsung Pay and control other NFC-enabled devices. The 3G model has built-in connectivity and can work on its own without your phone, thanks to the “first-ever e-SIM with voice capability,” as Samsung puts it.
Samsung alerted its Tizen developers to the existence of the Gear S2 long ago, so Samsung says there are a good number of apps available for the device. Regardless, it’ll sync to your phone, giving you notifications from all your Android apps. The Gear S2 can send texts and other replies, too.
A slew of sensors — including an accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate, ambient light, and barometer — all ensure that the Gear S2 tracks your activity with as much accuracy as possible. To encourage Gear S2 users to be even more active, Samsung added new activity features to the smartwatch, including a 24-hour activity log that shows you daily activity progress and patterns at a glance. Much like the Apple Watch, the Gear S2 will send reminders to motivate users to meet their goals.
The regular Gear S2 models without 3G connectivity contain 250mAh batteries, which Samsung claims last 2-3 days. The 3G model packs a slightly larger 300mAh battery, which is said to last 2 days. Both charge wirelessly via a charging dock.
Updated on 04-14-2016 by Robert Nazarian: Added in information about leaked Gear Manager app for iOS.
Updated on 01-05-2016 by Kyle Wiggers: Added official Samsung announcement of iOS compatibility.
Updated on 10-15-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added in news that T-Mobile and Verizon will offer the Gear S2 on November 15 and November 6, respectively. Also added pricing for the LTE model at both carriers.
Next page: Previous Rumors and leaks before the launch
Previous rumors ahead of the official launch
Samsung’s designers have been working hard
Design is everything for a smartwatch, and companies are only just starting to get it right. On the tail of its gorgeous Galaxy S6 range of smartphones, the Gear S2 smartwatch looks very stylish in these early shots. Just a week before the watch is officially unveiled, Samsung executive Dennis Miloseski posted a picture of him wearing the device on Instagram.
“Giving the new Samsung Gear S2 a test drive,” Miloseski writes, once again confirming the watch’s name. The picture is about as official as it gets, although the watch is still unofficial; and the real-life shot shows considerable depth to the display, a sleek metal body, and a set of side-mounted buttons.
It’s not our first look at the Gear S2. Samsung previously released a fashion-influenced “Lookbook,” containing a few shots of models wearing it. Using the same Next Is Now tagline that accompanied the launch of the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, the watch’s name was confirmed as the Gear S2, and the Lookbook concentrated in Samsung’s current obsession with style, design, tech, and high fashion. We knew quite a lot about the specs of the watch, since it had been regularly leaked as the Gear A, but this was our first close-up look at the device.
There are two main shots of the Gear S2. In the first its paired with a Note 5, complete with a dark strap, minimalist watch face, and brushed metal bezel. The second image is in color, and the watch has a white strap, and the same basic face and sleek screen surround. It’s certainly more compact than other round smartwatches — the LG Watch Urbane, for example — and it’s telling that Samsung has chosen to show it worn by women, emphasizing its dimensions, and suitability for all.
Samsung says it’s, “devoted to wildly recreating and revamping the rules of fashion and tech,” and the Gear S2 is, “reimagining the classic circular watch, infusing it with functional technology and a touch of creativity.” It’s a very different approach to the original Gear S, which while attractive from certain angles thanks to the curved screen, was absolutely huge, and had an oblong face.
A nano SIM to make calls
Just like some of Samsung’s other smartwatches, the Gear S2 is rumored to have a nano SIM card slot. This would allow customers to make and take calls, as well as use the Internet and send messages to friends from the Gear S2 without the need to pair with a smartphone. However, it’s unknown whether you’ll need to connect with your smartphone through initial setup, much like customers had to do with the original Gear S.
In addition, the Gear S2, much like the Gear S before it, is rumored to have Wi-Fi support, which is useful when you have no cellular connectivity.
Official teaser video shows off features
Take a look at the video showing the smartwatch’s operating system and some of its features. The watch will be powered by Tizen, and the main focus of the video is how Samsung adapted the OS to suit the device’s round screen.
It’ll make an appearance at IFA
There were reports prior to Samsung’s August 13 Unpacked event suggesting the company hadn’t made the final decision whether to launch the watch on that date. It didn’t, but will do so on September 3 at part two of its Unpacked event for the second half of 2015. This will coincide with the IFA technology show in Berlin.
Updated on 12-1-2015 by Julian Chokkattu: Added in news of Samsung working on an app to bring Gear S2 compatibility to iOS.
Updated on 10-02-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in Samsung’s own unboxing video of the Gear S2 and news that it’s available to buy today.
Updated on 9-30-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added pricing and launch date info to the post.
Updated on 09-01-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in availability information for AT&T, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular.
Updated on 08-26-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added semi-official picture of the Gear S2 watch, shared by a Samsung executive.
Updated on 08-24-2015 by Williams Pelegrin: Added news of the Gear S2 having a nano SIM card slot, giving it the ability to make calls.
Updated on 08-19-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added Samsung’s promo video of the Gear S2’s operating system and functions.