IFA 2017 is upon us and Samsung have kicked things off early by announcing a collection of Wearable Smart Devices. Whilst Samsung’s Gear devices aren’t always the most popular choice for those on Android, they did recently gain iOS compatibility as well, making this a very compelling choice for those looking for some Android Wear alternatives.
First up is this, the Samsung Gear Sport. This is a refreshing take on Smart Watches for the Android platform as for the first time in what seems ever, this is actually a Smart Watch that might actually fit on your wrist, or at least begins the slow road getting there. Unlike the massive Gear S3, the Gear Sport has a shrunken down display, which naturally reflects in the size of the device on your wrist. That doesn’t stop it from being relatively big at 42mm, equal to Apple’s larger Apple Watch, but it’s a step in the right direction.
One of our biggest complaints about all Smart Watches on Android is their size, it’s incredible that the only Smart Watch you can get under 40mm is the 38mm Apple Watch, and we remain hopeful that this size will eventually make it down in the Android offerings as not everyone wants a massive slab on their smaller wrists, but this we’re happy to report is reaching that point.
The Gear Sport runs the same Tizen software as previous Smart Watches from Samsung, and has a beautiful 1.2 inch (360 x 360) AMOLED Display, which, we don’t need to tell you, looks great. The device has an ambient light sensor to keep the actually fairly bright display at bey. The software on version 3.0 has been slightly tweaked, though the navigation remains the same, the dial still twists for navigation and the usual two physical buttons remain. The basic Samsung Voice Assistant is what you’ll be stuck with for now however, as Bixby is expected in a future update.
Samsung’s big focus with the Gear Sport however is in it’s Water Resistance. We’re far beyond a basic IP68 from a Smartphone, this thing can literally swim with no problems, up to a massive 50m depth. Samsung claim swimming will be no problem with this Watch, even Showering if you’re that way inclined, however Diving is not recommended due to the pressure.
The Gear Sport supports Samsung Pay, however some maybe disappointed that it’s only the NFC variety. The battery has also seen a decrease at just 300mAh, though let’s not forget the screen is smaller and some other features have been drawn down which should help that. Performance on the 1Ghz Dual-Core Processor feels snappy, WiFi / Bluetooth 4.2 / NFC and GPS are great for outdoor fitness tracking, and the improved loudspeaker and microphone should make phone calls that much better. The onboard 4GB of Storage can also be used to store your MP3s or Spotify caches to listen to on the move, with or without a Smartphone present.
The Samsung Gear Sport is expected very soon, and will be compatible with any Android device running 4.4 KitKat or later, or iPhone 5 or later running at least iOS 9.
Samsung also announced the Gear Fit2 Pro, the continuation of their Fitness bands, which continues the trend of a curved 1.5inch (216 x 432) AMOLED display and comes in black or red.
Just like the Gear Sport, the Fit2 Pro gains 50m water resistance, and runs the Tizen Operating System, meaning compatibility with both Android and iOS remains.
Samsung partnered with Spotify on the device, allowing you to download your Spotify playlists and listen to them on the move, even without a Smartphone nearby, this will naturally require Bluetooth headphones, but the convenience is naturally very welcome.
A Speedo app is also available on the device, which allows you to monitor your swimming strokes, lap times and count and more workouts for other Sport activities.
The Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro is expected very soon, and pricing around £199.
Last up are theses, the Samsung IconX, the second generation of what you could probably call Samsung’s AirPods. However, unlike Apple’s AirPods, the IconX come in three colours (pictured), offer 6 hours of music playback, before a full charge on the casing, and what seems to be better quality audio.
The devices feature a gesture panel at the back of the Earphones to perform Smart tasks , however what is rather disappointing is nothing seems to have really improved in this, in terms of usability and reliability, nothing seems to have changed, which is concerning as the first generation had a number of audio skip issues, which we’re naturally hoping get resolved before the soon release.
Pricing has not been announced, just yet, for the IconX.