Expert verdict: Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch doesn't quite cut it

While Samsung may have beaten Apple to the punch, tech analysts are not altogether impressed with the device. As far as they are concerned the smartwatch is not really smart, it is far too clunky and also overpriced.

So, Samsung revealed the Galaxy Gear smartwatch at IFA 2013 in Berlin at around 11.30pm IST on Wednesday. The device will officially launch on 25 September across the globe and currently Samsung is offering the device in six colours that will be available at launch.

As far as tech specs are concerned, Galaxy Gear has a 1.63 inch Super AMOLED display with 320 x 320 pixel resolution. However it doesn't have a flexible screen as some were hoping. The processor is 800 MHz and the smartwatch comes with 512 MB RAM and 4GB memory space. It has a 1.9 megapixel camera on the strap. The camera has BSI Sensor, Auto Focus and the ability to record and shoot videos as well. It has two microphones, ( 1 noise canceling) and a speaker as well. (Read more about the device features here)

While Samsung may have beaten Apple to the punch however, tech analysts are not altogether impressed with the device. As far as they are concerned the smartwatch is not really smart, it is far too clunky and also overpriced.

Here is what some of the leading tech writers had to say about the Galaxy Gear:

Expert verdict: Samsungs Galaxy Gear smartwatch doesnt quite cut it

The Galaxy Gear smartwatch displayed at IFA: Reuters

Chris Ziegler, The Verge:

Ziegler is of the opinion that the Galaxy Gear cannot be called a smartwatch at all. "Prior to the reveal of the Galaxy Gear today, we'd reported that it wouldn't be a standalone phone. After today's announcement, I can conclusively say it's not a smartwatch, either", he says.

He further goes on to say, "In fact, I'm not entirely convinced the first smartwatch has even been made yet. I'll keep using the term - as will everyone - for lack of a better one, but I believe true smartwatches will grow out of a resurgent watch industry in cooperation with technology companies, not out of the tech sector alone."

Read the whole review here

Josh Ong, The Next Web

Ong shares Ziegler's view that the use of the term 'smartwatch' is a little far fetched at this stage. He says, "The geek in me wants to be excited about smartwatches, but I have yet to see a unit that dreams big enough to justify shouting down the pragmatist in me. The allure of getting my phone's notifications on my wrist just doesn't do it for me."

In terms of the Galaxy Gear itself, he says that while Samsung is going the right way in sourcing third party apps, none of them were exciting enough to make him want to buy one. He also felt that the device was too pricey.

Read the whole review here

Zach Honig, EnGadget

Honig has a detailed review with accompanying video and he steps away from the big picture to take a look at the watch itself. But he too is not impressed. "The Gear feels awfully sluggish, whether you're launching an app such as Evernote or Path, or swiping down from the home screen to activate the camera", he says. He further goes on to say:

The Gear is very much a first-generation device when it comes to usability, too; you can only load a total of 10 third-party apps, for example, due in no small part to the limited 4GB of built-in storage. The interface also feels a bit clunky and unpolished at times, and the S Voice feature, which responds to commands just like its smartphone and tablet counterparts, can only be activated by tapping the home button twice -- hardly convenient when you're running or riding a bike.

Read the whole review here

Matt Burns, TechCrunch

Burns is kinder than most of the other reviewers, confessing at the outset that he wants the watch. However he says the price and the fact that this is clearly a first generation device are issues. In fact, he says that this launch could prove to be an advantage to Apple who are almost certain to come out with a more elegant looking device and will have a chance to study the advantages and failings of the Samsung offering.

"should you buy the Galaxy Gear? Nah, wait for the next one. Or Apple's smartwatch. That's what I'm going to do. A Pebble is good enough for me until then. But I still want this one. Well done, Samsung", he says.

To the contrary: The CNet Editors

The CNet editors are much more kindly disposed towards the watch. "when I actually strapped the Gear on my wrist, I was won over. The Gear is a smartwatch, a wrist-worn touch-screen timepiece that talks to your phone, so you don't have to be forever fetching your phone from purse or pocket. It sits on your wrist and happily controls your music, tracks your exercise, installs your favourite apps -- it even makes phone calls", says the unnamed reviewer.

Read the whole review here

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