Prasad Gokhale, vice president of IT & mobile for Samsung Electronics Australia, calls the Samsung Gear S2 the “first wearable which actually can be called a watch” because of its circular design which gives it the look of a traditional watch.
While other technology companies have produced round smartwatches before, the Gear S2 is a clear break for Samsung which has previously made smartwatches that have looked like chunky hi-tech gadgetry rather than traditional watches.
“We have culminated the years of experience, customers’ feedback and all the nuances of our great smartphone and tablet heritage and best possible watch — and mark my words `watch’ — for all Australians with this Gear S2,” Mr Gokhale said.
“This is a watch that is powerful on the inside and beautiful on the outside.”
The key to the Samsung Gear S2 is the spinning bezel around the watch face which lets you access apps, notifications and messages.
Mr Gokhale said the Gear S2 had the look and features to appeal to more than the early adopters which had been the first wave to strap on a smartwatch.
“One of the key feedback we got from our customers was `Samsung, build a product that relates to our day to day lives – don’t build one that is only for unique innovators or early adopters’,” he said.
“The whole concept of the watch is so simple. It’s like owning the Swatch watch in the 1980s.”
Samsung was the pioneer in smartwatches but fell behind in the sales race this year when Apple launched the Apple Watch in April and instantly became the market leader.
The Gear S2 is on sale today in Samsung Experience stores in Sydney and Melbourne and online at www.samsung.com/au/gear-s2, with wider availability next month.
It has an IP68 waterproof rating, which means it has been tested to survive a depth of 1.5m for 30 minutes. It has a 1.2-inch screen and a 1.14cm profile, comes with a choice of 21 pre-loaded watch faces, has a heart-rate monitor and an activity-tracking app.
Samsung says the Gear S2 has battery life of up to three days and a quick-charge feature that will give it a complete charge in 140 minutes.
Unlike previous Samsung smartwatches, it is compatible with most modern Google Android phones — not just Samsung models.
The watch comes in two models: the Samsung Gear S2 ($499) and the Gear S2 classic ($599) which has a black leather band. The pricing is similar to the basic Apple Watch Sport, which starts at $499, and significantly below the top-of-the-range $24,000 rose gold Apple Watch Edition.