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The Galaxy Gear from Samsung finally arrived yesterday at the IFA in Berlin and we’ve got all the details. For Samsung fans, this will be a very useful device. For those of you desirous for the Note 3, this may be a must have accompaniment.
While the metal frame around the screen will come in two colors — silver and rose gold — the band will offer many more choices. Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, Jet Black, Mocha Grey, Wild Orange, and Lime Green will make up the wrist strap choices at launch, but don’t get excited for third party bands just yet: the camera is actually built into the band, as you can see in the picture below.
Samsung didn’t give a megapixel count for the camera, but did note it can take 10 second videos in high definition.
The Super AMOLED screen is 1.63-inches square, with a 320 x 320 resolution and 278 PPI. The 315mAh battery is said to get you a full 24 hours under “normal use”, but will diminish much faster with any intensive activity. Samsung does report the device will charge in about 1.5 hours on the included cradle, and uses pins on the back of the face to connect to the Gear.
The 800 MHz Exynos processor powering the Gear was of unspecified type (dual core or quad core), and our crew on the ground report it felt sluggish in many circumstances. The two microphones on either side of the screen are used to help with noise cancellation, and can be used for voice-to-text input, or to control a voice call. The home button will rest on the right side, and clicking that will take you to S-Voice, Samsung’s Google Now substitute.
Samsung says the Gear is based on Android Jelly Bean, but is heavily modified. The home screen shows a clock face by default, and you can swipe to the left or right for notifications, much like the Google Glass interface. Swiping left will give you notifications like text or email from the parent device (more on that in a minute), settings, and apps. Lifting your hand will wake the display, and when paired to a device, it will disable the pattern lock screen. Dragging down from the top will send you back to the home screen, and dragging down from the home screen launches the camera.
For now, the Galaxy Gear will only work with the Note 3. We can surmise this has to do with the Note 3’s updated TouchWiz skin, but Samsung wasn’t willing to confirm why the Note 3 was the only compatible device. With music playback controls, and a “find my device” feature being used harmoniously with the Note 3 and Gear, this smartwatch may just be proprietary to Samsung smartphones.
The Gear is not a standalone device, but offers much of the same features as current smartwatches (pedometer, notifications, music controls, etc.). Samsung reports it will have over 70 compatible apps at launch, including Evernote, Pinterest, and RunKeeper. Gear Manager, an app available for the Note 3, will control settings and apps for the Gear.
Tell us, are you interested in the Gear? We want to hear what you think!