Samsung likes to buck trends; traditional tech companies generally follow a one year development cycle. People were surprised, therefore, when Samsung announced the Gear 2 just six months after debuting the original Gear.
The Gear 2 features a more refined design than its predecessor. It also now comes with an integrated heart rate monitor and IR blaster. Still we feel the $299 price point is excessive when compared to Samsung's competitors - and it will make even less sense next year, when Apple releases their iWatch.
We were also frustrated with their app support - very few apps and nothing unique. So has time already run out on the Gear 2?
The Gear 2 strength is it's design; Samsung has managed to radically improve the Gear 2 design over the Gear. While the face is relatively unchanged, the camera has moved from the strap and is now located on the top section.
The bottom of the watch has an integrated heart rate sensor and a proprietary charging contact set.
Measuring 2.3 x 1.45 x 0.39 inches and 2.4 ounces, the Gear 2 is smaller and lighter than the original Gear (2.2 x 1.4 x 0.43 inches and 2.6 ounces). That being said, it's also larger and heavier than our 2014 Fave Pebble Steel, which measures 1.5 x 1.4 x 0.4 inches and weighs 1.95 ounces.
The Gear 2 sports a 1.63-inch, 320 x 320-pixel Super AMOLED display that's vibrant and defined. There are five settings on the display to control brightness. In our testing, we found the display hard to read in direct sunlight due to glare.
The Gear 2 is compatible with most current Samsung devices, including the Galaxy S4 and S5, as well as the Galaxy Note 3.