| || |
My first day with the Galaxy Gear
I'm definitely what you'd call a gadget head and am an early adopter, but tend to restrict this to things I know I can use as I don't see the point in wasting money on something that will gather dust.
Having previously had the Note 2 for a year I picked up the Note 3 on release (25 September 2013 here in the UK), as the extra features in the S pen made it attractive for my useage pattern.
Once I had the Note 3 I started looking in more detail at the Galaxy Gear as I was intrigued. I wear a watch everyday anyway and was interested in the extra functionality that the Gear would bring to my Note 3.
Long story short I saw enough to warrant getting one (in black) as it was something I felt I could use, so I picked up my Gear on Thursday after work and spent the evening setting it up and testing notifications etc. before charging it for the following day
Left for work at 8am with a fully charged Gear and it had fairly heavy use. Lots of colleagues were intrigued by it so I was doing various demos of the camera (still and video), music player, notifications etc.
The general opinion was that it looked more like a real watch than most expected it to and several thought they could see benefits in having one for themselves. In particular most were surprised at the camera and didn't feel it was that obvious to see on the strap without it being pointed out, but that could be because it does blend fairly well into the black strap. I'm not sure this would be the case with other colours. Downside for most was the price point, but they were definitely googling for cheaper alternatives such as the Pebble so it looks like Samsung has started to generate interest in this type of device.
From my point of view the Gear was comfortable to wear and in no way felt any different to my normal watch. Initially I thought that the screen timing out would annoy me (I know this can be changed but I left it at the default to see how I got on), but found that whenever I actually looked at the Gear to see the time it WAS displayed - which is exactly what you want from a watch. I didn't need to perform any exagerated gestures for this and found just a simple movement to look at the face was enough.
I did find it useful that notifications came through on the Gear when my 'phone was just laying there on my desk, as it meant I didn't have to periodically pick up the Note to check for messages and emails. I use the stock apps on the Note, my Gmail auto forwards to my main email account, so everything works just fine with the Gear.
A couple of 'real world' situations also came up. One was where I was in a meeting and had to place a call to a colleague in another office. There was a 'phone in the room but no-one had his number to hand. I didn't have my 'phone with me but was in bluetooth range so was able to call up my contacts list on the Gear and read off the number for someone to dial out. That impressed a few people since it meant no-one had to leave the room to go fetch the number.
The other scenario arose when I left work. I usually text my wife to say I'm on my way home and she usually replies to say if she's home or not so I know where to call her. Usually I end up waiting for a response before setting off as I won't check texts while driving, but this time I sent the text left my 'phone in my jacket pocket and set off. Sure enough 5 minutes later a reply came through on my Gear and I was able to call her from the hands free kit in my car.
Neither of these events is earth shatteringly important, but both made my life a bit easier which to me is a good enough reason for owning the Gear.
Realistically the Gear is not for everyone and I wouldn't advise anyone to buy it based on my experiences. I don't see myself actually using the camera or the media controls that much and I do feel that that these are a bit gimmicky. Bottom line is that a potential buyer needs to take into account what the Gear can do, how would it fit into their lifestyle and are they happy with the price.
Final bits are around the Bluetooth range and the battery life.
For Bluetooth I've had no problem with connection in and around the home or office and the maximum range I've experienced is around 300 feet. While in the office I actually went from my desk to the coffee bar, two floors down at the other end of the building, before being disconnected.
The battery life has also been good. As described above yesterday the Gear had some fairly intensive use, compared to what I'll normally put it through, and it's not yet been charged again. Looking at it now (15:16 UK time and 31 hours since its last charge) the battery is at 30%. Pretty good from my point of view and I can easily see me getting 2 days from it between charges.