10-10-2015 06:30 PM
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  1. winpeguy's Avatar
    So today I walked into Best Buy (Greenspoint, Houston) at store opening. I'll update this post and share whatever information I can. The first think you should do is have a look at the Manual

    Purchase and Pricing
    Pricing for the Gear S2 was $299.99 in store. I used a 10% Movers Coupon (bought on eBay for $5 and printed) and a $15 Gift Card with Wearables purchase. In total I paid $269.99 + $22.27 Tax = $292.26. I paid using Apple Pay Discover and expect to get 10% Cash Back. I received my $15 Gift Card after the transaction completed. Total cost $251.04 ($292.26 - $26.22 Discover Cash Back - $15 Gift Card).

    Opening the Box
    The box is round like the Moto 260 (1 Gen), much different than the previous Samsung Gear watches that are square. Box seemed premium. It is white with a small black nylon loop for carrying. Opening the top revealed the watch, and underneath is the Wireless Charger (EP-OR720 Vietnam), Travel Adapter 5v .7A (ETA0U060JBE Vietnam), Black MicroUSB Cable (ECB-DU6ABE Vietnam), Small Straps (Large were installed by default), Manuals (GH90-41207F). A single clear plastic film covered the screen and wrapped around to the back. This was promptly removed, and box closed up.
    Samsung Gear S2 First Impressions-20151002_145751-1.jpg

    Build Quality
    The watch has a nice weight to it. Seems dense, and a much better feel from my previous Samsung watches. I have used a Gear, Gear 2, Gear Live, and am currently using a Gear Fit as I was never really happy with the other watches. My wife owns a Samsung Gear S with Cellular Data. The watch will not lay down flat on a table because the straps come off the body at an angle. This helps keep it firm on your wrist, and hold it better. I assume this helps when getting your heart rate done. The pic shows how far back the straps go, almost 90 degrees from the watch. Hope you don't have big wrists!
    Samsung Gear S2 First Impressions-20151002_135723.jpg

    Powering on the Watch
    There are two buttons on the watch. The lower (smaller of the two) is what powered the watch on. Out of the box I was at 77%.

    Charging the Watch
    So back at work while I was typing in the above, I decided to charge up the watch. The charger is magnetic, and very strong. Lifting the watch will lift the charger. Apparently Samsung needs more weight in the base, and it is small and round, about the same footprint on the bottom as the watch face. In the twenty minutes on the charger, my watch went from 72% to 95%. Unlike the Moto 360, and the picture of the watch on the charger on Samsung Global there is nothing shown on the display of the watch. It is completely off. I was able to open that up by clicking on my battery icon on my watch face, but it goes away after about 3 seconds. There is a single LED at the bottom showing the status. Currently solid red, but I assume it will turn green when complete. Since the watch sits on the charger sideways, the watch face rotates to proper orientation when charging.
    Now I have powered off the watch and placed it on the charger. Now I get the cool green circular status for about 10 seconds, then back to dark. Pressing either button will show the status again. I would prefer it if it displayed a large clock when charging as most will charge at night and having a clock would be helpful to see what time it is when charging, but no configuration in settings from what I can tell.
    I just hit 100% charge and light on the bottom turned green. Screen came on to show 100% and went back to dark. Now I am going to see how long this really lasts on battery. Test started 10/2 @ 2:49 PM.

    S2 Phone Connection
    I have a T-Mobile Samsung Note 5. This morning apparently my Samsung Gear was updated from Galaxy Apps. I noticed it this morning and you will know you have an updated version because it shows a round watch when you open the app. Opening this app and powering on the watch led me to the typical pairing of Samsung Watch to Phone. There was an update (not sure if the app or to the watch) that ran on first connection, but after that all was good. Within 10 minutes I had selected a watch face and had what notifications I wanted.

    I was able to select all 155 of my apps to receive notifications on my watch. This is up from my Gear Fit which only let me do 9 apps. I believe the original Gear S had a limit. Not sure if the limit is changed because of the new app, or because of the watch.
    Gmail - I had one option when I received an email in Gmail on my S2, and that was to Archive the message, which worked good. No reply or anything.
    Nest Cam was able to show the picture from my notification without issues.
    Samsung Gear S2 First Impressions-20151002_150000-1.jpg

    Best Buy did not have any accessories, or replacement bands in my Samsung Experience shop area. I didn't ask if there were any others, but I assume we will see them online from Samsung first. Since we haven't seen any pics with different bands other than the Orange one that AC had, I assume they are still being worked out.

    The display is vivid and beautiful without any lag. You can enable "Watch always on" under Settings > Display, but this will only show an analog two hand representation of time in a dimmed state. I assume different watch faces will display different Always On screens. No Moto Flat Tire!!!!!
    The pics below should give you a good idea of what it looks like, but on the Ambient one, it is much dimmer than it appears in the pic because the exposure changed (see how much lighter my arm and background are).
    Samsung Gear S2 First Impressions-20151002_135611.jpg Samsung Gear S2 First Impressions-20151002_135554.jpg

    Stylize Watch Faces (can be customized in Gear Manager)
    Classic - Face, Dial Color, Date, Compartment 1
    Modern Utility - Dial Color, Hands, Date, Compartment 1, Compartment 2
    Neon - Select color and show date
    Basic - Face, Dial Color, Date
    World Time - Select 2, 3, or 4 Time Zones for display
    Digital - Background, Font, Compartment 1, Date
    Large - Font, Color

    Watch Faces
    Chronograph - Can't customize, but starts a stop watch when pressing the seconds Compartment
    Activity Bubbles - Weird
    Heart Wave
    Pixel Heart
    Activity Sparkles

    App Watch Faces
    Nike - Connects to Nike+ Running App
    CNNDigital - CNN App
    Bloomberg - Edit on Watch Face and with Bloomberg App

    Samsung Gear S2 First Impressions-tempfileforshare_2015-10-02-15-06-13.jpg

    The Wheel
    Ahh yes, the wheel. Very fluid in turning. It does not spin freely as there are catch points. No clicky sound, just slight bumps. It is so intuitive and works flawlessly. This is what dreams are made of . . . almost. I say almost as it seems like a little more work than necessary. Let's say I am in my App "wheel". I have to move turn the wheel from the 1 o clock position to the 6 o clock position if I want to go to the next screen of apps. If using two fingers, you can't do it without re-positioning your hand (as you can't rotate your hand that far around). Ok, maybe if i twist my wrist to start more to the left, and now I can rotate it more to the right, ahhhhhgggg F-it!. Just tap the App you want to open. Much quicker to just tap what you want, and the swiping of this is so fluid . . . I think I will stick to swipe and tap for most things. Even reading a long email it is easier to just swipe to scroll. I would appreciate feedback from others on this!

    Nothing to talk about here . . . and yes I mean nothing. Not a sound. No speaker obviously, so no you can't take calls and be Deek Tracy from this watch. (I had originally spelled Deek Tracy the correct way, but obviously AC changes Deek to ****)

    Store Apps
    I won't address the builtin apps yet, but while talking to a coworker about the rotating dial, we thought it would be great to play Pong on, and wouldn't you know it there is Gear Pong by Sergey Sidorov that works great!

    The glass is very fluid, and not curved. So a Screen Protector will work fine on this. Also, the glass itself is recessed below the wheel, so easier to keep from getting scratched rubbing against things. This was a smart and well thought out touch, or luck was on Samsung's side on this one.

    In Settings > Connections it showed NFC on. Clicking on this will bring up the NFC sub-menu.
    Bluetooth has BT headset
    Wi-Fi has Networks (if not on BT)

    Samsung Pay
    No clue yet on how to use, there is no Samsung Pay app. I will have to try this in a store, but there was a setting to enable NFC which I did turn on. The NFC is on the front top, so you turn your wrist to pay. And there is no MST, so it has to be an NFC terminal that accepts payment. I assume you have to use the phone to do Samsung Pay, authenticate (fingerprint) and then you can tap your watch, but at this point since you already have your phone open, seems pointless to use the S2 when you can just tap your phone. More to come on this one.
    It looks like we are waiting on an update for Samsung Pay to work with the S2. Possibly November.
    Samsung Gear S2 First Impressions-s2-nfc.jpg

    Battery Life
    Not as good as I would have hoped. At 2:49PM today I decided to test the Battery Life of the S2. I cranked the display brightness all the way to 11 (ok, actually to 10) and had notifications on 150 apps. I didn't run it like I normally would though, since this is the first day with a new toy, there was lots of playing around (more than I would normally). 7 hours later at 9:45PM, my battery hit 50%. At this rate, I will go through a full charge in 14 hours.
    Assuming I change the brightness to 7/10, maybe I will get another 30%? So from 14 hours to 18 hours. And if I cut back on the play time with the watch, maybe another 2 hours, so 20 hours. Still way short of 2-3 days, but I am sure this will even out later.
    I did have ambient mode on, so I guess that matters. Tomorrow morning I will test with Ambient Off and Brightness at 7/10 and go from there.

    Quick Charge
    While the watch comes with a 5v .7A Charger, I decided to plug in the Wireless Charger to my Samsung Rapid Charger. After 15 minutes I am up from 50% to 60%. So at this rate from 0% to 100% should take 1 hour and 40 minutes. I'm ok with this as it is a Wireless Charger and not a cradle dock with a direct connection. This was with the S2 powered off. I assume with the S2 powered on it will take longer, so maybe 2 hours for a complete charge.

    Watch Always On
    Settings > Display > Watch Always On
    I am finding that I prefer to not have the S2 always on. Aside from the battery gain, the responsiveness of the S2 is fast enough to work beautifully. Kudos to Samsung for getting this right. I have had several other Tizen and Android Wear watches where the response was slow and I thought leaving it on Ambient Mode would help.
    There are very few false positives in my usage. As soon as I list my hand to look at my watch, the display comes on instantly, and stays on for 7 seconds before going off again. Picking up a drink didn't fool the watch, it performed rather well at least 90% of the time in my testing. I'll see what kind of battery gains I get. Give it a try for yourself!

    Settings > Connections > Wi-Fi
    Just turn it on. By design it will stay off when you are connected to BT, but as soon as your phone disconnects (you walk far away from your phone), the Wi-Fi will turn on and connect back to your phone (assuming you are on the same wireless network). It should pull and use the Wireless Profiles you have on your phone automatically, no need to configure or enter passwords. Excellent work here Samsung.
    Some features won't work (can't configure the S2 like the Watch Face) but you will get your Notifications.

    Battery Life
    I am impressed and disappointed in the S2's battery life. While the press release states 2-3 days, I might just barely hit 2.
    So my morning started at 6:00 AM. Not a typical Saturday as we had a Garage Sale this morning, lots of moving stuff, etc. Ran some errands, spent some time outside, you know, the usual.
    I turned Always On Display to Off, and Brightness to 5.
    It is 7:10 PM right now, so 13 hours later and I am exactly at 50% with about 8200 steps taken so far today.
    I'm pretty sure this whips up on anything Android Wear can offer, and as it stands if I don't sleep I should make it to 26 hour. So while I am happy it made it will probably make it to Day 2, but just barely.
    Edit. So 8:34 PM (1 hour 24 minutes later) my battery is at 41%. I did give my son a bath, and also noticed the Heart Rate Monitor light (green on back) kicked on for its health check. This may not make it to morning.

    Battery Life Day One
    Ok, so from 6:00 AM to 10:11 PM (16 hours 11 minutes) ends at 33%, or about 4.14% per hour with 10,095 steps of activity, no running. At this rate, the remaining 33% will get me to 6:09 AM, so a few minutes over 24 hours, but I am sure sleeping will use much less power, so I'll find out in the morning where I stand.
    I decided to turn the Auto HRM to Off to gain a little more Battery life. I'll update tomorrow.

    Sleeping With S2
    Woke up at 7:00 this morning, so 25 hours of being on my wrist, and the battery was at 13%. Also noted that my heart rate hit a low of 54 bpm while I was sleeping.

    The Back Button
    Pure genius. I use this more than the rotating bezel (which I am not using that much anymore because touch and swipe is much easier).

    Wireless Charging
    Its official, the S2 does not use Qi. In order to lay the S2 on a Qi Wireless Charger, I had to remove the bands. This is the only way to have it lay flat. Trying on a Nokia, Samsung, and Tylt Qi Wireless Chargers had no effect. Guess I'll have to order a second Wireless Charger for the Car or Office (not sure which).

    Sleep Tracking
    As someone else mentioned, it does not work automatically, nor is there a way to start Sleep Tracking on the S2 (like the Gear Fit). As I do have a Gear Fit as well, I was able to put my S2 on the charger for the night and switch to my Gear Fit to monitor my sleep. I do see that Partner App "Sleep as Android" works, so I will see if this can be used to talk to my S2, otherwise I may be at two devices, while not ideal, it does allow me to charge my S2 at night if I use a secondary device.
    verks, geekaren, L_E_O and 12 others like this.
    10-02-2015 12:13 PM
  2. L_E_O's Avatar
    I'm picking mine up now, and BB is having a tough time finding the $15 wearable coupon (thanks again for the SD link!) If they don't find it by the time I get back over there from lunch, they agreed to just take $15 off.

    Can you talk about how the actionable notifications from the native Google apps work?

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Tapatalk
    10-02-2015 12:32 PM
  3. winpeguy's Avatar
    I have updated the OP with some Notification info.
    L_E_O likes this.
    10-02-2015 12:36 PM
  4. L_E_O's Avatar
    I have an extra and can probably MMS you a pic if they need it.
    Send me a TXT so I can remove my #
    Just sent. Thank you!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Tapatalk
    10-02-2015 12:44 PM
  5. ks-man's Avatar
    Did Best Buy have any replacement bands for it?
    10-02-2015 12:49 PM
  6. nasalpancho's Avatar
    is the display always on?
    10-02-2015 12:51 PM
  7. winpeguy's Avatar
    Did Best Buy have any replacement bands for it?
    No. I added this info in OP
    10-02-2015 01:12 PM
  8. winpeguy's Avatar
    is the display always on?
    Kinda, but a low res dimmed display.
    10-02-2015 01:18 PM
  9. stan23's Avatar
    darn, I just left BB with my watch, not knowing about the $15 coupon. I guess I could go back.

    Great review! it echoes my thoughts completely. One thing for sure -- coming from older gears is how fluid the menus are. I also love how the second hand ticker is ultra smooth and at high fps.
    10-02-2015 01:40 PM
  10. KingMar9's Avatar
    Does the watch have a speaker of any kind, so that I can listen to music off of it without headphones?

    Posted via the Android Central App
    10-02-2015 01:41 PM
  11. stan23's Avatar
    Does the watch have a speaker of any kind, so that I can listen to music off of it without headphones?

    Posted via the Android Central App
    10-02-2015 01:41 PM
  12. L_E_O's Avatar
    Kinda, but a low res dimmed display.
    This must be a setting somewhere that I haven't found. Mine seems to act just like the Ambient Display setting on the OG Moto 360.

    Edit: Found it in the watch settings. I'd been looking in the Gear phone app.
    10-02-2015 01:54 PM
  13. winpeguy's Avatar
    I added pics in the OP. I can't help but think that Samsung hired off some Swatch designers. Am I the only one that thinks this looks kinda like a high tech Swatch?
    10-02-2015 02:08 PM
  14. SchlepNT's Avatar
    Has anyone been able to figure out how to enable Samsung Pay? Holding the back button doesn't work.
    10-02-2015 02:21 PM
  15. The Lip's Avatar
    What does the connection with the watch do to the smartphone's battery life? This is the first wearable that I am actually considering buying, so please forgive the noobness of my question.
    10-02-2015 02:34 PM
  16. L_E_O's Avatar
    What does the connection with the watch do to the smartphone's battery life? This is the first wearable that I am actually considering buying, so please forgive the noobness of my question.
    I've had several of them. I've never noticed an impact at all, and this one seems no different so far.
    10-02-2015 02:39 PM
  17. L_E_O's Avatar
    I added pics in the OP. I can't help but think that Samsung hired off some Swatch designers. Am I the only one that thinks this looks kinda like a high tech Swatch?
    Ha! Now that you mention it... And especially when you go check out some of the watch faces being promoted in the Galaxy store.
    10-02-2015 02:41 PM
  18. winpeguy's Avatar
    I've had several of them. I've never noticed an impact at all, and this one seems no different so far.
    Hey L_E_O, did the coupon work at Best Buy?
    10-02-2015 02:42 PM
  19. kodos's Avatar
    Great first impressions review, and it mirrors my thoughts almost exactly. It really feels like a cohesive digital watch. It doesn't have that feel like the Skeuomorphic nightmare that is the Huawei Watch. It feels authentic like a real digital product. It feels nice and high quality, though perhaps not to Apple Watch standards (at least, the Stainless Steel version, which is the only version I am familiar with).

    And let me say, as someone who absolutely thinks that Android Wear wins the award for worst computing platform, Tizen feels like a dream. However, S-Voice is a poor substitute for Ok, Google. That's probably my only let down so far. Also, I didn't understand how the map app works quite yet.

    And winpeguy, mine was exactly at 77% charged as well, funny.
    So far everything else I have to say has been a very positive experience. It feels polished in a way that Android Wear doesn't.

    Samsung Gear S2 First Impressions-20151002_103716_post.jpg
    geekaren, winpeguy and dsignori like this.
    10-02-2015 02:45 PM
  20. L_E_O's Avatar
    It did indeed. Thank you again!
    10-02-2015 02:45 PM
  21. geekaren's Avatar
    I added pics in the OP. I can't help but think that Samsung hired off some Swatch designers. Am I the only one that thinks this looks kinda like a high tech Swatch?
    Funny, that's what I'd been thinking too! Excellent review btw, thanks for posting and continuing to update it.

    I have the T-Mobile (cellular) Gear S, and love the functionality but wish it were smaller. Gear S2 is the 1st smartwatch I've owned that's a reasonable size for someone with a small frame -- really happy about that. Love the Gear S2 UI... very enjoyable to use.
    kodos and winpeguy like this.
    10-02-2015 02:46 PM
  22. winpeguy's Avatar
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is my watch face too! Although I didn't put Battery on there as easy enough to check swiping down from the clock. Step Count and Weather for mine.
    kodos, geekaren and L_E_O like this.
    10-02-2015 02:53 PM
  23. kodos's Avatar
    This is my watch face too! Although I didn't put Battery on there as easy enough to check swiping down from the clock. Step Count and Weather for mine.
    It's a very good watch face. I'm very pleased with it so far. I just left battery on there to see what the drain looks like on my first day. Assuming this thing lasts a full day, then I'm probably going to throw weather on there as well. Especially when I'm inside the office, and away from windows - I can at least imagine what is going on in the real world...
    geekaren likes this.
    10-02-2015 02:59 PM
  24. kodos's Avatar
    The other thing I have to say that I like is the Haptic response on the watch. It is less obnoxious and messy feeling than my Zenwatch which felt like a smartphone strapped to my wrist. While it perhaps isn't as nice as the "Taptic" feedback on an Apple Watch, it is a lot more "pointed" (for lack of a better word) in the way that it feels on your wrist. Now, other Gear watches might have felt the same in the past, but this is the first Gear I've owned.
    L_E_O likes this.
    10-02-2015 03:14 PM
  25. winpeguy's Avatar
    Added more pics to OP.
    10-02-2015 03:30 PM
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