Hello, and welcome to another edition of the L. Times soccer newsletter. Go inside the L. It is. But his biggest contribution may come off the field. But there also have been moments where we can be more consistent, more mature. Alessandrini led the team with 13 goals and 12 assists in but a series of injuries limited him to minutes last season, the final year of his designated-player contract.
As mentioned earlier, the notifications are a clear improvement over the original Gear. There are still some limitations that we'd love to see addressed, however. For example, when you receive a Gmail notification, you can read some of the mail, but there's no way to reply without getting your phone involved.
You can reply to text messages with either templates or S Voice, which is a bit hit-and-miss. Overall, though, I'm glad to see the notifications are generally more useful. There are some third-party apps, however, with the RSS reader Feedly being a favorite of mine. Feedly, if you recall, was quick to pick up new users when Google Reader shut down.
It's something I use daily on the desktop, so the idea of being able to access it on the Gear 2 was instantly appealing. The reality isn't quite what I'd hoped, though. First of all, you need to add the app to the phone as well.
No major hardship, and something I'd probably do anyway in this case, but it all adds to the sense of being "tethered" to the phone. I think I possibly had an expectation that the watch version of the app might be configurable through Gear Manager with my account credentials, but alas, no.
The user experience itself isn't entirely perfect, either which is disappointing, as Feedly's web app is well-designed.
You can browse your main feed on the watch, swiping stories as you go. Once you find something of interest, you can swipe up to read on the phone, or down to save it for later also on the phone.
The frustrating thing is that choosing "read on the phone" doesn't wake, or open the app - you still have to unlock the handset - at which point it will be there waiting.
A small detail, but one that underscores how the Gear 2 is really just an accessory to go with the phone. One nice addition that doesn't rely on the phone is the new music player app.
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So, if you're going for a jog, or maybe just want to leave the phone at home, you can use the Gear 2's 4GB of onboard storage for storing some music. What you get then, is precisely what I've always wanted: a wire-free, wrist-worn media player. Now seems like a good time to talk about battery life. This was a massive sore point with the original Gear, which only lasted about a day on a charge.
I'm not sure what voodoo the Korean firm has done, but it's somehow made a slightly smaller battery mAh, compared to last nearly three times as long. I consistently got three days between charges with what I imagine is average, or slightly higher-than-average use it is my job to play with these things, after all.
This is a definite plus. If the battery had been less capable, it probably would have sealed the watch's fate. Three days is still not as much as I'd like, but it's strides better than before. Perhaps some of the more compelling features are those new fitness credentials - i.
The pedometer is the same one used on the original. I'm glad to see these new additions, of course, but the execution is poor.
The heart rate monitor falls somewhere between "not bad" and "frustrating. When it wants to play along, it gives a reading close enough to what dedicated sports bands offer. But if you so much as move your wrist, or make a noise the watch warns you to remain still and quiet! When it does work - assuming you've set up S Health on your host phone - your latest pulse reading will be sent directly over to the app.
The same goes for the exercise app. Pull it up on the Gear 2; tell it you're off on a stroll; and do your thing. Once you're done doing that, let the app know and it'll shimmy that information over to S Health too. What we couldn't get to work was the pedometer. It counts steps just fine, showing the number on the display. While imperfect, it's close enough, if perhaps a little optimistic compared to dedicated fitness trackers.
But, for the love of all things smart, I've been unable to get it to sync with the phone. I selected it a number of times, and received a "success" message, yet the step count on the phone's S Health app simply won't budge from zero.
This didn't seem right, so I paired the Gear 2 with a different phone - a process that requires a factory reset of the watch and a load of software ates. Once I was done pairing, I was presented with a dedicated "Fitness with Gear" app rather than S Health that was practically reading the number of steps from the watch before I even knew what was happening.
Weirdly, I then went into S Health on the phone, and it acted like it had never met me before, taking me through the whole setup process from scratch. Hardly a seamless experience, especially if you're trying to foster an ecosystem. But, the features are there, and if you want a bit of a high-level fitness tool, it might do the job. All told, the hardware components seem to work fine, but the supporting software from Samsung leaves a lot to be desired.
It's this disjointed experience that pretty much sums up the Gear 2, and perhaps Samsung in general. All the things you could possibly want are there. There's a camera, call handling, step tracking, heart rate monitoring, a microphone, a speaker, media-control options, calendar-handling alerts and notifications. Most of these things the Gear 2 does fairly well, but you can never shake the feeling that it's box ticking, or a "lite" version of the feature or function you really wanted.
We'd love to see hardware and software working together much more closely. Maybe for third-party app developers to be invited in and make use of their expertise - or, at the very least, coerced into making an app for the Gear 2 in the first place.
There's definitely potential; it just seems mostly unrealized.
There is, of course, a camera. It's a 2-megapixel affair, a negligible improvement over the 1.
Samsung Gear 2 review: much improved, but that doesn't mean you should buy it
There's the same p video shooting, and, well, not a lot else. A camera is one of the less common features in the smartwatch world, so it's a differentiator if nothing else. When I first played with the original Gear, I couldn't imagine a time you'd opt for the watch camera over the much better one just inches away in your pocket.
But I was wrong: I've used it quite a lot. Not really for photos I'd ever want to look at, but for quick "scrapbooking" of things I see, or want to remember. Perhaps to remind myself to Google something when I get home.
That is, of course, the exact same experience on the Gear 2. I can't really tell much difference between the old and new camera, but it serves a purpose, and is all the better for being housed within the watch's body and not the strap. If you're curious, there's a gallery below so you can see the quality for yourself.
(Just like) starting over
Where to start? It's fair to say the dance floor at the smartwatch disco is positively bustling compared to even just a few months ago. Of course, the Pebble doesn't have a color screen, nor does it have a camera, if those things are important. For what it's worth, I'm not sure they are. Then again, it offers a great selection of apps, and long battery life, too.
Both have their strengths, but have yet to make a big splash with buyers.
Really, this competition section should be more about what's about to be released. Android Wear is set to shake up the smartwatch market, and with LG and Motorola on board, it's clear the smartwatch disco is about to get even more crowded. This might have also been a good time to mention the Fitbit Force, but that was recently recalled after some users reported skin irritation from the plastic band.
The good news is that Samsung has addressed some of the major issues that plagued the original Galaxy Gear - namely, the short battery life. But, the company also deserves credit for squeezing more hardware into a smaller space, and generally polishing the design. The Gear 2 looks better and performs better than the original in every possible way. But here's the rub: Of all the things it does, it doesn't do any of them well enough to justify the price.
It still feels like something of an executive toy. And that's not least because of the small app selection. If Samsung can lure enough developers over to Tizen, it might become a more appealing prospect. But, until then, you might want to wait and see what Google's Android Wear platform brings to the table.
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Log in. Sign up. Samsung Gear 2 review: much improved, but that doesn't mean you should buy it. Latest Reviews. See all articles. Latest in Gear 2. Image credit:. Sponsored Links. Gallery: Samsung Gear 2 review 42 Photos Engadget Score Poor. Cons Very few apps Some software features feel superficial. Summary The Gear 2 is generally a solid improvement over the original, with a nicer design and longer battery life.
How would you rate the Gear 2?
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