First look at Samsung Gear S2

I had the opportunity to use the LTE version of the Gear S last year and loved it. Samsung took a break from wearables and finally brought out the Gear S2 recently. I like Android Wear but I’m trying the all Samsung eco-system for the next couple of years.

I want to take a moment to talk about the purchasing experience at the Samsung store. 
If you prefer to buy tech in person, I highly recommend you go to a brand store. The people are waiting to help you. I walked in the store and there was someone there right away. When I indicated what I was interested in they walked me over to the display and asked questions. I asked if there was one to wear and they gave me their device and guided me through all the features including the dial and the buttons. After purchasing, they opened the box to show me all the items were in the box and do a little blurb about each. This kind of service is essential for new users.

Set up was super easy when I got home. Helped I’m sure by having an S6 and the instore demo. Basically turn on the watch, start the gear app and it does everything on its own. There is some stuff you can set up through the Gear manager – app down load, media transfer – and some stuff on the Gear.

The good - what an amazing build quality and the buttons and dial really make sense and feel solid. The display is awesome, there are two bands included so you can pick the length that fits AND it has the traditional watch strap so you can easily change things up. Finally wireless charging instead of the charging cradle. Tizen runs flawlessly and a lot of care was taken with the core apps. The keyboard is awesome as well. Photos look great and music sounds good. You can get notifications from anything and the formatting is really nice.

The not so good? In many ways a big step backwards from the Gear S. Voice search used to be robust and verbal. Now the voice function does voice to text well but the answers are crazy (and not spoken). I asked what the population of Canada is (pretty simple) and got some blurb from Yahoo Finance about how how Canadians aren't happy about...(taxes? weather?) The voice commands are purely to do things like text and call - anything else pushes to the phone. I'm surprised there isn't more apps that sync through either a Samsung account or Google. Clearly it can be done because S Health works that way. PayPal or SamsungPay to take advantage of the NFC.

I do encourage people to buy a device that works for them  now. This is currently a really high priced, high quality good notification system and health monitor. If that is not your focus this is not the device for you.