The standalone wearable launching exclusively at Samsung stores and through O2 this Friday
Fans of wearable technology that don’t like to be tied to the smartphones won’t have long to wait to get their hands on Samsung’s Gear S smartwatch; the company has just announced that it will be available to buy in the UK from Friday onwards.
The Gear S, which was launched alongside the Galaxy Note 4 phablet at IFA in September, is one of the largest smartwatches to date with a 2in AMOLED screen. More of a cuff than a watch, the extra bulk makes room for a complete 3G connection for calls, SMS messages and mobile data. With a SIM card installed, you won’t need to pair it to a smartphone in order to get notifications, access the internet with installed apps or track exercise sessions with GPS data. With a paired set of Bluetooth headphones you’ll also be able to listen to music without a phone.
It can be paired with a smartphone of course, but only one of Samsung’s own, and then only specific models. It runs the company’s Tizen operating system, tweaked for wearables and visually upgraded over the version used on the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo watches.
“This is an exciting and dynamic time for the wearable technology category and we are delighted to be leading the innovation drive, delivering products that truly redefine the mobile experience for customers by offering greater flexibility and freedom on the move,” Ines van Gennip, Samsung UK’s Marketing Director of IT & Mobile, said of the launch. Calling it “the ultimate smart wearable device” might be a bit of a stretch, however – it’s massive on your wrist, expensive at over £300 and made from plastic, rather than the premium materials found in the Motorola Moto 360 or LG G Watch R.
Predictably, the only network to confirm support for the Gear S so far is O2 – a company not afraid to take risks with smartphones and gadgets that aren’t expected to sell in great numbers. It’s currently the only network that carries Amazon’s woeful Fire Phone, which all the other UK networks declined to sell. Time will tell if the Gear S will follow in the Fire Phone’s footsteps, or if public reaction will be more welcoming.
We’ll know in just a few days: the Gear S will be going on sale from the 7th of November onwards, on O2 and in Samsung experience stores £329.