Your usual smartwatches are all fine and dandy, but separate them from a paired smartphone and they're only as useful as a standard wristwatch with a couple of hours battery. Few have their own cellular connection with which to pull in data and notifications, making them all but useless without a phone to support them. Samsung's latest wearable effort, the Gear S, bucks that trend by having its own 3G connection.
A looker thanks to its 2-inch, curved 360 x 480 Super AMOLED display, the Gear S can send and receive SMS messages, take notifications from a social network and make and receive calls independent of a smartphone thanks to its mobile data connection.
Also supporting a standard Bluetooth connection with a smartphone, the watch will seamlessly switch to piggybacking off the phone's 3G connection when in range. This should save having to have a massive data plan for the watch alone (though we're yet to hear from networks exactly how they plan to support the Gear S).
All rather intriguing then, but it's frustrating to see Samsung has opted to use its Tizen OS in the Gear S, rather than Android Wear. While Tizen has been slowly improving since its launch, Android Wear remains the clearly superior wearable operating system.
Built in apps include turn-by-turn pedestrian navigation from Here, news snippets from the Financial Times' Fast FT and the speed-reading one word at a time Spritz app. Built in GPS will be useful for running applications like Nike+ Running, while there's also an onboard heart rate monitor for fitness tracking. 4GB of storage is built in, with the 1GHz dual core processor supported by 512MB of RAM. A 300mAh battery should get you two days worth of use out of a single charge.
Samsung is also launching the Gear Circle wireless headset-come-necklace alongside the Gear S. Pairing with a smartphone over Bluetooth, it can be used to receive calls and use voice commands, with magnetic clasps securing the buds around you neck when not in use.
There's no pricing for either device yet, but Samsung promises both will be available by early October.