Back to school gadget guide: Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch review


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Who’s excited to go shopping for new clothes, school supplies and gadgets? It’s time to get ready for back to school. Wearable technology continues to be the rage this Fall. Courtesy of Best Buy Canada, I had an opportunity to test drive Samsung latest smartwatch – the Gear 2. With a much-refined design and upgraded software with Tizen OS, the Gear 2 is a major improvement over the first generation smart watch. The Gear 2 sport a bright 320×320 resolution 1.63-inch curved Super AMOLED touchscreen display in a brushed metal body.

Design

There’s no denying it, you won’t be confusing this for an everyday watch. While most fitness trackers and smart watches belong to the gym, the Gear 2 elegant design will look great dress up in a fancy cocktail party or board meeting. It only has one button to turn on the display and a 2 megapixel auto focus camera at the top of the watch. It has a microphone for phone calls and record voice memos. At the back, it has a heart-rate monitor sensor. The Gear 2 meets the strict IP67 requirement for water and dust resistance. It goes everywhere you want to go and you don’t need to worry about the elements. Samsung upgraded the Gear 2 with a 1.0 GHz dual-core Exynos 3250, 512 MB of RAM, and 4 GB of internal storage. Despite having a smaller, 300 mAh battery, I can get about 2 – 3 days of normal use. The Gear 2 can also be used as a remote control for your TV and set-top box via the WatchON Remote. Furthermore, you can customize your watch by downloading apps from Samsung Apps. You can download additional games, watch faces, social network apps, news readers and text messengers.

Health Application

Smart phone, tablet and laptop are fast becoming an essential items for today’s connected college students. All of these devices are turning us into couch potatoes. Yup, I’m glued to my smart phone, iPad and iMac. I’m always checking my emails, chatting with friends on Facebook and WhatsApp, reading the latest news on Twitter and watching viral videos on YouTube. According to the latest College Explorer study from re:fuel, on average college students spend 3.6 hours a day with their smartphones and spend 18.5 hours a week on social media. In addition to the stress of school with term papers & homework mixed with bad eating habits, Freshman 15 is real. A new study shows that one in four freshmen gain at least 5% of their body weight, an average of about 10 – 15 pounds, during their first semester. Habits you pick up as a freshman can become ingrained during your college years and beyond. Students who gained weight during college are more at risk to become obese.

This summer, I’ve setup a fitness goal to at least walk 10,000 steps a day. At first, 10,000 steps was overwhelming. If you break it down, 10,000 steps (8 kilometres) is doable every single day. You can take the stairs whenever possible, choose a parking spot that’s far from the entrance, walk around the campus, and ride a bike. Some of the benefits of daily walking are improve sleep, reduce stress, decrease hypertension and increase endurance. While at school, you can take advantage of different opportunities to exercise. You can try to join a sport team, fitness class and running club.

In addition having the Gear 2 for the past 2 week has help me gamify my fitness goal. It track not only steps with a pre-set goal of 10,000, but distance moved, calories burned, stairs climbed and minutes spent active each day. All of these data sync to Samsung S Health which turns your device into a personal health management dashboard. You can collect medals for your achievements and view graphs of your exercise regimen. S Health can track your weight as well as your food intake so you have a better idea of your calorie consumption. There’s also a Coach feature which gives you a lifestyle score based on your information and suggests customize fitness and wellness goals.

The Bad

  • Decent battery life
  • Only works with Samsung smartphones
  • Basic sleep analysis

The Good

  • Most accurate activity tracker on the market
  • Capable of tracking your heart rate, movement, sleep
  • Improved functionality with Samsung S Health software
  • Dust and water resistant (IP67 certified)
  • Bright 320×320 resolution 1.63-inch curved Super AMOLED touchscreen
  • Take phone calls, photos and videos (2 megapixel auto-focus camera)

Swing by your local Best Buy store to check out the Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch or buy it online at www.bestbuy.ca

Pedometer

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Exercise

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Heart Rate

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Sleep

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Music

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Camera

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Phone

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James Chung

Founder & Editor in Chief of Hello Vancity magazine. Email [email protected]

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