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WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY / INDUSTRY

Gear 2 Wear: Samsung 1.6" Smartwatch $369

By Oonagh Reidy | Tuesday | 17/09/2013

It takes calls, texts, takes pics on a 1.9MP camera.

Hey, this smartwatch even measures the amount of calories you burned while walking.  

Meet Galaxy Gear smartwatch, your Galaxy Note 3 and S4's bestie.  

The Samsung  "companion device" (it works with Note 3 for now but'll be friends with S4, S3, Note 2 pre- Christmas) has "advanced technology" and is a new way to work Galaxy smartphones, tablets.  

Samsung's first ever Gear is a "totally new experience for our mobile devices", said Tyler McGee, Samsung VP Telecommunications at today's smartwatch unveiling at Studio Neon in Sydney.

 Unveiled at IFA earlier this month, Samsung smartwatch has a 1.6- inch super AMOLED display, microphone, speaker, 4GB storage, 512MB RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, Accelerometer and a Gyroscope.

Images, videos taken on the watch auto update to the gallery on your phone, Note 3. You can also take photos on 1.9MP camera, 10 second videos, listen to music and it works with the S Health app, so handy for running and exercising. 

The pricey smartwatch is clever, though, and lets you make/receive calls, check the calendar, get texts, emails, Facebook - basically all notifications straight to a small screen on your wrist. 

Samsung are flogging Gear with RRP $369 as an "ideal holiday gift". 

It has 720p video recording and playback, helps you find your Samsung device and visa versa.  It works with other Samsung devices via Gear Manager app, allowing you to change settings. 

However, take note this watch doesn't work on its own - you have to have a Samsung mobile device.  

Gear works with 60 apps, in all, including several Samsung Apps like S Health's pedometer to measure the amount of steps you done, calories burned etc, and Music Hub. 

Also on the health front, Gear has a gyroscope and timer. 

Its 315mAh battery promises a relatively short lifespan before it needs charging. 

Gear is pretty light to wear and the strap felt comfortable on the wrist. It works simply by swiping downwards - there's no other buttons, with the camera at the front. 

Gear is clever but at $369 you need a good reason (and a large pocket) to buy it. 

However, Smarthouse can envisage some practical uses for the 1.6" wearable screen including in business meetings if you can't take out your phone, in the car and doing exercise. 

Samsung is aiming the watch at 'fashionistas, tech savvy fans, athletes, business people, young and older folks,' basically anyone who buys into wearable technology, says McGee, a market which is going to grow in the future, he told CN. 

Gear is on sale at Samsung store in Sydney and Melbourne from today and all telcos and retailers from October 03 for RRP $369. 

It comes in six trendy colours including orange, beige, gold and green as well as bog standard black and white. 

Sony's smartwatch is now below $200, and it is likely Samsung smartwatch too will come down in price, so watch this space. 

Note 10.1 

McGee also gave sneak peek of 2014 version of Samsung's Note 10.1.  

Announced today along with Note 3 and Galaxy Gear, 10.1" Note has "Super Clear LCD" screen (2560 X 1600), promising brighter colours, more vivid text. The larger screen size is ideal for viewing online publications with 'reading mode', and watching videos, says McGee.  

It also has 8-megapixel camera (rear),  8,220mAh battery,runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean,3GB of RAM, 16GB - 64GB storage.   

The main change from 2013 model is S Pen is located at the top right of the 10" display instead of the bottom, so easier to grab to take notes. Other new features including Screen Write, S Finder, Action Memo and Scrapbook. It also has better multi-window functionality to run several apps at once. 

Note 10.1 is available from November, with pricing announced closer to launch. 

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