By Stephen Schenck | February 23, 2014 9:43 AM
No, you didn’t accidentally sleep through the weekend and it’s Monday already, when Samsung will be throwing its Unpacked 5 event. While we’ve still got another day to go before we expect Samsung to take the lid off the Galaxy S 5, one of the other big announcements we were looking forward to from the company’s MWC showcase has gone official just a little prematurely, and overnight Samsung confirmed its latest smartwatches, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo
That’s right: no more “Galaxy” this time around – just the Gear 2 (or 2 Neo). So what’s new about these smartwatches, and what has Samsung kept the same? Well, they’ve both got a 1.63-inch 320 x 320 OLED screen, just like the Galaxy Gear, but SoCs get a decent upgrade, moving from a single-core 800MHz chip to a dual-core 1.2GHz components. RAM and storage stay the same at 512MB and 4GB, respectively, and the battery’s actually a bit smaller on these new guys, shrinking to 300mAh from the first gen’s 315mAh. In spite of that, actually battery life should see an improvement. On-board sensors like a pedometer and heart rate monitor are present for use by apps for health-related feedback.
The big difference with the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo is the smartwatch’s camera – or lack thereof. The Gear 2 has a 2.0MP camera, similar to the original’s, except this time there’s no ugly strap bulge – the camera is baked-right-in to the watch’s body itself (above, left). The Gear 2 Neo goes without a camera entirely (above, right), but that allows it to be a bit lighter than the Gear 2, though not physically smaller: while the Gear 2 has dimensions of 36.9 x 58.4 x 10.0mm and has a mass of 68g, the Gear 2 Neo measures 37.9 x 58.8 x 10.0mm and its mass is just 55g.
As rumored, Samsung switches its smartwatch OS from Android to Tizen. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like phone support is getting much better, and again Samsung only mentions support for its own Galaxy-series models.
Black, brown, and orange color options will be available for the Gear 2, while the Gear 2 Neo comes in black, gray, and orange, instead. Both varieties have IP67 dust and water protection. Samsung says that worldwide sales should begin in April; no word yet on pricing.