Samsung’s newest Gear is also its most ambitious. The Gear S smartwatch packs a curved two-inch display, IP67 ingress protection, and a custom Tizen UI into a cuff-like wristband that weighs in at a surprisingly airy 66g. Oh, and it packs cellular and WiFi connectivity along with the usual Bluetooth.
That last important detail makes the Gear S more than just your typical smartwatch. As we discovered during our first hands-on at IFA 2014, the Gear S is capable of fully independent operation, smartphone or no. Sure, you still need a smartphone to set it up –and a Samsung one at that– but leave the phone at home, and the Gear S’s onboard 3G radio will take over, enabling voice calls, SMS messaging, and even limited web browsing on the S-AMOLED screen. Sprint (provider of our demo unit here) even offers a separate rate plan for the watch in anticipation of all that hot phone-free usage.
Such flexibility is exactly what some have been screaming for since the dawn of the modern wearable era – but is the Gear S really a portent of things to come in the smartwatch space? We’ll find out in our full review coming soon; for now, check out the first impressions video below and let us know in the comments what you’re most curious about when it comes to the Gear S smartwatch!
Samsung Gear S smartwatch (Sprint edition) hands-on
Looking for something a little less elaborate to start your wristband tan with? Check out our video reviews of the Moto 360, LG G Watch R, and Pebble Steel. Need something a little more fitness-centric? Read our Microsoft Band review to see the company’s take on a health companion, and if you need a laugh afterward, join us for a look back at that time we went kayaking with a Samsung Gear Fit.