Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch Review: Tizen Excels

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Gear S2 Summary and Conclusion

Samsung's decision to outfit the Gear S2 with the Tizen OS rather than Android Wear was no doubt risky, but it was a highly calculated move that we think has paid off. The Gear S2 works with a broad array of phones (Android 4.4 or later), it's a great looking device, and it's faster and more responsive than the Android Wear-based smartwatches we've tested too.

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Though a side effect of using Tizen is a less-robust array of apps (currently), smartwatches in general are well suited to so few things that a fledgling app ecosystem is far less of a concern than it would be in the smartphone market. What we're left with is a highly approachable, intuitive OS that many will likely mistake for Android Wear anyway. And partly because both the software and hardware were developed and tuned by Samsung to work together from the start, the Gear S2 ends up being the fastest and most responsive smartwatch on the market today.

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From a design standpoint, Samsung has (wisely) backed away from its rectangular roots, instead placing a brilliant 1.2-inch, circular sAMOLED panel at the center of the device. Not only does this help the watch look less foreign and more suitable for everyday use, but it enables the most impressive control mechanism we've seen on any smartwatch. The spinning dial surrounding the display is satisfying to turn, and generates immediate responses onscreen. In our opinion, this is the new standard for a smartwatch UX, and we wish every other manufacturer would take note.

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The Gear S2 isn't perfect. The app ecosystem doesn't match Android Wear's or Apple's, and the proprietary watch band situation won't sit well with those who already own a conventional band collection. But with two-day battery life, a water resistant casing, a blazingly fast OS, innovative control mechanism, and support for many modern Android-based phones, the Samsung Gear S2 is the closest thing we've seen to the ideal smartwatch to date.
hothardware editors choice
 hot  not
  • Brilliant spinning bezel
  • Tizen is wicked fast
  • Best-in-class circular display
  • Two-day battery life
  • Fledgling app ecosystem
  • Proprietary watchband connector

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