Gear 2 Neo smartwatch

Samsung Gear 2 Neo Smartwatch

Intro

About a month ago, I lost my traditional watch.  It was a Timex Ironman that I loved.  It had traveled with me across international boundaries and had worked in my day-to-day life.  Then, one day, it was gone.

I needed a watch AND since I am a tremendous nerd, I bought the Samsung Gear 2 Neo Smartwatch (an affiliate link).  I gave $149.00.  I am trying to run more regularly and wanted a pedometer that was not necessarily tied to my phone.  After spending hours on reviews, I chose the G2N.

Samsung Gear 2 Neo Smartwatch

The smartwatch ships in three colors:  black, grey, and orange.  When I originally began my search, the orange watch was $30 less than either of the other two colors–this did not remain true.  Regardless, price would have been the only reason I would choose the orange watch.  I almost chose the grey watch but only because I found a “Like New” watch on the Amazon Warehouse.  Ultimately my wife convinced me that for some things, spending the extra $20 was worthwhile and so I bought the black watch.  I wear this watch throughout my workday at an institution of higher education and the black watch is far more appropriate.

The watch comes in the same packaging that most of their top-end electronics ship in now.  The boxes are recycled paper/cardboard with a wood grain print.  The packaging is fairly minimal in an effort to reduce waste–which I commend.

Using a standard USB charger/adapter combo (and not a Qi charger), the watch takes about two hours to charge from scratch.  It is worth noting that the G2N ships with some charge.  In general, I get two full days of use out of the Gear 2 Neo.  I could get almost a full extra day but don’t push it and end up recharging at about 30%.  To charge to full takes almost two hours.  So, up at 5:30 and charging till 7:30 almost fully charges the watch.

Early on, I was impressed with most of the functions.  The menus are exceptionally customizable and easily navigable.  Much better than how Google Glass worked with its menus.

The Gear 2 Neo does not have wifi and is therefore dependent on being tethered to very specific devices.  The Samsung Galaxy S5 is one of those devices.  Using the Samsung App store, you have to download, install, and tether to your device using the app entitled “Samsung Gear Manager”.  It automatically grabs updates, etc.  From there, you can install only a handful of apps to that device.  Since the Gear 2 Neo uses Tizen, the appstore is different and somewhat limited. You can only pair the watch with one device.

I use the Samsung Health app.  To make effective use of the app/watch combo, you must sync your watch with your phone daily.

Ultimately, inspired by Matthew Inman’s commentary, I decided to comment on my own smartwatch.  I recorded the following video and shared it at YouTube.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of the watch is notifications on my wrist rather than having to pull out the enormous phone, unlock it, etc.  I can (and do) decline phone calls, read text messages, etc.

Screen Protector

You should definitely buy a screen protector.  I bought the ArmorSuit MilitaryShield – Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 Neo Screen Protector Anti-Bubble Ultra HD (another affiliate link).  If you follow the instructions, it works perfectly with no bubbles.  (Lesson learned, by the way.  For future screen protector purchases, quality is key and quality costs.)  I was really glad I did this (using their helpful video tutorials) because almost as soon as I had fully completed the process, I scuffed the cover (and not the watch) on the chair rail in my house.

Conclusion

As an FYI, you can catch this watch on Groupon at a reduced rate for a refurbished watch (which I cannot recommend with confidence). This is not an uber-runner’s watch.  But it is good for runners like me (people who run for exercise but not as regularly as we probably should.

This is a great watch that I highly recommend.  If this changes, I’ll definitely edit this post/review to inform others.

If you have purchased one of these watches, let me know your opinion down in the comments!

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