Which Samsung Gear smartwatch should you buy?

We give you the lowdown on all the best Samsung smartwatches
What Samsung Gear smartwatch?

Ever since the original Samsung Galaxy Gear was unveiled back in September 2013, we've seen smartwatch after smartwatch land from the Korean company - but which one should you choose?

There was a bit of a gap between last year's Gear S2 and the latest smartwatches and fitness devices. But now the Gear Fit2 is on sale and the Gear S3 Classic and Frontier are official, we thought we better give our Samsung smartwatch guide a spit and a polish.

Read this: Samsung Gear S3 first impressions

Read on to see which Samsung Gear smartwatch should you buy and whether you should wait for the Gear S3s which will be on sale by the end of the year.

Samsung Gear S2

best samsung gear smartwatch

The Samsung Gear S2 boasts a beautiful round-faced design which guns straight for the Apple Watch, with its all-new rotating bezel control setup. The interface is intuitive; you go left for notifications and right for apps and then in turn you scroll through the options when they appear around the edge.

Essential reading: Samsung Gear S2 v Apple Watch

It's faster than Apple's Digital Crown on the Watch and the touchscreen prods and gestures of Android Wear. You can control everything with your finger on the right half of the bezel, which means you will always be able to see the whole display.

There are two versions, the S2 and the S2 Classic, both of which pack a 1.2-inch Super AMOLED display, and a sharp 360 x 360 resolution. Like the original Gear S, it runs on Tizen. There's also a GPS model, which is great for accurate run tracking and iOS support in beta for iPhone owners.

Price: From $299 | Amazon

Buy it if you... want to set yourself apart from the Apple Watch brigade and fancy yourself a bit of a smartwatch hipster.

Samsung Gear Fit2

best samsung gear smartwatch

Okay - so not technically a smartwatch as it falls more comfortably in the fitness tracker group but the Fit2 still packs the usual smartwatch, er, smarts and it runs Tizen so has access to third party apps (albeit not too many at present)

The Gear Fit2 bucks the crap-display tracker trend with a sumptuous 1.5-inch screen with an eye-popping 432 x 216, 322ppi display. On the fitness side there's GPS built in for run tracking and an optical heart rate monitor – all for a very competitive price tag.

Check out our full and definitive Samsung Gear Fit2 review.

Feature check: Steps, sleep, GPS and optical heart rate.

Price: $179 | Amazon

Buy it if you... want a fitness tracker and a smartwatch but haven't got money for both. Sure, there are Garmin and Polar devices that tick this box too, but none with such an awesome display.

Samsung Gear S

best samsung gear smartwatch

The Samsung Gear S is a standalone smartwatch that doesn't need a smartphone for connectivity as it packs its own SIM card slot for 3G capabilities – although you'll need a new phone contract in order to take advantage of the untethered call and message features.

Samsung's biggest smartwatch certainly looks the business, with a 2-inch, curved, Super AMOLED display that boasts a 480 x 360 resolution; one of the best out there. It also packs in GPS connectivity for accurate run tracking.

Price: $329 | Amazon

Buy it if you... want the biggest smartwatch display, want to use your smartwatch to track your runs or ditch your smartphone and go all-out Dick Tracy.

Samsung Gear Live

best samsung gear smartwatch

Sammy's debut Android Wear smartwatch, the Gear Live takes its design cues from its Tizen-toting older brother, the Gear 2 Neo; it's pretty much identical save for the different position of the physical button and the lack of an infrared LED.

It features a 1.63-inch, 320 x 320, display and runs stock Android Wear, in its purest vanilla form, as per the rest of the new Google smartwatch brigade. As such, it will work with any Android smartphone, and is not reliant on a trip to the Samsung Galaxy.

The new Android Wear 2.0 update won't be hitting the Gear Live though... Google isn't providing the new features for old Wear watches.

Price: $149 | Amazon

Buy it if you... want to get involved in the Android Wear revolution and aren't bowled over by the newest Google-powered smartwatch offerings.

Samsung Gear Fit

best samsung gear smartwatch

The Gear Fit was Samsung's original answer to the activity tracker revolution. It turned heads with its curved 1.84-inch Super AMOLED display, which rotates so you can have it portrait or landscape.

The big problem with the Gear Fit, and the reason you'd probably be best off buying a different fitness tracker, is because, well, it's not a very good fitness tracker - and obviously it's been succeeded by the Gear Fit2. Sure, it will count your steps, set you goals and track your runs and cycles too, but not with any great accuracy. It looks great though.

Price: $101 |Amazon

Buy it if you... want a smartwatch that looks like a fitness tracker, and not a fitness tracker with smartwatch features.

Samsung Gear 2

best samsung gear smartwatch

The Gear 2 has upped the style stakes over the original Gear, adding a classier edge to the first generation's plastic finish; giving it a classic timepiece styling that's often neglected on smartwatches.

It also boasts a lovely, 1.63-inch, Super AMOLED screen with a 320 x 320 resolution and a 2MP camera for wrist-shot photos on the go.

Price: $169 | Amazon

Buy it if you... like to take photographs from your watch. Exactly. Seriously though, the Samsung Gear 2 is a decent design and the display is terrific.

Samsung Gear 2 Neo

best samsung gear smartwatch

The Gear 2 Neo is a (average at best) fitness tracker and notifications system in one and there's a built-in heart rate monitor to boot. Sure, it might not have the camera of the top-of-the-line Samsung Gear 2 watch but for our money, that's no great loss.

For simplicity, the Neo wins out. It's got all the best bits of the Gear 2 (i.e. that gorgeous display) and none of the nonsense (i.e. that camera).

Price: $149 | Amazon

Buy it if you... like the idea of tapping into the Tizen revolution, and its array of over 1,000 apps, but don't have the budget or wrist strength to take on the Samsung Gear S or S2.

Samsung Galaxy Gear

best samsung gear smartwatch

The original and the worst, the Galaxy Gear is very much a first-gen device that screams, “we beat Apple to market". It has screws on the front. Screws. Actual visible screws.

It also has a camera, which is of no interest, we're quite sure. What is notable is that, although it was originally an Android powered device, it now runs Tizen and the plethora of apps Sammy's in-house platform affords you.

Price: $199 | Amazon

Buy it if you... like collecting first generation devices. There's really no need to own the original Gear smartwatch, it's already out of date even if it's only a year old.

Coming soon

Samsung Gear S3 Classic & Frontier

You can't get your hands on one yet but if you're shopping around for a Samsung smartwatch, it'd be naughty of us not to mention the upcoming Gear S3. We don't know the price or release date for either the Classic or Frontier models yet, just that they will arrive in Q4 of 2016 i.e. by the end of the year.

Android compatible for now - as the beta iOS support is limited to the Gear S2 - they add design tweaks, new Tizen features and more sensors.

Both are ruggedised and IP68 water and dust resistant. The Frontier will be available as a standalone LTE watch and the rotating bezel is opening up to third party developers. The Classic has a new analogue style look and the Frontier has a sportier look with textured buttons and a raised bezel.

Look out for our Samsung Gear S3 review, but for now catch up with our Gear S3 first impressions from the IFA showfloor.

Recommended smartwatches

Samsung Gear S2
Samsung Gear S2
Pebble Time Round
Pebble Time Round
Sony SmartWatch 3
Sony SmartWatch 3
Huawei Watch
Huawei Watch

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  • Kris says:

    Okay so you guys don't see the point in having a camera on a smart watch, but as someone that uses the camera on my Gear2 on a daily basis I got to say that is seriously useful... 

    Maybe not as a camera for taking photos for the album but so easy to take a photo as a note to remind me of something, also can be paired up so I can see a feed from the Gear2 camera on my Note3 - which I used the other day when I needed to check a bit of plumbing in a spot I couldn't get at. 

    Is a very handy feature if you think a touch outside of the box. Also the fact that it is voice activated has some real practical bonuses too. 

    • p.lamkin says:

      There are uses, we agree, but it's not a deal breaker when buying a smartphone, right?

      • LMgrafix says:

        Wrong! Having the camera is a big plus and to trash the GEAR as the worst is just wrong. It is now discounted down to an affordable $109-129.00 at B&H Photo which has allowed many the opportunity to buy something that otherwise has been out of reach. It might not have all the latest and greatest, but if you've never owned a smartwatch before, then it's all new and very cool. The fact that Samsung allows continually updating the software is also a bonus to keep it from going too far out of date.

        • Newwatcher says:

          Just got my GEAR at B&H Photo for $75 plus free shipping. I have never owned a smartwatch before, and it's all new and very cool. Gets a lot of great comments too. But I can see me getting something newer at some point.

        • DaGankster says:

          Wrong, Very Wrong!  I have to agree that the camera is a deal breaker for me.  Next to calls, and text.. it is my Gears camera that I use the most.  On the last two vacation I took, my phone died from lack of charge, but I used my Gear to take video and pictures untill my phone recharged.  I can always look something up on the internet later, or check an email later... but that picture perfect moment only happens once!  If you don't have that camera, you can't capture it!
          I will be using/buying the older versions of smartwatches untill the new-school brings back the Camera option!

        • AJTechGuy says:

          Excactly! The Gear Is The Best Gear Out There It Beats All Of Them!

      • Tao says:

        That depends why you buy the phone in the first place.  This is one of the main reasons I vote for one phone over another.  A big factor is the ease of replacing a consumable battery that will not last forever.(certainly less than the phone it is in) such as in the Motorola Moto x vs the s5.  Yeah, the price is better on the moto x but the camera is lousy compared to the s5 and the battery is built in!  So, Comparing the S5 camera to my htc evo 3d which is useful for 3d photos though not so much when taking photos by a 25 w bulb. The photo is totally underexposed vs perfectly viewable on the s5.  A thermal seek camera does not work on the htc but is perfect on the s5. 

        I have not yet acquired a wearable but I find this concept very intriguing!  The fact that it may come with a camera is fabulous when I go out hiking up the top of a mountain and I leave the phones behind is certainly an important deciding factor for me.  In conclusion, it depend on the expected use of the thing which determines if a feature is useful or not. Too bad they can't come with everything! Just imagine...a full frame camera on your wrist!

        • Tao says:

          This is in reply for p.lamkin btw.  Where is the edit button on these comments? 

    • petershamit says:

      I agree 100% and see my note below. I don't  understand why others think of camera as a trivial add on. Even Samsung themselves do not value their real own  positive plus. This is  like a gold chain in the hands of a monkey - that does not understand the value of gold. 

  • E_Z_Ryder says:

    While most smartwatch battery life's suck, especially compared to the pebble. I still love the display on my Gear 2, and with it being water resistant, unlike my phone, I was able to take pictures while kayaking on my trip in San Francisco, and was able to get some great shots of AT&T park on my watch.

  • LeeChatII says:

    I personally own the Gear S.  I believe if this is within your budget, it should be your choice over the others. Being able to leave my phone at home to go for a quick run, swim or just to the grocery store, knowing I can still receive all my calls, navigation etc., is just fabulous.

  • Sunday says:

    how to track down lost or stolen smart watch gear 2

  • Dta1616 says:

    when does the Samsung Geres to come out in the US

  • Dta1616 says:

    sorry the Samsung gear s2 come out in the US

  • xyko says:

    Gear 2 is the best wearable made yet. BY FAR. Guys who have kids know how hard is to take a good picture of your kids in normal situations. They dont wait you to reach your phone to take a shot. Gear 2's camera is on in a split of a second. REALLY. just press its hard button twice and its ready to shoot, and it is right ther, on your wrist, as fast and reachable as can be. NO OTHER CAMERA MADE BY MEN HITS THIS. And its 2mp is amazing in a lighty room (of course, in a dark place, few cameras will do a decent job). Loudspeaker is also very usefull. I simply dont imagine how people buy those new stripped uselles new wearables. Compared to gear 2 they seem to me tiny useless fancy regular waches. I will never change my gear2, unless someone made a newer one with a camera and a speakervoice. 

  • Bro says:


    RD TO DO

  • petershamit says:

    I have gear 2 and for me the camera/video is a real plus which prevents me from upgrading to S2. At the spur of the moment you can take a shot if you want to note something down quickly. A shot of a poster in a shopping centre without reaching my phone or news paper ad while in a coffee shop.  Once, I took a quick photo when someone came to attach me in my car on the road & he left. Very handy and valuable in the most needed time.

    I am waiting for the next good smartwatch to feature camera at least as good as Gear 2.

  • petershamit says:

    I have gear 2 and for me the camera/video is a real plus which prevents me from upgrading to S2. At the spur of the moment you can take a shot if you want to note something down quickly. A shot of a poster in a shopping centre without reaching my phone or news paper ad while in a coffee shop. Once, I took a quick photo when someone came to attach me in my car on the road & he left. Very handy and valuable in the most needed time.

    I am waiting for the next good smartwatch to feature camera at least as good as Gear 2.

  • Pumapantz says:

    I recently bought the original gear, second hand for around £50 and I believe it has been a brilliant buy for me!

    I mainly use it so I dont have to keep on taking my edge+ out of my pocket and risk dropping it while working, i work as a baggage handler in a airport you see so I am always having to run about the place!

    Just need it to see messages, emails and calls to judge weither they are worth the risk of pulling my mobile phone out!

    I do not see the point in going brand new for the massively overpriced new merchandise when this little watch i bought does 80% of what the newer and 4 to 5 times more expensive watches does for a hell of a lot cheaper, just seems pretencious to me!

  • Moelvsthegear says:

    Short sighted and hasty review fellas! Broke my gear 2, wife has the S2 :-(  .  I had to look hi & low for another G2. I leave my phone in my office. Camera IS a deal breaker,  I answer calls all the time until I reach my phone,  use the IR remote at work all the time. IMO Sammy should get back to that tech.  Low Camera quality = so what - it's the convenience and quickness as most others have mentioned.  LOVE IT. 

  • Becky1 says:

    Camera is important to me, I horseback ride and phone, camera sometimes does not work while riding. There is always the risk of dropping while riding at different speeds. I go on 100-150 mile vacations to areas i've never been and love to have photos of the ride. Since it is voice activated I can just point and shoot and have gotten great shots that I would not have been able to get if I had to fumble my phone or camera from a pocket. I also use it for work on a regular basis. I really wish Samsung would come out with another newer watch with a camera. 

  • KrisO says:

    I gotta admit I'm a bit of a nut when it comes to wearables and actually have a Gear2, Gear Fit and a GearS2 (as well as a LG Urbane R, TomTom CardioSpark and a I.AM+ Dial). For what it's worth my two pence is...

    Out of the lot if i'm honest the Fit is just sitting in a draw gathering dust, I got it because at the time it looked like a good cross between fitness tracker and smart watch but it pretty much fails at both. 

    The Gear2 has some massive benefits over others and I should probably use it more but it too often sits next to my gear fit. The TomTom comes out once a week on a Sunday when I go for a run for a couple of hours and is useful as it has built in GPS and onboard tunes but it is just a fitness tracker and has no smart watch functionality. 

    I generally hop between the Urbane and the S2 - the S2 plays way nicer with my Note4 and looks that little bit sleeker, but then I do like the wrist control in AndroidWear (although Tizen is certainly improving at a rate of knots). At a push I'd say i lean slightly towards the S2 but htat is probably because it is a little bit newer. 

    As for the Dial - great concept pretty terribly executed. Magnetic clasp is forever opening on my wrist, which causes the watch (er I mean Cuff sorry Will) to reboot, ins't particularly comfortable and the voice recognition is pretty poor compared to S Voice even let alone Google or Siri. In fairness the headphones it ships with are quality, and the one night I took it out in replacement of my phone was pretty liberating but it is very much for me for those nights out when you don't want to risk losing your phone.

  • nicter says:

    question: is the gear s the only device that has the capability to function without being in close proximity to your cell phone? a friend of mine has one and often leaves her phone at home, and she can get phone calls and text message while her phone is 40 miles away. 

    is this not available on the gear s2? tia!

  • jollydsouza says:

    Smartwatches are now on sale only at SmartwatchOffers .com

  • Arlo says:

    I enjoy the  step counting and heart rate features.  My problem:  when I'm on the treadmill and I want to check my heart rate...the read out is so small I can't see it. Question:  is there a way to enlarge the readout for heart rate?

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