Samsung Gear S2: Everything you need to know about the circular smartwatch

The rumour round up of Samsung's much anticipated circular smartwatch
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Samsung's next smartwatch, the Gear S2, codenamed Orbis, is official after the Korean company teased a few images of the watch at its Unpacked event.

Samsung announced the new Software Development Kit (SDK) in April 2015 and confirmed that the smartwatch will be round by publishing an image, alongside details for developers, showing a range of round watch faces and round app icons.

Guide: What Samsung Gear smartwatch should you buy?

Within the SDK documentation, the Korean company also revealed some juicy specs about its next Gear, detailed below. Then came leak after tease after leak, leaving very little left for IFA.

Here's everything we know about the circular Samsung Gear S2 so far...

Samsung Gear S2: Design confirmed

The one thing we are sure about is what the Gear S2 - or one of the models - will look like. We've now seen the S2 up close in fashion pictures but the best look has been the pic posted on Instagram by a Samsung design exec. It shows the smartwatch in real life and how the screen actually looks.

It looks to be quite compact on the wrist, made of stainless steel and come in two shades - the watch in the fashion pics below looks lighter. There's two physical buttons on the side but that doesn't mean we won't see more innovative controls.

Samsung Gear S2: Price & release date

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The Gear S2 was seemingly all set to launch at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year but the announcement never arrived.

At Samsung's Unpacked event, and in the leaks since it hasn't fully revealed all the details about the watch, just teasers.

We will get more details as well as full price and release date for all Gear S2 models at IFA at Samsung's conference which is set for 3 September.

Samsung Gear S2: At least three versions

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The latest rumour, based on a leak reported by Sammobile, is that the Samsung Gear S2 will come in three variants - like the Apple Watch. We don't know much about these models apart from the fact that they are codenamed Orbis S1, Orbis S2 and Orbis Classic internally - perhaps two sizes of the same smartwatch and a luxury model?

The Classic is now being reported as the premium edition of the smartwatch, perhaps with built-in LTE. PhoneArena spotted details on an Italian site that the Gear S2 would come with a nano Sim card slot. Other rumours suggest there will be one Gear S2 aimed at men and one aimed at women.

The official names of the variants are SM-R720, SM-R730, and SM-R732 which don't give much away. Due to those sets of numbers, and we assume the access of Sammobile's source, it's possible it could be more a case of at least three variants too - we could see different sizes, different materials and different prices. If so, that will be a big move away from the one-size-fits-all Samsung smartwatches of 2013 and 2014.

Samsung Gear S2: Hardware

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Much like the Apple Watch's digital crown, the Gear S2's rumoured rotating bezel adds physical controls to the touchscreen setup. It can be used for a number of navigation actions including scrolling, zooming and adjusting levels such as volumes and brightness.

The watch's display is a Super AMOLED 1.18-inch, 360 x 360, one with a 305 ppi count.

The Samsung Gear S2 will also include the usual array wearable sensors such as an accelerometer, gyroscope and heart-rate monitor. The latter was confirmed by Samsung's own pics which show a bpm reading.

There's Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular on board; although it's only 2G and not 3G, so we're not expecting a standalone device.

In terms of processing power, a recent leak suggested there will be an Exynos 1.2GHz dual core CPU. There's purportedly also a 450MHz GPU packed in, as well as 768MB of RAM. Exynos is Samsung's own-brand ARM-based architecture, found inside its smartphones and tablets.

4GB of storage is the same as the Gear S and it's only the battery life where the spec-sheet has apparently taken a hit - down from a 300mAh one to a 250mAh pack. However, with the Gear S2 having a smaller display, battery life shouldn't suffer.

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Samsung Gear S2: Software

Unlike the circular duo of the Moto 360 and LG G Watch R, the round Gear smartwatch will shun Android Wear in favour of the company's own Tizen software.

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The apps featured on Samsung's promo image include CNN, Yelp and loyalty card app FidMe. If you're a developer interested in developing for the Gear S2, head to Samsung's wearable tech devs application page now.

Samsung Gear S2: Wireless charging

It's reported that wireless charging will be part of the Gear S2 package.

That claim comes from SamMobile who claim its sources have confirmed "the Orbis should feature wireless charging out of the box".

Wareable verdict: Samsung Gear S review

That'd be a similar setup to the Android Wear running, round-faced rival, Moto 360 - which has a handy charging dock the watch simply sits in when you're not wearing it. It'd be a nice change from the usual Samsung Gear smartwatch setup of a fiddly, extra, charging clip - one that is different for every model.

Samsung Gear S2: Biometrics

Samsung is working on a biosignal ID system for smartwatch payments, according to a patent uncovered back in March.

The system is designed to authenticate the wearer's identity in order to allow mobile payments straight from the smartwatch, by taking a biosignal reading when you want to pay for something.

Read this: Wrist and PIN: Paying from your watch

Other than a reference to a gesture performed by the user to allow the reading at set-up, it's also not clear how long this authentication process would take and whether it could be bypassed for smaller transactions, as with bPay and contactless cards. It's believed that it will tie in with LoopPay, a mobile wallet company that Samsung now owns.

More recent reports emerging from Korea suggest that Samsung is going to offer Samsung Pay, powered by NFC, in its next smartwatch.

Samsung Gear S2: Review and more

Be sure to bookmark this page as we'll be bringing you all the latest news with regards to the Samsung Gear S2 and, of course, we'll be bringing you a hands-on first look review as soon as we've got our paws on one.

Which are you more excited about - the Samsung Gear S2 or Motorola Moto 360 2?


Paul Lamkin

By

Wareable Media Group co-CEO Paul launched Wareable with James Stables in 2014, after working for a variety of the UK's biggest and best consumer tech publications including Pocket-lint, Forbes, Electric Pig, Tech Digest, What Laptop, T3 and has been a judge for the TechRadar Awards. 

Prior to founding Wareable, and subsequently The Ambient, he was the senior editor of MSN Tech and has written for a range of publications.


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