Ahead of IFA next week in Berlin, Samsung is announcing a smartwatch of the sort we were all expecting and hoping for from the start. The Samsung Gear S is the latest in a growing stream of smartwatches that can function independently of smartphones.
The Samsung Gear S will have 3G connectivity, meaning that you can receive notifications and, yes, even make calls and send text messages using your watch, without the need for your smartphone as a go-between. You’ll do all that on a 2″ curved AMOLED display, the dimensions of which make it look a little like a shrunk down smartphone display. It’s also looking a lot more fashionable than previous Samsung smartwatches—it better fits the contours of the wrist, and looks more professional than industrial. There’s still Bluetooth connectivity as well, so it can still be paired with a smartphone.
You can also get turn-by-turn walking directions, but that will come courtesy of Nokia HERE, rather than Google Maps. Now would be a good time to mention that Samsung is still not going with Android Wear for their smartwatch operating system of choice, opting to stick with their own creation, Tizen. And, as required for any smartwatch, all the fitness tracking sensors you’d expect are here. Anything that can be recorded in S Health, including heart rate, steps taken, and distance traveled, can be recorded by the Gear S.
Samsung also announced the Samsung Gear Circle, a new Bluetooth headset that can give you voice prompts when you receive new notifications on your smartphone, in addition to playing music and allowing you to make and receive calls. When you’re not using the Circle, the earbuds can fold down and clasp together magnetically, so you can wear the whole thing around your neck.
Samsung has not announced pricing, but they are saying both the Gear S and the Circle will go on sale in October. There’s a good chance more will be revealed at IFA next week.