The Samsung Gear S was released on November 7th 2014, the Gear S2 was released on October 2nd 2015. So apart from the eleven months between release dates, what’s different about the two smartwatches..
Samsung Gear S vs Gear S2
The most obvious difference between the Samsung Gear S and Gear S2 is the design. The original Gear S gets slated quite a lot for the way it looks, but I like it. The general rule is that bulky watches look rubbish on slender man wrists. I haven’t got the fattest lower limbs in the world but I like the way the Gear S looks on me, actually I think the rule applies more to round watches than it does for square/rectangular watches, i.e bulky round watches look rubbish on skinny man wrists but bulky squares don’t look too bad.
The Samsung Gear S2 comes in three versions – the Gear S2, Gear S2 Classic and Gear S2 3G. As the Gear S2 3G obviously has 3G and a built-in GPS, that’s the one we’re comparing here to the original Gear S.
The rectangular Gear S is 12.5mm thick with a base size of 58.1 x 39.9mm and weighs 67 grams.
The circular Gear S2 3G is slightly thicker at 13.4mm with a base size of 51.8 x 44mm and weighs 51 grams. The Gear S2 and S2 Classic are not so thick as they don’t have an e-SIM or GPS.
The Gear S only has one button on the bottom of the display acting as a Home button, the rest is controlled via touchscreen.
The Gear S2 3G has a Home button and Back button on the right side, plus a rotating bezel that can be used to navigate the apps, scroll, zoom and adjust levels.
The Gear S has a 2″ curved Super AMOLED touchscreen display that contours around your wrist. It has a resolution of 360 x 480 300 ppi.
The Gear S2 3G has a 1.2″ Super AMOLED touchscreen display with a resolution of 360 x 360 302 ppi.
Both smartwatches are pretty much the same under the hood. They both have a dual core 1GHz processor, 4GB storage and 512MB RAM.
Connectivity & Standalone
The original Samsung Gear S uses Bluetooth 4.1, wi-fi, and supports 2G and 3G networks. It can be used independently of a smartphone as it has a nano-SIM card slot.
The Samsung Gear S2 3G uses Bluetooth 4.1, wi-fi and supports 2G and 3G networks. It can be used independently of a smartphone, but instead of a nano-SIM it has an embedded e-SIM. The new standard in mobile devices and IoT, an e-SIM enables you to change network providers without the need to get a new SIM card. Also new to the Gear S2 is NFC which can be used to make payments in stores with NFC equipment that accepts Samsung Pay.
Update: Samsung announced yesterday that Samsung Pay will be coming to the Gear S2 later in 2016.
Samsung have taken a step back in terms of onboard sensors. The Gear S is loaded with a gyroscope, accelerometer, digital compass, proximity sensor, UV sensor, barometer, ambient light, heart rate monitor and GPS.
The Gear S2 3G has a gyroscope, accelerometer, barometer, ambient light, heart rate monitor and GPS.
Both smartwatches run Tizen, Samsung’s home-grown OS. Tizen is a growing ecosystem with some big name partner apps. Tizen’s voice assistant S Voice is Samsung’s answer to Siri and Google Now, so you can talk at your wrist if you want to look like Dick (head) Tracy. 1,000 Tizen apps were specially designed for the circular Gear S2 in time for the launch.
The Samsung Gear S has limited compatibility with Samsung Galaxy smartphones running Android 4.3 or higher, unless you happen to own a Tizen smartphone.
The Samsung Gear S2 is compatible with Android 4.4 or higher and it’s not just limited to Samsung smartphones, although your smartphone does need to have at least 1.5GB of RAM.
Update: Samsung announced yesterday that iOS compatibility will be coming to the Gear S2 later in 2016.
Both the Gear S and Gear S2 3G have 300mAh batteries. The Gear S last for 1 – 1.5 days between charges, but its charging dock is also a portable power bank, so you could say that doubles the battery life.
The Gear S2 3G has a battery life of 2 days with average use according to Samsung. I’m not sure what they class as average use, but if you’re using the watch to its full potential you’ll need a recharge everyday.
Water and Dust Resistance
The original Gear S has a water-resistant rating of IP67, the new Gear S2 has stepped up one place to IP68.
Under the hood both smartwatches are pretty much the same, apart from the original Gear S has a few extra sensors. OK, so Samsung wanted to make a round-faced smartwatch like almost everybody else who are trying to replicate the classic timepiece look, but for me there’s nothing wrong with square watches, especially the curved and futuristic look of the Gear S.
Wearables is essentially a brand new genre, so why are so many companies going back in time with their designs by trying to replicate the look of an old Rolex? I say embrace the new! Despite the negative comments it receives, I think Samsung did well with the design of the original Gear S as it looks original and it’s not copying others, plus it kinda represents the NEW age of wearables. The same could be said for the Apple Watch.
The Samsung Gear S2 and S2 Classic which are now on sale lack the GPS and standalone call capabilities of the original Gear S , but they make up for it with the rotating bezel and NFC.
The Gear S2 3G may be a couple of sensors short of the Gear S, but with GPS, standalone calls, rotating bezel and NFC it does the important bits and some more. Also, Samsung Pay and iOS compatibility are coming to Gear S2 in 2016.
• Samsung Gear S
• Samsung Gear S2