Would you strap this to your wrist? The First Samsung Galaxy Gear reviews land


posted Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 2:37 PM EDT


In September, Samsung announced the Galaxy Gear, a smartwatch capable of snapping photos thanks to a camera system built into the watchstrap itself. Now the first crop of reviews of this device have landed, and it looks like Samsung has a long way to go before it ends up on everybody's wrists.

The initial round of reviews are a decidedly mixed bag, going from the Verge, who were decidedly unimpressed by it, to others who see the potential in what it might become, like Engadget and Anantech. However, they all seem to agree that the notification system is mediocre, the day long battery life is on the short side, the interface has problems, and there aren't enough apps for the device yet. And there's the problem that it can only pair with two Samsung devices right now, making it useless for most people.

But what might yet be the redeeming feature of the Galaxy Gear is its camera. Despite having just a 1.9-megapixel BSI sensor, it seems that being able to shoot from your wrist might be a bit more fun that people predicted. The Verge called the camera one of the gear's "two great features", that they loved using it, and that it focused quickly and easily, and exposed properly. Anandtech mentioned that "It’s kind of amazing to be able to get anything out of a camera that fits into the strap of a watch, so I won’t complain about imaging quality a whole lot. Again I’m impressed at what comes out of a camera that fits into this form factor." You can even take a picture simply by saying "cheese". For a look at how the images actually turn out, here's a gallery.

It seems like Samsung might be aware that the first generation of Galaxy Gear is something of a non-starter. In a Korean news piece, Samsung officals were quoted as saying:

We’ve acknowledged that our Gear lacks something special. With more investment for user interface and user experience, Samsung devices will be better in terms of customer satisfaction.”

Hopefully that means Samsung will be able to refine the idea down in future generations, and make it appeal to more people (and work with more devices). Because at least wearing a smartwatch is less obnoxious than Google Glass.