Aaaand the big reveal is over.
At its NYC “Unpacked” event on Wednesday, Samsung revealed the much-hyped and oft-leaked Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which has been talked to death so much already that the reveal was almost anticlimactic.
So let’s get to the neety-greety: the Galaxy Gear smartwatch will come with 4 GB of memory and an 800 MHz processor. It features a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED screen, along with an accelerometer, a pedometer, and a gyroscope—which is apparently a real thing and not just something you hear about in Sci-Fi movies.
The 1.9 megapixel camera—called Memographer—sits on the side of the watch, so you take pictures by swiping down on the screen to pull up the camera, aiming your wrist, and shooting. You can also shoot short 720p videos.
The phone call feature is…interesting. The speaker and receiver is on the wristband, so to make or receive a phone call, you raise your hand to your ear as if you’re holding an imaginary phone. Which looks weird.
“We don’t need to talk into the air like those Google headsets,” said Pranav Mistry of Samsung Research. Because talking to an imaginary phone is totally different.
(I don’t know why this one was so hard to figure out. For God’s sake, the spy movies always have the guy lifting the wristwatch to his chin to talk into it like a normal human being. It’s not that hard!)
As expected, Galaxy Gear comes with S Voice, which allows users to make phone calls, send text messages, or check the weather using voice commands.
Additionally, the watch includes Smart Relay, which means you can see an email on Galaxy Gear and, if you decide you want to see it on your phone, you can open your phone and see the email appear automatically.
The battery will run for 25+ hours on a single charge, which is a boon for health monitoring. The wath’s 315 mAh battery will make use of Android 4.3, which supports the Bluetooth Low Energy standard. But evidently, there has been some problem with cameras not turning on because the low energy.
It’s also already integrated with a bevy of apps, including health apps MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper, as well as social apps Path and Highlight, among others.
The smartwatch will work with Galaxy Note 2 and 3, the Galaxy S4, and the Galaxy Note Tablet. Galaxy Gear will retail for $299 and will come in six colors so you can accessorize to your heart’s content. It's a steep price tag for a non-stand-alone item.
Galaxy Gear and the new Note III will be available in the U.S. and Japan in October and everywhere else later this month.
In more strange, unexpected news today, Qualcomm is also creating a smartwatch, dubbed Toq, which it doesn't have high expectations for, but will begin selling some time next month.