The obvious big distinction between Galaxy Gear and the rest of the smartphone market is the inclusion of a camera module with auto focus in the wrist band. Initially I thought this would be something terrible and a novelty at best, but the Gear actually produces surprisingly decent photos considering its size and resolution (just 1392x1392 square). The module does stick out of the wrist band a notable amount, and I’d be concerned about longevity over the course of the Gear, as I normally hit my wrist on things during the course of a normal day, but it does work.

The camera interface on Gear is very simple, just tap to focus and capture anywhere, and the capture routine runs. I've included a number of photos of the interface in the hardware gallery starting here. At the top left is a switcher between stills and video, and top right gives you shortcuts to imaging settings, including between a 1:1 and 4:3 mode for the still camera (1:1 gives you the full sensor area it seems), and focus mode (auto or macro). In video mode you can select between 1:1 and 16:9 video resolution settings, which work out to 640x640 or 720p respectively. I’ve made copies of the video samples I took at the bench location available both on YouTube as shown below and on our own servers zipped up, both 720p and 640 square.

You can record a maximum of 15 seconds of video at a time, and store a maximum of 50 images and videos on the Gear at one time. There’s also no ability to disable the camera shutter sounds, which is probably a good thing considering its potential for creepshots, but the speaker at the bottom is easily silenced with a finger.

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. Also shooting from the wrist often means shooting from waist level, which means different perspective that forces you into taking some shots you wouldn't take otherwise. I'm a fan of wearables with camera if nothing else because they force me to take photos that aren't eye level, and those different heights and positions are where some of the most interesting or out of the ordinary photos are photographed from. I guess the Gear could also be perfect for corporate espionage, at least until more people start recognizing the fact that there's a camera on your watch, but I digress.

My only concerns with the Gear are really just interface related – I took a lot of photos on accident since the swipe down gesture used for back also will get you to the camera and take a photo, literally every road leads to taking a photo in the Gear interface with that back swipe. The other issue is that getting the images off of Gear is cumbersome, you have to transfer them through the gallery to the attached phone, and then delete them all to get around that 50 photo or video maximum each time.

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  • Gorgenapper - Friday, October 4, 2013 - link

    Can you boil it down for the rest of us dumb dumbs.
  • Netscorer - Monday, October 7, 2013 - link

    Very interesting piece of information in history of design patents. But the problem many see in the Apple wars was not that they used design patents to protect their products in the first place, but how they used them. When you design something unique, that design should be protected, no doubt. But when you design a squarish blob with rounded corners and claim it to be unique, that's the problem. Companies have other means of distinguishing their products when using mundane form and design patterns. It's called logo. Company logo is always unique, protected by multiple laws and is easy way to distinguish one product from another. You don't see Drink manufacturers, for example, squabbling about bottle shapes in general. yes, there are some unique bottle shapes, but 99% of all bottles look the same. What distinguishes them one from the other, of course is branding, i.e. using color palette and logo to provide quick identification and association with consumers. Apple, just by the fact of being first to market, decided, basically, to patent generic bottle of smartphone shapes. Then it tried to SELECTIVELY sue other vendors who obviously stepped into the same common sense design decision.
  • digitalgriffin - Monday, October 7, 2013 - link

    Patents also can't be frivolous or vague, and have in some way be unique and not common sense.

    Navigating apps through gestures is nothing new or unique. Finger gestures control have been around for years ever since the digitizing tablet was invented. Saying a left swipe to bounce back it about as patentable as me saying me scratching my ass is trademark motion.
  • LostViking - Friday, October 11, 2013 - link

    Everyone understands that these patents are great for big, powerful companies. Some of us just feel the user is more important.

    And before you say it, I don't believe that it would be impossible to make money selling phones in a world where you couldn't patent design.
  • 1ndian - Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - link

    So, who did Samsung copy in SSD, Memory, Laptops, Home Appliances, TV, Medical Equipments, Displays, Cameras, Ship building, etc.? Let's go back and say Apple copied GUI from XEROX. They do make some good products and some crappy products. But please don't talk like everything started with iPhone or Apple
  • fri2219 - Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - link

    GE, Toshiba, Intel, Fujitsu, Matsushita, Toshiba, Sharp, Siemens, Bell Labs, and just about anyone else they thought could make them a buck. Samsung has a sordid history of sleaze, including but not limited to, repeated convictions for bribery, price fixing, astroturfing, and Tax Evasion.

    If that's too much history for the tldr in you, just look at how many IP theft suits aside from Apple Samsung is facing at the present.
  • BC2009 - Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - link

    Dyson vacuums were just copied by Samsung too.
  • chrnochime - Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - link

    Lack of research FTW!!
  • cyberguyz - Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - link

    You mean after Apple COPIES their watch don't you?
  • Tech lover12345 - Thursday, October 3, 2013 - link

    I've stood in line for the iPhone , 3G, 3GS, 4, 4s, and ordered the iPhone 5. I just got the note 3 and it can do things I didn't know was possible. The note 3 makes my iPhone 5 seem like a Motorola razor flip phone. Apple has really fallen way way behind. All of these years I though Apple was the best, and all the arguments I've had with people that Apple was better. Apple Is a good phone for text and music and making phone calls and that is about it bite the note 3 can do way way more. It's not even fair to call the iPhone a smart phone compared to the note. But I must say, if you don't know how to use a computer, stick with the iPhone. The note 3 is too advance for people who are not into tech. If you buy it, you will hate it. I would not get my mom a note 3 and that is why she is using an iPhone, it's simple with minimum features.

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