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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  • rituraj - Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - link

    Transparent display... a normal watch underneath...
    Notifications appear on top of the watch waking up the display when needed.. otherwise it remains a humble normal transparent glass..
    A stripped down OS suitable for wearable..
    How long? How difficult?
    Seriously though, can transparent displays be a reality?
  • Origin64 - Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - link

    Just like when tablets appeared a few years ago: I have to stop and ask: for which use case is this thing in any way useful? Using voice recog is slower than typing, (especially in noisy conditions like anywhere outside your own house or car) it can't be comfortable reading anything from a device attached to your wrist, because you'd have to keep your arm up or your neck bent, and it'll be slower than the phones we spent years and billions making oh so blazing fast.

    This is to a smartphone what a tablet is to a laptop: smaller and more portable, but limited in functionality and speed. Sure, a tablet is easier to use on the go, but on a laptop you can get some work done.

    It must just be our neverending consumerism. Phone market becomes saturated, and all those billions of marketing budget are spent brainwashing people into thinking this is something they need.

    I'd seriously like to see one, just one, proper use case for this little machine. I cant think of a situation where pulling my phone out of my pocket wouldnt be faster and easier.
  • meacupla - Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - link

    There's just one problem with your argument.

    Tablets kicked out e-readers and netbooks, because most people just wanted something that will do facetube, movies, light games, email and internet and cost less than $400.
    Some experienced users may want to use office, and that too has been covered quite well by both cheaper ARM devices and more expensive ultrabook convertibles.

    So, going by your argument, you are actually making a case for the watch, it's just that we're not quite sure what other products it's going to kick to the curb as of now, just like what happened when tablets first came out.

    The way I see it, the only thing this watch might kill is HUD and handset holders inside cars.
  • Graag - Thursday, October 3, 2013 - link

    Tablets haven't kicked out e-readers, at all. E-readers are still better at reading most things than tablets.

    Netbooks, on the other hand, are worse at everything.
  • Kathrine647 - Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - link

    like Gregory said I am alarmed that a stay at home mom able to earn $5886 in 1 month on the internet. visit their website............B u z z 5 5 . com open the link without spaces
  • Maikal - Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - link

    Totaly agree Fergy. It seems the Apple trolls are out in force and must have received talking points about how applelish the watch looks. Not realizing that Apple has been stealing from others much longer than they've been alive! Apple has not met an inovation that they themselves have either stolen, borrowed or copied from!

    How are you apple trolls liking your IOS7 now! I hear and read how smoothly things are
  • Maikal - Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - link

    Apple will claim anything is their innovation just to stall the other company from getting their goods to the public! Remember the lawsuits over color and shape of the iphone? Like no one would think of a square phone with buttons? Like they owned the pattent on shapes like a rectangle or circles? Please, from the beginings Apple and Microsoft were perfecting the ways of stealing from each other in order to later do the same to other companies.
  • jefeweiss - Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - link

    You mention using the Pebble regularly in your review of this product, but I don't see that there was ever a review of the Pebble. I would be interested to see a review, especially to give this review some context. I just tried to search for "pebble", so it's possible that it just didn't come up in the search.
  • ASEdouardD - Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - link

    I suppose Samsung made an effort design wise here, but it's still very ugly.
  • phoenix_rizzen - Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - link

    So, how does it feel/look when worn properly, aka with the face on the flat part of your wrist (the bottom)?

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