Ok, there’s very limited space on this screen, and that’s a good thing (if users want a smartphone strapped to their wrist they could get a Pine Neptune and work on their biceps). S-Voice works far better than anticipated, but it isn’t perfect, and forget about it if you have a friend with a name that isn’t in the 10 ten list. That’s where Minuum
comes in. Minuum is a revolutionary, compressed keyboard for smartphones that allows the user to type messily but still understands what you were typing. As an alpha tester, it seems like the only viable option for having a QWERTY keyboard on a screen of this size. Including Minuum for use in email and text messaging would greatly expand the capability of the Gear without any major development. Maybe Samsung will take notice for the Gear 3.Form Factor
We never found the Gear to be too bulky for everyday use. It isn’t much bigger than a standard watch (at least for guys) and we rarely had issues sliding it under shirt cuffs. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t and shouldn’t be thinner. There were lots of rumors that the screen on the Gear 2 would be curved, but these, sadly, turned out to be just that: rumors.
However, a big improvement in the Gear 2 is that both the camera and speaker are now right on the watch head. On the original Gear, the camera lens jutted out from the band, which looked odd (can you imagine if your phone’s camera jutted out the back?!). Having the speaker on the back, under the wrist, made listening to calls much more difficult as well. A gust of wind easily made us miss an entire conversation and, at times, we had to hold it up to our ears to hear, making it no better than using a standard phone. Now that the Gear 2 is completely contained within the head, it opens up the possibility of a new market for personalized and designer wristbands to go with it.Notifications
The only notifications that displayed on the original Gear came from apps that also ran on the watch. That means all notifications from games, reader or unsupported social apps were ignored. One of the best things about the Gear is that it lets you access your phone without taking it out of your pocket, but unless there is better push-notification integration, this isn’t being used to its full potential.Charging
Depending on what you were expecting, the Gear either had good battery life or the worst. We’ve used it for over 2 days on a single charge with moderate use without issue, which seemed fine and the Gear 2 boasts 2-3 times the battery life. But what is infuriating to no end is the fact that you need to use a “Cradle” in order to charge it. That means if you run out of power and didn’t bring the cradle, you’re out of luck, and out of watch. While some people were hoping to see wireless charging, unless you also have the ability to use a USB, Gear users would still be tied to a dock, adding yet another piece of equipment they need to carry around. Samsung, apparently, didn’t get the message and despite the fact that none of their press photos show a cradle, they also don’t show a USB port. Why, Samsung, why?Apps