- Grovana is a Swiss fashion brand specializing in manufacturing distinctive Swiss watches for men and women since 1924.
- Their watches are designed in chic and classic fashion for various styles like traditional, retrograde, contemporary, sports, automatic, Swiss Alpine military, etc.
Time and place: 1924, Switzerland
Original name: Hans Groflin AG
Early products: watches
Fashion watches: USD199.99-USD1227.22
The Samsung Galaxy Gear is surely the most media player of the race for the conquest of “smartwatch”, that space in our wrist in which manufacturers of diverse nature are trying to offer a proposal that convince us of the goodness of connectivity And applications on the clock.
In a category where a winning horse has not yet been spotted – even if the concept itself is going to fit into the general public – the proposals of each brand seem to emphasize a different section each. Galaxy Gear comes loaded with technology, from applications on the watch to a camera integrated in the belt, but what will interest us especially in this analysis is to elucidate if it brings value to justify its price beyond the novelty effect. Let’s go there
Before starting the analysis, a quick look at the main features of the Samsung Galaxy Gear:
|SAMSUNG GALAXY GEAR|
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||56.6 x 36.8 x 11.1 mm; 73.8 g|
|SCREEN||1.33 inch sAMOLED.|
|RESOLUTION||320 x 320 pixels|
|CONNECTIVITY||Bluetooth 4.0; NFC in the load casing|
|CONNECTION||MicroUSB in the charging housing; Owner on the clock|
|MEMORY||512 megs of RAM; 4GB of disk|
|CAMERA||1.9 MP autofocus, records video at 720p/30 fps|
|COMPATIBILITY||With high-end Samsung: Note 3, Note 2, Galaxy S4, S3, etc. See on Xataka Android|
In the specifications we begin to observe that the approach to the smartwatch of Samsung is peculiar. On the one hand has features of a device that could be independent when running applications and has power to run them (in addition to those 512 megs and 4GB disk has an Exynos processor from a core to 800 Mhz), butfollows the vision of “Complement of the smartphone” with which we must match it if we want to take advantage of it.
As in the case of the analysis to the Sony Smartwatch 2 we decided to split the review to Galaxy Gear in two parts. On the one hand we will attend to its clock face and on the other to its role as “smartwatch”.
The first thing that strikes the Samsung watch is the size. It stands out at first sight as a large and striking device, more elongated than wide and that fits into the trend of great watches for men. Around the generous screen – we will return to it later – four screws that help reinforce the positioning of the product: technological and industrial, something that steel helps a lot.
A single side button crowns a first impression that, here one can not but fall into a certain subjectivism, Samsung has solved in a solvent but without going to pass to the history of design as an iconic product.
The watch forms a piece with the strap that is irreplaceable because part of the logic is there with the camera. Made of plastic and six colors available, it gains touch with its rugged surface and does not disappoint with the care and premium approach of the device. At this point Samsung seems to have taken into account that the watch is a fashionable complement and that looking after materials and appearance is nuclear if you want to position Galaxy Gear.
Despite the thickness – the only point that really penalizes the design of Gear – weight does not go beyond what one can admit in a large watch and with which it expects to receive a lot of value. It transmits a great feeling of robustness in the wrist and, in my opinion, much more passionate for technology than for fashion, is quite attractive.
The first thing to note about the Gear in operation is its generous display. 1.63 inches with a resolution of 320 x 320 Super AMOLED that has superb performance both for the usual operations and for even viewing photos on it. Of course this screen, together with the high computing capacity of the device, have a high price in autonomy .
And here we get into some of the more problematic variables with Galaxy Gear. To increase the autonomy the screen is off by default and only lights up if we push the side button or, this is configurable, with the wrist gesture by which we turn the clock towards us. At first it seems an acceptable strategy, but in the implementation of Samsung has two problems: one is that the gesture of wrist twist has a certain error rate, that is, sometimes we try and the screen does not turn on. It happens 1 in 20 times, but when it happens it is irritating to watch the time and the device forces us to turn again or press the button. Even when it works fine, there is a slight delay of tenths of a second that is no worse experience compared to clocks with the screen always on.
The other problem is that, despite this, the autonomy offered by Gear if we have it synchronized with the mobile phone is one day. It certainly holds the whole day and it is only a matter of loading it every night, at least they reach the one we can care about if we follow the daily routine of loading while we sleep, but the descent in autonomy compared to a normal clock is huge. We can not forget a couple of days of the device because we are left without clock, it keeps us in the same voltage of autonomy almost as the smartphone.
With respect to the load there is another additional aspect, which is the need for its casing for it. It fits very well and is quick to achieve 100% load, but requires another additional plug to the microUSB cable and plug.
In the variable “water resistance”, Samsung does not show much of it but the Gear meets IP-55 (see official page ). This means that in principle it is resistant to dust and water if touched in small quantities, but is not at all submersible. Again we have a look against the Gear, if you wash your hands one can be more or less quiet but ay if you forget when it is time to bathe the children or go to the shower.
It is clear that the Galaxy Gear asks for several tolls as a watch, the question is in the following section is it worth enough what it offers as a smartwatch for this sacrifice as a normal watch?
Something important to note in Gear is that its bet is not only a window to what happens in the smartphone, but has a strong claim that many actions can be solved only with the clock minimizing even more times the number We took the cell phone out of our pocket. Let’s see some of them in a little amateur video I’ve recorded to show it.
To achieve this claim, it points to two routes. The first is the touch interface of the screen that incorporates a horizontal scroll to move through the applications and supports the vertical gesture that by default takes the camera up and the phone dial down. The other way is the possibility of using SVoice, accessible by a click on the application icon and also double-clicking the physical button.
Although SVoice is quite limited, I think Gear exemplifies that part of the value in this category is going to be in the voice interface . Things that have worked well for us: “call xxx”or”write xxx”… far from where we would like to get with a good natural language processing, (eg, “send a message to xxx saying that he arrived late, Go directly to zzzz “), but at least resolutive in a couple of usual use cases.
Speaking of “calling”. Gear lets you take calls, reject them … and make them .That is to say, it has microphone and speaker to talk to him, posing a format that will squeal to many: far from the style of Michael Knight in the fantastic car in which he wore the watch next to his mouth that may seem more natural, Samsung invites That we close the clock to the ear with the wrist inwards. I doubt very much that they will get the social acceptance of the gesture, but in their defense I must say that stranger seems a hands-free to walk and that the quality of the sound in the call is outstanding.
In addition we have the camera, which allows to take photos and record videofrom a position, let’s say, peculiar. The quality for what we expected is not bad, but it is difficult to hit the value that Samsung senses in this feature, higher speed compared to taking the mobile? Are still two steps, but certainly faster than taking something out of pocket or purse… discretion? It seems not because each photo comes accompanied by a notorious sound. Of course, for street photography is quite interesting, nobody thinks you are taking pictures and in the distance you can not hear if we have the noise of the city.
As for smartwatch and be able to dispense with removing the phone is referred, the Gear has an important subject with notifications and here suspends without remedy. The clock can warn us of a lot of events-configurable-but unless the application is native (eg sms, mail), it will not show us anything other than “has arrived and press to see on the phone”. An email to the Gmail app? It shows neither the issuer nor the issue nor anything, a mention on Twitter? Neither, a message from whatsapp? Here even worse, it is even possible that he warns the clock to this day.
In this aspect the Gear suspends clearly, although in favor of Samsung we say that this is a software evolution that could face in the near future, although I still have the doubt how is possible that such a clear value that the watch should not offer it Are giving and have it done so?
In the rest of applications the pedometer stands out (although here I believe that in quantification the category has a missed opportunity) and the possibility of some integration well resolved and interesting as it is the one of Evernote, especially for those that use it to capture and store ideas: From the clock, record with voice or video and you have it in Evernote without removing the phone. In these use cases is when Gear shows its potential. In the moment store we find a certain volume to install, but it is difficult to find value (if we excepted the Line app that does seem to be well resolved)
In the balance of the Samsung Galaxy Gear I think there are more cons than elements in favor. They have quickly arrived at the category and presented a product that is well solved in some sections but that flaquea in the set and the primary objective is to offer a differential value to the user that justifies its, on the other hand, high price. In the best of the product we find the finishes, a camera better than expected and a very good performance in the management of calls and audio quality. In the most critical, low autonomy, not being submersible and poor performance of notifications, which should be protagonists in the Gear.
The most favorable for Samsung would be that we are before a new case “Note”. The first was a rarity in the sector, widely criticized, but in the medium term has become what some consider its star and differential line. Gear meets the first, for the second is much work ahead, in fact my impression is that Samsung has taken to the street more to learn that because I have a clear idea of what should be the smartwatch of the future. Is it worth the purchase? Here I would try to be very clear about the value he brings and I would go to see him in person to “touch” his design. Although we criticize a lot, Gear has some points that should be the basis of the next generation, in which we do expect to see Samsung pulling and showing its full potential.
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