The Samsung Gear 2 ($299) is the top-end smartwatch from Samsung so far this year, but it's not the only one: there's also the Gear 2 Neo ($199) and Gear Fit ($199) to choose from.

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The Gear 2 has a slimmed-down design and swappable watchbands, as well as a faster processor and a new Tizen operating system, as opposed to the original Galaxy Gear's Android.

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The metal design looks sleek.

Photo by: Sarah Tew / CNET

The rear band adjusts like a regular watch but clips and attaches easily, too.

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A single home button can also be double-clicked to launch a particular app.

Photo by: Sarah Tew / CNET

The 2-megapixel camera has been moved up to the watch body, where it sits next to an IR blaster for TV remote control.

Photo by: Sarah Tew / CNET

The Samsung Gear family, early 2014: Gear Fit (top), Gear 2 Neo (bottom left) and Gear 2 (bottom right)

Photo by: Sarah Tew / CNET

The Gear 2 Neo (left) has a more plastic design and no camera, while the Gear 2 has a metal body and camera, and also costs $100 more.

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Notifications can be pulled in from nearly every app, and they're logged so they can be re-read later.

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One of many watch faces, which can be customized with different backgrounds, fonts and features.

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S-Voice works via an app and uses a built-in microphone, but there isn't that much you can do with it, and it's slow.

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There are tons of included Samsung apps, and at least a hundred other apps on Samsung's app store.

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Pulling in the weather via a nice-looking app.

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Taking a picture involves tapping the screen.

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Photos look better than you'd expect. The Gear 2 can shoot short 720p videos, too, and syncs photos and videos back to the paired phone.

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A heart-rate monitor on the back takes continuous measurement while exercising, and works with a coaching app to suggest speeding up or slowing down based on heart rate.

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Running mode.

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Messages pop up on the Gear 2's bright AMOLED display. A fair amount of text can be crammed in at once.

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The call dialer. You can dial up any number or pull from your contacts, and make a phone call via the built-in speaker and mic. Not bad in a pinch.

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The rear heart-rate sensor, which sends out a green LED.

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The Gear Manager app controls app installation, notification settings, and home screen customizing, plus music track loading onto the Gear 2. It doesn't act as a hub for fitness, though: S-Health is for that.

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At the moment, the app selection on Samsung's store lacks any of the big-name companies.

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Charging happens via a snap-on dongle which connects to a Micro-USB cable. It's smaller than the previous Galaxy Gear's charger, but don't lose that dongle.

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Here it is up close.

Photo by: Sarah Tew / CNET

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