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Wearable Tech

Precious Samsung: Gear S2 gets rose gold and platinum plating (hands-on)

Samsung's latest smartwatch moves into precious metals in its latest bid at making luxury electronics.

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Platinum and 18 karat rose gold. As watch finishes, these precious metals sound more "Tag Heuer" than "Samsung", but it's true: The South Korean electronics goliath let us try on two new versions of its stainless steel Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch plated with the marvelous metals.

We don't know pricing yet, but expect it to be higher than the $300 or AU$499 or £299 original. The new watch options should land sometime in March.

This is Samsung's first time using precious metals on any of its seven smartwatches, in a move that demonstrates more than ever Samsung's readiness to push into the realm of luxury timepieces. The company isn't alone, either. Earlier today at the CES show, Chinese rival Huawei also announced rose gold and crustal-studded options for its Huawei Watch, in an effort to entice female buyers looking for more design choices.

I liked the way both new styles looked on my wrist, but especially the rose gold, which I lean toward anyway. Even the large-size strap on the demo watch managed to circle my wrist without any of that awkward overhang. As on the original G2, the watches' top ring turns with a satisfying click.

Strap options galore

Although the Gear S2 does come in large and small strap lengths (or long and short), the band width remains the same 20mm as the original. Samsung says they upgraded the leather straps on these two styles, including finer stitching. But you don't have to content yourself with leather if that's not your jam. At our briefing, we saw at least a dozen other bands you can buy -- again, there aren't any fixed prices, but expect them to start at $40 and shoot up from there.

There were some new digital watch faces, too, which you can access when you press and hold the main screen.

Pay with your watch

One of the most exciting titbits to come from this CES announcement is that before March is out, Samsung will turn on the Samsung Pay mobile payment app for all of its Gear S2 watches. Unlike the Samsung phones with Samsung Pay, the watch will only support the NFC protocol (rather than NFC and MST), which means you can tap a compatible outlet to pay, but you won't be able to use your watch like a credit card as you can with a phone like the Samsung Galaxy S6 or Note 5.