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Samsung Galaxy Gear review:

Samsung Galaxy Gear

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The Good Attractive; Comfortable; Easy to see incoming calls.

The Bad Expensive; No email or social networks; Unreliable voice control; Limited to a few phones, only one at launch; Needs cradle to charge.

The Bottom Line Samsung's first smart watch looks really classy and has potential, but it lacks some really basic features. Its battery life isn't good enough either, and it only works with the Galaxy Note 3 right now. Definitely not worth £300.

CNET Editors' Rating

5.5 Overall

Are you too busy to pull your increasingly enormous phone out of your pocket every time you get a call or text? Then you're the person Samsung had in mind when it designed the Galaxy Gear, a smart watch that acts as a second screen for its gigantic Galaxy Note 3, connecting via Bluetooth.

The Galaxy Gear is available now in the UK direct from Samsung for £299 on its own, or for £868 with the Note 3, a saving of £50. You should be able to find similar deals on the high street, such as the Gear for £249 when you buy the Note 3 on a contract from Phones4U.

Editor's note: This review is an abridged version of Andrew Hoyle's full review, published here on

Should I buy the Samsung Galaxy Gear?

First off, the Gear only works with the Note 3 at the moment, with updates coming by the end of the year that will enable it to buddy up with the Galaxy S4, S3 and Note 2. It's unlikely ever to work with phones from different manufacturers or other operating systems. So don't buy it unless and until you're sure it will work with your phone.

Gear and Note 3
The Gear only works with the gigantic, expensive Galaxy Note 3 right now.

Even if you already have a Note 3, we can't recommend buying the Gear to go with it. It's just not ready. The biggest problem is that you can't see email or social network notifications on it, and app support in general is very limited. Much of its functionality depends on voice control, which is a frustrating, unreliable experience. And taking a call is deeply silly, with you alternately yelling at your wrist and then listening to it.

If you have a Note 3 and a couple of hundred extra quid burning a hole in your pocket, you'll love it. It's a really cool-looking gadget -- you can change the clock face and read texts -- and your friends probably won't have one. But everyone else should give it a miss.

Design and display

Our Gear came in a silver-coloured brushed metal with a black rubber strap, but it's available in a range of colours. It's sturdy and feels really well made, but be careful with it -- it's not waterproof.

There's only one button, which fires up the display, or voice control with a double click. Everything else is controlled by the 1.6-inch touchscreen. Its 320x320-pixel resolution is really sharp -- 283 pixels per inch isn't much worse than the iPhone's retina display.

Gear button
There's only one button, to turn the display on or off, and activating S Voice.

There are no ports to ruin the sleek lines either. The Gear charges by clicking it into a clunky plastic cradle, which has a micro-USB charger and the NFC chip that wirelessly connects with your Note. You'll probably have to carry this cradle with you because the Gear's battery isn't stellar -- you should get at least a day out of it, but it might die before you get home if you're constantly checking it.

Using the Gear

Unlike a phone with a huge screen, the Gear only shows one thing at a time. From the clock face, swiping down opens the camera, which is built fairly unobtrusively into the strap. Swiping up opens the dialler. Swiping left and right goes through a carousel of functions, such as the media controller, S Voice (the Gear's voice control), the notifications menu and so on.

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