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CNET First Look
Meet the Samsung Galaxy GearToo busy to take your phone out of your pocket? Check out the Samsung Galaxy Gear, a smartwatch that lets you take calls and snap photos without touching your phone.
Fishing your enormous smartphone from your jeans every time it rings is way too much trouble. What you need is a mini-screen on your wrist so that you take calls and send text with a minimum of physical exertion. Enter then the Samsung Galaxy Gear, the long-awaited smartwatch from the people who brought you the Galaxy S4. The Gear is an Android-powered watch that hooks up to your phone over Bluetooth, shows incoming calls which you can answer using the built-in microphone. It shows text too that you can reply to using Samsung's S Voice control software. You can place a call or send a new text too just by telling the watch who to text then reading out the message. Scroll through the simple tiled interface and you'll find tools to control your media and pedometers that count your steps and the 1.9-megapixel camera housed on the strap to take extremely quick snaps. Third-party apps are available to download although they extremely fit on the ground for now. The most helpful of the moment is the Evernote app that lets you save photos and voice messages to your Evernote account that will then sync across all your devices instantly. It'll also let you read recent notes on the watch which will come in very handy if you're following a shopping list. It's a brilliant idea in theory but the Gear does have a few problems. Chiefly, it only currently works with the new Galaxy Note 3. Now Samsung reckons it will be updated to work with the S4 and Note 2, but if you're a non-Samsung Android user don't get your hopes up. Secondly the notifications it can give unlimited calls and text. Social networks, messaging services like WhatsApp or Google Hangouts and most importantly emails won't give you any notifications at all. If more apps are written for the watch to bring these functions it'll become considerably more useful. Physically it's quite a good-looking piece of kit. It's much more compact than I imagined it would be, and I found it very comfortable to wear. It's available in a host of different colors too if you're particularly fussed about it matching your outfit. The 1.63-inch screen is bright and sharp enough to make small text easily readable with a bunch of watch faces to choose from too or you can head to the dedicated apps though to snag some fancy-looking third-party ones. It's a fun little device and those of you who've always wanted to talk into your watch like a Power Ranger you'll likely find it an exciting novelty. By the time you're watching this video however it's really very expensive particularly for the limited number of functions it can actually perform. As a concept the smartwatch is certainly interesting, but the Galaxy Gear needs to make some key additions in order to be truly useful. I'm Andrew Hoyle for CNET and this is the Samsung Galaxy Gear.