At IFA Berlin, one of the biggest annual consumer electronics shows in the world, Samsung has announced three new wearables: a smart watch, a fitness band and upgraded cordless earbuds.
Samsung Gear Sport
The Gear Sport is Samsung’s new smart watch. It features a round 30.5mm Super AMOLED display with a 302dpi, 360 by 360 pixel resolution. The display is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The body of the watch is 11.6mm thick and it weighs 50 grams.
In keeping with its active nature, it is “designed with military level-durability” says Samsung, complying with MIL-STD-810G, the US military testing regime. In particular, it’s certified to up to five atmospheres of water pressure, or fifty metres (165 feet) of depth.
Let’s dwell on that for a moment. Many wearables score an “IP” (Ingress Protection) rating, which says they’re good for less than, or a little bit more than, a metre of immersion. But they aren’t designed for swimming. It’s there just in case of accident.
Samsung’s Gear Sport is, likewise, not designed for SCUBA diving to great depths. But Samsung explicitly states (in a footnote, for some reason) that it’s “safe to wear while walking in the rain or showering, and may be used for shallow-water activities like swimming in a pool or ocean.” So, yes, go swimming. But not water skiing. It “should not be used for scuba diving, water skiing, or other activities involving high-velocity water or submersion below shallow depth.”
Rather than doing the Android Wear thing, the Gear Sport runs on Samsung’s own Tizen operating system. That’s the same one it uses in its smart TVs. Like Android, it’s based ultimately on Linux, so it’s probably not too difficult for others to port apps over to it.
It uses a dual core 1.0GHz processor with 768MB of RAM and has 4GB of internal storage. The watch works with Android phones (4.4 or later) and iPhones (iOS 9 or later), but doesn’t need them for things like satnav since it has its own GPS, and GLONASS and BeiDou support built in.
Also built in: Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi to 802.11b/g/n (I’m guessing 2.4GHz only) and NFC, with support for Samsung Pay. It has a 300mAh battery which can be charged wirelessly.
Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro
Samsung is billing the Gear Fit2 Pro as a fitness band, but in many respects it’s similar to the Samsung Gear Sport, running Tizen on a dual core 1.0GHz processor (with only 512MB of working memory, but still with 4GB of storage). It has a smaller 200mAh battery and a 38mm curved Super AMOLED display which has 432 by 216 pixels for 310dpi. Yes, Gorilla Glass 3 again.
And it shares the same durability and waterproof ratings as the Gear Sport, so you can swim in it (but don’t go water skiing!)
It comes with a choice of small or large bands to fit different wrists.
Samsung Gear IconX 2018
An upgrade of the previous model, these are Samsung’s latest wireless earphones. They are very different to the normal ones, though, because you can use them in two ways. One is with a conventional Bluetooth connection to your phone or other Bluetooth device. For music quality sound they support the standard SBC codec along with something called the Samsung Scalable Codec.
Reading around, this doesn’t appear to be thing for higher audio quality of the aptX or AAC kind, but to allow a more reliable connection by dealing with the ambient WiFi spectrum. You need codec support on the other end to take advantage of this, which means a Samsung phone.
Battery life with a Bluetooth connection is a fairly modest five hours.
The other mode uses the four gigabytes of storage in each. You download the music to that and no Bluetooth connection is needed while you’re on the move. That pushes out battery life by a couple of hours. They come with a charging case with which you can recharge the earbuds a second time while you’re away from power.