Samsung unveils new Galaxy Gear smartwatch for $299

As expected, Samsung unveiled a new smartwatch today, alongside the Galaxy Note 3 and other new devices, at its IFA keynote in Berlin, Germany. The watch is called the Galaxy Gear, and it performs a number of integrated and standalone functions for $299.

Looking at the hardware, the Gear has a 1.63-inch AMOLED touchscreen display and a 1.9-megapixel camera built into the strap. It also has an 800MHz processor, 4GB of storage, and 512MB of RAM, as well as two mics and one speaker. More details after the fold…

On the software side, the watch supports voice control via S Voice, and has the ability to make and receive phone calls, create video memos and receive push notifications for texts and other alerts. Of course, this requires a Bluetooth connection with a compatible device.

Speaking of which, it doesn’t sound like the Gear is compatible with any Samsung device outside of the new Note 3 and Note 10.1, but the Korean tech giant announced today that it will support more than 70 third-party apps at launch: Path, Evernote, RunKeeper, etc.

As for sensors, the Gear features both an accelerometer and gyroscope for tracking steps and other fitness activities. And as for battery life, the 315 mAh pack is only good for “up to 24 hours of regular use,” which is very disappointing. Here’s The Verge’s Vlad Savov:

“Also important will be the Galaxy Gear’s battery life. It does use the Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy standard to communicate, but at 315mAh its battery is decidedly small. Samsung promises “about a day” of endurance from the Gear, but by the end of our briefing with the company, the cameras on most of its demo units were refusing to turn on due to the watches running low on power.”

Savov, who was able to spend some hands-on time with the Gear, also noted that there’s a noticeable lag when trying to do anything on the watch, and that the swipe gestures are hard to figure out, as they do different things depending on where you are in the menus.

Here’s his hands-on video:

For those interested, Samsung also introduced the Galaxy Note 3 and a new Note 10.1 today. The Note 3 features a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED screen, a 1.9GHz Exynos Octa CPU and a 13MP camera, and the Note 10.1 has a 10.1-inch display, 1.9GHZ CPU and an 8MP shooter.

But back to the smartwatch. The Galaxy Gear will be available starting September 25, in 6 different colors, for $299. Honestly, the battery life, me-too smartwatch design, and lack of innovative features make this a no-go for me. I’ll wait and see what Apple comes up with.

What do you think of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch?