There comes a time when something comes along and makes the distinction between accessory and host just that little bit more blurred, just that little bit more amazing, and can stand its own ground as a dedicated device. This is what Samsung have achieved with Samsung Gear S.
Having opened the box, i found myself switching on the watch, all whilst wearing my Sony SmartWatch, and one thing became instantly obvious, Samsung are so far ahead in the Smartwatch field it's scary.
The display burst into life with crisp, colourful images and text and was so, so much better than any watch display i've ever seen before. time to pop in a sim.
The first boot requires you to pair the watch to your Galaxy handset, which of course i dont have. A couple of tweaks later on my phone (dont ask, cant discuss) and we're all good, later on i found a simpler way to get it registered by just simply tapping repeatedly on certain parts of the screen, but never mind, already done by then.
After entering wifi info and mobile data selection, the watch face comes up and a guide pops up telling you which directional swipes will bring up various apps, menus, theme settings and controls. within minutes i knew exactly how to get to the items i wanted.
Now, without a Samsung phone, the watch was limited to only the provided apps (however i later paired it to my friends Galaxy, installed some apps and unpaired. The provided apps are more than satisfactory though, i dont need a watch to get on the web, i dont need a watch to stream netflix or most other pointless apps for watches. i had health monitors, nike fitness, Gmail, Email, video and music players, and of course, dedicated mobile functions from the built in 3G Sim Support.
That Sim support means that this watch will make you be able to be in contact wherever you are and whatever the situation(signal permitting). going for a jog? the watch will allow you to be in contact without carrying your phone in your pocket, and will give full health tracking and monitoring too, as well as GPS monitoring, as well as.. well you get the picture.
same with most outdoor activities, the watch will allow you to leave your big, bulky handset at home, allowing complete freedom.
I found the watch very quick and very responsive, the dual core 1Ghz processor never lagging or stuttering on Samsung's proprietary Tizen OS, which whilst is similar to Android, is much more suited to this watch than Android wear could ever be. This is the reason why the Gear S needs aGalaxy to offer full functionality, the App installs take place over Touchwiz and samsung's own installers, not Android. I would hope the next instalment of Gear S allows self install of apps, this would be a real stepping stone over a pointless hurdle imo.
I found the health monitors worked fantstic, keeping track of my daily steps, calorie burn, avg heartrate, even blood oxygen % (as an asthma sufferer, this is a very good function) and the app will also monitor your sleep patterns and suggest differences to your lifestyle to keep you more active and fit.
The personalisation options are Plenty, and allow you to download and install many different watch faces as well as change colour themes. Thankfully the themes and appearance is very recognisable as it is so similar to Samsung's Touchwiz overlay on Android, which we all know is as "pick up and play" as they come.
The price of the Gear S is a reasonable £19 per month on O2 Refresh, which equates to £264. This seems high but when you consider the amount of top draw tech inside this SmartWatch, it's actually quite reasonable.
I would quite easily recommend the Gear S to a friend and whilst using it, it reminded me just how good Samsung make mobile devices when compared with most others.
This watch is the pinnacle of wearable tech right now, and to answer the age old question, No! The apple Watch won't be as good as this, it won't come near it for features and quality,and that is Fact. This watch is what the apple Watch 3 will compete to be with, that's just how far Samsung have come in wearable tech since the original Gear.
Ease of use: 4/5
Wow factor: 4.5/5
Value for money: 3.5/5
The Gear S can be purchased from O2 on the following link.