Samsung-Gear-S2-AH-07

Gear S2 Hits Verizon Starting at $299

November 6, 2015 - Written By Phil Bourget

Since Samsung launched its latest smartwatch the Gear S2 earlier last month, and it saw great early success in South Korea and China. But it seems this smartwatch-and-then-some is finally ready to launch into the United States’ carrier-controlled landscape, courtesy of Verizon Wireless.

Yes, the official sales period begins! Verizon’s memo from mid-October noted that as of November 6th would begin the time that anyone could walk into a Verizon store, or shop online, and pick out and own one of Samsung’s new wearables. The price is sitting rather pretty at $299 with a 2-year activation, while full retail is only $349.  Considering the device is Samsung-made, as well as Verizon-sold, the price has stayed rather true to actual cost, which is good to see from Verizon. But what can you expect from the Gear S2, or what might sway you towards looking further into it as a viable option?

Well, Samsung equipped the Gear S2 with its own cellular radio, as with its predecessor the Gear S, and rounded the face out to have a 1.2-inch AMOLED display for great battery life (specifically when using a dark-background watch face).  It’s also packing a gigahertz Exynos dual-core processor and half a gigabyte of RAM (512 megabytes, for those who prefer numbers over concepts or fractions). Along with that, the Gear S2 has an 802.11 b/g/n-compatible Wi-Fi antenna, Bluetooth 4.1, and even has NFC for quick sharing, as well as a 250 mAh battery squeezed inside.

If the idea of wearing your phone’s notification panel on your wrist doesn’t quite appeal to you, especially if you don’t want to have a Galaxy device to use the Gear S2, you’re in luck. The S2 is compatible, thankfully, with almost all Android 4.4+-clad hardware, so no S or Note needed unless you want them.  Better still is that this smartwatch is also, in true Gear and Gear S fashion, able to handle voice calls with an in-built speaker and microphone, and even to connect to your cellular signal, and be used standalone, no smartphone needed. The latter part would be great for someone who often forgets their phone at home, or who wants to go running but not carry more than themselves and something to check heart rate periodically. Verizon will doubtless be the only U.S. carrier to adopt the Gear S2. As mentioned before, it’s available for a cent under $300 with a contract with Big Red, or a cent shy of $350 outright.