This will be a very interesting smartwatch comparison – the new Samsung Gear Live, running Google's new Android Wear OS and the Samsung Gear 2, running Samsung's new Tizen OS. These devices are very similar in style, but with different OSs, they run completely differently and have many different features and hardware design differences – at $299, the Gear 2 also costs $100 more than the new Gear Live, which comes in at $199. Samsung has made several wrist wearable devices over the past year – first they had the Galaxy Gear that was sold as a "companion" to the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone – next, Samsung upped the ante by using their own Tizen OS on their next set of devices…the Gear 2, Gear Neo, and the Gear Fit, which is more of a band than a smartwatch. Techno people were taken by surprise when it was announced that Samsung would have an Android Wear device as well…the Gear Live.
This section is about their similarities – both the Gear Live and Gear 2 use the exact same 1.63-inch AMOLED display with 320 x 320 pixel resolution and 278 pixels-per-inch (ppi). They both have 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage with no room for expansion. They both have the Bluetooth 4.0 LE, the necessary gyros and compass, etc., IP67 certified water and dust resistant and they both use a standard 22mm wrist strap for easy replacement. Both devices use the same 300mAh battery and size wise are about the same except the Gear 2 is slightly thicker and heavier – probably due to the Gear 2's camera built into the body.
Please take a look over the specifications listed below and compare the two devices for yourself. We will then look at what makes these two smartwatches different from one another and try to choose a winner in this comparison.
Samsung Gear Live
Even though Google surprised us with Android Wear – it makes perfect sense to design an operating system specifically for smartwatches. It is also nice to see so many manufacturers jumping on board to support Android Wear. The day it was announced, both Samsung and LG announced that they had an Android Wear watch available for sale – the most anticipated one from Motorola, the Moto 360 is expected to be available soon. The nice thing about the Gear Live is that it is compatible with ANY smartphone that is running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or newer – not just a Samsung Galaxy device. Android Wear uses the 'always on' Google approach – just say, "OK Google," and ask it one of many questions and within seconds, your answer will appear on your display.
The Gear Live is rather stylish, more so than the all-plastic LG G Watch, but not as rich looking as the Gear 2. The Gear Live does have a built-in heart rate monitor and pedometer like the Gear 2, but lacks some of the other features. Android Wear still seems in a rather beta stage – that and the quality of apps are sure to get better, and that in-turn, with make the Gear Live a much better smartwatch.
Samsung Gear 2
The Samsung Gear 2 is their second rendition of their first stab at a smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, which ran a version of the Android OS with Samsung's heavy skin over top. The new Gear 2, runs Samsung's own Tizen OS and only time will tell if Samsung is making the right move away from Android – just to cover all of their bases, they also came out with the Gear Live running Android Wear. The Gear 2 is definitely the high-end smartwatch, and as well it should be considering the fact that it costs $100 more. But those extra features do come with certain caveats – in order to take full advantage of all of its features you MUST use a Samsung Galaxy smartphone…no other brand will do, and this may not be an option for some.
The Gear 2 actually has a somewhat slower processor, but it adds a 2MP camera for pictures and video built right into the top bezel of the smartwatch. The Gear 2 adds a Sleep Tracker, a convenient IR Blaster for controlling your TV and a built-in standalone Music Player with playlists, and the ability to 'answer' the phone – you are actually answering your smartphone via the Gear 2, however, the speaker and microphone of the Gear 2 work quite well. It is easy to find on all the major U.S. carriers as well as U.S. Cellular. The Gear 2 is definitely a little more stylish than the Gear Live and can use a variety of background colors, wallpapers and clock designs. It also has a 'home' button on the lower bezel, allowing you to quickly jump to your main screen without all of the swipes.
…And the Winner is…
I thought that picking a smartwatch winner would be easier than a smartphone winner, but I was so wrong – these smartwatch comparisons are a bear! I had to go with the Samsung Gear 2 – it looks better, can take pictures or videos, and has several features – like IR Blaster, Sleep Tracker, Music Player and the ability to answer or make phone calls – the Gear Live just does not have. However, along with all of the pluses, we must also add in the extra $100 that the Gear 2 will cost you. I do not like to waste money, but when it comes to putting something on my wrist that others will 'judge' you by – and oh they will – an extra $100 is not all that much money to have the looks of the Gear 2 as well has the extra features…as long as you have a Samsung smartphone.
When the Android Wear OS and applications mature – and they will – the Gear Live could very well surpass the Gear 2. I am sure that as Android Wear smartwatches develop we will see more and more features added and the pricing going up and up! Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know which one of these smartwatches you like and why…as always, we would love to hear from you.