Samsung unveils new round-faced smartwatch to challenge Apple Watch

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    South Korean tech giant Samsung has unveiled its first round-faced smartwatch, the Gear S2, ahead of the IFA trade show as well as the highly anticipated iPhone 6s event next week.

    Taking on the much-hyped Apple Watch in the fast-growing tech wearable segment, the device will come in 2 models – the Gear S2 and the Gear S2 classic. The Gear S2 classic is targeted at consumers that prefer a more ‘timeless’ watch design, offering a black finish with a matching leather band while the Gear S2 comes in a more sporty and modern design.

    Samsung Gear S2
    L-R: Samsung Gear S2 and S2 Classic

    The design of the round-faced smartwatch was first ‘leaked’ last week when Samsung’s head of design for America, Dennis Miloseski, posted an image of himself taking the Gear S2 out for a ‘test drive’ on to Instagram.

    Compared to previous smartwatches from the company, Samsung Gear S2 is less bulky at 11.4mm thick and fitted with a beautiful 30mm circular screen capable of a 360 x 360 resolution (302 ppi) output. Powered by a 1-GHz dual core processor, the Gear S2 runs on the company’s very own Tizen operating system instead of Android Wear. That means that it will only speak to Samsung devices and you will be missing out on a host of third-party apps available on the Google Play store which is not cool.

    As one of the few smartwatches in the market that can operate on its own without the need for a phone, the Gear 2 comes with a 3G connectivity option that allows you to check notifications, calendars, e-mails, news and send text messages from your wrist. The new Gear S2 is also expected to be able to make mobile payment, remotely control home appliances and function as a fitness tracker.

    “For the past several years, Samsung has pioneered and advanced the wearables category, bringing brave new concepts to the smart wearables market,” said JK Shin, CEO and Head of Samsung’s IT & Mobile Business.

    “The Samsung Gear S2 reflects Samsung’s most progressive innovation. It is the perfect complement for any occasion, easily taking you from day to night, from work to workout—and ensuring that you get more out of every moment in your day, by making it smarter and ultimately more personal and fun.”

    As for battery life, Samsung claims that the Gear 2 can last up to 3 days after fully charging it on the wireless charging dock that comes with the watch. The Samsung Gear S2 will be available in a Dark Gray case with a Dark Gray band and Silver case with a White band. The Samsung Gear S2 classic will be available in a Black case with a leather band.

    From the initial images, the Samsung Gear 2 certainly looks more promising than its curved-screen predecessors. Prices for the new smartwatch will be officially released later this month during the IFA trade fair in Berlin.