Samsung Unveils Galaxy Gear Smartwatch, Galaxy Note Smartphone & A New Tablet

September 4, 2013  |  

Immediately before the big IFA Berlin tech conference, Samsung decided take the spotlight for its very own and unveil its new Galaxy Gear Smartwatch and the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone.

First, the watch. The Icona Pop singers were seen wearing them in NYC today and they love it! (JK) Basically, it looks like a watch but acts like an accessory for your smartphone, equipped with a camera, two microphones, and a speaker. But, it requires Bluetooth to work with a Galaxy device. There are lots of color choices for the wristband and it comes with the option of about 70 different apps including Evernote, eBay, and Runkeeper. The Verge gives it the once over in a video here.

The site criticizes the device’s speaker, which it says is far too quiet to be 100 percent useful. But more than that, “I find it hard to justify spending the $299 asking price on an accessory like the Galaxy Gear,” writer Vlad Savov says. “It’s too dependent on its parent device for functionality — which will cost you a fair amount too — and, like all other smartwatches, fails to truly live up to the ‘smart’ part of its name.” Yikes. Might want to hold off on that then. (Sidebar: USA Today‘s Ed Baig is tweeting that Samsung hasn’t decided on pricing yet, so more to come on that.)

The company also introduced the Galaxy Note 3. The display is 5.7 inches but, Mashable reports, it isn’t wider than the Galaxy Note II. Besides adding colors and undergoing a redesign, there are changes to the stylus pen. Mashable says:

The Note’s signature feature, the S Pen stylus, gets an upgrade as well. When the user hovers the S Pen over the screen, a circle appears: Tapping on the screen and clicking the pen’s button will reveal a semi-circular menu Samsung calls Air Command. The menu has several functions, including Scrapbook, which lets users save any content onscreen by marking it with a circle via the S Pen. S Finder lets users search for content on their device, taking written symbols into account.

There are also upgrades to the note taking app, a Multi Vision app that can combine displays from multiple users, and multiple windows that allow the user to run two different apps at the same time.

The Note 3 will be available in 149 countries starting September 25. There’s also a Galaxy Note 10.1 “2014 edition” tablet that will be released that day. The Verge has a quick overview of that device, which sounds a lot like a couple of other existing gadgets with a couple of upgrades.

It sounds like, if you own the previous iterations of the smartphone and tablet and there are design elements that really bother you, you’ll be wanting the newer version. But if you can wait a little bit, it never hurts to see what else might be coming down the pipeline.

What do you think?

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