Disclosure: We received the Samsung Gear Live Smartwatch for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are our own as always.
For many months he had been eyeing a smartwatch, for both the productivity and health monitoring benefits. So when Samsung recently sent me the Gear Live Smartwatch for Android, I knew he would not only use it like crazy, but would also do a fantastic review. He’s an uber tech guy who makes video games for a living. He totes around a myriad of devices that he uses in game development and for personal use, and balances his professional and personal life using said devices.
With the stress of the holidays in full swing, this was the perfect time to try out the Gear Live. I definitely believe we have to use technology to our advantage when balancing our time and health.
Earlier this year we actually both purchased our first ever basic fitness trackers, and although I did find it helpful, after a few months I got out of the habit of wearing it. But John stuck with it and has really loved being able to track his steps and diet. But the tracker he had didn’t do enough for him, which led to his desire for a smartwatch. Now seeing him use it, I have to say I’m a little jealous.
Samsung Gear Live Basics
Gear Live is a wearable smartwatch using Android Wear, which is compatible with any smartphone with Android 4.3, Jelly Bean or higher. The device includes Samsung’s latest Super AMOLED screen in a 1.63″ display, a 300mHhz battery, 512MB RAM and 4GB internal memory. It is Bluetooth enabled so app notifications and personal information come with you. Gear Live includes notifications for email and Android apps; Google Voice; Google Now; Google Maps and Navigation, and built-in heart rate monitor and pedometer. It is water and dust-resistant.
Our Gear Live Experience
After using his new Gear Live for just a couple of days, I could already see how much he was enjoying it. After an initial difficulty getting it set up with the Moto X (Note: He discovered his smartphone needed to be be set up over 4G service and not Wi-Fi), it became a breeze to use once connected, and such a handy device for managing time, especially at the office.
John shares his favorite features of the Gear Live.
- Notifications. Phone notifications popping up right on my wrist is where it’s at. I love that I don’t need to flip over to my email on my PC at work or pull up my phone to see what notifications I have. It allows me to stay focused on what I’m working on so I don’t spend time flipping back to look at unimportant emails, texts or IMs that come through.
- “OK Google.” Using Google Now I can simply talk into the watch to send texts, pull up my calendar, etc. It’s great, for example, to send a text when I’m walking out of the door with hands full or to tell my phone to start navigating home when I leave work .
- Connects to Android Wear/Customization. Since I don’t have a Samsung smartphone, it’s very helpful to find a smartwatch that uses Android Wear. I can download any app made for Android Wear, which has allowed me to change the watch face, which I love, and make the watch even more useful to me with the addition of new apps.
- Google Fit. It’s great being able to track of my heart rate and steps every day all in one device. Google Fit also sets goals for me and the watch tells me throughout the day how I’m doing, which gives me that extra push I need.
- Comfort. The watch is comfortable to wear.
- Auto Turn On. When I’m wearing it, it appears “off” but if I pull it up to look at it, it automatically turns on.
- Interface. The swipe interface to dismiss or get more details on notifications is very handy. I can also easily mute the watch when needed.
- Battery Life. The battery only lasts about 2 days, and for a watch, I’d certainly prefer longer.
- Size: It is a bit big, which makes it feel like those old super-nerd calculator watches. However, it is nice to have the screen space for all of the notifications and info.
- Clasp: The clasp is hard to connect at times, and I have had moments where it slipped when I thought it was attached.
- Charger: The clip that holds the charger onto the watch broke after a week’s use, and we’re getting a replacement.
All said, the Gear Live a great smartwatch, particularly for those who do not own Samsung brand smartphones. Samsung’s other wearables only connect with Samsung devices, which is obviously an issue for other Android phone users. For us, the Gear Live Smartwatch for Android was the perfect choice. We give it a “Thumbs Up!”
If you do own a Samsung smartphone, check out their entire lineup of wearables, which includes the Gear S, Gear 2 and the smaller-sized Gear Fit.
Do you have a Smartwatch on your holiday gift list?