Samsung will begin selling its new smartwatch Friday in the U.S., starting at $300.
The South Korean company announced the Gear S2 in August, but gave no details on prices then.
The S2 has a circular frame that can be rotated to scroll through notifications and apps. Past models required swiping, similar to phones, which could tire out fingers given how little fits on each screen. The watch itself is also smaller – roughly the size of the larger version of Apple Watch. For the first time, Samsung’s smartwatch will work with any Android phone, not just Samsung’s, though all features might not work.
What’s not known yet is how good the apps will be. This has been one of the weak points for Samsung’s smartwatch, given that many app developers have focused instead on the Apple Watch and the variety of models running Google’s Android Wear. The S2 runs the little-known Tizen system. Samsung has said it expects about 1,000 apps at launch, but rival watches have many times that.
The S2 is the first Samsung smartwatch with a circular design, and the company says the watch’s frame will rotate to help users access apps and notifications. It’s not a new shape for smartwatches – Motorola and LG make circular frames, too.
The S2 will come in two styles – classic and modern – with various colours and bands.
READ MORE: Samsung unveils circular Gear S2 smartwatch
What phone will I need?
Apple Watch requires an iPhone, and the S2 will likely require an Android device from Samsung. Some models will have 3G cellular capabilities that let them do more without the phone nearby. The 3G models will likely cost more and won’t include a service plan, which is typically $5 to $10 a month in the U.S. when added to a phone plan.
The S2 promises two to three days of battery life, compared with Apple Watch’s 18 hours.