While most of the attention for smartwatches is focused on Motorola’s upcoming Moto 360 and Apple’s rumored wearable, Samsung and LG aren’t getting out of the way. Both South Korean companies have unveiled two new wearables, the Samsung Gear S and LG G Watch R, respectively.
For Samsung the new smartwatch marks the company’s sixth wearable announced within the last year, a trend that started last year with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch introduced alongside the Galaxy Note 3. The new Gear S however, is arguably the company’s most fashionable device yet, featuring a large, curved 2-inch Super AMOLED display.
The watch, which runs the company’s Tizen operating system and not Google’s Android Wear, also features a heart rate sensor to work with Samsung’s S Health app and will provide turn-by-turn directions through Nokia’s Here maps service. Similar to Samsung’s earlier wearables, the Gear S uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone, but the device also features Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity to allow you to respond to messages or forward calls to your wrist for the times when your phone is not with you. The company claims the device, which is water and dust resistant, will get about two days of battery life.
Samsung says the new smartwatch will be available globally in October, though exact pricing and release dates weren’t announced.
For LG, the G Watch R is the company’s second smartwatch, following up on this summer’s launch of the original G Watch. While the company, along with Samsung, was among the first to release an Android Wear device, the G Watch’s blocky design was rather uninspiring when compared with other Android Wear devices, such as the Moto 360. To fix this the company has decided to release the G Watch R, its second Android Wear watch this time featuring an all-new round design focused on a 1.3-inch OLED display. The new display allows the G Watch R to look more like a traditional watch, with LG claiming the display will be viewable in sunlight, a problem that has plagued earlier smartwatches, including the original G Watch.
The G Watch R also adds a heart-rate monitor and power button, two things the G Watch lacked, but otherwise offers many of the same features of the original, including being waterproof in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. LG hasn’t released pricing or release dates for the G Watch R, but says the device will be available “early in the fourth quarter of 2014.”
by Eli Blumenthal