Samsung Galaxy S7 Smartphone, Gear S2 Smartwatch Work Well Together

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2016-04-09 Print this article Print
Galaxy S7 Review

Unlike some of the competition, the Galaxy S7 includes a tray for a micro-SD card, and provides a memory capacity of up to 2 TB. The method of housing the card is unique in that Samsung has developed a hybrid card tray that has spots for both the SD card and a nano-SIM, which is a very convenient arrangement.

The only significant problem that I found with the S7, other than its magical attraction for smudges, is with the fingerprint reader which failed to recognize my fingerprint on the first try nearly every time I tried it. As is the case with the iPhone and with some other phones, the fingerprint sensor is in the home button on the front of the phone, which is convenient and would be more so if it worked every time.

The Galaxy S7 supports Samsung's KNOX security and the Samsung Pay mobile payment app. Verizon sells the Galaxy S7 for $672 which is slightly more than the base price for the iPhone 6s.

The Gear S2 Smartwatch

Along with the Galaxy S7 and its wireless charger, Samsung also provided a Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch. This wearable device is somewhat different from some of its competition because while it works in conjunction with an Android phone such as the Galaxy S7, it also functions independently. When you set up the phone initially, part of the setup process includes making sure you register the S2 with the carrier, in this case, Verizon.

Once you've set it up, the S2 includes its own eSIM, and, as a result, has its own phone number that enables the watch to make and receive phone calls even if your phone isn't within range or turned on. When it's within range, it connects with the phone using what Samsung calls its Gear network.

Unlike some smartwatches, the Gear S2 is relatively small, attractive and its features are well thought out. For example, the watch screen will stay turned off until you move the watch to look at it, which illuminates it. The watch also has its own WiFi radios, and it can use WiFi along with your Samsung account to stay linked to your Samsung phone.

The Gear S2 is intuitive, although cramming everything into a screen that small does make some things hard to read. You can move between screens by swiping from side to side, and you can customize many of the screens.

Unfortunately, the battery life of the watch is fairly short, which means you will want to keep its wireless charger handy. I found the Gear S2 was only good for about a half day.

In addition, the S2 does not handle weak cellular signals well. So to get it set up I had to leave my office and look for a stronger signal. It's unlikely that the S2 will be a critical item for most users, but it's well designed and fun to use. Retail price for this device is $299.99 with a 2-year service contract.


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