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Oprah’s Favorite Things: Galaxy Gear

There has been a lot of buzz about Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear watch for their Galaxy Note 3 smartphone, see Oprah’s Favorite Things 2013 list for one, but specifics for the gadget are hard to come by. We did some digging to see exactly what the Galaxy Gear has to offer.

Designed to be paired with a Galaxy Note 3 smartphone, the primary objective of the Galaxy Gear is to give users at a glance notifications so you’re reaching for your phone less. When the Galaxy Note 3 receives a phone call, text, email or social media alert the connected Galaxy Gear displays a notification of said alert. If desired, calls can even been answered on the Galaxy Gear using an integrated speaker on the watch.

Galaxy Gear does have some cool features like customizable displays, built in camera on the wristband, automatic syncing with the Galaxy Note 3 and over a dozen pre-installed apps. One such app is an integrated pedometer. While the pedometer is a nice addition, it’s the only fitness-related app currently available for the Galaxy Gear. With so many workout trackers available on the market, the inclusion of a pedometer hardly makes Galaxy Gear a competitor to pieces like Fitbit or Jawbone. Of course, fitness tracking isn’t the main focus of the Galaxy Gear. Unfortunately, the Galaxy Gear falls short in the areas in which it is meant to excel.

The Galaxy Gear found its way onto Oprah’s Favorite Things 2013 because it’s “a polite way to check calls, texts, and e-mails when you’re in a meeting.” Which is true, the Galaxy Gear does discreetly notify you of incoming messages and alerts. However, there is no way to see at a glance the contents of e-mail and social-media alerts and text message content displays are limited. That means you still have to reach for your smartphone constantly if you want to actually see the content. This essentially turns the Galaxy Gear into nothing more than a cool looking watch that has a few neat functions.

There is a lot of potential for the Galaxy Gear. But with a price tag of $300 plus the $700 for the Galaxy Note 3, you’re better off sticking with your current cell phone and watch and getting a top of the line workout tracker for a fraction of the price.

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