With developments from tech giants Apple and Samsung being shared throughout the interwebs, the term smartwatch has become increasingly popular over the last year. That being said, smartwatches have been around for a while.
The Pebble watch and Sony's SmartWatch were out before Samsung's Gear line and the recently revealed Apple Watch, each with customer reviews ranging from absolute love to complete disgust. It still remains to be said whether or not there's a need in the consumer marketplace for these latest wrist-computers.
I recently gave in and bought myself a Gear Neo, one of the latest sleek wearables from Samsung. Like the Gear 2, the Neo runs an operating system similar to Android, called Tizen. Packed with an IR blaster, 1.66 inch AMOLED touch screen, 3 days battery life, a 1m submersible rating and many other features, this smartwatch has surprised me with functionality as well as looks.
I chose the Neo simply because I didn't think I'd ever use the camera on the Gear 2, considering my Note 3 and its camera are usually just a reach in the pocket away. Carrying two picture-taking devices on my person seemed a bit excessive. After all, I'm not a secret agent. Sadly.
One interesting feature the Neo contains is the Sleep Tracker app. Since the watch has an on-board accelerator, its entirely possible to track any movement the host happens to make. The Sleep Tracker app runs during sleep and logs movement data, then extrapolates sound-sleeping vs. restless sleeping.
I was surprised to find many of my perceived sound sleeps were actually very restless, giving reason to my lack of energy the next day. The app also provides a history of sleeping on a little bar graph.
Using the app is very easy. In fact, all it takes is one button press. When you're ready to sleep after that 5 hour long Netflix binge, just start the app from the home screen of the Neo (or Gear 2, they both work) and click the "Start" button. The watch will begin tracking your sleep, as well as blocking notifications. It took me a little while to get used to the watch on my wrist during sleep, but its comfortable enough to easily ignore.
Would you buy a smartwatch? The ever-increasing need for data accessibility and speed is infectious; can you hold out much longer? The other day I bought a Starbucks drink using my Neo, immediately followed by "Oohs" and "Aahs" from customers in line behind me.
Social-tech-status aside, I ended up asking myself whether my $200 might not have been worth the three seconds I saved by paying with my watch. What do you think? Leave a comment for us below!