Matthew Miller, ZDNet’s Mobile Gadgeteer, seems to think so.
If you dont remember this guy, he’s the same one who forewent an Apple Watch for a Garmin vivoactive several months ago. Apparently, he ended up getting an Apple Watch later, and now he’s moved on to Samsung’s seventh wearable, its best so far.
But Miller’s insistence that it’s the best smartwatch on the market is decidedly one-dimensional. Sure, he mentions the device’s unique bezel navigation and attractive roundness (both of which I also like), but the guy’s basing almost his entire premise on the 3G part of the equation — that the user can be untethered from their smartphones for GPS and communications functions. And that’s fine, but his reasoning is peculiar, predicated on the fact that he’s an avid, aging runner who takes whatever alternative, dark route appeals to him in the moment, happy to have a mobile SOS with him at all times. And that does make sense. The weird part, at least to me, is that in his 2500-word review, he neglects to mention the S2 3G’s heart rate monitor accuracy a single time.
In my experience, even as an occasional exerciser, that’s a huge issue. I’ve been wearing Polar straps and watches since 2008, and my Apple Watch makes them utterly obsolete. The wearable’s triumphant mechanism is so accurate for my (and most) level(s) of training that it practically mirrors Polar’s impedence-based, industry-standard offerings. Miller’s omission of analysis in this regard seems intentional — a reticence to mention the one glaring way that the Samsung smartwatch almost certainly fails to live up to the Apple Watch standard.
Additionally (and I recognize that, by now, this is beating the already mashed corpse of a very dead horse), that Apple Watch heart rate monitor is the intended future of wearables from Cupertino’s perspective. Deep health monitoring is the key to mass adoption. Communication, on the other hand, falls under the category of mere “added value.”
If Samsung’s core approach to smartwatches is one of smartphone replacement for communications, the company’s wearables will diverge from Apple’s vision so dramatically in the next few generations that the smartwatch category itself may splinter into two significantly different groups.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.