Many of my colleagues have asked about my experience with the Samsung Gear Live ever since I got it from Google I/O. With all the hype last week around the iWatch (or just Watch, as Apple seems to prefer), I thought it’d be interesting to rate my watch in a few dimensions that matter to me the most: Wearability, usefulness as a watch, and its usefulness beyond a watch.
The Gear Live is definitely not designed for those with smaller wrist. It looks bulky on me and it feels heavy. I often find myself taking it off when I’m at my desk or in meetings. It also has a long way to go as a fashion statement.
Usefulness as a watch: 6
It does its job, mostly. My biggest gripe is its lack of option to always show the time. The display is turned off by default, and you can set it up to turn on either by pressing a button or with a flick of your wrist. I don’t want to take an extra action just to look at the time, but the latter always cause my watch to turn on unexpectedly which, coupled with its colorful background, is very distracting.
Usefulness beyond a watch: 8
When I first got the device, I was underwhelmed. It felt nothing more than a duplicate of notifications already on my phone, and it’s still largely true today. What did change, however, was my own behavior. I find myself increasingly relying on the watch as a “triage” device: What’s the news headline? Is it an IM for me or for the whole group? Is this call worth me searching my purse for the phone (btw, that’s a tough thing to do as many women can attest)? After 2 months of usage, there’s no question in my mind that a smart watch is not merely a smaller replica of a smart phone. It’s much closer to you, in a way that your phone never was and never will. The current lack of apps severely inhibits its usefulness, but I’m giving this an eight based on my belief of its potential.
I was not a believer in wearable tech but surprisingly, I’m slowly warming up to the idea. It’s not about a watch, a pair of glasses, or any specific form factors. It’s about distributing components and functionalities that were previously constrained to one single device to enable the best end to end experience. If anyone can elevate hardware experience to that level – Apple can. I look forward to seeing what they can achieve in the coming years.
Also published on LinkedIn
Thank you Giovanni Iachello for inspiring me to write this post