I've had a Samsung Gear Fit, then a Gear Live before buying this watch. (I've had the watch for about 4 days#. Is it perfect? No, but what is? But it is a better experience to me than either of the previous watches.
I initially wanted a fitness tracker, but decided that as long as I'm putting something on my wrist, I wanted as much functionality as possible.
I initially got a Gear Fit, but the screen aspect was too extreme, and Android Wear just came out a few days later. I returned that watch and got the Gear Live as soon as it came out. It was a big watch - kind of bulky. It attracted attention, some good, some critical. It looked kind of geeky, but it did a lot of what I wanted. However, with each revision of Android Wear, it became less useful. It wouldn't notify me of a phone call until at least a full minute AFTER the first ring. It became less responsive to voice commands. I broke two #expensive# cradles over the time I had it #there's a little latch that breaks easily#. I kept getting too many notifications and had a hard time dialing it down to what I needed. I liked the watch, but was losing interest in it because of all the hassle. I liked the concept of a smart watch, but not that one.
Then comes the Gear S2. I had liked the Gear Fit, but was primarily worried about Tizen getting orphaned after Android Wear. With this new watch, it was apparent that Samsung is not backing down, but upping the ante. I got the watch. I also had a clearer understanding of what I wanted in a watch:
-Easy to use
- Wireless charging
-Announcement of phone calls #when my phone is under a coat and seat belt, it helps.
- Voice Dial
- Calendar notifications
- Specifically settable notifications from other applications #such as some of my email accounts, but not others#
- Heart Rate/Fitness Tracking.
- Weather report would be nice.
- Reminders would be nice.
- Not *needed*, but I like it - control my phone's audio playback while working out.
The Gear S2 hits all the points, although it's weakest on the reminders. I can do a voice memo and it can set alarms, which will cover the need, though I still want to see something like Google Keep - I like a reminder based on location #"Remind me when I get to work...."#.
I find the user interface MUCH more enjoyable than Android Wear. There's a bunch of watchfaces, but my favorite -- BY FAR -- is the "simple" watchface, but modified. You can bring up an black dial with bright orange lettering, along with a date. It's incredibly readable in almost any situation. I tried the other dials that gave me battery level, temperature, etc. Simple was best.
The voice command was initially a problem, and I think I have a part of it figured out: the second day out, my phone died when my battery went out. I charged it and immediately tried to voice-dial with my watch. It couldn't find any contacts, even though the contacts were in the watch if I did the dialing by hand. I tried factory resets, reinstalling the software, etc. I finally gave up, put it on the charger, and went to bed. The next morning I woke up, intending to take it back. On a whim, I tried the calling one last time. It worked perfectly. I believe what I've worked out is that when the phone came back up, it resynced the contact list #large#. It than had to rebuild the voice database, which took a little time. By just leaving it alone for awhile, it all came back up.
The only other time that I've found that S-voice #the voice interface# is a little cranky is when the phone is switching from WiFi to LTE -- this was the same behavior as Wear, so I don't ding it; it's probably that lag when communication is switching over.
S-Voice is good. Not quite as capable as Android Wear, but good. I've even had it give me a snarky comment if I said something out of whack, like answering "yes" when it wasn't looking for confirmation. It's not quite as fast as the voice interface for Android Wear, but it's not annoyingly slow. I expect to see it continue to improve, especially if this watch proves as popular as I think it will be.
The included apps were very good. I'm not someone that wants to play Candy Crush on my watch, so a lot of apps really isn't too huge an issue, so long as my bases are covered. The apps that came were by and large very good. I've used Here Maps, and it's pretty useful. I like the CNN app a lot; Bloomberg is less interesting to me. The weather is just fine, though I'd like it to pull up a radar picture, like InstaWeather. S-Health is very good, and does what I need it to.
The user interface is just beautiful. Especially with the rotating bezel, getting around on it is just fast and easy. It's also very configurable to put your most-used apps up front. The included apps have thoughtful touches, like a keyboard to dial the phone if you want; the ability to see text messages in a format similar to your phone. When paired with one of the best screens I've seen on a watch, it really is a pleasure to look at and use.
I got the dark gray case. I like the rubber wristband - my wrist constantly changes sizes, and the band is consistently comfortable through the day. The watch is a little smaller than, say, the Moto 360, but it looks LIKE. A. WATCH. I'm a realtor, so I'm aware of how I present, and it looks good. It's attractive and not geeky at all. It draws much less attention, and when it does, it's usually because the screen is on and most people admire it.
One other thing I like: the wrist gesture to bring it up. In my old Gear Live, if you moved your wrist and the watch woke up, it would be there until it timed out. #In both watches, I turn it off when driving more than a couple of blocks -- otherwise, it's constantly waking up# With the Gear S2, it will stay awake until it times out, or *until you drop it back down!* So if I quick-check the time then drop my wrist, it immediately goes off. Nice touch.
The battery life is comparatively excellent. My Gear Live was getting about 18 hours between charges unless I put it in theater mode. With fairly heavy use #it IS a new gadget, after all!#, I have more than 50% at bed. This brings me to the charger. I never thought a charger would actually be pleasant to use. This is light-years better than most of the other solutions out there. It's a wireless charging stand. It magnetically draws in the watch when you place it on the stand to gently hold it in place. Charging is quick. The watch face rotates so that you can read it as a clock #a nightstand mode#, but I've not yet found a way to keep it on, even in ambient mode, on the charger. It just blanks out. Again, it's not bad, because moving the watch or tapping a button brings up the display to check time. I haven't timed it yet, but it looks like a full charge from 50% is less than an hour.
Thoughtful UX - superior to Wear, in my opinion
Included apps are excellent
Many deft touches in the design
Does not look geeky
Not quite as quick as Wear for web searches
Limited apps for those that want them.
#I don't care about this so it's not a con for me, but some do# - no speaker, no way to use it as a phone #not until the 3G version, anyway#.