Ring ring! Ring ring!
Your cell phone rings. You know you?should?answer it, but it’s?all?the way in your pocket, and the thought of reaching down, pulling it out, tapping a button, reaching up to your ear,?and?talking just sounds plain exhausting. But never fear! Samsung comes to the rescue.
Introducing the Gear 2, Samsung’s revamped smartwatch. Join us as we tear down the future of wearable tech and attempt to answer the question: can a device be smart, wearable, and repairable?
Only time will tell…
One of this gadget’s most innovative features is that, at any moment, you can look at your wrist and know the exact time. Phenomenal.
Other tech specs include:
- 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display (320×320 pixels)
- 4 GB internal memory
- 2.0 MP camera with 720p video at 30 fps
- 300 mAh battery (2-3 day battery life)
- Bluetooth 4.0 LE
For fun, we removed the band and weighed this little timepiece: 41 grams (less than 33% the weight of a Rolex Daytona — in the tech world, we’re pretty sure that makes it three times better).
Once upon a time, smartwatches were only for superspies and TV heroes. Despite all the tech underneath, the Gear 2’s only visible gadget is its 2-megapixel camera, nicely nested into the brushed metal surface. Samsung’s 1st-gen Galaxy Gear housed its camera in the wristband — a less-than-ideal setup that made for a less-than-replaceable band. This new location is a good sign.
The main issue we see with this design is that having a camera constantly facing away from your body makes selfies nearly impossible. Is this a fatal flaw of the Gear 2? It’s a bold strategy, Samsung; we’ll see if it pays off for ’em.
Our Gear 2 may not be spy-issue, as it still exhibits identifiable markings: Model No. SM-R380.
The backside bears a row of contacts for the cradle charger, as well as a teeny tiny sensor. More on that later in the show.
Before we even begin searching for a way into this quintessential smartwatch, a quartet of quaint Torx screws catches our quizzical eye. Screws are good news. Glue makes us blue. Could this device be a repair enthusiast’s Xanadu?
Ejecting removable wristband in 3?2?1?
Free at last! A replaceable wrist strap is a right, not a privilege. We’re glad to have the opportunity to change a band up a bit.
A band is likely to break up — er, show some wear and tear over time. It is nice to know that no matter how much time has passed, this Gear can always get back together.
Here it is — the moment of truth is upon us. Will this device truly be smart, wearable, and repairable?
“No cables, no problems,” that’s what we say. The halves communicate solely via spring contacts. Never before has a device been so repairable that it comes pre-loaded with markup.
The battery springs willingly from its seat, with help from an instructional pull tab. The Gear 2 is slowly winning us over with this repairability business. Samsung, you may continue wooing us.
Let’s take a closer look at some components.
Go, go, gadget speaker! Out goes the music/speakerphone speaker, simply secured with light foam tape.
Gaskets around the screws: check. This modest arrangement is enough to garner the Gear 2 its IP 67 certification, making it safe for immersion in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. (Underwater teardowns are not yet an approved part of the iFixit repairability scoring process. Stay tuned.)
This little spy cam comes out with ease.
Congrats! It’s a 2.0 megapixel camera, capable of catching stills and 720p video at 30 frames per second. We don’t know much else, except that “RINATO” means reborn in Italian. All this, and it still tells time!
The LCD and digitizer connect to the motherboard via a single cable, which also serves to hold the board in, like a cute little seatbelt.
Small package, lotta power:
- Samsung KMF5X0005M (likely DRAM package with 1 GHz dual-core CPU layered beneath) (red)
- Motorola MPS14X 60X5V3 1410WeC (orange)
- Maxim Integrated MAX77836 (likely micro-USB interface controller and Li+ battery charger) (yellow)
- STMicroelectronics 32F401B 32 bit ARM Cortex MCU (green)
Samsung Gear 2 Repairability Score: 8 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).