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IFA 2013: Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch announced: The ultimate smartphone accessory?

At last night’s Samsung Unpacked 2013 Episode 2 event in Berlin, Samsung showed off the long-rumoured Galaxy Gear smartwatch. The wrist-based technology will allow users to have a hands-free controller system for their smartphones which syncs with a Galaxy smartphone, offering apps and other link-ups with your Android gadget.

The device is a smartwatch with a 1.63-inch 320 x 320 AMOLED display that allows for hands-free calls, text messages, and emails without taking your connected smartphone from your pocket. The Galaxy Gear also comes in six different colours of bands, allowing the user to customise to suit occasions and tastes.

Inside the Galaxy Gear is a 800MHz processor which runs the device and the smartwatch also comes with a 1.9 megapixel camera built in on the side of the watch band which means that users can capture an image from their wrist. This can be done using a simple downward swipe motion on the screen to capture an image or video with the Memographer feature. The Gear also has a voice capture feature that will allow you to capture voice memos into the device too, as well as S Voice compatibility which allows you to speak to the watch in order to control your connected smartphone.

The main feature of the Galaxy Gear is to sync and manage your calls and messages without accessing your mobile phone. If you receive a call whilst the Gear is connected then you can hold your hand up to your ear like you’re holding an invisible phone and speak on the phone via the watch. Additionally, with the Voice command features you can send text messages, check the weather, and set calendar appointments using the Gear.

The Galaxy Gear will also have its own range of apps that will be released with the device, with 12 featured apps being released on day one including Evernote, eBay, MyFitnessPal and Atooma. Samsung is already working with other developers to get a load of new apps incoming as well. A most notable lack of feature is any Twitter, Gmail or Facebook applications for the device – unlike the Sony SmartWatch 2, there’s no focus on social networking.

Additionally there are some in built security features for the Galaxy Gear and its connected Samsung Galaxy handset, as if you (and your smartwatch) travel further than 1.5 metres away from the connected smartphone your phone will auto lock the screen so that nobody else can use the phone. If you misplace your smartphone you can use your Gear to find the device again as it’s possible to make your smartphone light up and make noise using the watch – handy if you have lost it down the sofa (again!)

Wearable tech is certainly the trend this year for big companies so Samsung has got off the mark quickly with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, but whether the device will take off is still to be seen. The Samsung Galaxy Gear is released on September 25th alongside the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and will be available in black, grey, orange, beige, gold, and green colour variants. The US price is $299 which equates to around £190 in the UK, which compares to the ~£160 price tag of the Sony SmartWatch 2.

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