The Samsung Gear Neo 2 is the plastic smartwatch alternative to the Samsung Gear 2. At £169, it's £80 and while it doesn’t have a camera or a metal watch face, it’s virtually identical in every other way.
After the original Samsung Galaxy Gear massively underwhelmed, Samsung's second stab at a smartwatch is a big improvement, but we are not convinced this is the ultimate smartphone companion you need to own.
The only thing separating the Gear 2 Neo from the Gear 2 is the plastic. One of the cost-cutting measures has been to swap metal for plastic and in all honesty it’s not such a bad thing. The Gear 2 definitely has the more luxurious look, while the Neo 2 is more in the Casio digital watch realms, but it still looks and feels good.
It uses the same plastic strap as the Gear 2 and the Gear Fit, albeit with a slightly different patterned design. There's the same grooved interior and a secure metal clasp that uses a hinge mechanism to pull the strap towards the hole fasteners. The straps are removable via a pin underneath, which means you can swap them with the Mocha Grey and Wild Orange straps. You will have to pay extra for those, though.
It weighs just 55g and doesn’t feel like a heavy watch to wear during the day or to sleep with. Like the Gear 2, it’s water and dust proof to IP67 standardl, which means you can take it in the shower or submerge it in fresh water up to 1 metre for 30 minutes. This is good enough for a bath or shower, but no good for swimming.
Up front, the square watch face has a thin grey touch sensitive bezel with a single plastic button below the screen and the microphone at the top of the screen. Underneath you’ll find the heart rate sensor and the charging pins, which means it does require its own dedicated charging dock. Groan…
Watch lovers might not purr over the aesthetics of the Gear Neo 2, but as a predominantly plastic smartwatch, it’s one of the best looking ones available.
The Gear Neo 2 has a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen display with a 320 x 320 resolution that matches the Gear 2, making it not too dramatically different from the original Gear. It’s a beautifully bright display delivering sharp text and icons, making it nice and easy to glance at. Opting against a curved display means it doesn’t suffer from some the glare that the Gear Fit experiences when out in bright sunlight.
It’s not all great though. When it comes to viewing images, it struggles to recreate the clarity and sharpness when viewed on a larger screen. You probably won’t be watching much video on here, but it’s clear this screen is well suited to Samsung’s UI but is an entirely different story when you start exploring other apps.
There’s more reason to be positive about screen responsiveness. There’s little issue registering swipes or launching apps and it holds up well even when you are out running or in the gym where it can be fiddly to quickly check information.
The display is not perfect but is definitely one of the Gear Neo 2’s highlights. It’s elsewhere where the problems lie.