Samsung Gear Live: Battery Life
Keeping the Samsung Gear Live going is a 300 mAh battery that will give you a day of use before you are reaching for that proprietary charger. That’s a smaller capacity battery found inside the LG G Watch, which manages a day and a half, but you will have to charge them both every night anyway
That’s 5-6 days less than the Pebble and 3-4 days less than the Gear Neo 2 and the Gear 2. It’s something that’s going to have to improve massively for people to take Android Wear smartwatches seriously.
The main problem here will inevitably be the power-sapping Super AMOLED display. Considering this is the same screen found on the Tizen-based Gear watches with almost identical specs, aside from the 1.0GHZ Exynos 3250 dual-core CPU, the constant stream of notifications is likely having a big impact on battery life.
Using the Gear Live from 8am on full charge, with full brightness and notifications turned on, it was down to 63% by 4.30pm and just about made it through to midnight. We tried the same with the brightness turned down a couple of settings and battery performance didn’t change. Disconnecting it from the smartphone can push it further, although that means you are stuck with a not-smartwatch that defeats the purpose of owning one.
If you need to give it a quick charge, plugging it into the mains for 30 minutes added 25% of battery and it takes two hours to get back up to full charge. It’s a relatively quick charger, but it needs to be much faster if battery life is going to only last a day.
Should I buy the Samsung Gear Live?
If you insist on being an early Android Wear adopter, the Samsung Gear Live is the one to go for right now, but only by a very small margin.
The Gear Live and its Samsung Gear 2-inspired design means it’s more elegant than the LG G Watch and has the more impressive screen. Elsewhere, specs are almost identical, with the unrealiable heart rate monitor the only other notable difference.
Battery life remains is a big problem here and is enough of a reason to hold tight and wait for an Android Wear smartwatch that doesn’t require charging up the same amount of time as your smartphone.
Android Wear shows real promise but there’s plenty of things to address before it’s the real deal. Our advice is to wait for the second generation of Android Wear smartwatches where the likes of LG and Samsung will hopefully learn from their mistakes and give Google’s operating system a home it deserves.
The Samsung Gear Live is the best of the current Android Wear smartwatches, but we would still hold out for something with better battery life and a slimmer, more attractive design.
Next, read our Android Wear tips, tricks and secrets guide, or read everything we know about the Apple iWatch