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Samsung officially announces the Gear S2 smartwatch

Samsung officially announces the Gear S2 smartwatch

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After briefly teasing it on stage earlier this month, today Samsung has released more details about its coming Gear S2 smartwatch. Unfortunately, the company is still withholding crucial information like pricing and release date — but those probably aren't too far off. We're not even yet positive which phones it works with; if history is any indication, it'll be limited to Samsung's more recent devices. In today's press release, Samsung has revealed that its latest Tizen-powered watch will come in two models: the regular Gear S2 and a Gear S2 classic, which is aimed at consumers who "prefer more timeless watch design."

Read next: The Samsung Gear S2 review.

Gear S2 Classic features a black finish with a matching leather band, so it's being positioned to take on high-end Android Wear options like the LG Watch Urbane (and of course the Apple Watch). The regular model will be available in a dark gray case with gray band or in silver with a white band. Like Apple, Samsung says the packaged options can easily be swapped for different styles.

The Gear S2's 1.2-inch circular display has a resolution of 360 x 360 and is surrounded by a rotating bezel. That's one way you'll control it, and there are also home and back buttons meant to make dealing with notifications on your wrist less annoying. NFC is built in, with Samsung claiming it'll eventually be able to make mobile payments — presumably through Samsung Pay, but there's no confirmation of that just yet. Samsung is promising battery life ranging between two and three days.

There's one big downside: the Gear S2 won't have access to Android Wear's growing collection of third-party apps. But at a bare minimum, Samsung says it'll keep you in tune with all of your texts, calendars, emails, breaking news, and fitness goals. (A 3G-compatible model will allow for voice calls, as well.) A 24-hour activity log will keep track of your fitness progression, with the watch serving up reminders to get you moving towards those targets. Beyond the built-in apps, Samsung will only say that it's working with developers to expand the ecosystem of what's available on Tizen; obviously it's a long way behind Android Wear and the Apple Watch in terms of selection.

The Gear S2, pictured here in gray.

Despite the Tizen handicap, what we've seen of the Gear S2 so far looks pretty slick, especially the watch faces and general user interface. If nothing else, it looks like a significant improvement over Samsung's previous Tizen wearables. This seems to be a Samsung that's turned a corner in terms of design, although the app icons definitely borrow very heavily from Apple. Elsewhere Samsung is doing more unique things. Still, we'll need to reserve more thorough judgement until we've used the Gear S2 firsthand (and know how much Samsung plans to charge for the thing). Several major carriers including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile US have already announced plans to sell the Gear S2.