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The Gear also lets you make and take phone calls right from the wrist, Dick Tracy-style, using a built-in speaker and microphone. But it was useless in a noisy environment like a street fair. Out came the phone. Even in quieter environments, there's a noticeable lag using the speakerphone, making conversations tense as we start talking over each other.
As I pushed my way through the crowds, the watch constantly alerted me to new Gmail messages and Facebook updates. But I had to go to the phone to read them. I'm not expecting lengthy email messages on the watch, but I could have at least used the sender's name and the first line or two to gauge a message's importance. The Gear tries to speed things along by opening the relevant app on the phone automatically with a few taps of the watch, but I could have easily opened that app with a few taps on the phone.
A day earlier, the camera on the watch's wristband captured my cousin's 1-year-old daughter trying to balance herself. I would have lost that moment had I waited to pull out the phone. But the share button on the watch was disabled, as apps to send them by email, text or Facebook have yet to be written. Instead, I had to transfer the photo to the phone first. Image quality also was poor, with the camera at less than 2 megapixels.
The baby's cousins had a lot of fun with a voice memo feature. Using the watch, they left me memos calling me "cookoo" and ordering me to change diapers. The messages are automatically transferred to the phone and transcribed. I was ready to like the Gear for this feature, until I saw how poor the transcriptions were."You forgot to pack my lunch. I'm really hungry at school" became "A Dr. Pepper my hands are you hungry school."
Of the more than a dozen apps I tried, the only one that worked reliably was one that keeps track of wine bottles. Simply snap the label using the watch's camera, and the Vivino app gives you information on food pairings, average prices and user ratings. I can see it being useful in a wine store, where snapping a wine label with a phone might draw attention.
I also liked the feature for finding my phone. I used it to find the missing phone -- in my backpack. (continued...)
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Posted: 2013-10-06 @ 2:20pm PT
I think this is the best thing to I have seen since my first root beer float !!! When can I get one ????