Hands On With The Samsung Gear Live, Its $199 Smartwatch Shipping July 7

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Samsung has a new Android Wear device that it didn’t really make too much of a fuss about before: The Gear Live smartwatch. It unsurprisingly resembles its brethren the Gear, Gear 2 and Gear Neo, but it doesn’t use Tizen or Android (like the first gen Gear) and it doesn’t use the same interface Samsung has been pushing on its other wearable devices.

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It does however bring an optical heart rate sensor to the Android Wear camp, which is not something that the LG G Watch offers, and it also comes with a physical button, which is likewise something not offered by the LG G Watch. Google is clearly pulling the strings with regards to the launch date, as pre-orders kick off today but this doesn’t ship until July 7, but Samsung has a price advantage over LG out of the gate thanks to the groundwork laid by the Gear line.

The Gear has a screen that does appear to pale in comparison to the LG G Watch, however – literally, as in colors are more washed out. But It performs similarly to the G Watch in terms of touch response. On the wrist, it has a clasp with snap buttons that work not quite as naturally as the G Watch’s standard watch band, and the G Watch also features standard lugs that work with any 22mm watch bands, which the Gear Live does not.

Samsung’s effort essentially has the same merits and drawbacks as the rest of its smartwatches, and it likely required very little in the way of development time to get it up and running on the new OS. But whether it stands up to hardware designed specifically for Android Wear in long-term testing will require further examination.