The Samsung Gear S2 might not boast as many apps as Apple, Android Wear or even Pebble, but it still remains our current smartwatch favourite.
At launch, there was more than 1,000 apps, and while we haven’t seen a huge increase in numbers in Samsung’s app store, the quality is at least getting better.
Samsung opened up its SDK (the kit developers need to make apps) early but that doesn’t mean all developers have made this device their priority. What’s more, some have told Wareable that the Gear S2 is incredibly hard to code for.
All Gear S2 apps are downloaded via the Samsung Gear app, once it has been paired to the smartwatch. As we wait patiently for the arrival of the Gear S3, we’ve been living with the current Samsung smartwatch reaping the benefits of the latest big software updates and trying out the best new apps to make it easier to find the ones you need in your life.
Let us know what apps and games you’re using and any recommendations you’ve found below in the comments or over in the Wareable Forum.
A staple for any wearable OS, the ever-present Nike+ Running app provides information on the user’s distance, pace, and length of a run. Information is displayed right on the face of the watch though it’s not the easiest to read when you’re looking down through a mist of sweat. Additional motivational help is provided within the app’s content.
Making those tricky conversations abroad a little easier, this Gear S2 app plucks out a selection of handy phrases covering all the important scenarios like talking to a taxi driver, going for dinner and working out your money. Best of all, it works offline, so you don’t need to be connected to communicate a bit better with the locals.
Calorie Burner S2
Perfect if you want to know how much it’s going to take to burn off that burger you had at lunch, this fitness app stores a collection of foods across 14 different families to let you know exactly how many calories you’ve consumed. Then you can start your workout and proceed to sweat it out of your system.
Get simple, easy to read, turn-by-turn directions for walking or driving with HERE Maps’ Navigator app. Samsung has partnered with the mapping service but we had to download the app onto our device. It’s free, accurate too and won’t have you walking in circles like Apple Maps on the Watch.
If you want to shoot pictures or record video on your phone via your Gear S2, this is the app to do it. Turning that crisp, vibrant circular display into a viewer, it works with both front and rear facing cameras, supports a flash mode and has a self timer mode to give you time to get into the shot.
There’s not a lot of Gear S2 games out there, but this Outrun-esque arcade racer is one of the best of the bunch. You can steer the car using the Gear S2’s rotating bezel and while longer sessions might sap the life out of the battery, it’s a whole lot of fun.
With this social networking app, you can get Twitter feeds sent directly to your watch face, below the date and time, so you’ll know exactly when your clever status update got a retweet. This could be an example of connectivity overload but get the right feed and it will keep you up to date on Twitter without becoming too distracting.
Playlists for Spotify Premium
Sadly, an official Spotify app doesn’t exist for the Samsung smartwatch. With this unofficial offering, it’ll let you launch Spotify (Premium only) from the Gear S2 and then sift through your playlists. It doesn’t work with individual tracks or albums, but it’s a decent alternative until Spotify decides to come up with something more feature-packed.
The breathing exercise app is all about helping you relax, reduce that anxiety and just generally feel a lot less stressed. It works by displaying animations that will guide you through the simple sessions letting you use the rotating bezel or the touch screen to set up the session duration.
Mr. Time Maker
This is a nice – and popular – watch face creator which lets you customise or ‘stylise’ existing faces with adding dial colours and widgets like dates. Plus you can also make your own and some enterprising Samsung smartwatch owners have copied their favourite traditional watch designs. Mr. Time recommends setting these to private to avoid copyright problems.
Uber has finally arrived on the Gear S2, after being listed as a launch app. We had to download a companion app to our Samsung phone as well as the Gear S2 app (and our own Android Uber app). But once you’re set up and logged in, it’s a slick, nicely designed app.
First is a ‘set pickup’ screen with a miniature map to move around or pinpoint your current location then you get a list of Uber options (UberX, Pool etc) to scroll through with the rotating bezel to order your car.
This handy Samsung app brings all your messages into one screen – texts, WhatsApps, Facebook Messenger etc. Again, it involves two downloads but there’s no more logging in after that. Chat Hub includes both preset replies like “What’s up?” and an onscreen keyboard if you really want to type out your response.
Flipboard for Gear S2 (essentially) is here and it’s a nice image-based stream of curated articles to scroll through with the S2’s rotating bezel. One minor point – the default font is too big to read whole headlines.
A decent start for the official Gear S2 eBay app – you can view your buying and selling activity, increase bids (by turning the bezel) and outbid someone on the watch itself. You can’t search items or place a new bid yet but perhaps that’s for the best, impulse buy wise.
We’re not really sure what to make of this QWERTY keyboard app for the Gear S2 but thought it best to mention. Some people love this sort of thing and as boldly stylish as the Gear S2 can be, this is still a geek’s watch at heart. One reasons you might actually download this $0.99 app is the access to hundreds of emojis in a few taps. Nice.
Snake Classic S2
Two types of games are emerging on smartwatches – imaginative text based adventures and well, simple mobile games. And it doesn’t get more basic than Snake, the Gear S2 version is actually the top free app on the Gear store. No further explanation needed.
Photo Watch Pro
The selection of watch faces for the Gear S2 is increasing – it has Snoopy now, take that Mickey Mouse Apple Watch. But most users want to personalise the look of their watch even more.
If Mr. Time Maker style customisation isn’t your bag, download Photo Watch to use your own still/animated images as background dials. Switch out photos by double tapping the watch app itself (which comes from Android Wear), not the smartphone app.
Want to play spy movie? Voxer aims to come close. If you’re rocking the Gear S2 3G, you can send audio messages from your smartwatch to someone else, like you would on a walkie-talkie, to instantly talk with your friend. Just tap on a contact and start speaking into your watch. Yep.
It appears as a message on your mate’s watch and they can then listen to it on the watch itself via the S2 3G’s speaker or on a connected Bluetooth headset.
This is a food and water tracker that’s already available on the Apple Watch and Android Wear. Samsung’s own S Health screens allow you to manually enter that you’ve drank a bottle of water or cup of coffee with one tap. But if you want to go one step further, Lifesum is worth a look with recipes, diaries and ‘lose weight’/’gain weight’ goals.
You know those cutesy characters that you can use as stickers in the Line messaging app? Well, now you can choose one to be your watch face on Gear S2 with this Line app – hold tight for the full blown messaging app on Tizen.
Yelp for Gear
What time is it? It’s breakfast time. Meet me at a quarter to coffee break. I get off work at happy hour. That’s how you will tell time with the Yelp app for Gear S2. While providing consumer-submitted reviews of various businesses inside the app, your watch face looks like a spinning wheel of things-to-do which makes good use of the watch’s circular screen and rotating bezel.
And if you own smart home devices or a connected car…
With the SmartThings app for Gear S2 you will be able to use your smartwatch to activate preset lighting so your house is ready for your return, as well as manage a host of smart home automations. It hasn’t arrived on Samsung’s store yet, but it will work with Samsung’s SmartThings kit.
Kevo by UniKey
Keys are so 20th century. Nowadays, all you need is a smartphone to get through your front door. Even more convenient, with apps like Kevo, you can unlock your front door with your wrist worn device. You can also send digital codes to friends and family when you aren’t home so they can let themselves in and won’t accidentally lose your house key.
The app works with the $220 Kwikset Kevo smart lock by Unikey so, you know, don’t download if you have a dumb door.
If you’ve got one of Volkswagen’s new connected cars and a Gear S2, you’ll be able to tell, right on your watch face, whether you’ve left the door unlocked. You can also start the air conditioner and pause charging on electric cars. Even better? Your smartwatch’s emissions are guaranteed to be legal.