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Is the Galaxy Gear as 'smart' as TV spots suggest?

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Samsung GALAXY Gear smart watch, shown in Mocha Gray Samsung GALAXY Gear smart watch, shown in Mocha Gray
Samsung GALAXY Note 3, shown in Classic Write with S-Pen Samsung GALAXY Note 3, shown in Classic Write with S-Pen

You've probably seen the TV commercial suggesting that an icon from bygone sci-fi classics has become a reality. Samsung has introduced the Galaxy Gear, but is it the end-all, be-all smart watch? Not really.

Let's be honest. Sony has offered something similar for years, and so have other manufacturers. The Galaxy Gear is more evolutionary than revolutionary -- a better version of what's already out there. Regardless of the hype, the smart watch is not quite there yet.

For one thing, the Gear requires your having another Samsung device, currently a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 smart phone or a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition tablet.

If you own the Note 3, the wrist-worn device notifies you of incoming messages, such as calls, texts, emails and alerts, delivers a preview of those messages, and allows you to accept or discreetly ignore those messages.

When an incoming message requires more than a quick glance, you can simply pick up your Galaxy Note 3, and the Gear's Smart Relay feature will instantly reveal the full message on its screen.

The Gear's built-in speaker also facilitates hands-free calls. You can also draft messages, create new calendar entries, set alarms, and check the weather using S Voice. Other features include a 1.9 megapixel camera and voice memo. The latter lets capture your thoughts or conversations directly to your Samsung GALAXY device -- as text!

A security enhancement automatically locks the companion Galaxy smart phone screen when the watch is more than 1.5 meters away and unlocks it the two are near each other again. Find My Device helps you locate your misplaced smart phone, and the watch also works like a digital pedometer to track physical activity.

The Galaxy Gear also tells time, of course, including several watch face options (analog or digital) and other electives (date, weather, etc.) More options are downloadable from Samsung Apps. 

For now, the Samsung Galaxy Gear is only compatible with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. The unit is available in Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, or Lime Green and sells for $299. For more information, visit ATT.com.

Newest Samsung phablet hits AT&T stores

Speaking of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, I think its fair to say that thanks to Samsung the phablet market is hotter than ever. Everyone is getting into the act!

A few days ago, HTC announced the HTC One Max, and Google is expected to release the new Nexus Gem next week. Apple is expected to launch new iPad models on October 22nd, but experts say the Cupertino, Ca.-based trendsetter won't be releasing an iPhone phablet this year.

Phablets are mostly Android-powered, and the Samsung Galaxy Note family basically leads the pack. Fans of the Note 2 will be excited to learn that the new Note 3 has a larger screen, along with being smaller, lighter, and faster than its predecessors.

Sporting a 5.7" full HD, Super AMOLED display, the GALAXY Note 3 provides a stunning viewing experience, enhanced by a 2.3 GHz quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM, 3,200 mAh battery and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.

The unit also features a faux leather, textured plastic back cover that provides access to the removable battery and MicroSD card. The unit's micro USB connector is even USB 3.0, which reports say comes in handy for file transfers, because the Note 3 shoots 4K HD video!

A Wacom-powered S-Pen contributes to the unit's versatility with several ingenious features, such as Air Command, which lets you activate on any screen simply by hovering and clicking the S-Pen button, Action Memo, which lets you write memos that are instantly linked to actions, Scrapbook, which lets you to collect and organize content from multiple sources, such as YouTube, Screen Write, which lets you capture full screen images and write comments on them, and on and on. 

My Magazine has nothing to do with the S-Pen but offers personalized content such as news and social media in a dynamic magazine-style layout.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is available in Classic White or Jet Black at AT&T retailers for $299.99 with a new service contract (MSRP: $724.99). For more information about the new Samsung Galaxy Note 3, visit Samsung.com.

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