Samsung's upcoming Gear S2 line comprises the most watch-like smartwatches we've seen yet, with round faces and rotating bezels just like you might find on a traditional timepiece. It's certainly a stylish design, although Samsung will need more than good looks to take on the dominant Apple Watch.
Analysts say that the Apple Watch quickly seized a huge 75 percent market share, shipping 10 times the number of Samsung's smartwatches. The Gear S2 range, then, represents a critical opportunity for Samsung to claw back some customers.
To measure its chances, we've lined up the three Gear S2 variants - the standard model, the less sporty Gear S2 Classic and the e-SIM-equipped Gear S2 3G - against the Apple Watch for a thorough spec-by-spec comparison.
Dimensions and design
Gear S2: 42x50x11.4mm
Gear S2 Classic: 40x44x11.4mm
Gear S2 3G: 44x52x13.4mm
Apple Watch: 39x33x10.5mm or 42x40x10.5mm
The Apple Watch offers clearly more compact designs, and even the largest 42mm edition proves thinner than the smallest Gear S2 Classic. Mobile connectivity also comes at a considerable price for the Gear S2 3G, as it's the thickest and tallest smartwatch here.
To Samsung's credit, the Gear S2, Gear S2 Classic and Gear S2 3G weigh only 47g, 42g and 51g respectively, but these are all still heavier - albeit barely - than the Apple Watch's lightest possible case and strap combination, which weighs 41g.
We like the idea of a round-faced smartwatch but, until we can see how apps might be optimised for it, we have to give this round to Apple. Regardless, an honourable mention goes to the Gear S2 collection's superior customisation potential, thanks to a strap design that can be removed with a single click.
Gear S2: 1.0GHz dual-core with 512MB RAM
Gear S2 Classic: 1.0GHz dual-core with 512MB RAM
Gear S2 3G: 1.0GHz dual-core with 512MB RAM
Apple Watch: 520MHz single-core with 512MB RAM
On paper, Samsung definitely seems to have created the more powerful smartwatches, even if RAM is a dead heat. Not only is the Gear S2 series' core clock speed faster, there's twice as many of them, which should mean much less sluggishness when running intensive apps.
Gear S2: 1.2in Super AMOLED at 360x360
Gear S2 Classic: 1.2in Super AMOLED at 360x360
Gear S2 3G: 1.2in Super AMOLED at 360x360
Apple Watch: 1.4in OLED Retina at 272x340 or 1.7in OLED Retina at 319x390
Despite being less bulky, both Apple Watch variants actually manage to squeeze in larger screens than the Gear S2 range, all of which include the same 1.2in display. The latter tries to make up for this with slightly higher resolutions, but we're not convinced that this will result in noticeably sharper images; the 302ppi is barely higher than the Apple Watch's 290ppi and 296ppi options.
Still, we're withholding full judgement until we see a Gear S2's display in action. The product family uses the same Super AMOLED tech as the original Samsung Gear S, which produced some fantastically bright and vivid colours, so we're eager to see if the new models look just as good.
Gear S2: Tizen OS
Gear S2 Classic: Tizen OS
Gear S2 3G: Tizen OS
Apple Watch: watchOS
As with the Gear S, Samsung has eschewed Android Wear in favour of loading the Gear S2 line with Tizen, the firm's own Linux-based OS.
We appreciated how Tizen allowed app makers to create their own UIs with the Gear S2's predecessor, which often resulted in much deeper, more customisable experiences than the app's Android counterparts. We expect this to be true of the Gear S2 range as well, but the real issue is how many apps will be available.
Considering Tizen's already small app catalogue, plus the Apple Watch's market stranglehold, we're concerned that app makers will focus on watchOS at the expense of others. Tizen is already missing various useful apps that have long been available on watchOS, such as Evernote.
The Apple Watch and Gear S2 series can also be used for contactless payment via Apple Pay and Samsung Pay respectively. However, we don't currently know when Samsung Pay will roll out in the UK.
Gear S2: 250mAh, two to three days of battery life
Gear S2 Classic: 250mAh, two to three days of battery life
Gear S2 3G: 300mAh, two days of battery life
Apple Watch: 205mAh, up to 18 hours of battery life
The Gear S2 line's second big win comes from its relatively hefty batteries which, according to the manufacturer's own estimates, easily outlive the Apple Watch in normal use. Even the Gear S2 3G, which packs an integrated e-SIM for mobile data, lasts more than twice as long, partly thanks to its expanded cell.
Engaging the Apple Watch's Power Reserve option will extend its longevity, so it could last up to three days, but this disables everything except the basic watch interface at which point it becomes just an expensive, heavier wristwatch.
Apple's and Samsung's devices are charged wirelessly using a pad on the underside of the main case.
Gear S2: 4GB
Gear S2 Classic: 4GB
Gear S2 3G: 4GB
Apple Watch: 8GB
The Apple Watch's capacity advantage is marred by the bizarre decision to place caps on how much storage can be allocated to certain files. Only 75MB of photos can be saved, for instance, while music storage is limited to 2GB.
This might make the various Gear S2s more attractive to those who want to keep a lot more photos and songs on their smartwatch, although ultimately the Apple Watch still boasts far more space for apps, settings and data, making it arguably the wiser choice.
This comparison shows that the Apple Watch is the world's most popular smartphone for a reason. It holds its own against a newer, theoretically more powerful model and surpasses the competition in numerous key respects. A short battery life is the only major weakness of what, in all likelihood, will remain the smartwatch to beat.
Don't discount the Samsung Gear S2 range just yet, though. Built-in 3G functionality is a rare and highly desirable feature in a smartwatch, and the circular rotating bezel could make for a very intuitive control method. It won't kill off the Apple Watch, but might at least have the hardware to offer a solid alternative.
Experts advise on the IT skills that businesses really want
'Bothie' mode activates front and rear cameras and can broadcast vids to Facebook or YouTube
Gap in the market remains as skills in the IT sector continue to rocket in demand
Cyber attack on Scottish Parliament comes after MPs at Westminster were targeted in June by a similar brute force attack