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Although smartwatches have been around in some form for some time now, Samsung appears to have launched a new tech war by announcing the release of its new Galaxy Gear smartwatch device.

A pair of outlets – Endgadget and The Verge – have hands-on reviews of the device, which is slated to be released in 140 countries September 25 alongside the slimmer, lighter “phablet” smartphone, Galaxy Note 3. The Gear is not a phone, and instead many of its functions are owed to Bluetooth connection via compatible Samsung devices such as the Note 3 phone and Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet.

The specs of the Gear reveal that the device boasts a 320 x 320-pixel, 1.63-inch AMOLED touchscreen – tiny when compared with the Note 3’s massive 5.7-inch screen. A 315mAh battery powers the device, which Samsung claims will give it one full day of power. This is coupled with a 800MHz processor, 4 gigabytes of storage and 512MB of RAM. The voice activation feature, S Voice, can also be used to order the device into certain commands.

How the Gear intends to leap ahead of its future competitors is the inclusion of a 1.9-megapixel camera that appears on the strap. The thought from Samsung is that the camera is less about quality and rather for users on the go who want quick photos or 10-second videos shot at 720p.

Rounding out the features of the Gear are a speaker for audio playback, two microphones which allow phone calls to be made via the watch, and also doubles as a pedometer to monitor fitness and also an accelerometer.

Although apps will be able to run through the device, it is mostly designed to serve as a companion piece and not a replacement for the more high-end Galaxy line of devices. Text messages, notifications and other app-supported updates can also be viewed via the Gear. Users can also control the flow of music on their Galaxy devices via the Gear as well.

There have been rumors that older Samsung devices will be compatible with the Gear, which will run on Android’s 4.3 version of its operating system. Apple is also looking to launch its first-generation version of a smartwatch with the long-rumored iWatch, which developers are said to be attempting to extend the device’s battery life over a course of days.

The Galaxy Gear will be available worldwide in October. It will be priced at $299.

Check out videos of Endgadget and The Verge‘s reviews on the following pages, along with photos of the Galaxy Gear, on the following pages.

Photos: Endgadget, The Verge, Samsung

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