Tag Archives: IP Rating

Samsung Gear S2 Issues With Water

Samsung Gear S2 Issues With Water Rev. 3.0

The new Samsung Gear S2 is a really impressive smartwatch. Samsung eschewed the rectangular Gear S design for the more elegant round face in the Gear S2. It was also noticeably worked better with water, easily tackling rain drops and showers that would have driven the earlier Gear S crazy.

However, we identified two Gear S2 issues with water exposure. Let’s take a look at what those problems are and how you can solve them.

Updated @ 20-01-2016 : Added a video showing one of the Gear S2 issues we identified – the reboot loop. We also added additional information, includinga new solution for this problem.

Updated @ 30-03-2016 : Added a second video showing our Gear S2 in its dying throes, and our experience sending it for inspection and repair.

 

Improved IP Rating

The IP (Ingress Protection) rating is an international certification of a device’s ability to withstand the ingress of dust or dirt (the first number), and moisture or water (the second number).

[adrotate banner=”4″]The Samsung Gear S2 boasts an improved IP68 rating – one notch above that of its predecessor, the Gear S, when it comes to protection against water ingress. Officially, the IP68 rating means the Gear S2 is able to withstand a water depth of 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes.

The earlier Gear S smartwatch was only IP67-certified, which means it is only rated to a shallower water depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.

For all intents and purposes though, both the Gear S and the newer Gear S2 are “waterproof” enough for you to wear them when you take a bath, swim or even go snorkelling. Only divers should not take their Gear S or newer Gear S2 on their dives.

Now, let’s take a look at the two Gear S2 issues we identified, and their solutions.

 

Problem #1 : Spontaneous Reboots

On three occasions, the Samsung Gear S2 automatically rebooted itself while being subjected to a shower test. In all three instances, the Gear S2 was not being used, just worn on the wrist. The buttons were not being pressed, or the bezel turned, when it rebooted by itself.

The first and last occasions were particularly severe with the Gear S2 stuck on a reboot loop. Despite our best efforts, it refused to shut down or boot up properly for at least 15 minutes. But we managed to get it to boot up properly.
Possible Cause : We suspect that the Gear S2 has a hermetically-sealed inner compartment, with the physical buttons activating touch sensors on the outside of the sealed compartment. If so, the ingress of water may “short” the contacts for both buttons, essentially behaving as if the user was pressing both buttons together. That would cause the Gear S2 to reboot… and keep rebooting.
Possible Solution #1 : If it only reboots once, just let it boot up and it will continue on its merry way. No harm done. But if you are stuck in a reboot loop, dry off the Samsung Gear S2 and shake it to remove any water that may have seeped under the buttons. [adrotate banner=”4″]Then press the Home / Power button (that’s the lower button) until the Gear S2 shuts down. It may take you 15 minutes or more to do so. After it shuts down properly, you can power it up and it will boot up normally.

Possible Solution #2 : If the reboot loop persists, hold the Gear S2 in one hand and tap the edge with the two buttons firmly against the palm of the other hand.

In the video above, you see me tapping that edge against the table. Do the same, just harder, against the palm. This will shake out whatever water is inside the case, and the Gear S2 will boot up properly.

 

Problem #2 : Stuck Back Button

Out of the shower, we experienced problems with the Back button (that’s the upper button) on the Gear S2. It suddenly refused to work. However, it magically came back to life after a shower test… twice!

Possible Cause : Going back to the hypothesis of a hermetically-sealed inner compartment with contact sensors for the physical buttons, we suspect that soap may have gotten in between the Back button and its sensor contact. The soap could have dried on the contacts, preventing the Back button presses from registering on the Gear S2.
Possible Solution : Run the Gear S2 under the shower, or dunk it into a bowl of water. The “malfunctioning” button will come to life after some time. You can test it by pressing it under water, although we would recommend that you take it out of the water before pressing it. Once it starts working, you can dry off the Gear S2.

 

Our Gear S2 Died & Was Reborn New!

We sent the Gear S2 for a week-long test with Samsung, but they couldn’t find anything wrong with it. After we got it back, we continued testing it, and it would spontaneously reboot now and then. Sometimes, it would get stuck in a reboot loop, which we we managed to resolve using the two methods above.

That ended on February 18, when our Gear S2 suddenly went into a reboot loop that ended in its demise. We left it to recharge overnight, and when we checked it in the morning, it was in a reboot loop. It appeared to be stuck in the reboot loop for several hours because it was very hot, and its battery was almost drained despite the Gear S2 being on its charging cradle.

While we tried to get it out of its reboot loop, its display started to go crazy. Take a look at the video we took :

Eventually, the display would a distorted picture with a cacophony of colours. It was a lost cause, so we sent it to Samsung for another check-up.

Despite their very thorough checks over 2 weeks, they could not determine what caused our Gear S2 to malfunction like that. It was not due to the ingress of water into the unit, although they asked me if the Gear S2 suffered any strong impact (it didn’t).

In the end, Samsung replaced the entire watch unit (sans straps), and we have not experienced any issue whatsoever with the new unit. So we now think that the previous unit was a “lemon”. After all, all of our friends (8 of them) who also use the Gear S2 did not experience any problem.

Samsung tells us that anyone who faces any issues with their Gear S2 smartwatch should send them in for a comprehensive inspection. Don’t wait. That’s what the warranty is for. Thanks, Samsung!

 

Facing Other Gear S2 Issues?

This article was based on our experience with the Gear S2 over the last 5 weeks. If you have any other Gear S2 issues, whether they are related to water exposure or otherwise, please let us know!

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Kenxinda Flattop Ruggedised Mobile Devices Revealed

The smartphone market today can be divided into three segments – the premium segment, medium segment and the budget segment. The premium segment is dominated by Apple and Samsung with smartphones that are made from the best materials available and offer superior user experience. The medium segment is dominated by the likes of OnePlus and Xiaomi with an emphasis on performance. Finally, we have the budget segment with entry-level smartphones at very low cost.

While the premium segment remains relatively rarefied, the medium segment is getting squeezed by the budget segment. With many small manufacturers entering the smartphone market, it is getting harder for them to differentiate their products in such a saturated market.

Kenxinda aims to penetrate this difficult market with focusing on the niche ruggedised devices market. Hence, on the last day of 2015, they officially launched the Kenxinda Flattop series of ruggedised mobile devices, as well as the Kenxinda W3 smartwatch. The stars of the launch were, without doubt, their Flattop series of ruggedised mobile devices.

 

Kenxinda Flattop Launch Video

 

Kenxinda Flattop Ruggedised Mobile Devices

The Kenxinda Flattop mobile devices are waterproof, dust-proof and shock-proof. They are designed to work in harsh conditions, being IP68-certified and MIL-STD-810G rated. That means they will take pretty much all the abuse you can throw at them and still work.

Kenxinda launched a mix of 7 devices – 5 smartphones, together with one feature phone and one power bank. The Kenxinda smartphone models (W5 to W9) run on Android 5.0.1 Take a look at their key specifications and recommended retail prices :

ModelBasic SpecificationsPrice
Kenxinda Flattop W9 Smartphone1.3 GHz octa-core processor
2 GB RAM + 16 GB storage
6.0" HD display
8 MP rear + 5 MP front cameras
4000 mAh battery
4G LTE, dual SIM, dual standby
RM 2,299
~US$ 539
Kenxinda Flattop W8 Smartphone1.3 GHz octa-core processor
2 GB RAM + 16 GB storage
5.5" HD display
8 MP rear + 5 MP front cameras
3000 mAh battery
4G LTE, dual SIM, dual standby
RM 1,699
~US$ 399
Kenxinda Flattop W7 Smartphone1.3 GHz quad-core processor
1 GB RAM + 8 GB storage
5.0" HD display
8 MP rear + 5 MP front cameras
2800 mAh battery
4G LTE, dual SIM, dual standby
RM 1,399
~US$ 329
Kenxinda Flattop W6 Smartphone1.3 GHz quad-core processor
1 GB RAM + 8 GB storage
4.5" QHD display
5 MP rear + 2 MP front cameras
2600 mAh battery
4G LTE, dual SIM, dual standby
RM 1,099
~US$ 259
Kenxinda Flattop W5 Smartphone1.3 GHz quad-core processor
1 GB RAM + 8 GB storage
4.0" display
5 MP rear + 2 MP front cameras
2800 mAh battery
4G LTE, dual SIM, dual standby
RM 899
~US$ 209
Kenxinda Flattop W3 Feature Phone32 MB RAM + 32 MB storage
2.2" TFT display (240 x 320)
< 3 MP rear camera
1800 mAh battery
2G connectivity
RM 239
~US$ 59
Kenxinda Flattop Max7 Power Bank10400 mAh lithium-ion battery
Output current : 2.1 A
Input current : 1.5 A
RM 299
~US$ 69

Kenxinda also demonstrated the ruggedised capabilities of these mobile devices, subjecting them to water, dust and dirt. We were also given the opportunity to throw these mobile devices around. You can check out their demonstration here.

 

Kenxinda W3 Smartwatch

Kenxinda also launched a smaller and more affordable smartwatch – the Kenxinda W3. The name is confusing since Kenxinda also has a Flattop feature phone with the same model number.

[adrotate banner=”4″]The Kenxinda W3 has a 1.44″ LCD display with a resolution of 128 x 128 pixels, and even a 0.8 MP camera built-in! It even has telephony capability through a SIM slot that supports the quad-band GSM network (you don’t need an LTE connection on a smartwatch and the GSM connectivity offers the best battery life).

It has 32 MB of RAM and 32 MB of internal storage, with a microSD slot for additional storage. Its 300 mAh battery is sufficient to provide up to 50 hours of use. The Kenxinda W3 also comes with an integrated FM radio and Bluetooth 3.0 support.

Unbelievably, Kenxinda is pricing the Kenxinda W3 smartwatch at just RM 169 (~US$ 39), with a FREE Bluetooth earphone to boot!

 

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