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.
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!
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 :
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!