Coming soon to a galaxy near you

Breakdown: Samsung Galaxy Gear

Tech : Electronics By Photo by Samsung
Scroll over the points to see the breakdown.

Pebble, Toq, Smartwatch 2, Cupertino Wristbeauty — how did the explosion of the “smart watch” segment catch us so by surprise? While we were busy reeling, the Samsung Galaxy Gear ($299) for Galaxy Note 3 (and soon, the Galaxy S4 and SIII) has been declared potentially the best option yet. Do we sense a Dick Tracy reality coming on?

In short, no. But while the dynamics of accessing a phone in your pocket via a wrist-based remote control seem dubious (do you wear incredibly tight pants?), there is certainly both potential and immediate upside in the case of the Gear. Samsung has outdone competitors in features that are actually useful (pedometer, both a microphone and speaker for calls) good-looking (a clean, simple metal face) and spy-like (a 1.9MP camera in the strap) — plus 70 apps are already available for it, with more promised. The Gear’s also been beaten in several cases, for example, battery life and price. So while we won’t be shilling for one, we hope someone we know does so we can play with it. Until then (it comes out in early October), we break it down above.