Since the Gear Live runs on Android Wear and not on Samsung's proprietary Tizen OS, which the last batch of three Samsung Gear watches used, you can choose Android Wear apps for the Gear Live directly from Google’s Play Store.
Setup and pairing (we used a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 smart phone) were seamless, as they were with the LG G watch.
Compared with the LG G Watch, we prefer the style and fit of the Gear Live. One nice detail: The watch body is slightly curved, which made it more comfortable, at least on our wrists. The Gear Live also has a heart-rate monitor, which the G Watch lacks.
What we didn’t like
The wristband on the Samsung Gear 2 was hard to close. The Gear Live improves on the design, but it's still not as convenient at the G Watch's simple prong-and-frame mechanism.
This won’t be an issue for every buyer, but the Gear Live lacks a built-in camera for capturing stills and video, which the previous-generation Samsung Gear 2 does have.
Finally, the 1.63-inch Super AMOLED screen, while vivid and crisp, fades out in bright light.
The $200 Samsung Gear Live lacks several of the abundant features offered by the $300 Gear 2. But its useful and intuitive Android Wear OS and the wider range of compatible phones are two big pluses for the Gear Live. Compared with the only other Android Wear watch to ship thus far, the $230 LG G Watch, we give a slight edge to the Gear Live for its more attractive design.