The Galaxy Gear Smartwatch and Galaxy Note 3 phablet picture together at the IFA tradeshow in Berlin. / REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Phablet-smartwatch combination offers incredible functionality at a steep price

Samsung has launched their latest mobile devices in the UK: the Galaxy Note III and Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

The pair were unveiled earlier this month at the IFA electronics fair in Berlin, though Samsung are now launching them in 58 countries, with a UK recommended retail price of £299 for the Gear and £599 for the Note III.

Prior to their launch many tech commentators had hope that Samsung would be introducing a new mobile smartwatch with the Galaxy Gear, but it was instead unrelieved to be a companion device.

The Gear pairs with a smartphone and offers users quick access to notifications and messages, but at the moment can only work in conjunction with the expensive Note III. In his review of the Gear for The Independent David Phelan describes it as “pretty persuasive”:

“When you’re wearing it, it suddenly makes sense: it is alluring, comfortable and enjoyable. Will it storm the barricades? Maybe. And if it does not, it is clear that wearable tech is about to become mainstream.”

The Note 3 is the latest in Samsung’s popular ‘phablet’ range –a mobile form factor with a larger screen size somewhere between a tablet and smartphone. The Note range was launched in 2011 and despite early scepticism has proved extremely popular, especially in the Asian-Pacific region.

Reports from industry analysts IDC says that the region sold as many phablets as tablets and laptops combined in the second quarter of 2013, representing a 620 per cent increase in sales compared to the same quarter in 2012. Whether the Note can find equal popularity in the UK remains to be seen.

If it doesn’t, it won’t be because the hardware is lacking: the phablet features a 5.7-inch AMOLED screen with a 1920x1080 resolution; there’s also a 1.9GHz quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM, and a choice between 32GB or 64GB of internal storage.

Samsung became the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer this year, overtaking Apple to claim more than 30 per cent of global sales as the Californian tech company’s share hit a three year low of 13 per cent.

The South Korean company continues to innovate, announcing this week that they will be introducing the world’s first curved display on a smartphone in October, but Apple might not be too worried: their newly released 5s and 5c smartphones have been busy breaking records, selling more than 9 million units over their launch weekend.