Despite Terrible Reviews, Samsung's Galaxy Gear Finds Spot on Oprah's Favorite Things

One of the most hated gadgets of the year is one of Oprah's favorites.

November 06, 2013, 11:48 AM
PHOTO:  Samsung's Galaxy Gear has been selected as one of Oprah's 2013 Favorite Things.
Samsung's Galaxy Gear has been selected as one of Oprah's 2013 Favorite Things.
Getty Images | Samsung

Nov. 6, 2013 — -- "This is the ultimate, ultimate list of my Favorite Things," Oprah says at the beginning of her much-anticipated Holiday Favorite Things list released on Tuesday. The list, as in years past, contains all sorts of items from new Ugg boots to delicious truffles to comfy pajamas.

Sprinkled within the list of colorful items are, of course, some gadgets, including the widely panned Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

"At last, a polite way to check calls, texts, and e-mails when you're in a meeting," the description of the $300 Galaxy Gear reads. "This Samsung Galaxy Gear watch will discreetly notify you of incoming messages as long as it's within a five-foot radius of your Galaxy Note 3 smartphone. And everyone will think you're just looking at the time."

The Gear is listed along with the Note 3, which is one of the only phones to work with the watch. And that was just one of many criticisms of the watch, released last month. Tech reviewers, present company included, knocked the watch for being uncomfortable to wear, for its unintuitive interface and battery life issues.

Galaxy Gear Review: The Next Big Thing Is Not Here

"Samsung's attempt to turn the Gear into a style icon is also unlikely to succeed, owing to the company's indecision about its target demographic. Trying to please all tastes has resulted in a predictably charmless and soulless product," Vlad Savov, a reviewer for The Verge wrote about the watch. "And when I put it in its cradle to rest and recharge, I didn't exactly miss it," said AllThingD and the Wall Street Journal's Lauren Goode. "Too bad the Galaxy Gear isn't more usable and useful," Bloomberg's Rich Jaroslovsky wrote. There are also reports that Best Buy has seen a surge in returns of the product.

“Ms. Winfrey shares products she believes would make a great gift. Over the years readers have come to count on the annual 'Favorite Things' list as a guide to the hottest, newest, most delectable items of the year. Oprah's collection of gifts for 2013 is no exception,” an O Magazine spokesperson said in a statement. However, O Magazine's spokesperson on the list was not available to comment specifically on how the Gear was selected.

According to the 2012 list, Oprah "picked and planned, tasted and touched, singed and snuggled her way through hundreds of items to determine her Favorite Things to give this holiday." Additionally, a special on Oprah's OWN network detailed the process of how the products are picked. Last year, Oprah did recommend Microsoft's Surface tablet, however, she tweeted about how much she liked Microsoft's tablet using her iPad.

The other tech items on the 2013 list are much stronger choices. Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite is widely praised as being the best e-reader you can buy. The Mophie Juice Pack Helium for iPhone is a must-have for those who want to save their iPhone battery from dying. The Qooq tablet and Beats Studio headphones are less stellar products, but they're certainly not as glaring as the inclusion of the Galaxy Gear.

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