updated 01:17 pm EST, Fri November 8, 2013
Phones 4u promotion gives away Galaxy Gear with Note 3
UK Samsung fans can get their hands on Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch for free if they are willing to pick up the Galaxy Note 3 as well. Phones 4u has announced a weeklong promotion, beginning today, in which the retailer will give away the £299 Galaxy Gear to customers buying the Note 3 on contract. The promotion requires that customers pick up the devices in physical stores.
The Gear went on sale just over a month ago, and the fact that at least one retailer is offering the £299 device for free may signal trouble for its reception in the market. For all of the technology packed into the smartwatch, the Gear debuted to almost universally poor reviews, with tech enthusiasts panning its battery life, limited compatibility, and an apparent overall lack of direction for the device
There have been other indications that the smartwatch has had a lukewarm reception. In late October, word emerged that Best Buy stores were seeing a 30 percent return rate for the Gear. That rate led to Samsung quizzing its in-store employees on what consumers were saying about the device when they returned it.
Initially, the Galaxy Note 3 was the only smartphone capable of pairing with the Gear. Samsung has since expanded the range of compatible devices to include its better selling handsets, with flagship devices from this year and the last receiving software updates enabling Gear compatibility in the near future.
Samsung is known for letting retailers offer its devices as free add-ons to smartphone purchases. A number of retailers in the United States offer free Samsung tablets with the purchase of a new Galaxy smartphone. The Gear, though, has seen a much larger marketing push from the South Korean tech giant, making its free-with-purchase status somewhat different from other offers.
Phones 4u is also offering a similar promotion for Samsung's Galaxy S4 Zoom, the phone-camera hybrid with 10x optical zoom. Customers purchasing that device online or in-store between now and the end of the year will receive a free Zoom accessory pack, which includes a flip case, tripod, and charging unit.