Price (RRP): $329
Four years ago, Samsung released the Gear Fit – a cross-over between a full-featured fitness tracker and a smartwatch.
The original Gear Fit has been my constant fitness companion and still is – it is reliable, I like the Samsung Health app and a smaller, lighter rectangular device on my wrist is far better than a bigger, bulky round smartwatch.
The two years ago came the Gear Fit 2 with slightly larger screen size, a proper watch band (the original’s clasp system was prone to release), IP68 (5 ATM) and a few very nice additional software features like activity tracking, active minutes, music, calendar reminders etc.
I am pleased to say the next iteration Gear Fit Pro 2 is more of the same – it does not ruin its heritage. Well almost not – Samsung Health now also runs on Android and iOS, adds GPS and it is tougher all around.
In summary a compact, full-featured fitness tracker with most smartwatch functionality.
It is 25mm wide, and 51.3 mm long, weighing 34g, housing a 38.6mm Super AMOLED daylight readable screen. It has an Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro Sensor and Heart Rate Sensor.
It also has GPS, not so much for map navigation, but for tracking speed and movement and displaying your route on the smartphone.
It has 4GB ROM and about half that is available for installing apps, and music. In testing, it will hold up to 500 average length MP3 songs and is compatible with the Spotify Premium app.
It is waterproof to 5ATM and now MIL-STD-810 rated. Yes, you can swim in it, and it has Speedo On for stroke management and a swim lock mode.
It has both Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi N 2.4GHz connectivity – the latter allows continuous connection to the smartphone throughout an office or home when the Bluetooth range is exceeded.
Pairing with a smartphone is easy – download the Gear app and follow the prompts. Once Gear is installed you can access hundreds of free and paid apps and watch faces.
A word of advice – if you want good outdoor readability chose a watch face that has thicker lettering, preferably in a solid colour.
The battery gives 2-3 days typical use and recharges in a special USB-A cradle (supplied without charger)
With a 200mAh battery, even the oldest 500mA USB port will charge it in less than 30 minutes. I usually wear it all day and night (sleep tracking) and take it off when I shower (it is IP 68 rated) for charging.
Note apps using GPS location will drain the battery faster – around 9 hours continuous use.
If you really want to eek out every bit of battery life, you can turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and the always-on screen feature to get about five days.
This third iteration has one of the more accurate measurements and compared favourably to a dedicated chest strap monitor. It auto measures about every hour or can do continuous measurement if an app requires it.
The power of any fitness tracker lies in what the app can do with the information collected from the tracker’s sensors.
Samsung Health has been developing over the past four years to the point that it is one of the best, most fully featured, consumer health management apps available.
I use the term ‘consumer’ because this is what the average buyer is – athletes will look to top-end rugged or specific purpose devices from Garmin et al.
Having said that it does have a comprehensive ‘Program’ coaching segment and hundreds of partner apps from the likes of Speedo and Under Armour covering fitness, nutrition, rest and healthcare etc.
But the average buyer will just want to measure steps taken, calories burned, steps climbed (cardio), sleep patterns (confirms why you wake up some mornings feeling like you have been hit by a truck), and overall activity.
I like being told how I compare to similar age/gender groupings for exercise minutes (99 minutes a day against 48 for the other old guys), steps (10,000+ against 4576) and I could share all this on social media with friends if I wanted to.
It can receive notifications from email, SMS, phone calls and missed calls, calendar, alarms, Facebook, Twitter, and more. You can control these via the Gear app. You can also set up instant responses.
A great fitness tracker with 99% of smartwatch functionality (See Samsung Gear S3 for that).
You would be hard-pressed to find a better fitness tracker.
- The rectangular design is far less obtrusive than large round watches
- IP 68 – waterproof to 5 ATM and MIL-STD-810G
- More features than you need – Samsung Health is easy to use
- Android and iOS compatible
- Great off-line music player, Spotify compatible, easy Bluetooth headphone connection
- Autodetect of most activities – walk, run, sleep, exercise
- Gentle nudges messages to motivate you
- Beautiful; daylight readable screen
- Accurate measurements
- 24/7 comfortable
- Works with a range of external sensors, e.g. Garmin Cadence, Heart rate straps, smart scales, trekking, bike speed and apps like Map My Run.
- None really – a little pricey if you don’t shop around
- Overall: 4.4 – higher if you can bag a bargain
- Features: 5 out of 5 – has everything a fitness tracker needs
- Value for Money: 4 out of 5 – shop around and knock this rating up a notch
- Performance: 5 out of 5 – flawless and battery life is good
- Ease of Use: 4 out of 5 – easy to install and you need to download a lot of fo apps to make the most of it
- Design: 4 out of 5 – minimalist and elegant in its way. No bling.
A$329 but I have seen it for around $100 less online – be careful of the vendors pedigree and bonafide.