This is WT VOX review of the Samsung Gear Fit2 after two weeks of usage.
Talking about wearables, one must understand that this market is relatively new when compared with the laptops or even smartphones markets. Thanks to constant innovation in wearable tech, companies can now fit their gadgets with a broad range of smart sensors, squeezing more and more of them into the same wristband form factor. The best example is the new Samsung Gear Fit2.
With the Gear Fit2, Samsung managed to take the wearable tech game to a whole new level. The new Fit2 has everything you could expect to find in a premium fitness tracker. All-day fitness tracking capabilities, an HR sensor, a GPS chipset for tracking your pace and travelled distance, smart notifications, and movement alerts.
Not impressed? Well, add to that the onboard storage for music, water and caffeine tracking and even the automatic workout detection. But, don’t take my word for it and let’s see how the Samsung Gear Fit2 compares next to the powerful Fitbit Blaze or even the new Garmin Vivoactive HR. Time to find out, let’s start the review of the Samsung Gear Fit2.
Samsung Gear Fit2 – Design And Specs
If it happens that you had or still have the original Samsung Gear Fit, then let me tell you from the beginning that the new model is a different beast. Starting with the design, the new Samsung Gear Fit2 is much improved over the original band. I would even argue that the Samsung Gear Fit2 is one of the best-looking wrist trackers I have used in a long time, if not the best.
For my review, I have been given the black model, which has this subtle hint of metallic coolness as I would like to call it. However, if black is not your favourite colour, Samsung has Gear Fit2 in blue and pink models as well, for those who want something a bit more extravagant on their wrists.
As for the specs, Samsung managed to pack a beautiful 1.5-inch curved Super AMOLED touch display in, along with a dual-core CPU, 512MB RAM, 4GB storage, 200mAh battery, HR and GPS sensors, while keeping it thin and light.
Sure, Samsung Gear Fit2 is a large device, when you compare it to some classic Fitbits or Garmin trackers, but that is part of the deal when you have such an impressive display. However, despite its large size, the Samsung Gear Fit2 design is low on the wrist, making it easy to wear and not uncomfortable at all. No more scratched laptops or slamming on doorways as it was the case with the previous Samsung Fit.
Also, this time, the strap that Samsung used for its Gear Fit2 is made of a soft, nice to touch type of silicon. A good choice, as the material is not a dust magnet like the silicone that covers the Moto 360 Sport band for example. Adjusting the band on your wrist is also an easy job. Just push one end of the wristband through a loop on the other, move it into position and then snap it into place. Once locked, it holds pretty well, and I never felt like I was on the verge of losing it.
For interaction, Samsung Gear Fit2 has two simple buttons. One that acts as a “back” button and the other button is the menu or the action button. Samsung Gear Fit2 has a simple design on the outside, with no spinning dials or unnecessary crowns. You get just a simple 2-button setup, along with a touch display, and that is what you would expect from a fitness tracker.
Overall, Samsung Gear Fit2 is a beautifully designed device, and I simply loved wearing it for the last couple of weeks.
Samsung Gear Fit2 – Features
The Gear Fit2 is powered by Samsung’s proprietary OS called Tizen. For those of you new to wearables, Tizen is Samsung’s OS of choice for all of its wearables, in fact, anything connected that is not a phone or tablet. Yet.
Samsung learned with the launch of the original Gear Fit that a screen of this size and orientation works better when presented in a vertical way rather than horizontal. It takes a few minutes to get used to, but it is much easier on the eyes and if you have used a smartwatch before you are going to like the new interaction way.
Just like the Gear S2, running on the same Tizen OS, the Samsung Gear Fit2 has a set of horizontal scrolling pages, each one corresponding to a function or an app. However, without the Gear S2 rotating bezel, you will have to swipe between the panels, and also use the “back” and “home” buttons to get back to the main screen. Once done, turn the screen off, just cover the display with your palm and you are ready to go.
The watch face is also your home screen, flanked by notifications on the left and a set of user-sorted panels on the other side. Swipe down, from the top of the home screen to reveal a quick settings panel, see your battery or access the Bluetooth connection.
From the same menu, you can activate the “Do Not Disturb” mode, increase or decrease the brightness and launch the music player. As for the customizable panels, there are eight of them, and you can choose to order them as you like. Here is the quick breakdown:
Samsung Gear Fit2 – Panels
- 24h log panel – A linear progression of your activity for the past day which includes periods when you were active, inactive, sleeping or didn’t wear the Fit2 at all.
- Exercise panel – Start a workout. You can set your activity type, time goal and a few other parameters. You can also view a log of the previous workout.
- Steps panel – Shows your daily step count, and how close it is to your goal.
- Floors – How many floors you climbed today, with the ability to view historical data for the week.
- Heart rate – Shows your most recent HR reading and when it was recorded, as well as your maximum and minimum heart rate for the day. You can also tap to view a historical heart rate data for the week.
- Water intake – Record how many cups of water you have consumed today.
- Caffeine intake – Same as water, but for caffeine.
- Together – Set up step count challenges with friends, and see how you are doing compared to them today. Similar to the Jawbone UP Duels.
Apart from the screen panels, by tapping the home button while on the clock page, you gain access to the Music Player, Timer, Stopwatch and the “Find My Phone” feature. Also here you can find the Fit2 settings that allow you to control the GPS sensor, Wi-Fi, vibration and more.
Despite many similarities with the Gear S2, the Samsung Gear Fit2 is not that powerful, but this is not a bad thing as when you use the pre-installed apps, you never go more than two levels deep into their interface. Everything is straightforward, simple and easy to use.
Also, the same notification system found on the Gear S2 watch is used here, on the Samsung Gear Fit2, based on the Gear Manager app. From the app’s menu, you can pick which apps from your mobile can send notifications to the Samsung Gear Fit2 and keep you up to date, without annoying you with unnecessary notifications.
Samsung Gear Fit2 – Fitness tracking
The Fit2 has not altimeter. However, thanks to its algorithms can detect when you climb stairs. The other sensors packed inside the fitness tracking band are the GPS sensor, HR monitor, gyroscope, barometer and an accelerometer.
The GPS is a great addition to the Samsung Gear Fit2 over the first model, and you no longer have to carry your smartphone around during your workouts. On top of that, you can now see a map of your running route, all displayed on the screen.
Samsung Gear Fit2 – Automatic Tracking
As mentioned above, the Samsung Gear Fit2 can auto-detect your workouts, but, if you prefer, you can also manually decide when to start tracking. Select the type of workout and then pick a goal, that easy it is. The goals vary based on the exercise you want, but most of them include a target, pace, duration, distance, calories burned and so on. If having a goal sounds too complicated for you or if you prefer the freestyle running sessions, you can turn the goals off at any time or do not use it at all.
With the Samsung Gear Fit2 auto-tracking on I was able to know when I entered the “fat burning pace”, the time I left the “burning zone” or when I stopped running. Apart from the very accurate monitoring and constant updates, the Samsung Gear Fit2 also motivates you by vibrating and telling you to keep up the pace.
Not much changes if you go for the manual monitoring option. When you start your workout, the Fit2 gives a 3-second countdown before the timer begins and at the end of your running session you have to make sure you stop it or it will keep recording your stats.
Now, leaving aside all the features and the goodies of this devices, when it comes to professional athletes this device has a few downsides. For example, Samsung Gear Fit2 features just an IP68 rating, which makes it just a water-resistant device rather than waterproof. As such, the rowing tracking function is best used at your local gym rather than in a natural environment with water and the same applies to swimming. Also, Samsung Gear Fit2 fitness tracking performance may look impressive to beginners wanting to get in shape, but if you have used any of Garmin’s dedicated fitness watches, you may not be that impressed.
Another problem I have found was the screen’s lack of responsiveness at times. Sometimes, during my jogs, the screen did not turn on when I looked it, so I had to push the home button, on the side of the tracker, to activate the display.
Samsung Gear Fit2 – Software And Applications
Samsung Gear App
To make use of all the Samsung Gear Fit2 features, you must install the Gear App on your mobile as only through the Gear app, you can download additional watch faces and customise your Fit2 band. Also, the available selection of watches is a lot larger than what Garmin has in the store for its trackers.
Samsung S Health App
After all that running and jumping, there must be quite a lot of data you might want to look at. For that, you have to use Samsung’s S Health app. However, despite the S Health app being very functional, the S Health is not a visually inviting app so you might not like it that much.
However, you can connect and sync your Samsung band with a broad range of partner apps, available via the S Health app menu. The third-party apps are sorted by type (fitness, nutrition, health care, general, rest and other), but considering the vast amount of apps available, I wish Samsung added a search button. As a big surprise, MyFitnessPal is not among the available apps.
Samsung Gear Fit2 – Battery Life
I’m sure you agree with me that the battery life is an important factor when choosing an activity tracker. Products like the Misfit Shine 2 and the Withings Activite have aced their battery life, taking them to up to eight months of life.
However, the high-end fitness trackers like the Samsung Gear Fit2 and Fitbit Blaze cannot put up such high numbers. By comparison, Samsung’s latest, with its GPS sensor and Super AMOLED display, is not able to squeeze more than 3-4 days of life off its 200mAh battery pack. Still, I find it sufficient.
In my two weeks of testing the tracker, at half-brightness and paired to a Samsung Galaxy S7, I managed to get three days and a half of usage out of it. However, if you turn off the GPS sensor or the notifications, you are going to get more battery life out of your Samsung Gear Fit2. Still, if you are a heavy user and want to use your Fit2 on full speed, just make sure the charger is never too far out of reach.
Samsung Gear Fit2 – Price
At just $179.99, the Samsung Gear Fit2 is a fantastic wearable device. For less than £150, you are going to your hands on a stunning fitness tracker that sports a crystal-clear, curved AMOLED display, 3-day battery life, built-in GPS and outstanding fitness tracking capabilities. Add to that the ergonomic and stylish design and you have the fitness tracker of the year as no competitor can come even closer to what Samsung has done with their new Gear Fit2.
Similar Read: Garmin Vivoactive HR Review
The one that could compete is the Fitbit Surge however, Surge would cost you at least $50 extra. Alternatively, Garmin, with its Vivosmart HR+, but that is another tracker above the $200 mark, priced at around $220. So if you want a top notch tracker at a fantastic price, the Samsung Gear Fit2 is my recommendation to you.
Samsung Gear Fit2 – Verdict
I would end up this review just by saying that the Samsung Gear Fit2 is a no-brainer suggestion for anyone looking to buy their first fitness tracker, or as an upgrade over an older Garmin, Fitbit or Jawbone. It does everything you would expect from a premium fitness tracker, it has GPS, smart notifications, looks great, and costs just $179. Go for it and do not forget to come back and say thank you, in the comments box below.
Samsung Gear Fit2 – Gallery
- Slim design with a beautiful display
- Lots of sensors
- Fantastic price
- No support for iOS
- Short battery life