Samsung has taken a bold step and is competing with a large number of fitness makers and some who are experts in the field. While the first Gear Fit didn’t turn things for the company, the new Gear Fit 2 seems like a promising device. Although I am not much of a fitness nut, I do go for occasional walks, runs and work out at my local gym. I gave the new Gear Fit 2 a spin and tried to track my fitness for a couple of weeks.
Build and Design: 8/10
The Gear Fit 2 is a fine refinement over its predecessor. It feels sportier and is rounder than the original. Its seamless design feels better and more like the fitness trackers of today. The band is your typical silicone wrap around a plastic casing with a sleek looking curved display.
It comes in two sizes – a small (125 - 170mm) and a large option (155 - 210mm) – so you have an option based on your wrist size. It also comes in three colours - pink, blue and black.
The curved display looks great. It's a 1.5 inch Super AMOLED touch display with a resolution of 432×216 pixels which can be used for most of the navigation around the tracker. It is smaller than the original Gear Fit, but it is a bit wider. It is brighter as well. Thanks to the AMOLED display, the colours look great and blacks are deep. The touch response is excellent and there were no issues anytime when I was testing it. I wasn't fully satisfied with the brightness when using it outdoors, something which a lot of smart wearables have not perfected.
Apart from the display there are two physical buttons on the right which act as home and back. They offer a tactile feedback and are responsive.
It's quite comfortable to wear. The bands are soft and it doesn't feel heavy on the wrist, just like how a fitness tracker should be. Like most trackers the Gear Fit 2 is IP68-certified so it can easily take on rain and can withstand water of up to 1.5 meters. However, one should avoid wearing it while swimming.
The fitness band is loaded with features including GPS, Bluetooth, a heart rate monitor, 4GB of internal storage and 512MB of RAM. It also has some sensors such as an accelerometer, gyro and even a barometer.
There is a 200mAh battery inside, which can be charged by popping the band on a proprietary magnetic dock.
The tracker can be worn without having it to be constantly connected to your smartphone. Once you come back from a workout, you can sync in the data to have a record on your phone. For now the Gear Fit 2 only works with Android devices, but Samsung has said that it will extend the support to iOS soon.
The Gear Fit 2 runs on Tizen OS, just like the Samsung Gear S2. This means that app support is limited. However, the UI is simple and looks great too. It can show your notifications on a separate screen on the left and you can also customise it to what all notifications you want from the companion Samsung Gear app. The functionality was mostly limited to showing the notifications rather than letting you interact with them, say sending a reply.
You get a few watch faces which allow you to customise the look. However, I wish there was more variety to it. You can add more from the inbuilt Samsung store for free or by paying a few bucks, but again it was a bit limited.
The S health app is required if you want to properly track your stats. It is just as feature packed as the device itself, but again you get used to it in time. There are two main sections in the app, one shows all your stats, exercises and so on. The second section is like a summary where you can add a friend that brings in a sense of competition. The add or remove sections as per your requirement, like running, walking, your water intake, floors climbed and so on. The layout is neat and clean and feels inviting.
Coming to the real deal, the fitness tracking is done well. It does take a lot of swiping and scrolling to see your fitness stats on the device. Swiping through several screens you get your notifications, calories burned, workouts, steps, floors climbed, heart rate, water intake, caffeine intake, and the leader board where you can compete with your friends. At first it felt like information overload, as I said I don’t track every single detail. You do have the option of customising them so you can add, remove or reorder what you see on the display.
Going into the workout menu you can see all the details from your last workout, including a map of your route. You can also start a new workout and specify an exercise. Navigating takes a lot of time as Samsung has made it quite concise and detailed. There is too much going on and it can take a while to figure out which stat is where. That was probably annoying for me, but it should be useful for someone who likes to keep a track of his/her health with almost every possible metric available.
The best thing is that it can track activity automatically and that includes your sleep. It can efficiently track your walks and runs and it vibrates to prompt you about the length and period of your activity. You can start a workout too by just swiping over to the workout widget on the tracker and select the type of activity.
I was quite happy with the basic tracking, but I can't say a lot about the variety of activities and health stats that were available. These include step count, you can track the number of floors you climbed, your intakes (food, water and caffeine), weight, sleep, heart rate, blood glucose and blood pressure. As for the activities you can track walking, running, cycling and hiking.
Battery life: 8/10
This is one area where the Gear Fit 2 impressed me. Unlike my Moto 360 2nd-gen which lasts a day, the Gear Fit 2 went on for 3 days before needing a recharge. The 200mAh battery is said to last 3 to 4 days. While testing the tracker, I got similar results. Most smartwatches last a day or a day and a half. Of course, there are certain fitness trackers that go for weeks before depleting their battery, but then they don’t offer such a vivid display.
Verdict and Price in India
I prefer a smartwatch over a fitness tracker any day. This is because apart from tracking basic things like step count and calories burned, I like to have something where I can see notifications, reply to them, maybe even navigate maps. I want a bit more of functionality so that I don’t have to use my smartphone all the time.
The Gear Fit 2 however is for the pure fitness junkie. It’s an excellent tracker. It has a vivid looking display and a satisfying battery life. Even the UI on the band feels cleaner and more intuitive. The accompanying app can seem overwhelming at first, but once you start using it, it is actually useful and informative.
For Rs 13,990, I think the Gear Fit 2 is a good buy. If you are planning to invest in an efficient fitness tracker, this is definitely worth considering. In the sub 15k segment, you have FitBit Charge 2, GPS watches from the likes of TomTom as well. The Gear Fit 2 is as good when it comes to performance, plus that vivid display just makes it worth the money, at the same time making it stand out from the crowd.
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