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Smartwatches and fitness bands are becoming more popular as they advance and offer better functionality. The Samsung Gear Fit is somewhat unique as it offers the best of both worlds’ features operating as a smartwatch and as a fitness band.
The fitness band and smartwatch combo is priced at just $200 which is within a very reasonable range for the smartwatch market but let’s take a closer look and see if it can offer everything Samsung says it does.
Display and Appearance
The overall appearance of the Samsung Gear Fit in a word is beautiful. The screen really makes it standout and is the focal piece with a 1.84 inch super AMOLED curved display that melts into the band and around your wrist creating a very modern and sleek look. The color screen offers very vibrant colors although it struggles in sunlight and is barely readable, which is disappointing.
After all, the fact it does operate as a fitness band means you will be using outdoors quite a bit so having problems reading the display in sunlight is not a good sign. This is a flaw in the design that really should have been addressed but apparently they decided to let it go for some reason. You can increase the screen brightness for just a few minutes but then it resets back to its factory settings.
The unit has interchangeable bands so you can change colors easily, adding a new look and feel by simply swapping bands, a nice touch. While some of its competitors feel big and bulky, this watch feels light and is effortless to wear over long periods of time.
It does offer a sporty although modern look but it certainly is not elegant so if you want something with an upscale look it is probably best to look at another model.
Features and Functions
The Fit is full of many features such as a heart monitor, customizable home button that can be used as a shortcut to other functions and apps as well as Bluetooth 4.0. A charging port is hidden underneath the watch and an accelerometer and gyroscope are both included as well.
The unit is waterproof in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes so going about your normal activities in the rain or showering and cleaning is not a problem. For the operating system, Samsung made a strange choice this time by going with a special proprietary system that limits what the watch can do and its compatibility with apps.
Most third party apps will not work with the watch which means users are limited to only what is offered by Samsung for the Fit only. This is a big downside, unfortunately. This certainly could change if the watch becomes popular enough but it is not exactly a great way to start a product in our opinion.
- Choose from 10 themes
- Make your own wallpaper option is available
- Display a pedometer, weather information, appointments and a second clock
- Customized features and appearance
- Battery indicator and readout
- Over ten menu options available
Operating as a Fitness Band
The operation as a fitness band is based upon the S Health app which is Samsung’s fitness tracker application that is capable of syncing with all your Samsung devices and will update every few hours automatically with devices constantly talking to one another.
The main component involved is your Samsung account so whatever devices you want to keep synced and updated with your latest information you need to have connected with your account.
Health S App: The S Health app monitors a whole range of data from how many calories you are eating to your current heart rate and may other items. You can pick and choose from a wide range of selected data to track depending on what is the most important to you.
The idea of most of the Fit’s fitness tracking functions are fine but some of the core features like the heart monitor just do not work very well. The heart monitor seems to be very sensitive to sweat and too much movement. It is not able to sustain accurate measurements and much of the time is just completely way off.
Some of the features were very nice though and worked fine. To begin a workout on the Fit all you do is tap on the exercise type that you will be doing. The Fit gives you several options that range from walking, running, hiking and even a cycling option. Once your option is selected, the fitness band will start tracking your time and distance as well as other presets that you have selected.
These features all seemed to work well and started tracking our workout without any issues. However, one problem is there is no way to pause the workout. Therefore, if you have to take a small break or pause the workout for any reason, then your data will not be accurate. This is something that could be quite inconvenient for some users depending on your workout habits.
If you normally take a break by choice or necessity during your workout then the Fit is not a good choice until this function is fixed or adjusted to allow for pauses.
The ability to sync all your data through your Samsung account and have your phone and Fit talk is nice. However, the actual sensors and operational features of the Fit as fitness tracker need some fine tuning in order to deliver what will be acceptable for wider adoption.
Overall: The heart rate monitor, the inability to pause workouts, the accuracy of the pedometer and several other features need to be revisited by Samsung and improved. The accuracy needs improvement and the functionality for better control needs significant improvement as well.
Nice concepts overall, but they just did not work well when trying to use the watch in real everyday scenarios.
Operating as a Smartwatch
Like many smartwatches, the Gear Fit is basically an extension of a smartphone. The smartwatch will give you notifications for messages, calls that are incoming, email messages received and notifications from some apps as well. Most of those features work well.
However the watch struggles a bit with longer messages simply because the limited size of the screen available as reading space, not much you can do about this issue.
Also, remember, the watch offers no third-party apps due to its specialized operating system so the overall functionality is a bit limited.
Final Thoughts – Is it Worth the Money?
The Samsung Gear Fit is a nice idea and the appearance is simply beautiful, no doubt. However, the overall functionality of the smartwatch and fitness band hybrid left a lot to be desired. Accuracy and the limitation of no third party apps are at the core of the problem and should be addressed by Samsung if they expect the product to go anywhere.
Our overall feeling was a little a disappointed as we were expecting a little more from a watch that looked so nice on the outside.
If you own a Samsung smartphone and can find this smartwatch for a decent price (see here for latest), it’s worth the functionality for fitness alone.
Samsung Gear Fit
Quality of Design9.1/10
- Waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes
- Syncs well with Samsung product stuite
- Built for fitness
- Outstanding physical design and ergnomics
- Only really useful for Samsung smartphone owners
- Some inconsistencies with fitness tracking accuracy
- Hard to read in direct sunlight
- No pause feature during workout
- A bit pricey for what you get