Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit Review

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Wearables are heard quite a lot this year, and why not after all they are the next big thing after smartphones. We have all witnessed smartwatches and fitness trackers, while some of us might have bought one. But a combination of the two? Still rare eh?

When it comes to some innovation which has a potential yet to be unleashed, remember Samsung. The South Korean tech giant in its launch spree had announced a smartwatch cum fitness tracker last year which was launched in India this year along with the Samsung Galaxy S5. Dubbed as the Galaxy Gear Fit, it packs a beautiful display in a sporty design. Want to know more? Read our review below.

Hardware

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Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit is very ergonomic in the sense that it could suit well on my skinny wrist. Comparing with the Galaxy Gear 2 which was launched along with the Gear Fit, this wearable is lightweight and comes with a band instead of the heavy lockable strap. The curved 1.84-inch Super AMOLED display is absolutely gorgeous. But ain’t this a usual deal with Samsung? Well this is how they roll.

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Unfortunately, all the awesomeness of the display goes down the flush in bright sunlight due to its poor outdoor visibility. There is actually a reason behind this. There’s an ambient light sensor generally on smartphones which could handle the auto brightness. Since it was found missing on this device we couldn’t expect the magic to happen without complete tricks. As a solution to this, Samsung has included an outdoor visibility mode which needs to be activated manually from settings to get something seen on the display.

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Moving beyond the screen, the Gear Fit is actually just a module that fits in an interchangeable wristband. This gives an opportunity for users to swap colors which are for now available in six colors. The Gear Fit is actually very comfortable to wear and you could easily handle it for hours without noticing.

The narrow primary module builds-in a heart rate monitor at the back with the Samsung proprietary charging port. It has a small physical home button on top just like those one a digital watch which goes unnoticed until you actually look for it. This button is assigned for home by default but can be customized for any application there on the device. Inside the watch, there is Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, an accelerometer and gyroscope. For GPS it has to rely on the paired smartphone for extracting data.

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How does it charge? Well as mentioned above there is a charging port at the back which connects to a small dock provided in the box. This charging dock is then connected to the microUSB charger which fills electrical energy into the device.

Performance

The Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit runs neither on Android nor on Tizen but it runs on a proprietary OS build inhouse by Samsung. It does not allow any third party application to work with the wearable infact there ain’t any applications as such on this device comparing with the Tizen running Gear 2.

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The watch needs to be paired with any one of the 17 supported Samsung Galaxy handset through an application called Samsung Gear Fit Manager which needs to be downloaded from Samsung App Store on the smartphone. Once the watch is setup, you are greeted with a home screen with a clock which can be customized with different faces. There are 10 different menu options which expands the functionality of this device and a settings menu which manages the overall interface of the watch.

There are two sections in which the usability of this watch can be divided – a smartwatch and a fitness tracker. As a smartwatch it features all third party app notifications that come across on the paired handset. Just like the Galaxy Gear 2, it shows part of the messages on the small screen while to view the complete message you have to take out your smartphone. Along with this, it features a timer, media controller and stopwatch but no third party apps as of yet.

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Making a lot more sense as a fitness tracker it features a pedometer, sleep tracker, heart rate monitor, exercise etc. all in one S-Health application. Again with the messy sync between the smartphone and the smartwatch it does not calibrate well. The shady part is the heart rate monitor which alike S5, and Gear 2 is unreliable. Sleep tracker does not work the way we were expecting. It works on accelerometer to track movement and judge whether the person is sleeping or not. Secondly, it has be enabled manually and if one forgets to enable this feature the watch can’t record your sleeping activity. For now you can see how well the performance is but some of these problems are unknown and will remain unknown until they are pointed out. We expected them to be solved gradually with time just like the what Samsung did with the original Gear.

Conclusion

Samsung did a fantastic job in crafting the Galaxy Gear Fit and being the first of its kind they do deserve some credit here. Blending a smartwatch and a fitness tracker is one thing that surely is and will be accepted by the public as no one wants to burden their wrists with bands one for each purpose. There is always a market for fusion and getting a heart rate monitor, sleep tracker etc. adds to the brownie points.

The bad thing here is the execution. Though everything looks good on paper it actually is known by performance and that’s where it lacks. There is scope for improvement which we might see very soon going by the history as Samsung never stops trying. For now, this might be a buy if you don’t mind the missing automation and want to go for the looks and the screen.

Pros:

  • Longer battery life
  • Comfortable to wear

Cons:

  • No app ecosystem
Install or Not Scorecard
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