Before we get started, I would like to give a huge thanks to Samsung for giving us a Gear Fit on Launch Day.
Along with the Galaxy S5, Samsung released three brand new smart watches: Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and the Gear Fit. The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are both successors of Samsung’s first smart watch the Galaxy Gear but the Gear Fit has an all new design and it’s simply gorgeous. The Gear Fit was built with fitness in mind but when you first lay eyes on the device you can’t overlook how well it was put together. It’s certainly one of Samsung’s most beautiful products to date.
The Gear Fit unlike other smart watches has a rectangular screen that is 1.84-inches at a 432×128 screen resolution. It has a curved Super Amoled display which is fully touch capable. The device is powered by a 180 MHz ARM Cortex M4 CPU and 512 MB ROM, has three sensors, an Accelerometer, Gyro and Heart Rate sensor. In terms of connectivity, it has Bluetooth 4.0 and is IP67 Water and Dust Resistant. I didn’t get the device completely wet but during exercise it got sweaty and it was splashed a bit when I had to wash my hands. It survived both.
Inside of the box
Before you are able to setup and use the Gear Fit, it has to first be connected to a compatible device via Bluetooth that has the Gear Fit Manager installed. This can be a bit annoying if you don’t have a compatible device. Just note that without a device that supports the Gear Fit, it is completely inoperable. After connecting to a compatible device, you are then able to operate the Gear Fit on its own.
The devices that currently support the Gear Fit are Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy Grand 2, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Note 3 Neo, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 Zoom, Galaxy S4 Active, Galaxy S4 mini, Galaxy Mega 6.3, Galaxy Mega 5.8, Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition), Galaxy NotePRO (12.2) and Galaxy TabPRO (12.2/10.1/8.4). Samsung has plans to expand this list of compatible devices.
Gear Fit Manager
When connected to a compatible device, if there is an update for the Gear Fit which in our case there was, you will get a prompt to first update the device then you are able to configure to your liking. In addition to updating the device, the Gear Fit Manager allows you to change home screen backgrounds and colors, to change watch faces and select which apps are allowed to send notifications to your device as well as to adjust settings.
Samsung’s Super Amoled displays are known for displaying stunning colors and having excellent viewing angles and the display on the Gear Fit is not short of any of the above. The curved super Amoled display (the first curved display on a wearable product) does an excellent job of reproducing colors and thanks to the curved display it looks even better when viewed from any angle. The brightness option on the display is measured on a scale of 1 to 5. When at its brightest, I was able to see clearly what’s on the display quite easily while outdoors- even when in the sun- with no problems.
Customizing the Gear Fit is quite easy. By using the Gear Fit Manager, I was able to easily crop images from gallery on the Galaxy Smartphone and they would automatically be transferred to the Gear Fit as a wallpaper. Within display settings on the Gear Fit are different colors which are available to be selected as background colors. Change between various clock designs is also possible. Samsung also made available six different color bands- red, orange, green, blue, black and a kind of brown which you can purchase separately.
Operating the Device
Samsung recently released an update to the Gear Fit and one of the new options available is the ability to have the display rotate vertically instead of only horizontally. Now from reviews on popular tech websites across the internet, lacking a vertical display option was a downside for the Gear Fit as operating the device becomes a bit awkward at times because of the position of the display on your wrist. Now with a vertical display option, operating the device is great. The touch display works well and the icons on the device are beautifully positioned with three options at any given time which are large enough. So, no matter the size of your finger, navigating and device options is a breeze.
To wake up and shut down the device, it takes a simple click of the button that’s located on the side of the device. When the Gear Fit is placed on your wrist, moving your hand in a position to look at the display automatically turns the display on (This is a sweet feature, I find myself doing this in crowds just to show off).
Within the Gear Fit Manager are options to select which notifications are shown on the Gear Fit. Depending on how frequent you receive notifications, it might be wise to only select important apps such as mail, message and calls to push notifications to your device. This is due to the vibrating alert that the Gear Fit gives off when a notification comes in which might become overwhelming and can distract when using the device while you exercise. In addition to the vibrating alert, other notifications include onscreen display of alarms, incoming calls and messages with a short preview of messages onscreen. When a call comes in, you can either reject it all together or reject it with a quick response message to the caller.
The main purpose of the Gear Fit is to act as a fitness assistance and in doing so it utilizes the Heart Rate Monitor, Accelerometer, and Gyro sensors. A quick swipe downwards when in vertical mode or to the left if in horizontal mode reveals the Heart Rate Monitor for checking your heart rate and other exercise options. Within the exercise category are options for running, walking, cycling and hiking as well as exercise history and exercise notifications. Under each option is a sub menu to set an exercise goal such as the distance that you want to run, walk, hike or ride. The Gear Fit also stores a history of your exercise events which is then synced to your Galaxy smartphone.
Heart Rate Monitor and charging connectors
Within the running option, you also get to select a coaching mode. When in this mode, the Gear Fit gives off small vibrations and displays onscreen instructions for you to speed up when going too slow or to keep up the pace. I really enjoyed using this option and it was one of the stand out features that made me really think of the Gear Fit as a fully capable smart watch coupled with fitness capabilities.
The Gear Fit also has a sleep mode that records and saves your sleeping information which may be utilized later.
Battery Life and Charging
Samsung claims up to four hours of battery life for the Gear Fit. This claim is quite reasonable as I was able to use the device mostly on average usage and after five days, I had 28% of battery remaining. It all depends on your usage, but four days of usage seems pretty spot on. To charge the device, a small clip-on adapter that connects to the bottom of the device is provided and a Micro-USB cable connects the adapter.
The Gear Fit performed, in my opinion, at 100% every time it’s being used. It never itched nor did it show any sign of slowing down when completing the tasks I threw at it- navigate options, change wallpapers, use the Heart Rate Monitor and navigate other options within settings. I am really hoping that Samsung adds some kind of animated clock style to the device in the future as this would really have me showing off even more when in crowds or with friends.
The Gear Fit is the first fitness device that I have had the chance to really spend time with. It’s beautiful, very lightweight and fits comfortably on the wrist. It works well as a smart watch managing notifications, controlling your music playback as well as providing the user with multiple display customization options. As a fitness assistance, the Gear Fit does what it promises and sometimes just a little bit more. Just simply having a fitness device as cool as the Gear Fit is enough to motivate you to get up off the couch or off the keyboards- in my case- and get fit. A few more customizations and features to aid with the smart watch aspects would be great but overall the Gear Fit is a solid device that delivers what was promised.