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Featured Review: Samsung Gear Fit

June 7, 2014 - Written By Alexander Maxham

The Samsung Gear Fit is where fitness trackers and smartwatches meet. When the Gear Fit was announced back in February alongside the Samsung Galaxy S5, I was in love. I wanted the Gear Fit, until they said that it would only work with select Samsung devices, and that pretty much killed it for me. But since getting the Gear Fit in to review from Samsung, that’s changed a bit. I still really like the Gear Fit, I like the display, I like the size, I like just about everything about it. It works great, and battery life is pretty amazing as well. The Gear fit has a curved Super AMOLED display which is about 1.84-inches in size. While the Gear Fit doesn’t use apps, like the Gear 2, or a normal smartwatch, it does what it does pretty well. And that’s saying something after the review I gave the original Galaxy Gear last year. Samsung has learned a lot, and that’s probably an understatement, with their wearables in about 6 months time. So let’s jump into the full review and see what they’ve done right and what still needs to be fixed.

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Hardware

The Gear Fit is probably one of the best looking wearables you can buy right now. I said “buy” because the Moto 360 isn’t out yet, but that looks amazing as well. It’s a pretty small device, the Gear Fit is. It has a curved display, so it curves to your wrist and it’s not all that thick either, surprisingly. On the front is your 1.84-inch display, and the side has your home/power button. Underneath – the part touching your wrist – houses the charger connection and the heart rate monitor. As far as charging it goes, it comes with a little cradle that you stick on there and charge it with a regular microUSB cable. Nothing too fancy really.

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Software

The software here is Tizen, so I’m getting my first glimpse at Tizen even though it’s different on wearables than smartphones. But I have to say, I noticed zero lag while using the Gear Fit. Everything seems to just work. With the Gear Fit you can control your media, use the “Find my device” to find the device that you have it paired with, as well as all the exercise and fitness stuff. Which tis in with S Health as you’d expect. So there’s no third-party apps here like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, etc., but I’d hate to be reading a tweet on that size screen. I think that fits the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo a bit better, but that’s just my opinion.

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Heart Rate Monitor, Charging, and Water-Resistance

Similar to the Galaxy S5, it does have a heart rate monitor, which does work great. I used it after I took a nice walk the other day and it was able to get my heart rate pretty quickly, which is always what you want to see with stuff like this. Charging the Gear Fit is quite easy and charges pretty quick. Just put it’s little cradle on and then connect it to a microUSB charger. It usually charged pretty quickly for me, but that’s likely due to it having a smaller battery. Battery life was quite good as well. The first day I had it, I had about 79% at the end of the day, and was able to get through about 4 days before needing to recharge it. Definitely better than what the Galaxy Gear did. Given that this is a fitness tracker, it’s expected to be waterproof as you’re going to be sweating and likely to get sweat all over the Gear Fit. And it does work well out in the rain, or even in the shower.

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Final Thoughts

I really do love the Gear Fit, but not enough to buy a Samsung smartphone to use it. If Samsung had made the Gear Fit compatible with all Android devices running Android 4.3 and above out of the box, that’d be a whole other story. As I would have bought it on launch day. But for $199, you can definitely do worse when it comes to fitness trackers and smartwatches. If you own a Samsung device or two, then this is a good wearable to pick up, or you can pick up the Gear 2 Neo (we’ll have that review next week, so stay tuned).

The Samsung Gear Fit is available for $199 right now.