Today brought about a special treat worthy of any good exercise or general summer outing. Samsung’s Gear Fit2 arrived at my door courtesy of FedEx, in a package that looks every bit as sporty as it does classy. Utilizing Samsung’s black and blue color scheme from the Galaxy S7, the Gear Fit2 looks and feels like a Samsung device in every way, and these days that’s a very good thing. Samsung has been in the wearables game longer than any other OEM out there, and it really shows in both their hardware and software designs of late. Samsung’s Gear S2 is an excellent example of just how good the company has gotten at making wearable products, and after a full day with the Gear Fit2 I’m already ready to claim another victory for the biggest smart devices manufacturer in the world.
While it might look similar to the original Gear Fit at first glance, Samsung’s hardware design has evolved considerably since that initial product release. What you’ll find here is a product that’s very uniquely shaped, one that’s curved to you wrist both on the front and back, and as a result feels more ergonomic than a large smartwatch or some other fitness accessories I’ve tried in the past. There’s no shortage of choices when it comes to fitness devices and their shapes, sizes and styles, but Samsung’s feels very unobtrusive all while holding on to that distinct Samsung look. Initially I felt like it may be a bit large for its use, but it’s certainly not heavy at all. The body itself is made of a rather light plastic, although it does have a metal trim around the sides of the display for a more solid look and feel.
Given what’s inside compared to some other fitness trackers it’s rather impressive that Samsung has kept this so light, especially with such a large display. This is using a 216 x 432 resolution 1.5-inch curved Super AMOLED display, which looks absolutely gorgeous as you would expect from a Samsung display. It’s of course got those gorgeous infinite black levels, incredible colors and most importantly it’s ultra easy to see outside, even in direct sunlight. Being that this is a fitness tracker that last part is likely the most pertinent thing to what’s vital to making a good display in a fitness tracker, and this one absolutely delivers.
On the right side of the device is a pair of buttons that work as a back/action button and a home/app button. The band itself is incredibly comfortable, and was actually the first thing I noticed about the device’s design and feeling when I pulled it out of its packaging. This is using a very soft TPU style material that’s ultra light and less rigid than other TPU style bands I’ve used on wearables before. It clasps around the back with a loop and pull system, followed by many adjustable holes and a simple push clasp. There are no flat overlapping parts inside to annoy your wrist, and even the heart rate sensors and charging ports on the underside of the unit are all flush to create less friction and irritation for your skin.
Thankfully I’ve got a Galaxy S7 lying around here, because right now Samsung hasn’t seemed to make the Gear Fit2 plugin available on the Play Store just yet. Likely due to the fact that the product doesn’t even launch for another week and a half, but this means that just like the Gear S2, the Gear Fit2 will be compatible with basically every Android phone on the market right now. Samsung’s own software will likely work best with the Gear Fit2, including not just the companion Gear app on your phone, but of course S-Health as well. If you’d rather not use S-Health you can always rely on Google Fit or a handful of other supported apps that help track and store fitness data for later use.
The band itself is powered by Samsung’s Tizen OS, and features a very custom UI that will be familiar to those that have used the Gear S2. Of course being a tall rectangular display this one navigates just a bit differently than the Gear S2, with pages of widgets on the screen ready to be used with a single swipe and tap. Out of the box the Gear Fit2 is ready to count calories burned, track your exercises and steps, climb stairs, monitor your heart rate through out the day and even help you keep track of how much water you drink, how much caffeine you consume and more. Samsung has continued to build their fitness repertoire over the years, and all that expertise and app design is here in a single neat package for you to use, and it takes almost no time to learn the UI Samsung has put together here.
Fitness tracking is even done automatically, which is incredibly impressive to say the least. On my initial test I went out for a nearly 4 mile bicycle right in the hot Florida summer heat. During this 28 minute session the Gear Fit2 constantly monitored my heart rate, tracked my GPS location and told me what the weather was during the course of my trip. All the information Samsung couples together to deliver a valuable and full picture of your workout is nothing short of impressive, and the organization of information on the screen is brilliant. There’s even full notification support here for phones as well, and I found that replying to messages through Google Hangouts worked exactly like I expected it to. I can’t wait to dive deeper into the world of the Gear Fit2 over the next week, and will of course be delivering that review in the very near future.