Samsung Debuts Gear Sport, A New Fitness-Oriented Smartwatch

August 30, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

Samsung Electronics on Wednesday debuted three new wearables, with one of them being the Gear Sport, a water-resistant, fitness-oriented smartwatch meant for outdoorsy consumers who want to take their fitness and health tracking activities to the next level. The wearable is rated for underwater use up to 50 meters (165 feet), which is just one of several characteristics making it perfectly suitable for swimmers, the South Korean original equipment manufacturer (OEM) claims, adding that another aspect of the product which should cater to this particular demographic is the latest iteration of Speedo On, a Speedo-developed swimming training app which comes pre-installed on the Gear Sport. Tracking anything from stroke types and lap counts to swimming times is something that Speedo On can perform in an efficient and reliable manner, the company said.

The Gear Sport also comes with an integrated heart rate monitor which supports a broad range of functionalities and can track your heart rate regardless of whether you’re exercising or sleeping, subsequently providing you with in-depth data and various insight into your activity patterns. The smartwatch can track the user’s heart rate in real time and also comes with native support for a wide variety of third-party services including Spotify and Under Armour, with Samsung’s customers being able to easily connect their premium accounts from those platforms with the software that comes pre-installed on the Gear Sport. The apps supported by the Samsung-made wearable include MapMyRun, Endomondo, MyFitnessPal, and UA Record. While the company has yet to specifically state this, it’s understood that the list of third-party apps compatible with the Gear Sport will be expanded upon in the near future and more details on that front may follow shortly.

While the Gear Sport is more than suitable for activities like swimming and shallow diving and can reliably work in rain or under a shower and is resistant to sweat, the Seoul-based consumer electronics manufacturer still stated that the wearable shouldn’t be used for extreme activities like waterskiing and scuba diving which could lead to it clashing with any body of water at a high velocity or being submerged to extreme depths. On the other hand, the product should prove to be a capable companion for any regular fitness activity and serve as a stylish and versatile tool for complementing your everyday life.

The device is equipped with a 1.2-inch Super AMOLED display panel boasting a resolution of 360 by 360 pixels, which amounts to a pixel density of 302 pixels per inch and should make its circular screen sharp enough for most use cases. It’s powered by an unspecified system-on-chip (SoC) comprising two cores clocked at a maximum operating frequency of 1GHz and boasts 768MB of RAM, as well as 4GB of internal flash memory which isn’t expandable. The circular display panel of the Gear Sport supports Samsung’s Full-Color Always On Display (AOD) solution, allowing it to always display time and other data while simultaneously not using a lot of battery, with this particular technology being made possible thanks to the way in which Super AMOLED screens work as they light each pixel individually and are hence able to only power portions of the screen which are actually needed at any given time. The display panel of the Gear Sport is protected by a sheet of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 which should be more than capable of protecting it from scratches and light mechanical damage, Samsung suggested.

The Gear Sport is 42.9 x 44.6 x 11.6mm in size and weighs 50g without its 20mm band, thus being extremely lightweight and portable. The wearable is powered by Samsung’s Tizen and is compatible with all Galaxy-branded devices running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, as well as third-party smartphones with Android 4.4 KitKat and later version’s of Google’s omnipresent mobile operating system and any iPhone model running iOS 9 and newer iterations of Apple’s proprietary OS. The connectivity options of the Korean firm’s latest smartwatch include Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi b/g/n, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, and Beidou, Samsung said, adding that the Gear Sport is also equipped with a gyroscope, accelerometer, barometer, and an ambient light sensor, in addition to the aforementioned heart rate monitor. The wearable’s 300mAh battery supports wireless charging, though Samsung has yet to disclose what kind of longevity users can expect from the Gear Sport on a single charge.

The Gear Sport ships with support for smartphone notifications and features a military-level durability rating, in addition to boasting support for contactless payments via the NFC-enabled functionality of the Samsung Pay service, essentially allowing users to make small purchases by simply flicking their wrists. The wearable is also set to ship with a pre-installed version of Samsung Connect, the company’s proprietary Internet of Things (IoT) service which provides the device with the ability to act as a remote control unit for Samsung’s other products like TVs and speakers, as well as any iteration of the Gear VR head-mounted display.

Likewise, the Korean tech giant didn’t reveal the exact availability window of the Gear Sport, nor did it said anything about its pricing details, with the company only stating that the wearable is set to be offered in black and blue color options which may be expanded in the future. It’s presumed that the Gear Sport will be showcased at the upcoming IFA trade show whose latest iteration is scheduled to start on Friday, September 1. The other two wearables that the Seoul, South Korea-based OEM announced on Wednesday are the Gear IconX and Gear Fit2 Pro, with the latter one being set to become available for pre-orders as of tomorrow. Given how all three products are thought to hit Samsung’s stores and brick-and-mortar locations of its retail partners before this year’s holiday season, more details regarding the availability and pricing of the Gear Sport are likely to follow shortly. In the meantime, the company is also currently preparing for the launch of the Galaxy Note 8, its latest Android flagship which should be fully compatible with the Gear Sport and Samsung’s other two wearable offerings announced today.