Samsung’s been trying to get us fit and healthy for years, but even now we’ve yet to see smartwatches and fitness trackers really come into their own. Of course, it hasn’t helped that Samsung’s wearables have often only worked with other Samsung devices. Indeed, its first Gear Fit wearable, which was released back in 2014, was “one of the most comprehensive wearables” we’d ever used at the time, but it was still a bit clunky to use and the fact it only paired with certain Samsung smartphones limited its appeal even further.
Fast forward to 2016 and Samsung’s now on its second generation of Gear Fit devices with the upcoming Gear Fit 2. From the outset, it looks to be a massive step up from its predecessor, adding in several new features as well as a gorgeous new curved AMOLED display.
Release date and price
We don’t yet know when the Gear Fit 2 will be released or how much it will cost at the moment, but Samsung told us we should expect to see it some time in “July-ish” when we pressed them at our hands on experience, so expect to see the fitness tracker appear sometime this summer.
Samsung’s remained tight-lipped on pricing, too, but if the first Gear Fit is anything to go by, we can make a pretty educated guess that it will probably be priced somewhere around the £200 mark on release. It’s worth keeping an eye out on Samsung’s official Gear Fit 2 website to find out when we can expect it at retail and how much you’ll have to fork out for it.
Right off the bat, the Gear Fit 2 is very easy to use. You’ll need to download the Gear Fit app and pair it with your phone using a unique Bluetooth code, but once that’s done, you’re all set. It works with all Galaxy devices running Android 4.3 or later, as well as non-Galaxy devices running Android 4.4 or later, but in each case your phone will need to have at least 1.5GB of RAM at its disposal, so budget phones probably won’t be compatible depending on its specification.
Apart from that, though, it borrows many of the same features you’ll find on the Gear S2. The display turns on when you raise your arm and goes dark when you lower it again, and you can customise the watch face however you see fit, including showing your bpm or steps taken first instead of the time. Swiping left on the screen brings up the many activities you can track, too, be it floors climbed, steps taken or plain, old simple calorie counting.
Like the Gear S2, the Gear Fit 2 can also help keep track of your caffeine and water intake, which you can manually input each day to give you a daily average. It’s a feature that’s nice to see, as we often forget to drink enough H2O from time to time.
Swipe down and you’ll find the settings menu, including music player options and screen brightness. One particularly great feature is the outdoor brightness mode, which really bumps the brightness up to 11 when you need it most, making the screen more visible when you go for a run in the sun.
There’s built-in GPS, too, allowing you to leave your phone at home when you go out running. This not only tracks where you’ve been, but you can also share your routes on social media to brag to your friends. All data from your activities can be synced with S Health as well, so if you’re already using the app, the Gear Fit 2 should be able to integrate seamlessly into your fitness routine. Add in a sleep tracker and IP68 water-proofing and Samsung hopes you’ll never want to take it off.
Build quality and specifications
It’s just as well, then, that it’s comfortable to wear. I’ve got pretty skinny wrists, but the fit felt great – even if I did have to adjust the strap to its tightest setting. Made from a kind of soft rubber, it feels like it would withstand a fair amount of rough and tumble, and it shouldn’t stain or soak up sweat either.
When using it on a treadmill and exercise bike, it didn’t get in the way of my workout, and provided fast and up to the minute information, displaying my bpm and calories burned with what seems like very little effort. While the original Gear Fit suffered a bit from sensors not picking stuff up correctly with more vigorous movement, I felt the Gear Fit 2 was substantially more accurate.
I’ll have to wait and see how it holds up under more prolonged testing, but there’s no denying that its 1.5in curved Super AMOLED screen is one of its most attractive features. With a resolution of 216×342, it has around twice the number of pixels as the previous Gear Fit, and the display looks all the better for it.
It also has 512MB of RAM and a dual core 1GHz processor, which felt very fast and snappy when navigating through its menus. Likewise, its 4GB of built-in storage should be able to hold around 500 music tracks for taking with you on the move.
The 200mAH battery should, in theory, surpass the charge length of the original Gear Fit, but we’ll have to wait and see what its real life usage figures are once we get one in for testing. Samsung claims it should be able to last around two days of regular use on a full charge, with around a day if you’re constantly fiddling about with it or have the GPS enabled.
Either way, the Gear Fit 2 looks to be a substantial improvement over Samsung’s first generation device, and we’ll be sure to bring you our full and final impressions as soon as possible.