Samsung Gear Fit
Great display; easy to use
Samsung has had a few cracks at the smartwatch game and it has clearly learned a lot from the experience.
The main use-case for smartwatches is receiving notifications. The Gear Fit handles this easily. Inbound SMS and messages from other services such as Facebook are displayed on the watch and you can even reply using the canned responses programmed into the watch. For example, if you receive a message, you can, with just a couple of taps reply with “I’ll call you back later”. However, we’d like the ability to modify those canned messages.
The Gear Fit crosses the bridge between the smartwatch and fitness band categories. There’s a pedometer built into the Gear Fit, so you can track your steps and a heart rate monitor that works via a light sensor on the back of the watch. These features make it a useful tool when exercising. We took it on several runs and it was handy for tracking distance and intensity, although the pedometer is not a perfect measure of distance.
We compared the heart rate monitor with a chest strap system and found that while the average heart rate it measured was close, the highs and lows were more extreme on the Gear Fit than on the chest strap. In our view it passes the ‘good enough’ test for recreational exercisers.
Other than the touchscreen, there’s just one button on the Gear Fit. This returns you to the home screen and you can configure a double-press to being you to a favourite function.
Unlike many smartwatches, the Gear Fit looks quite elegant and not at all like a geeky gadget. However, it is annoying at times. Most of the time, the screen is off and only activates when you move your wrist to a viewing position. We found that it occasionally lit while we were asleep – there’s a sleep quality monitoring feature – and disturbed us when in lighter sleep.
The downside: the Gear Fit won’t work with your iPhone. In fact, it only works with specific Samsung smartphones and tablets. We tested it for several weeks with a Samsung Galaxy S5 and were very impressed. The Gear Fit works with Samsung’s S Health app that is designed to be a central point for gathering your health and fitness data. It works reasonably well, although we’re yet to find the perfect health app. In particular, we found the food tracking part of the app hard to use when compared to apps for the Jawbone UP and Fitbit.
The Samsung Gear Fit is an attractive smartwatch that offers a good balance between form and function. The OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display can be customised and the touch interface is intelligently arranged, so that you are rarely more than a tap or two away from accessing most functions.