The Samsung Gear Fit is a cool-looking fitness tracker that doubles as a smartwatch.
Designed to look more like a bracelet than a watch, Gear Fit from Samsung is a hybrid between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. The tracker is measuring your heart rate and steps throughout the day, while the smart features give you pertinent updates from you Bluetooth connected smartphone.
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The Gear Fit design
At less than an inch wide, the Gear Fit looks like a sturdy bracelet when placed on the wrist. It is only the bright 1.84 inch display that gives it away as wearable tech. The display is a curved AMOLED that will adjust to be read vertically or horizontally, depending on how you hold it.
The watch portion of the Gear Fit pops in and out of a black rubber watch band. Its oblong shape makes it difficult to read longer text, but you can manipulate it by moving your wrist and changing to a horizontal view. 128 x 432 Pixel lights up the screen in an array of different colors depending on the theme you choose.
Gear Fit is a lightweight tech device at only 27 grams, with water and dust resistance built in. Resistance makes it okay to shower in, but swimming with it on is out of the question.
How Gear Fit works as a smartwatch
The smartwatch features of the Gear Fit are limited to what comes pre-loaded. There are no apps to run and it is only compatible with a Samsung smartphone or tablet. The notifications that are sent to the wristband are phone calls, incoming texts, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter alerts, Flipboard and Google Drive. You can tap on the alert to check what is happening on your phone, or swipe to dismiss the notification until later.
There are different watch faces to choose from including one that shows your step goal for the day and another that features the local weather data which it picks up from your connected Samsung mobile device. You can import photos to make a customised wallpaper, or choose from the array stored in the watches memory.
The Gear Fit as a fitness tracker
The back of the smartwatch contains a green LED which is able to monitor your heart rate while the wearable tech tracks your steps through a built in pedometer. You can set a goal for how much you walk each day, which the Gear Fit will track for you in measured steps. You may find that you get a better heart rate reading by wearing the watch on the underside of your wrist rather than on top.
Once in exercise mode your heart rate is being checked continually, and displayed on the screen for you to see. You enter whether you will be cycling, running, walking or hiking and then will be prompted to set a goal of time, distance or calories burned. Based on the read heartbeat, the coaching mode will let you know if you should push harder in your exercise or slow things down. You will be alerted to these changes with a small vibration, just like when you get a notification from your phone.
One of the main problems with exercise mode is that you are unable to turn off your other notifications. This means that while you are running you are going to be buzzed for incoming calls, text messages and likes on your tweets. This makes it difficult to discern whether the coach is trying to tell you something, or if you have a pending notification on your cell phone.
The Samsung Gear Fit is available through the Australian Samsung site for $149 and comes in black only. Additional coloured bands are sold separately. Before you make this your wearable tech make sure that you look at other smartwatches and fitness trackers and compare the array of features. While the Gear Fit is lower in cost than most, it is lacking in a number of the features that would make it a true smartwatch.