Early impressions: Samsung Gear Fit
April 11, 2014
Of the three wrist devices that Samsung announced earlier this year, the one that really jumped out at us was the Gear Fit. It's part fitness tracker, part smartwatch, and sports a wicked design with a curved display. The Gear Fit has touched down in Gizmagville, and, before we give you our full review, we have some initial thoughts.
Update: Our full Gear Fit review is now live.
While the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are pretty minor upgrades over the original Galaxy Gear, the Gear Fit is something altogether new. Instead of the Dick Tracy-like smartwatch design that those devices give you, the Gear Fit is more of a narrow band. We've seen some pretty silly gimmicks attached to curved and flexible displays, but this is the first device I've seen that knocks it out of the park. Samsung nailed the look and feel here.
That 1.84-in curved screen is gorgeous. It's sharp, colorful, and I just can't get enough of swiping my finger over that contoured slab of Gorilla Glass. You can also choose whether to view the screen horizontally or vertically. Horizontal looks better, and makes sense if you're wearing the Fit on the inside of your wrist. If you wear it on the outside, like a regular watch, then vertical is probably going to be more practical.
So what it does do? Well, we have a heart rate sensor on board – much like the Galaxy S5 and the two new Gear watches. The sensor sits on the inside of the Fit's main body, so it can tap into those veins pumping blood through your wrist. It's easy to measure, and appears to be accurate so far.
Like any good workout device, the Gear Fit also tracks steps. And if you want to combine the two sensors, the Fit's Exercise app tracks your progress and your heart rate at the same time. While you're tracking, a simple lift of your wrist will turn the screen on and show you the pertinent info.
One bonus that the Gear Fit gives you, that most other fitness devices don't, is notifications from your smartphone. Like full-fledged smartwatches, your Gear will vibrate and display new alerts on its screen. Unlike the Galaxy Gear, Gear 2, and Neo, there's no voice control. So if you want to reply to a message, you can only choose from some canned responses that you can customize on your phone. There's also no mic or speaker for taking phone calls on the Fit.
There isn't a lot going on besides that. It has built-in media controls, so you can do things like leave your phone in your pocket or on its charger while you stream music to a connected speaker. There's also a sleep tracker, which I haven't had a chance to try yet. Just remember that if you're planning on charging it at night, the sleep tracking feature won't do you much good. Samsung estimates that the Fit will last three to four days on a charge, and so far it appears to be draining pretty slowly.
It's too early to jump to conclusions, but so far I'd say the Gear Fit might hit a sweet spot for a lot of customers. It doesn't try too hard to replicate smartphone functionality. Just some basic fitness tracking, a second screen for notifications, and one hell of a cool design. Is that worth US$200? Stay tuned.
We'll have more on Samsung's new devices soon, including our full Gear Fit review. In the meantime, you can also check out our early Galaxy S5 impressions and our comparison of Samsung's first four wearables.