Samsung Gear Fit 2 review

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Samsung Gear Fit 2

The Gear Fit 2 launched at $179 (£179, about AU$300) but you may be able to find it for a little bit cheaper now.

Samsung hasn’t seen fit to release the Gear Fit 2 in Australia yet, but both the US and UK have got the device readily available from most retailers now.

Display

Paramount to the Fit’s design ID is the curved touchscreen. Don’t worry, it didn’t go anywhere. It’s back with the Gear Fit 2, vibrant (and shiny) as ever, although slightly reshaped.

This rectangular display is now wider than before, offering more screen real estate for fitting in additional information. That means extra words in a notification, a more robust media player, and a full map of your run provided by the built-in GPS function, to name a few use cases that take advantage of it best.

The Super AMOLED touch-sensitive display found here is a bit smaller than before (1.5-inches down from 1.84-inches), but it boosts the pixel density up to 322ppi, which trounces the original’s 245ppi display.

The bezel surrounding the display has also seen a reworking to its benefit. It’s been reduced, giving the Gear Fit 2 a more edge-to-edge look.

Hardware

On the hardware side of things, the Gear Fit 2 is a step up in nearly every way. Much like the Microsoft Band 2 did to the original, Samsung’s latest makes its predecessor look bad.

It features the same dual-core Exynos 3250 clocked at 1.6GHz found in the Samsung Gear S2, way up from the custom M4 processor that ran at 160MHz.

Samsung Gear Fit 2 specs

Compatibility: Phones running Android 4.4+ or iOS 9
Display: 1.5-inch Touch Curved AMOLED
CPU: Dual-core 1GHz
Storage: 4GB
Battery life: 200mAh – 3 to 4 days
IP rating: IP68

In another slightly embarrassing comparison, the Gear Fit 2 spanks its again with 512MB RAM and 4GB of onboard storage for music and installing Samsung-made apps in the near future. The previous Gear Fit came with 8MB RAM and 16MB of ROM storage.

The Samsung Gear Fit 2 runs on Tizen, the company’s own pride and joy of an operating system. Again, like with the Gear S2, opting for its own OS doesn’t lead to more exclusivity in regards to the phones it can operate with, but less. As such, it works with any Android phone running KitKat or above. And recently, Samsung did iPhone users a favor and made it compatible with any phone running iOS 9 and above.

While Samsung has opened the party to a greater audience, you’ll need a few apps to get started. First off, the Samsung Gear app to setup and periodically update the Gear Fit 2 and another app, S Health to dig into your fitness metrics in more detail. And although setting things up is fairly simple, two apps required is one too many.

Performance

Much like the first Gear Fit, one of the Gear Fit 2’s marquee features is that it can funnel notifications in from your smartphone. But, as a fitness tracker, it obviously does much more than that, and doesn’t even need your smartphone to operate.

Right from the start, the Gear Fit 2 makes it clear that it’s totally cool if you don’t want to set it up with a smartphone. So, for a while, that’s exactly what I did.

Sensors

Just as the Gear Fit 2 automatically tracks your lack of movement, it can detect unique movements and begin tracking your exercise of choice without any input. By utilizing its bundle of sensors, (which include a heart rate monitor, accelerometer, gyroscope and barometer) this tracker can independently detect walking, running, lifting or some light yoga, to name a few.

Even without pairing the Gear Fit 2 to a smartphone, it’s able to offer a fairly intuitive and useful read-out of your daily fitness metrics. Calories, for an example, are broken down in a timeline format and illustrates the general intensity of your movements throughout the day. Some people, like myself, are pretty content with this top-level knowledge alone.

This fitness-centric adaptation of Tizen OS is made up of slides that are dedicated to different methods of fitness. Each one offers a compact, but surprisingly detailed glimpse into your recent progress.

Of course, once paired with an Android smartphone, the experience only grows from there. If you’ve installed Samsung Gear and S Health onto your compatible Android or iOS smartphone, the Gear Fit 2 will automatically feed it your fitness metrics.

Aside from the greater depth in detail, the biggest change you’ll encounter when it’s connected to a phone is the slew of notifications coming through. The Gear Fit 2 does a good job of displaying them and providing a dedicated space for them to live, which is just a right swipe away from the home page. And if they become too annoying, you can turn off the vibration effect that each one triggers.

Though most notifications are simply an FYI, you can take limited action on some of them. Gmail, for instance, allows you to delete, archive, or reply with a small list of basic responses.

As part of its notification services, the Gear Fit 2, of course, displays texts and even notifies you of a call coming through. You can tweak the text replies to better fit your character so that a quick text reply to a missed call actually seems like something you’d type and less robotic than the default options.

The Samsung Gear Fit 2 has received a tech spec overhaul and as a result, it’s zippy, even when tracking an exercise and overloaded with notifications coming through. The general day-to-day experience was a pleasant one, which its comfort, the capabilities of its hardware and the Tizen OS each play a part in providing.

Compatibility

The Gear Fit was only compatible with Samsung phones, but the Gear Fit 2 supports almost all modern smartphones.

If you’re sporting an iPhone running iOS 9 or above you’ll be able to use the Gear Fit 2. That’s every iPhone from the iPhone 5 onward.

You’ll also be able to use the Gear Fit 2 with any Android device running 4.4 KitKat software and features 1.5GB of RAM.

Battery

Battery life is, without a doubt, one of the biggest factors to consider when purchasing a fitness tracker. Products like the Withings Go and the Pebble Time have essentially aced the topic, providing eight months and 10 days, respectively.

But products like the Gear Fit 2 and other, more intensive wearables can’t put up such numbers. By comparison, Samsung’s latest, with its GPS functionality and slick Super AMOLED display, you’ll be lucky to squeeze 3-4 days of life from its 200mAh battery.

Updating your Gear Fit 2 help link

 

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