You guys know I am a gadget junkie. So when I saw that Samsung was coming out with a combination smartwatch/activity tracker, I instantly pre-ordered via Best Buy. I will say the Gear Fit works best with the specified Samsung phones as there are notification features such as calls, texts, etc. The Samsung Gear Fit arrived last Monday and I have been putting it through its paces ever since.
I have been wanting to replace my Fitbit Flex for multiple reasons. One is the band is looking pretty rough (even after just a few months), plus it needs to be restarted quite a bit. I was hoping to try out the Polar Loop for Android but currently it only works on three phones, and not mine. I was also thinking about the Garmin VivoFit, but it is still another month or so out for delivery.
Let’s start with my pros and cons of the Samsung Gear Fit.
- Love the watch feature – Our gym is lacking on clocks and you couldn’t see one in the cardio theater anyways. I hate always carrying my phone with me from machine to machine, but I want to make it to class on time.
- Love changing backgrounds – You can change the background color as often as you like and yes, I have been changing it to coordinate with my outfits. You can also upload your own photos to use as backgrounds.
- Feels good on wrist – Because of the curved design, it fits much better than my Fitbit Flex did. Sometimes I forget I have it on. It does not bother me at all while sleeping either.
- Vertical orientation is great – A huge concern was trying to read everything horizontally on your wrist. So Samsung created the option to view vertically. Problem solved.
- Easy setup – I had everything setup and going in under half an hour (and that included opening the package and taking some photos)
- Timer & Stopwatch – There are timer and stopwatches features that you can work directly from the Gear Fit, you don’t have to use your phone.
- Notifications – I have mine set up to receive text and incoming call notifications, but there are many more you can select. You can even set up auto responders to tell the sender that you will get back with them.
- Pretty intuitive – I saw one review (on a tech site no less) that said the gadget wasn’t intuitive. I beg to differ. If you have a smart phone, there should be a pretty quick learning curve on this device. Pretty easy to use.
- Heart rate monitor – One of the features I loved about the Gear Fit was the built-in heart rate monitor. I thought great – no strap, no extra watch. However, you have to be still for heart rate monitor to work unless you are doing a “predesigned” exercise like walking or running. This makes checking your heart rate during classes quite difficult.
- Accuracy – I have checked the Gear Fit out against the treadmill quite a few times and the distance has always come up short. Sometimes by 1/3 of a mile or more. This could be an easy calibration fix on Samsung’s part. Also, while off-roading in the Jeep Friday, I had a TON more steps than I actually took. The vibration made it keep counting.
- Start up – The screen is supposed to turn over when you turn your wrist over. It doesn’t always work correctly, but to turn on you just press a button, so not a HUGE con.
- Battery Life – Definitely something that could be improved. Took almost 2 hours to go from 40% charged to a full charge. The battery also only lasts 2-3 days. With many activity trackers lasting 7 to 10 days, Samsung has much room from improvement. Also, it is easy to think you have the charger on tight but it really not be. Then you haven’t charged at all.
- Fitness with Gear app – I can see where they are going with this – allowing you to see more data, trends, etc. However, there are many bugs and problems with the app. This is one of the biggest drawbacks for me – very little usable data after the fact.
- No “alert” system – One of my favorite features of the Jawbone Up was the idle alert. This allowed you to set an interval (say 30 minutes) and a time frame (say 8 to 5) and it would alert you when you had been motionless for 30 minutes. This was a great reminder to get up and move. I am shocked the other activity trackers, including the Gear Fit, have not implemented this fabulous feature. Yes, you could use the timer, but then you have to remember to reset it each time.
- Interchangeable bands – One of the HUGE things I loved about the Gear Fit was that they were selling interchangeable bands in different colors. Red? Yes, please. Orange? Of course. I sent Samsung an email about when and where could I buy the bands. This was the response I received: “Unfortunately, Samsung has not came out with these items as of yet and there has not been any information displayed on when they are planning to release these items for purchase.” This almost sounds like they might never be available.
I have given myself until Friday to make a decision on this device. Honestly, it could go either way whether I keep or return it. At $199.99 it is more expensive than other activity trackers, but you do get the “smart watch” features as well. I will say that if I return it, I will be ordering the Garmin Vivofit and just waiting til it arrives.
UPDATED 4-24-2014: I have decided to return the Gear Fit today. For $199, there are too many negatives for me at this time. If I find out they have fixed them, I very well might purchase the item again. I loved the way it looked and felt on my wrist, but it wasn’t accurate, the app was terrible, and more.
Do you use an activity tracker? Which one and why do you love it?
Have a healthy day!