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[Review] Samsung Gear Fit 2

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The Samsung Gear Fit 2 is classed as a sports band, however with the ever increasing features in these so-called sports bands, it almost becomes a full-fledged smart watch. And that is what the Gear Fit 2 is bordering along at. It’s a great mix between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch, while being comfortable on the wrist and affordable for the buyer.Samsung Gear Fit 2 10

Users are increasingly relying on their watches to give them information on the go, preferably without a live smartphone connection via Bluetooth. The Gear Fit 2 is able to provide users with notifications, a built-in music player, built-in GPS, on top of the usual fitness tracking features such as steps, heart rate, sleep, distance covered and a few more.

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What I have been most impressed with is that provided you have a WiFi connection on your Gear Fit 2, you are able to receive notifications from your smartphone despite the phone being KMs away from you. Of course the phone has to have an internet connection too, but it is such a nice feature to have especially if you are out exercising and can’t (or don’t want to) carry your phone physically on you.

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However I have not been impressed with the battery life. While charging the Gear Fit 2 takes about an hour and a bit, actual battery life on the fitness tracker lasts at max 2 days. For comparison, the Fitbit Blaze (which also has a colour touchscreen and is able to receive notifications) is able to last a full 5 days without having to recharge. The poor battery life on the Gear Fit 2 is mainly due to the colour touchscreen, its backlight, GPS usage when on, syncing, WiFi usage when on, heart rate tracker. Of course you could reduce the brightness, only sync when you open the S Health app, not use GPS at all and not connect the watch to WiFi, but why? I will always use a device to its full potential, and no battery life is going to stop me. It just means I have to charge it more often, and that usually means during the night. No accurate sleep tracking for most nights for me then!

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Despite the poor battery life, did I mention how much I love its proprietary magnetic charging cradle/dock? It is so easy to place on to charge, and if you tap it while charging, it shows you the time in its proper orientated mode. Pretty neat! A lot better thought out than the Fitbit Blaze where one has to remove the tracker from its band, then box it in the charger to charge.

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The fitness tracker is able to automatically accurately track what exercise you are doing, but sometimes it will get it incorrect. It is best, as I have known, to let the tracker know what exercise you are doing beforehand, to get the best possible tracking experience and stats for when you sync it to your smartphone. Remember, the Gear Fit 2 has built-in GPS and a built-in music player (storage of up to 3GB of files) so you don’t need your phone on you if you want to track your route, or play music through your Bluetooth headphones.

The 1.5″ Super AMOLED display is bright enough (you have to manually adjust the brightness to max) to view in direct sunlight, and is smart enough to reduce the brightness after a certain time period to help save battery life. Because you won’t be in direct sun for some time period, hopefully. If your hands are dirty, a flick of the wrist will switch on the screen and flick it back down to turn it off. Another way to turn off the screen is by palming the entire screen of the watch.

The notifications are a really neat feature to have on the Gear Fit 2. By checking what notifications you want to see on your watch in the Samsung Gear app, they all vibrate and appear almost immediately after your phone receives them. You can then choose to ‘like’ the Facebook Messenger message, ‘reply’ a preset message to a text, or ‘reject’ an incoming call with a preset message. Preset messages can be up to 20 characters in length and can be manually set and added again through the Samsung Gear app.

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The Gear Fit 2’s watch faces are able to be changed as well. There are a few free watch faces in the watch store you can download from, as well as a couple of paid ones.

The Samsung Gear Fit 2 is IP68 rated which means it can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes at depths of up to 1.5m. It is also dust resistant. The high IP rating doesn’t mean you can take it swimming like the Garmin Vivoactive HR though.

Just like Fitbit Friends, you can compete with friends on the Samsung Gear Fit 2. Competition can only be 1:1 with friends on the S Health app, unlike on Fitbit where you can see who is coming first on the steps leaderboard for all your friends.

When connected to WiFi or to your smartphone via Bluetooth, the Gear Fit 2 is able to be used to find your phone by sounding an alarm on your phone, or vice versa, you need to find your Gear Fit 2. Provided both devices are connected somehow whether through the internet or through Bluetooth, it will be able to sound an alarm. Another cool feature is that if your Gear Fit 2 is stolen, it will be virtually unusable as you can set the Gear Fit 2 to lock in your Samsung account for it to be able to work. Pair this with the built-in PIN lock for whenever the watch leaves your wrist, it is a pretty safe device to have. I wonder if the watch is able to utilise its built-in GPS to send its location via WiFi and locate your watch when it is lost?

The Gear Fit 2 is currently only compatible with Android devices running 4.3 and above. Samsung also recommends that your compatible smartphone have at least 1.5GB of RAM, and iOS devices aren’t supported at the moment.

From the above review, you can see why the Samsung Gear Fit 2 is a mixture of a fitness tracker and a smart watch. The deciding factor to whether you should buy one of these really comes down to the price. For an RRP of $299, it really is a steal. The ability to receive notifications on your wrist and to send a preset message, and the ability to track your daily fitness activities as well as playing music and logging your routes via its built-in GPS without a smartphone, really make the Gear Fit 2 an ideal choice for a smart wearable device.

For more information, please visit: http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/gear-fit2/