Is there room for yet another fitness tracker? The Samsung Gear Fit2 certainly makes the case. Launched this summer, it’s an updated version of Samsung’s 2014-released Gear Fit, and even though it isn’t compatible with iOS (it’s Android only), there’s still a case for why an iPhone user may be tempted to take the $180 plunge.
After wearing the Samsung Gear Fit2 for two weeks, and using it both with an Android device and as a standalone device, it’s clear that average exercisers don’t need to use the companion Samsung Gear and S Health apps. The wristband’s curved AMOLED touchscreen display tells you most everything you need to know: distance, heart rate, pace and calories burned. No smartphone required.
The Gear Fit2 also lets you set “goals” from the wristband — you can select a target duration, distance or amount of calories burned. This works for hiking, biking, rowing or even using an elliptical. When not working out, or not paying attention, the fitness tracker still counts your steps, floors climbed and calories burned. It’ll also notify you when you’ve been inactive for too long. And finally, there’s an option to log how many cups of water and caffeine you drank, which I, preferring freedom over beverage-consumption metrics, didn’t use.
Samsung Gear Fit2
Display: 1.5-inch touch curved AMOLED
Memory: 512MB of RAM
Storage: up to 1,000 songs (4GB)
Connectivity: wi-fi and Bluetooth
Sensors: GPS, heart rate, accelerometer, gyro, barometer
Battery Life: 2-3 days
Buy Now: $180
The biggest upgrade from the original Gear Fit is a built-in GPS, which allows you to see your running or cycling routes on the app afterward. It’s a nice, if not very innovative feature (if you know where you’re running, it’s not that interesting). The other major upgrade to the Gear Fit2 is its ability to store music (up to 1,000 songs). The wristband was no doubt intended to work alongside Samsung’s Gear IconX ($200) wireless earbuds, but those won’t be released until later in 2016. The good thing, however, is that the Gear Fit2 plays well with others; it’s able to pair with any Bluetooth headphones you have.
At its heart, the Gear Fit2 is a smart device meant to work with a smartphone. When connected to an Android, it displays both text messages and missed calls. Useful? Yes. But there are only a few quick replies for texts, plus emojis, to choose from. Basically if you have any message more complicated than “See you soon,” you’ll have to take out your phone anyway.
Based on appearance alone, the Gear Fit2 beats out other fitness trackers like the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ ($220) and the Fitbit Surge ($250). However, the Gear Fit2 does have limitations besides not being compatible with iOS: It has an IP68 rating, so you’ll have to take it off before getting into the shower, and the battery life isn’t great, lasting around three days. It does track sleep, however you’ll probably skip wearing it to bed every few nights so it can charge.
For iOS owners, the Gear Fit2 is a toss-up. Do you want to spend $180 on a device that won’t sync with your smartphone? You can, and you won’t regret it — the tracker is independently functional. And for those Android users looking to get a new fitness tracker, the affordable, beautiful and comfortable Gear Fit2 is a no-brainer.
The Gear Fit2 comes in black, blue and pink colors.