Samsung Gear Fit2 – A Good Fit For Your Workout

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fitbit2-2Samsung has branched out their smartwatch line with the Gear Fit2, which is clearly going after the Fitbit with thinner, rectangular “fitness band” design. It might look similar to a Fitbit, but is almost functionally identical to the rest of the Gear S2 smartwatch line. So, it can do a lot more than simply count steps.

The Fit2 does everything I’ve come to expect from a smartwatch. Namely, it makes it so I can always keep my phone on silent. Instead of annoying ring tones and chirps, the watch subtly vibrates to alert you of notifications, which then appear on the Fit2’s screen.

fitbit2-3Text messages can be replied to from the Fit2 with basic pre-set replies like, “Yes,” “No,” or completely custom messages. The device isn’t a replacement for your phone, but it can make life in the smartphone age easier simply because you don’t have to pick your phone up every time something happens on it.

The Fit2 comes equipped with a variety of useful built-in apps like an alarm, stopwatch, and timer. Even better is the Find My Phone functionality, which will turn your misplaced phone into a loud, annoying siren until you find it again. I use this at least once a week.

Another great feature of the Fit2 is the ability to control your phone’s audio from your wrist. So, you can listen to music or podcasts from your phone, while controlling them from the watch’s touchscreen. You can even store audio on the watch directly, enabling you to leave the phone at home. It does require a pair of Bluetooth headphones paired to the watch though.

Setup was simple overall – if you’ve connected any other Bluetooth device, then the Fit2 is really no different. The actual Gear app could definitely be more streamlined. Since it’s essentially for all the Gear-labeled products, it’s easy to end up in a totally irrelevant part of Samsung’s app store. There’s also a lack of clear app categories for the watch, making it rather confusing to search for things. For the most part, Samsung’s utilities tend to be free, but almost everything else – from the numerous custom watches faces to third party apps -costs money. New watch faces can cost from 99 cents to $3.

fit2-5The Fit2 is incredibly comfortable to wear. The adjustable rubber band accommodates a wide range of wrist sizes and feels feather light. It does come in two sizes – one for “small” and another for “large” wrists. The band whisks away sweat far better than other materials.

The touchscreen interface is easy to get used to. Swiping right “pulls” the notifications screen into view. Swiping left, by default, gives you an array of pages about your day’s activities. This includes steps, calories burned, stairs climbed, and even your heart rate (thanks to its built-in heart rate monitor). You can set your exercise type for everything from running, walking, and hiking to yoga and pilates. I found the step counter to be in line with others I’ve tried, though the stair tracker seemed to be somewhat off.

Listed at $179.99, the Fit2 is cheaper than the regular Gear S2 and only somewhat more expensive than the Fitbit Charge HR+, which has only a tiny display and little of the smartwatch bells and whistles. Granted, the Fitbit is purely about activity tracking, but for only $20-$50 (depending where you shop) more, you can get far more functionality.

While the Gear app works across most Android models, there’s no iPhone support. The gorgeous AMOLED screen is great in low light, but nearly useless in the sun. The Fit2 lets you adjust the brightness, but you’ll have to set it to the brightest setting (where it will only stay for 5 minutes) in even somewhat overcast natural light. Also consider the largest font option isn’t that large, so make sure you can see the watch face even in optimal settings before purchasing.

The battery lasts for about two to three days, which is ample for logging all the days events. To save energy, the screen is set to go off entirely when the watch thinks it’s at rest. Ideally, the screen comes on when you lift your arm or turn your wrist to look at it. Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble getting this work on the first try.

One incredibly useful feature is the Fit2’s ability to connect to your phone through Wi-Fi. This means I could wear the watch all around the house, for instance, without actually needing the phone nearby. So long as both were connected to the same wireless network, they stayed in communication.

Samsung is marketing the Fit2 as a fitness tracker and not a smartwatch, but it works well as both at a surprisingly good price point. While the Fit2 has a few noteworthy flaws, the overall experience is a comfortable and functional buddy for both your phone and your workout routine.

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