Samsung Gear Fit2 review

Gear Fit2 doesn’t fit in any category – which is why it succeeds
Samsung Gear Fit2

The new Samsung Gear Fit2 tracker doesn't really fit the category assigned to it – rather, it's a wearable that falls somewhere between fitness tracker and smartwatch. In other words, it's not quite either. Fit2 has instead taken components from the Gear Fit and the Gear S2 to create something a little different.

What you get then is a powerful device all for only $179, making it a tempting offer for those who want a feature packed tracker and don't want to spend more than $200 on a Microsoft Band 2 or the new Garmin Vivosmart HR+.

Essential reading: The best fitness trackers to buy

While the Gear Fit2 doesn't bring anything particularly new to the concept of fitness tracking or smartwatches, it does look to be a cost effective best of both worlds. But is it the best device for you? Let's dive in and take a look.

Gear Fit2: Design and comfort

The Gear Fit2 certainly looks more watch-like than its predecessor, and features a new textured strap that also gives it a sporty style. Beyond that, it still resembles your average, wrap-around fitness tracker. It's really the screen that makes it stand out from the crowd.

Where the first Gear Fit has a 1.84-inch curved super AMOLED display with a 432 x 128 pixel resolution, the second-gen device comes with a smaller 1.5-inch screen, but retains the curved super AMOLED display with a resolution of 432 x 216. Add in the colour touchscreen, squeeze in 322 pixels per inch and you've got a shining, bright and crisp display on the wrist, for better or worse.

The screen is made from Gorilla Glass 3 so it should be pretty scratch and crack proof. On more than one occasion, I banged my arm on the wall moving things around in my new apartment – and there was a moment when I had to hastily throw the Fit2 in a tray at the airport. So far, it's survived everything without a dent.

The strap is made from elastomer that's water resistant with an IP68 certification, which means you can take it down to the watery depths of 1.5 metres for a maximum of 30 minutes. That doesn't mean you can go swimming with it like a Pebble though.

The Fit2 is also about the same size as the previous iteration – however it will now come in two sizes for different wrists: small (size of wrist: 125-170mm) and large (size of wrist: 155-210mm). It doesn't sound like much but for people with smaller wrists, like me, it sounds like a chorus of Hallelujah. Generally, fitness trackers and smartwatches are now getting better at supplying us tiny wristed people with good fits, and a size small Gear Fit2 sits snug on my arm. The one button prong also fastens on like magic – quick, easy and hassle-free compared to the likes of Fitbits and Jawbones.

Despite the variations in sizes, there's no difference in features, display size, resolution or battery, except that the large version is slightly heavier at 30 grams while the smaller is 28 grams.

There are also more colour options now as you can choose from black, blue and pink in both sizes. They aren't the flashiest of options and while mine is black, the texture does give it an added layer to lessen the boring colours.

Gear Fit2: Activity tracking and heart rate

Keeping with the trend of auto-tracking, the Gear Fit2 can auto-detect and track steps, calories and sleep, along with being able to recognise when you're doing squats, riding a bike, using a rowing machine or doing yoga, which it will then log accordingly. More on the fitness portion later.

Fit2 can also detect when you're sleeping and napping. Fit2 then takes all this data and sticks it in a 24-hour log to give you a sense of what you've been up to. It even adds in times you didn't have the wearable on so you'll know when it wasn't tracking.

It's a neat service to see how many calories you've burned from each activity and when you've done everything. From what I can tell, it was also pretty accurate in noting my strenuous walking paces and light bouts of activity.

My experience with sleep tracking has been varied because, like the Fitbit Alta, the Gear Fit2 face will turn on when I move at night. I'd usually rip it off in a grumbly state and then realise what I'd done in the morning. I'm not sure if this was a major loss though since Fit2 doesn't really have a dedicated sleeping app on the device, as it does for calories or steps. Instead everything syncs up to S Health. However, I was able to withstand a few nights with it on, and it did accurately track my sleep automatically. It was even able to track my naps.

Water and caffeine intake are other areas you can track with Fit2. They're basically the same app, which requires you manually record how much water or caffeine you've consumed – with the difference being that you're trying to hit a target with water, and you're trying to limit yourself with caffeine.

Fit2 also checks on your heart rate every 10 minutes, but monitoring becomes continuous once you begin tracking most activities. Some activities, like rowing and the "other workout" category in the list, don't make use of heart rate tracking, though. You can also turn it off to conserve battery life and tag manual heart rate checks as specific activities to better keep track of each lull and spike.

For the most part, heart rate tracking has been shaky. If you're pushing hard during more strenuous workouts, the Fit2's heart rate measurements can be off by as much as 20 beats per minute compared to the Polar H7 heart rate sensor, which is worn on a strap around your chest, and the Garmin Fenix 3 HR.

The Fit2's resting heart rate tracking is steady in general, with measurements often within two to 10 beats per minute from the Fenix 3 HR and Polar.

It's worth noting that inconsistent heart rate is an ongoing issue with most wearables using optical sensors, as we've widely reported. However, our testing of Garmin and Fitbit devices have seen fairly decent reporting of heart rate (between 2-5bpm) until you push heavy interval loads where longer lag times kick in. With discrepancies of up to 10bpm in normal ranges, the Samsung Gear Fit2 doesn't hit that standard, and will certainly fall below par for some users. That said, all optical heart rate sensors are imperfect, and choosing a device requires honesty about how you will use that data.

Gear Fit2: Fitness tracking


Though there's no altimeter, Samsung says the Fit2 can still detect when you walk up stairs. The other sensors packed inside include GPS, heart rate monitor, gyroscope, barometer and accelerometer.

Again, the GPS is completely built-in so you don't have to carry your phone around during outdoor workouts. You can also see a map of your running or biking route (along with running pace) all displayed on the screen.

As mentioned, Gear Fit2 can auto-detect workouts, or you can manually choose one. After you select a type of workout, you can pick a goal for that workout. The goals vary but examples include target pace, duration, distance or calories – or you can choose to have no goal at all. The Fit2 can even read status updates to your connected headphones at various intervals.

Certain activities like lunges and crunches also had instructions that the Gear Fit2 displayed on screen, similar to Fitbit Blaze's fitness app.

The Fit2's auto-tracking was fairly accurate and it was able to calculate when I started walking at a 'good pace' until the time I stopped. Walking around my neighbourhood and walking hurriedly to appointments at E3 would trigger the Fit2. It would vibrate, tell me I was keeping up the pace and showed a timer that had started tracking several minutes before which reassured me it was logging everything accordingly.

When you manually start your workout, the Fit2 gives a 3-second countdown before the timer begins. As mentioned, for my runs the Fit2 is able to track my GPS location, the distance, calories burned, pace, run speed and heart rate.

The Fit2 was able to automatically log three of my seven jogs without intervention. As an avid kayaker, I would have loved the chance to be able to track my rows along the California coast, but I was reluctant to do this given Samsung's IP68 warning that the band is water-resistant but not rated for showers or swimming. As such, the rowing tracker is best used in a machine at your local gym rather than in a natural environment with water.

The Fit2's fitness tracking performance may look impressive to enthusiasts looking to get into shape, but if you're already wearing a dedicated fitness watch, you may not be so easily swayed. Aesthetically, the difference between the two devices is like comparing a Kindle e-reader to a sleek tablet.

Samsung's use of a touch interface is hit or miss for fitness. The screen turns off to save battery when you're not looking at the Fit2, and the display is supposed to turn back on when you hold your wrist up. During my jogs, I found this to be clunky. The screen didn't turn on the majority of the time when I expected it to, and I ended up having to push one of the buttons on the side of the band to wake up the display.

Additionally, swiping through the touchscreen is cumbersome when you're active and moving. The UI is fine if you're stationary, but pushing a button to get your workout stats is far easier than having to precisely swipe on such a small surface. Half the time, I felt like if I wanted to do this much work with hitting a button to turn on the display and figuring out where to swipe, I might as well reach into my pocket and pull out my Galaxy S7 to check my workout on Samsung's own S Health application.

GPS performance with the Fit2 is mixed. If I manually start the run tracker on the Fit2 from my house just as I am grabbing my keys before I open the door, it could take approximately 20 seconds for the device to locate me. The Fenix 3 was much faster at around three seconds, relying on both GPS and GLONASS for positioning. Driving to the county park from my house and starting the tracking from right outside my car, Fit2 was able to get a lock much quicker. In this case, it often took less than five seconds.

Gear Fit2: Features

You'll find 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage, all powered by Tizen through a Samsung-made 1GHz dual-core processor in the Gear Fit2. It's a zippy little thing that can hold a decent amount of music. Tizen, in this case, has become much better than its other forms. While simple, it's still clean and straightforward. The interface is also vertical instead of horizontal making everything much easier to read and use.

Swiping down takes you to a shortcut menu where you can adjust brightness, turn on 'do not disturb' and open the music player. It will also tell you whether you're Bluetooth connected and what the battery level is.

Swiping right takes you to a notification screen where you can choose to read each one, clear it, or clear all. Swiping left brings up more shortcuts to various apps which can display more information if you tap on them. Like most smartwatches, covering the screen turns it off.

The Fit2 interface isn't solely based on touch – there are two buttons on the right side with the top being a back button and bottom being the home button. The home button also opens up a list of the apps which you can scroll through by swiping up and down. While it's pleasing to the eye and easy to scroll through, it'd be more useful if the most recent app popped up on top – it's more of a smartwatch feature, but Samsung's already gone halfway on that front, why not go a little further?

Aside from putting your own music onto the Gear Fit2, you can also use Spotify – you'll have to download the app onto your phone and have it nearby to use it, though. From there, you can listen to the music through Bluetooth headphones, skip songs, shuffle, repeat, save songs, search for workout music, access playlists by albums or artists and select recently played. You can actually do quite a lot which makes me feel more forgiving about the fact that my phone still needs to be on me. When connected to my Amazon Alexa speaker through my phone, I'm also able to control it with the Gear Fit2 which is handy.

Gear Fit2: Notifications and apps

Notifications include text, calls, email, apps and calendar. Double tapping on notifications changes the font and makes them bigger to read, while double tapping again shrinks the font. Similar to most smartwatches and the Band 2, you can also send pre-written quick replies and emoticons to anyone who calls or messages you – with a slight caveat.

Only the native Samsung messenger app and Facebook Messages allow actions. Other apps, like Instagram and Messenger for SMS texting, only let you open the notification on your phone to reply there. There's also no microphone to send your own clipped messages.

Samsung Gear S2
Wareable may get a commission
Amazon

The app for the Fit2 is as bare-bones as you can get, however it does come with S Health. If you've used any other Samsung wearable, you'll get the gist of it. Your steps, sleep and more are kept in one place so you can access whatever you want. Then there's the Gear manager app which holds the key to watch faces, specific apps and settings for the Fit2.

It would be more useful if everything was accessible from one place but alas, keeping health and settings separate seems to be the way of most trackers.

In terms of other apps for the Gear Fit2 outside of its main ones? There aren't many – yet. During the first week of the review process, there weren't any watch faces or apps out, and now there seem to be 100 new faces and eight apps. A little meagre, but it's still a new device.

Gear Fit2: Battery and compatibility

According to Samsung, the Gear Fit2's 200 mAh battery should last up to three to four days, or five if you're generous with usage. My time spent using the Fit2 involved a screen brightness of six, receiving and sending text messages, getting calendar, call, app and social notifications plus using it during exercise. With all that running, the Fit2 only lasted two days at most.

Typically, I don't have all my notifications on since I prefer to ignore Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and I only have Slack on during work hours. I think by toning down the notifications, I could get two and half or three days – but that's an experiment for another time.

Charging requires about an hour or so depending on how dead the Gear Fit2 is. It comes with a proprietary USB cradle that can sit on your nightstand or desk.

Gear Fit2 isn't the mess Gear S was in terms of compatibility, yet it's still sorely lacking in this area since it will only work with handsets running Android 4.4 and above. Most Android Wear devices have limited capabilities with iOS but nonetheless, it is still an available option. I'm hoping round three will let Apple users enjoy Samsung's devices too.


Samsung Gear Fit2
By Samsung
Samsung Gear Fit2 has all trimmings of a fitness tracker and smartwatch in one powerful, comfortable wearable. Best of all, you get all the features like GPS, music storage, smartwatch notifications and more in one surprisingly affordable package. With the exception of shaky heart rate readings, activity and fitness tracking remains accurate. Then there’s the fact that Gear Fit2 is still only a fit for those with Android phones. Simply put, Samsung Gear Fit2 is a solid option for the price of everything you’d want in a beefed up fitness tracker or watered down smartwatch. Just don't expect it to replace the more robust wearables out there, as it can't track everything for those hardcore workouts.

Hit
  • Affordable price
  • GPS and top features
  • Crisp display
  • Comfy fit
Miss
  • Low battery life
  • Lacks compatibility options
  • Questionable heart rate tracking
  • Text-reply is limited

Additional heart rate and GPS tracking tested by Chuong Nguyen


Shop for recommended fitness trackers on Amazon

Fitbit Charge 2
Fitbit Charge 2
$149.88
Garmin Vivosmart HR+
Garmin Vivosmart HR+
$149.99
Misfit Ray
Misfit Ray
$99.99
Xiaomi Mi Band 2
Xiaomi Mi Band 2
$44.59

Wareable may get a commission


47 Comments

  • Trey says:

    Can you download games on this?

    • Mydoona says:

      no, it is just a fitness watch

      • Vorpalfrog says:

        Uh, the gear fit one had a bunch of different apps. It's not "just a fitness watch". Do you really know ?

  • Trey says:

    Is it possible to download different apps or games on this?

    • fitnotfat says:

      there's always one 

      • JediTWang says:

        LOL...

  • MTBioGuy says:

    I really like my new GF2 but I'm still wearing my FitBit One and there's quite a difference in the step & stairs results. Today the Fitbit recorded 10,600 steps while the GF2 gave me 12,100 steps. To eliminate the arm swing variable I carried both in my pocket.  Stairs was also problematic... the other way:  FBOne = 36 stairs with the GF2 = only 25.  Over the past 3 years I've repeatedly verified the accuracy of both steps & stairs on the FBOne so I'm going to have to ding the GF2 on this one.  Finally, this is the most comfortable band I've ever worn but since it pops off at the slightest tug I'm sadly going to predict it's loss within a month. It needs two lock pegs, not just one.  

    • shygyrldee says:

      With regard to the stairs, were you actually counting the stairs on your own so you would know which device was reading correctly or were you just going with the device that had more steps

  • chintanvyas says:

    when is this getting launched in INDIA?

    • JediTWang says:

      Forever alone...

      • chintanvyas says:

        Who?

  • gpinkham says:

    Any idea if the Fit2 features Smart Alarms?    like the UP3 or the Sleep As Android App...  

    • agselig says:

      it sadly doesn't

  • Tinybird says:

    i have a long way to go inorder to get back into shape. i find the lunge feature to be most likeable for keeping count so as not to have and put numerical quantities, counting, in my head when nurturing  the burn....

  • DardenUnited says:

    No true iOS support - pass.

    • Vorpalfrog says:

      Samsung weeps for you. 

  • mtb says:

    Anyone using this for cycling? Does it show speed, average speed and distance etc while riding? Could it replace my cycle computer app on my phone?

    • Fr8Broker says:

      Yes.

      The only problem is that if you use S-Health to track cycling so you can capture cadence if you have a sensor paired...that data/calories doesn't sync to the band.

  • questionable says:

    Hi, if i played music from Spotify app, is the fit2 handling the bluetooth earphones or the cellphone is handling both devices at the same time ? 

  • Chondra says:

    i have a question, does the gear fit 2 have alarm clock lkke the fitbit HR?

    Thanks

    • adnmom says:

      There is an alarm app that you can download for free and add to the watch.

  • JediTWang says:

    sub.

  • NineToTheSky says:

    I bought and returned this because it didn't report my heart rate when I was exercising. I phoned Samsung and they told me that it could only sense resting heart rate. I was surprised to hear this - though that did back up my experience. I asked if she could double check this, and she did and confirmed it.

    • radioh says:

      Wrong!   It measures heart rate while you are exercising...Mine does anyway! Then, when you have finished, gives you a readout of your heart rate min/max and a graph...must have been an overseas call centre, which I'm sorry to say, have no idea about anything from my experience.

  • ToanyR says:

    The heart rate is completely inaccurate. On a brisk walk it reads 150 bpm. after rebooting it reads under 80 bpm.  On a treadmill it read 195 bpm, 45 bpm over my maximum heart rate, after rebooting it read under 130 which as the same as the meter on the treadmill.  When compared to a Galaxy S7 it is frequently 60 bpm different.  The reading vary so much that the watch should be sold in a joke shop.  I have done a soft reset on the watch and the Gear smartphone app is up to date.

  • veronicamaki says:

    does the gear fit 2 automatically track sleep or do I have to turn it on like I did with the original gear fit? 

  • divercov says:

    How do I track and view my sleep pattern?

  • Oana says:

    It's a shame that in several countries though, the small bracelet is not available. I was quite shocked to learn that Samsung "does not permit official imports" of the smaller size in my country.

    I was simply asking for an order, with advance payment to follow normal channels.

    You should check the availability in size and color before actually going to the store.

    And more over, I thought of buying the L model and get a small bracelet separately, but I found nobody actually sells bracelets separately.

    This is a cool gadget that I would have bought yesterday, too bad for their selling policies.

    • Pw1 says:

      You can buy 3rd party straps from amazon even a metal one. 

  • Wearthefit says:

    This was my first watch ever. I absolutely loved it and I wanted it specifically to log my workouts. I love the way I can track my progress through my workout. It let's me know how many calories it burned. Loved the watch, but sadly I had to return it. I tried both the large and small, but the watch continued to unsnap on its own and fall off my wrist without my knowing. I was too afraid of loosing a $200 gadget, I preferred not having it at all. I just really hope they change the strap much like the Samsung gear 2. ):

  • Dlilley says:

    i had the gear fit original and recently bought the gear fit 2.  My review don't buy one as i lost both watches because of the poor design of the band.  You press the studs in, but they come loose and the band it easily knocked open and comes off.  Should not have bought the second one as my concern cane true with the band even being careful and mindful of the issue 

    • ActorMike says:

      I've had my Gear Fit with the studs for 2+ years, and wear it all the time. Did you lose it on the short bus? 

  • Frustrated01 says:

    The battery is  terrible., never last longer than 24 hours. If I had bought this for myself it would have gone back to the store. The features are nice, not sure how long I am going to use it? If tbe claim of 3 to 4 days was accurate I would  recommend,but not as it is now.

  • CEE says:

    I have had my GF2 for less than a week and I already am noticing some scratching. I have had a Fitbit Alta for over a year and have not done nearly as much damage as the GF2 is showing after 3 days of wearing it. I have not done anything to justify the scratching on the screen, I am highly disappointed at this point. 

  • Thefuzz111 says:

    What would be great is if your could tell us how big your wrist is. My GF wants to get the small and has a 156mm wrist. 

  • Dhanush says:

    Does this device sync data with Google Fit? I use Google Fit because it gives a deep insight about my health using these parameters.

    Also, What's are the features missing in this device (INR 12,000) from Gear S2 (Around 23,000 INR).

    Shall I get this device from any Chennai Samsung branch? What about the guarantee time?

  • am92245 says:

    Why does the gear fit 2 not calculate steps when you are pushing a grocery cart... this is very puzzling and frustrating... please answer...

  • SamSUCK says:

    Sorry Samsung this is a MAJOR FAIL for a second Gen product. THE ONLY thing that really works well on it is the music player. I'm going back to fitbit.  Anyone who says this is a great device is not being truthful. IF THIS Samsung gear caught on fire it would be an improvement!  1 Star for the music player.

  • LauraH says:

    I had the gear fit 2 for around 2 weeks when it stopped working.  I sent it in to Samsung to be fixed.  I received it back promptly with a note that it couldn't be repaired due to liquid damage.  It was never submerged in water and I never showered with it on.  How it could have liquid damage is beyond me.  Needless to say they will not replace it so I am now without it....

  • Laikathedog says:

    What I have found out about this device is that despite having good reviews on several websites there are very few people in the comments that are satisfied with their purchase. I bought a Gear Fit 2 a few days ago hoping to have a positive experience since the screen is beautiful and the watch has all the features I was looking for. Two days after buying it, I returned it. I own a Samsung Galaxy phone and hoped that the watch would sync well with it, it didn't. Even between S Health and designated partner apps there was difficulty syncing information. 

    You download Samsung apps for the watch, very few of the apps have more than a couple stars. The reviews for the Spotify app are low, there's a very common problem where the watch tells you the bluetooth is disconnected when it's not. I also experienced this problem. I was maybe able to actually use the Spotify app 20% of the times I tried. Even then, the music would play out of my phone instead of my bluetooth headset. I disconnected the devices and tried connecting them in a different order, I could never find the magical situation where it would work. Probably the easiest feature that actually worked really well would be loading music directly onto the device. It was very easy and the music played through my bluetooth headset, no problem. 

    I did not buy the device to track elevation or levels but just FYI this is not something it does well. After going for a 40 minute walk over mostly level ground it read 150+ levels. Apparently this could be from sweat between my wrist and the band. Who doesn't sweat when they go for a walk or workout? I found myself looking for watch faces that specifically did not display this data because it's a little annoying when your watch is hugely displaying a number you know is completely inaccurate. 

    I really wanted to love this device, it's definitely very pretty. But it needs work and I wasn't willing to gamble $200 on whether those things would be fixed or that anything would improve. 

  • Hurg says:

    Had mine for a couple of weeks. The thing that really annoys me is the calorie tracking for exercise is absolutely off if you do anything other than running. I do a lot of HIIT and there's nothing like that in the tracker. Was hoping for there to be some sort of update that would address some of the issues with the GF2 but Samsung have released squat. I'm going to sell this thing while it's in good nick and look for a different brand I think. Last time I buy from Samsung.

  • SarahW says:

    Do I have to have my phone on me to answer calls or texts?  I like to run and I have the Galaxy Note 4 which is awkward to run with so I was hoping I would only need the watch.

  • SSR says:

    Can anybody tell me if Samsung Fit 2 can be paired with Polar H7 heart rate monitor? 

  • CraigU says:

    love mine. Should have a battery level indicator though.

  • Srvulord says:

    The Samsung Gear fit2 was great until our screen cracked 2 days after purchase. It barely made contact with the wall and cracked. For it being a fitness watch , it is not durable . The extended warranty and the manufacturer warranty do not cover screen damage. Samsung will fix it for more than we paid . Just be careful if you buy. It's very fragile . 

  • Joybells says:

    Can you set this watch to tell you how far you have run - for example every kilometer?

  • Tstewart321 says:

    can it be paired with an iphone 6s plus?

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.