​Samsung Gear Fit2 v Fitbit Charge 2: Which fitness tracker is best for you?

Battle of the fitness tracker sequels
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If you want a feature-packed fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge 2 and the Samsung Gear Fit2 are two devices that fit the bill.

Both pack displays, slim designs and pack in features like heart rate monitoring and GPS support along with standard tracking modes to count steps and log sleep.

Read this: Best waterproof fitness trackers rated

But if you only have wrist space for one, which do you go for? We lived with both for some time to help you make that decision.

It's time for the Fitbit Charge 2 versus Samsung Gear Fit2 face-off.

Samsung Gear Fit2 v Fitbit Charge 2: Design and comfort

​Samsung Gear Fit2 v Fitbit Charge 2: Which fitness tracker is best for you?

Both of these trackers have undeniably sporty looks with textured rubber straps. and while Fitbit is finally starting to pull its weight on the design front, we're giving it to Samsung for delivering a more attractive wearable.

That's largely down to that hulking 1.5-inch AMOLED touchscreen display that dominates the design. Like Samsung's smartwatches, it's one of the best screens you're likely to find on a wearable. It's bright, vibrant and wipes the floor with the Charge 2's paltry black and white OLED display.

Essential reading: Apple Watch Series 2 v Fitbit Blaze

As far as living with them on a day-to-day basis goes, both are not free from problems. They are comfortable to wear, but the Gear Fit2's clasp does have the tendency to come loose on occasion. Fitbit has opted for a watch-style setup and it's not going to budge. The Charge 2 has some screen issues, notably the temperamental nature with the tapping that's required to change data on the screen. It doesn't always work on the first go.

Amazon PA: Fitbit Charge 2

As far as customisation goes, Fitbit offers plenty of colour options in the strap department and finishes including four Classic colours, along with the pricier special edition colours and leather bands. Samsung keeps things a lot more simple giving you the choice between three textured straps and sizes.

It should be noted that neither are fully waterproof and should be taken off when showering. The Gear is IP68 rated which means it can handle some water (1.5 meters for 30 minutes) but definitely isn't for swimming.

Samsung Gear Fit2 v Fitbit Charge 2: Activity tracking

So let's start with what's delivering the tracking. With the Charge 2, you're getting an optical heart rate monitor, a 3-axis accelerometer for steps and sleep and altimeter to track elevation. The Gear Fit2 packs in a accelerometer as well gyro and barometer to measure altitude. It also includes a heart rate monitor and unlike the Charge 2, does offer built-in GPS. The Charge 2 can track using GPS, but has to do it piggybacking off the tech built into your phone.

Amazon PA: Samsung Gear Fit2

As far as the basics, there wasn't too much difference in the data for step counts and sleep tracked. We found you get a 200-300 difference, which isn't a lot in the grand scheme of things. For sleep, both keep things basic, offering baseline data. The Gear Fit2 does offer sleep monitoring although this isn't made immediately obvious. We are still spending some time getting to know Fibit's new sleep stages software update, but we'd be inclined to say that Fitbit is the more solid fitness tracker.

If you want a device that can automatically track activities, then both offer that and do a really good job of it as well. We've tried running with both and have been pleased with how good the detection is. Samsung's tracker is also very good at picking up brisk walks. The key here is that you need to be working out for at least 10 minutes to take advantage of the auto tracking.

Essential guide: What is VO2 Max and why is it important?

As far as extras go, Samsung does now offer automatic rep counting for activities like crunches and squats, something the Charge 2 doesn't. But Fitbit includes a couple of nice extras including the ability to measure VO2 Max, which is more commonly found on sports watches from the likes of Garmin and Polar. This is essentially measuring the maximum volume of oxygen which is transferred to the blood. The fitter you are, the higher the amount of O2, basically. You can check out our big VO2 Max test to see how it all works.

Samsung Gear Fit2 v Fitbit Charge 2: Heart rate and GPS

​Samsung Gear Fit2 v Fitbit Charge 2: Which fitness tracker is best for you?

It's optical heart rate sensors all round delivering pretty reliable heart rate readings, as long as you're not spending a lot of time doing high intensity exercises like HIIT training or interval training. The monitors simply are not cut out to deliver reliable data from the wrist when you're really pushing yourself. You'd still be better off with a chest strap but unfortunately neither of these devices support pairing with an external heart rate monitor.

Read next: Fitbit Charge 2 v Fitbit Blaze

GPS is also available on both trackers but as mentioned you'll need your phone to use its GPS functions since Fitbit's stuck on ConnectedGPS. However Samsung's GPS pick-up is not the speediest we've seen, so serious fitness folk will be left frustrated by the couple of minutes you need to wait. Data is accurate when it does lock on at least.

In the heart rate category, it seems the trackers are tied. Overall, neither can really handle the stresses of high intensity workouts - which makes sense since they've been built for moderate users and not enthusiasts. On the GPS front, Samsung is the clear winner with its built-in tech but it's by no means perfect.

Samsung Gear Fit2 v Fitbit Charge 2: Notifications and features

The Gear Fit2 is basically a smartwatch. That means you'll get your pick of notifications including text, calls, email, third party apps and calendar alerts. There's limited functionality in how you can respond, but it's still more than what the Fitbit Charge 2 can do.

In fact, Charge 2 isn't really a smartwatch and you'll only get calls and clipped texts on the wrist. There's also no way to respond - that's up to your smartphone.

As for other features, the Gear Fit2 will play Spotify and music stored directly on the device while the Charge 2 includes its guided breathing feature that aims to keep you calm. Much like Apple's Breathe feature, it does initially feel a bit gimmicky, but it's good to see that Fitbit is thinking beyond fitness for its trackers.

Fitbit also has Adventures set up in its Challenges section of the app. It's an extra little bit of fun that incorporates a kind of augmented reality into your daily step counting activity. Samsung has Together, which lets you compete with friends on leaderboards, and is available through the app and the Fit2 tracker.

Both devices also employ ways to get your sluggish butt moving. Charge 2 will buzz you reminders to take 250 steps before the hour is up while Fit2 will let you know you've been inactive for a certain amount of time - and that you need to move.

In general, the feature set is pretty similar across the board. However if you want a slightly more robust notification system, the Gear Fit2 is the better option.

Samsung Gear Fit2 v Fitbit Charge 2: Battery life

​Samsung Gear Fit2 v Fitbit Charge 2: Which fitness tracker is best for you?

If you care about battery, there's only one winner here and that's the Charge 2. Without a big bright screen to power like the Gear Fit2 has, the Fitbit tracker can comfortably muster up a week's worth of tracking. The Gear Fit2 meanwhile manages to squeeze out three to four days from its 200 mAh battery, which is still a good showing but that really depends on how regularly you're using those core features like GPS and heart rate monitoring.

Samsung Gear Fit2 v Fitbit Charge 2: Price and compatibility

The Gear Fit2 costs $179.99 while the Charge 2 is cheaper at . But you have to remember, Samsung is giving you a colour touchscreen, built-in GPS and a smartwatch/fitness tracker hybrid experience. Meaning paying extra shouldn't be a deal breaker if that's what you're looking for.

Compatibility should also be factored in here when comparing prices. The good news is that both the Charge 2 and Gear Fit2 offers cross-platform support. That means you should get the same experience on both Android and iOS. We've tried them out on Android phones and an iPhone and didn't have any issues to report.

Samsung Gear Fit2 v Fitbit Charge 2: Verdict

This is about as close it gets for picking between two great fitness trackers. While the Gear Fit2 wins on looks, those extra fitness-focused features and richer notification support mean the Charge 2 offers a better all-round experience in our opinion, from the hardware to the easy-to-use software.

But this is definitely a better effort from Samsung and we've still enjoyed using and wearing it. If it's more fitness tracker/smartwatch hybrid than fitness tracker that you want, then the Gear Fit2 might actually be a better fit instead.

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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