At the 2014 Mobile World Congress, Samsung not only revealed its flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone, but also announced a new and Gear 2 smartwatch and the Gear Fit fitness bracelet. The Gear Fit takes direct aim at the very successful fitness band market that is currently dominated by the Nike Fuelband and the FitBit to name a few.
I took the Gear Fit for a spin to see what this wearable tech is all about. I don’t like this wearable tech trend, so what I found was rather surprising.
Look and feel
The Gear Fit is a band shape, made of rubber and has two metal studs to secure the strap onto wrist. It weighs only 27 grams and is rated as IP67, which makes it water and dust resistant.
The screen is a highly responsive curved AMOLED that can be easily read, even outdoors.
The Gear Fit can be worn on the left hand or the right, and has the option to rotate the screen so that info can be displayed horizontally or vertically. There is an on/off button on the side of the device.
Gear Fit apps
The Gear Fit is preloaded with apps and currently there is no ability to load other apps on the band. To navigate the device, simply swipe your finger to change the various screen pages. Each page has three icons that launch the pre-installed apps.
The background is customisable and the rubber straps are changeable if you purchase the additional colours bands. The home screen displays the time, date and local weather.
Swiping to the next screen page shows a pedometer app that counts your steps. You are able to start, stop, pause and view history all from the band. This is ideal, as you no longer depend on the phone and the battery draining app to count your steps. The pedometer continues to work regardless if you have your phone with you or not.
Other exercise apps include walking, cycling, running and hiking. Again, no phone is required for these to operate and keep a record of your steps.
The Gear Fit has a heart rate monitor so you can monitor your heart rate wherever you are. Whilst not “medically accurate”, the Gear Fit reading is roughly the same reading as the one I got with a chest strap. Not bad for a heart reading based on a pulse of light on a wristband.
The next screen page shows the timer, stopwatch and sleep functions, which monitor how many hours at night you were motionless. When you enter the sleep option you can tap on blocking mode, which stops all messages and notifications from being pushed to your Gear Fit.
The notifications icon is where you access Instagram, SMS, email, WhatsApp, Facebook and any other messages you set up in the Gear Manager. This is also where you can see your missed calls.
The media controller app allows you to control the music on your companion device. This works rather well when you connect the device to external speakers and have full control on your wrist. What I really like is the ability to control any third party music apps, such as NMusic and Simfy.
The settings allows users to adjust the clock, wallpaper, display and bluetooth. A battery indicator is also displayed here.
On the next page is the Find My Device icon to track down the companion phone. As soon as it is pressed, the phone starts to ring, even if it was previously set to vibrate or mute. Another trick to prevent leaving your phone behind is that as soon as you are out of bluetooth range your Gear Fit vibrates, reminding you to take the phone with you.
Gear fit companion
The Gear Fit is built to pair with the following Samsung devices: Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 Zoom, Galaxy S4 Active, Galaxy S4 Mini, Mega, Note 3, Note 2, NotePro 12.1, Note 10.1.
The Gear Fit makes a Bluetooth 4.0 connection between the devices, which is simple to set up after you install the Gear Fit Manager software from the Samsung App store.
The latest update of the Gear Fit Manager allows you to have even more control of the look and feel of the Gear Fit directly from the phone. For instance, icons can be grouped and re-arranged as you feel fit.
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