Samsung Gear Fit 2 is getting better sleep and activity tracking

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The Gear Fit 2 was released to little fanfare last year, but Samsung’s plodding workhorse of an activity tracker is still one of the best around. It boasts a large color touchscreen, a compact silicon band, and activity-tracking features that record your steps, distance traveled, calories burned, sleep, elevation, and more. And thanks to a new software update, it’s getting even better.

On Wednesday, Samsung announced new Gear Fit 2 firmware that improves the accuracy of the smart band’s fitness tracking. Now, when you complete an exercise with the Gear Fit 2, you’ll get a list of post-workout stats in a color-coded graph displaying the time you spent in various heart-rate zones. They’re categorized by the level of exertion — “moderate,” “vigorous,” and “maximum” — and they take into account the your maximum heart rate.

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Heart-rate tracking isn’t the only feature that the firm improved. The Gear Fit 2’s automatic activity detection is also better — when you exercise for more than ten minutes, the activity tracker automatically displays a map of the locations where you’ve jogged, and shows you your approximate location.

And if you’re the kind of athlete who prefers a more tailored workout, there’s more good news: The Gear Fit 2 now supports multiple pace targets. Once you punch in your desired distance and time via the Samsung Health app on your smartphone, you can choose between runs designed to “help burn fat” or “increase cardiovascular endurance,” and select an intensity level.

It’s easier to customize your workout data, as well, because the Gear Fit 2 lets you switch between the metrics you see. A swipe across the screen or tap on the bottom toggles out distance traveled, calories burned, the duration of an exercise, and the user’s heart rate.

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The Gear Fit 2’s update isn’t just about gut-busting workouts, though. An improved Sleep Record notification shows you how restful — or restless — your sleep was, breaking down your sleep into categories like “restless,” “light,” and “motionless.” Also in tow with the update is the ability to send SOS messages with your location by triple-pressing the Gear Fit 2’s home button, and the freedom to browse and download watch faces directly to the device or the Samsung Gear app.

The timing of the release is conspicuous, to say the least. The Gear Fit 2’s update rolls out ahead of Apple’s rumored new Apple Watch, which is said to sport new glucose-tracking sensors, modular smart bands, and LTE connectivity, and a better battery. Samsung, it goes without saying, has its work cut out for it.

The Gear Fit 2’s update is available now via the Samsung Gear app.


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