A purveyor of 4K televisions, smartphones, and touchscreen-toting refrigerators, Samsung’s continued efforts in the fitness wearable space is hardly a company offshoot. Following years spent rolling merged smartwatches with activity trackers, the electronics giant decided to focus on a fitness-only line dubbed Gear.
Samsung just released its latest iteration, the Gear Fit2 Pro — an upgraded version of the Samsung Gear Fit 2, which we felt stood toe-to-toe with Fitbit’s best. With built-in GPS, the ability to stream Spotify, and a new water-resistant design, the Gear Fit2 Pro expands on what made its predecessor so great. But in an increasingly crowded field of fitness trackers, is this a useful way to spend $200, and worth a spot on your wrist? Our Gear Fit2 Pro review sets out to answer this very question.
Packaged in a square box, Samsung’s Gear Fit2 Pro comes with either a large or small band – unlike Fitbit’s Ionic, which comes with both. In addition to the watch face and band, the wearable also comes standard with its own unique charging dock, as well as instructions for use. Ours arrived with a little charge already in the device, so all that was required to start using it was to sync the band via Bluetooth to our smartphone, and download the Gear Fit app.
Sleek, familiar design
While almost identical in design to the Gear Fit 2, the Pro does have a new elastomer band that comes in two different color combinations (black/red or black/black). We reviewed the black on black option, which gave it a very sleek appearance, whether we were dressed in workout clothes or our regular work attire.
The Gear Fit2 Pro is also supremely comfortable. Like many fitness wearables which lean on elastomer, the band’s light weight allowed it to sit on our wrist almost unnoticed throughout the day, only making its presence known the handful of times it would vibrate or push a notification. It’s worth pointing out that while we don’t have overly large wrists, putting the Gear Fit2 Pro on someone with a smaller wrist does make it a bit cumbersome. We don’t think it’s a deal-breaker, though, and we experienced something similar when reviewing the original Gear Fit2.
Unlike its predecessor, the Gear Fit2 Pro has a water resistance rating of up to 50 meters, meaning users don’t have to take it off when getting in the pool or take a shower.
Fitness stats at your fingertips
Capable of tracking a wide variety of exercises and normal everyday activity — while also boasting a new waterproof design and the ability to play and store music – the Gear Fit2 Pro offers plenty of features in a relatively diminutive package. A quick glance at the tracker provides data pertaining to the big four — daily steps, calories burned, flights of stairs climbed, and heart rate — while swiping to the right offers a deeper look at a wearer’s daily activity snapshot. This isn’t much different than our experience with Fitbit’s Blaze or Ionic fitness trackers, of which also provide quick glances to a user’s daily statistics.
No doubt, its best design update is the Gear Fit2 Pro’s water resistance rating of up to 50 meters.
In addition to standard data tracking, Samsung has teamed with apparel brand Under Armour to include apps capable of accurately tracking running and swimming, while also offering the ability for wearers to keep a daily log of their diet. These apps include UA Record, which helps users track sleep cycles and daily fitness, while others such as MapMyRun and MyFitnessPal provide run mapping and nutrition planning, respectively.
For anyone hoping to make an earnest impact on their health profile or increase their fitness, Samsung’s Gear Fit2 Pro provides the tools necessary to not just keep tabs on current progress, but also stay on top of goals. There’s no denying the ecosystem is designed to help people get — and hopefully stay — fit and healthy.
The tracker’s companion applications – Samsung Gear Fit (Android | iOS) and Samsung Health (Android | iOS) – offers seamless integration of the Gear Fit2 Pro to help keep extra work to a minimum. For example, you can log and then adjust the number of cups of coffee you drink each day. To do this, accessing the app menu on the Gear Fit2 Pro offers up the Caffeine selection, allowing wearers to input the number of 80 milligram cups of coffee they’ve consumed by clicking the + or – within the app. This tracks daily caffeine intake, and syncs with the Gear Fit app on a connected smartphone, to allow for long-term monitoring. Similar tracking can be done for water intake, though more in-depth nutrition tracking needs to be input through the MyFitness Pal or UA Record apps.
It is worth pointing out that while the Gear Fit2 Pro utilizes two apps, Fitbit’s entire ecosystem is housed in just one external application which allows wearers to view health data and input nutrition information. Requiring two apps isn’t anywhere near a deal breaker for the Gear Fit2 Pro – especially since each app houses options to quickly jump to the other – but some may find the added wait times to be a bit annoying.
Samsung’s apps provide a quick glance at the data the tracker logs each day. A bit more basic than Under Armour’s offerings, these did give us quick access to a daily snapshot of our activity – i.e. Steps taken, calories burned, stairs climbed, etc. Once we synced the data, the Gear Fit app charted our daily progress, showing us which days of the week we tended to be relegated to our desk chair more often. The app is also where each auto-tracked or manually started workout is logged, offering insight into gains and progress made.
Just the right kind of nudging
Samsung’s Gear Fit2 Pro encourages you to keep active with its system of nudges and auto-tracking. After sitting at our desk for roughly an hour, the wearable would issue a minor vibration – or “nudge” — alerting us of our inactivity. When this happened, a simple “Time to get on your feet” graphic graces the screen, allowing us to either select the on-screen “Stretch” icon or just get up out of our chair and walk around for a few minutes. We found this to be a little more pleasant than the Ionic’s nudges, purely because the vibrating was a bit less jarring.
Capable of tracking a wide variety of exercises, it offers plenty of bang in a diminutive package.
We mention its auto-tracking function in the same breath as its nudge feature because the two pair nicely. Choosing to get up out of our desk chair and play a game or two of ping-pong not only satisfied the watches’ intention of getting us active, but once we started moving around and swinging a paddle, it began tracking our game as an actual workout. From a running timer keeping track of our increased activity, to a burned calorie count, it auto-logged our “workout,” storing it in the wearable’s Exercise app.
While this is certainly a welcome feature, it sometimes tracked workouts that didn’t happen. For instance, when we started to fold laundry the device issued a brief vibration, alerting us that it was tracking our “workout.” Though this wasn’t annoying, it could slightly throw off the tracker’s data, giving you credit for an exercise that never happened. This isn’t just a Samsung issue, however, as most fitness trackers we’ve tested that offer auto-tracking function similarly in tracking random movement.
App access and reliable GPS
Despite the fact the Gear Fit2 Pro is more activity tracker than full-blown smartwatch, it still offers a useful suite of applications and accurate GPS functionality. As touched on above, Samsung leaned on a collaboration with Under Armour to develop a series of apps which significantly ramp up the wearable’s features. Be it recording our daily nutrition, to keeping track of every mile we ran, our health statistics were always right at our fingertips. The device also has a built-in weather app (powered by The Weather Channel), stopwatch, timer, and “Find My Phone” functionality should the wearable and its companion smartphone unexpectedly part ways.
Though the apps function best when used in conjunction with a smartphone and the Gear Fit app, the wearable does also boast the ability to play music via Spotify compatibility. What’s perhaps most impressive about this is the Gear Fit2 Pro’s ability to store music, allowing wearers to listen to music — say, for instance, on a run — without lugging their phone with them.
Note: Not all the available apps are free, as some require a premium subscription (i.e. Spotify) for full-featured use.
For our review, we paired the Gear Fit2 Pro with a Samsung S8+, which gave us a little more functionality than our actual day-to-day phone, an iPhone 6 — due in large part to the fact iOS compatibility didn’t quite exist at the time of our review.
A hallmark of its first iteration, the Gear Fit2 Pro’s battery life is just as impressive.
Because of this, we had access to the full gamut of notifications. We could see Facebook and Twitter updates, text messages, phone calls, and other updates quickly on our wrist. We could also set up custom quick responses, or choose from pre-baked ones on the device, to quickly respond. What’s especially impressive about this is the fact the Gear Fit2 Pro isn’t strictly a smartwatch – like Fitbit’s Ionic, or any Android Wear clad variant – which offer notification support as a backbone for uniting the words smart and watch. It’s still (technically) a smart fitness tracker, which makes it look especially attractive against the rest of the smart fitness tracking bunch.
Responses are limited to calls and texts. However, notifications from apps like Twitter or Instagram show the entire update on the watch, while also allowing for a quick push of a button to open the full app on a companion smartphone. Even without having the ability to respond, like, or retweet there on the spot, we liked having quick-hit access to our app notifications without having to reference our phone.
The original Gear Fit2 had great battery life, and the Gear Fit2 Pro is just as impressive, lasting a full three days before we needed to plug it back in. Even if we were more active than usual over the course of a three-day period — hence, using the wearable and its features more — we still found the battery to last roughly the same amount of time. Since we didn’t sleep with it on, we’d more often than not just charge it at night, and wake up to a fully charged device.
Samsung offers Gear Fit2 Pro owners a one-year standard warranty, which covers standard parts and labor.Our Take
Samsung’s Gear line of fitness wearables is an impressive bunch, and its Gear Fit2 Pro is yet another outstanding addition to the lineup. Featuring the sleek, minimal design as its predecessors, the Gear Fit2 Pro also comes standard with a water-resistance rating of up to 50 meters. On top of that, Samsung linked up with the fitness brand Under Armour to develop a series of apps geared towards helping owners accurately track all aspects of their health. The Gear Fit2 Pro is another win for Samsung in the fitness-tracking space.
Is there a better alternative?
At $200, the Gear Fit2 Pro’s closest competitor is Fitbit’s impressive Blaze fitness tracker, a feature-heavy wearable backed by Fitbit’s deep ecosystem. Though it does much of what the Gear Fit2 Pro does, it also boasts a better sleep tracking function, which charts a users’ sleep patterns throughout the night — something we found to be incredibly useful.
Where the Gear Fit2 Pro edges out the Blaze is design. Minimal, yet stylish, we hardly felt as though we were wearing a fitness tracker at all. That’s not to say the Blaze is uncomfortable, but Samsung’s model just felt better while we wore it.
Premium alternatives like the Apple Watch 3, Garmin Fenix 5X, and Fitbit’s Ionic provide stiff competition for the Gear Fit2 Pro, though it makes sense that with a higher price tag comes a more full-featured watch. It’s also worth pointing out that each of these listed are bonafide smartwatches, whereas the Gear Fit2 Pro is still considered just a fitness tracker.
How long will it last?
Over the course of our review — of which we spent roughly three weeks with the device — we saw no significant wear and tear. The only part of the fitness tracker to take the slightest damage was the second band clasp, which had minor spots of its finish rubbing off. It’s not likely that this is something Samsung would cover with its warranty — not until started affecting performance, at least.
Should you buy it?
Yes. Samsung’s Gear Fit2 Pro is sleek, stylish, and remained comfortable on our wrist no matter if we were sweating in the gym, or sitting at our desk. For $200, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal on a feature-rich, water-resistant fitness tracker.