Samsung adds portrait mode to Gear Fit in pre-release software update

Samsung Gear Fit top

Check out our review of the Samsung Gear Fit smartwatch.

If you’ve been put off buying a Samsung Gear Fit because of the screen orientation, it may be time to reconsider. Samsung has listened to some of the complaints, and is pushing out a software update for the fitness device, which alters the horizontal display so it now reads in portrait, vertically. Why is this a big deal? The Gear Fit’s horizontal screen looks fine when holding the device in front of you, but made it rather awkward to read and use when it was strapped to your wrist.

Gear Fit PortraitSamsung’s cure flips everything on its side. Whether this will change anyone’s mind about the Gear Fit, may depend on how you intend to use it. In a video showing the Fit with the update applied, we can see the menus are now easier to view, but it doesn’t delve down into the notifications to see how they’ve been altered. If these are unchanged, then the Fit’s inherent flaw may still remain. Additionally, the Gear Fit in the video is set to display Korean characters, and once it’s set to show English characters, it may not be quite so effective.

We noted how awkward the Gear Fit is to use when we spent some time with the device during Mobile World Congress, but did appreciate the simple to use software interface. It’s going to be interesting to see how it compares once we get our hands (wrist?) on the Fit again with its new software in place. 

The Gear Fit doesn’t go on sale until later this week, therefore we’d expect all models to come with the update either pre-installed, or available as a software update out of the box. You can still pre-order your Gear Fit from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and several other retailers ahead of April 11. It has been priced at $200, matching the Gear 2 Neo smartwatch.