Samsung Galaxy Fit hands-on review

Samsung's $99 fitness tracker takes on Fitbit. Can it keep pace?

For the casual athlete, the Galaxy Fit is shaping up to be the perfect option.
For the casual athlete, the Galaxy Fit is shaping up to be the perfect option.
For the casual athlete, the Galaxy Fit is shaping up to be the perfect option.

Highs

  • Colorful and sharp AMOLED screen
  • Affordable
  • Plentiful workout plans, sleep tracking, accurate heart rate monitor
  • 5ATM water resistance, interchangeable straps
  • Comfortable and lightweight

Lows

  • Notifications are cramped on the screen
  • No onboard GPS, no storage for music

It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to get a good, basic fitness tracker these days, and while Fitbit’s latest lineup is looking strong, Samsung is ready to put up a fight for your attention. Its latest, the Galaxy Fit, goes toe-to-toe with the Fitbit Inspire HR — both cost $99 — and in my brief time with it, the Galaxy Fit is increasingly looking like the better buy.

Slim profile, colorful display

What stands out is the 0.95-inch screen that’s protected by Gorilla Glass. Sure, it’s not as big as the 1.04-inch display on the Inspire HR, but it’s AMOLED, so not only are you getting deep blacks, but there’s plenty of vivid color. AMOLED makes the screen on the Galaxy Fit more visually interesting, and the use of color helps me to quickly distinguish certain datasets when I’m working out.

I wouldn’t say the Fit has the brightest screen, but it’s good enough to read text outdoors in direct sunlight. Text is also sharp, thanks to the 120 x 240 resolution.

There isn’t a huge selection of watch faces, but the ones available are stylish. But that’s not the word I’d use to describe the wearable itself; it looks like an average fitness tracker. There’s a silver case model, but I like the all-black Galaxy Fit, which is more subtle.

I do like the Galaxy Fit’s low profile, meaning it easily hides under a shirt cuff, and it’s so lightweight, you’ll forget it’s on your wrist. The included silicone strap is comfortable and doesn’t feel cheap, nor does it attract too much dirt. It’s interchangeable too, and Samsung sells other strap options so you can customize the look.

Interface and notifications

There’s only a single button on the Galaxy Fit, so most of your interactions will be performed via the tracker’s touchscreen. The button acts as a back button, so it will take you to the previous screen. You can also press and hold it to start your favorite workout, which can be set through the Galaxy Wearable app.

Samsung Galaxy Fit Hands-on review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The touchscreen is responsive; I never had any issues scrolling through the widgets and notifications. I do wish you could tap on the screen to have it light up, instead of needing to press the button, but this is a minor gripe. If you raise your wrist, the screen will automatically light up, and this works well.

The left side of the watch face is where all your notifications are, and the right side are all the widgets. You can easily add and arrange widgets via the companion app, and you can manage the apps that send notifications to the tracker, so you won’t get bombarded.

It’s nice to be reminded to move, as it genuinely helps keep me aware of how much time I spend sitting.

I like seeing notifications on the Galaxy Fit, but since the screen is so small, text is frequently cut up and difficult to read. I largely used the feature to look at the app the notification is from, and used that information to decide whether I wanted to reach for my phone to check it. You can tap on the notification to read the contents (this will require a bunch of swiping), and you can reply with preset responses.

These responses can be customized through the app, but there’s no direct way to reply through a keyboard or through voice typing, unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Watch Active smartwatches.

A swipe down from the watch face will bring you to quick-settings tiles, where you can toggle on Do Not Disturb, tweak the screen’s brightness, and more.

Fitness tracking

The highlight is all the fitness features the Galaxy Fit packs. It can automatically detect six workouts, including running and cycling, but there are more than 90 different workouts you can track via the Samsung Health app. I haven’t gone through a full workout with the Fit just yet, so I can’t comment on how well the auto-detect function works, or the accuracy of the fitness data compared to smartwatches like the Apple Watch Series 4.

My two favorite features are inactivity reminders and when it automatically detects and starts tracking my walks after 10 minutes. It’s nice to be reminded to move, as it genuinely helps keep me aware of how much time I spend sitting at a desk. And when I’m walking, the tracker will automatically show me data like my distance, speed, and time elapsed after 10 minutes. It further encourages me to keep walking so I can potentially hit my step goal.

There’s a heart rate monitor as well, and so far, it’s been on the mark with its results. You can set it to always track your heart rate — this allows for the fitness tracker to send a notification when it detects your heart rate is unusually high while resting. But to conserve battery, you’ll want to use the “Frequent” option, which only checks for heart rate every 10 minutes when you’re not active.

The Fit’s sleep tracking results were nearly perfect.

You can track your stress levels, but every time I feel stressed, the tracker tells me I’m not. The breathing exercises do help calm me down, though, which also helps bring down my heart rate.

What’s missing? Onboard GPS. The Inspire HR doesn’t have it either. That means if you want to map your runs, you’ll need your smartphone near you. The same applies if you want to listen to music, as there’s no internal storage available. You’ll just need to stream via your phone.

Sleep tracking

If you don’t mind wearing a wearable to bed, the Galaxy Fit can automatically track your sleep. I like looking at my sleep data, and I didn’t find the Fit uncomfortable, though I did loosen it a bit. The results were close to perfect. It said I was asleep for 5 hours and 56 minutes, which was only off by a few minutes.

Samsung Galaxy Fit Hands-on review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Open up the Samsung Health app, and you can see the data broken down into how much of it was deep sleep, REM, or light. You can also rate your sleep to further enrich the data.

Battery life and water resistance

The Galaxy Fit has a 120mAh battery that Samsung claims will last for a week. I’ve been using it extensively for the past two days; when I took it out of the box, it was at 75%, and now it’s at 32%. I’ll need to do more testing, but I can see the fitness tracker easily lasting three or four days, with a few workouts sprinkled in. If you don’t work out at all and just use it to track basic fitness data and look at notifications, it may be able to last a week.

If you’re a swimmer, you’re in luck. The Galaxy Fit supports swim tracking and is 5ATM water resistant, so you can take it into the pool. Pro tip: There’s a handy water lock setting you can turn on if you want to wear your Galaxy Fit in the shower — it prevents the screen from activating when water hits it.

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Fit costs $99, and is now available from Samsung’s website and select retailers.

Samsung’s latest tracker nails the basics, and goes a step further than the Inspire HR with a better interface and a full-color screen. It’s missing onboard GPS and music storage, but for the casual athlete, it’s shaping up to look like the perfect affordable option.

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