Product Review: Samsung Gear Fit

Thanks to the folks at AT&T, I’m a short term owner of a Samsung Gear Fit.

Samsung Gear Fit

If you’re not aware, the Gear Fit is Samsung’s cross between smartwatch and fitness band. There’s plenty written and reviewed about the Gear Fit, but you should definitely check out this CNet post for an in-depth look. Check out this video for a great review.

For what it’s worth

Samsung really wants this device to compete with the Fitbit brand of fitness bands. Here’s a great comparison video between the two.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t too impressed with the device, since it failed to track my steps throughout the day. Mrs. The Droid Lawyer was very anxious to see how “mobile” I really am, but alas, Gear Fit failed on my first attempt.

Of course, this was purely my fault, since I assumed the pedometer tracking was automatic based on movement. That’s not the case — as I would have found out if I read the included materials. Thus, when I tried using the Fit a second time I had much better success — let’s just say I had less than 10,000 steps.

Gear Fit Pedometer

Pros and Cons

If you own a Samsung device, you’re not going to find a lot of cons to also grabbing a Gear Fit. Samsung created S-Health, which is an all-in-one space for storing health statistics (think NSA but for health).

For non-Samsung owners, the Gear Fit is hit or miss when it comes to compatibility. Most HTC One M8 users report functionality, and there’s a hack for Nexus 5 phones, with an accompanying video.

I was able to get the Gear Fit working with my Nexus 5, though I couldn’t receive notifications (incoming call worked fine, but nothing else) or sync health information. At that point, the Gear Fit’s an overpriced pedometer and timer. Other functions, such as “find my phone,” worked fine.

I didn’t test the sleep function, though I suspect I would discover I don’t get great sleep.

Since I don’t wear a watch, I frequently got annoyed by the tiny distraction on my arm. The default Gear Fit band barely fit on my wrist — not sure if that’s intent or flaw — so if you have bigger arms, you’re advised to check out the fit ahead of time.

Finally, the slim screen really bothered me. Coming from a “traditional” watch world, I found difficulty adjusting to the display. Default is “landscape” mode, which is even more cumbersome to look at. Fortunately, you can rotate the screen to portrait mode and save some confusion.

Price and overall value

Overall, the Gear Fit meshes well with Samsung devices, and definitely not so well with others. If you own a non-Samsung device, I suggest you conduct detailed research into whether the product will work with your phone or tablet. Naturally, if you’re fine waiting until 3rd Quarter 2014, I suspect we’ll see a huge influx of new Android Wear devices that offer similar functions.

The Gear Fit doesn’t come cheap, at $189 (Amazon) you’re making a small investment — another reason to diligently test the device. For comparison, the Fitbit Flex costs less than $100 (Amazon). Thus, buyer beware.

2 Responses to Product Review: Samsung Gear Fit

  1. The gear fit is a great tool for attorneys. It just isn’t (yet) a great fitness device.

    What makes it great are notifications. Every call, text, email, or calendar alarm results in a silent alert (vibration) and the screen displays just enough information that you can decide whether to take out your phone and address it; click on your preset reply; or cancel it. No client and no judge wants to see you checking your phone during court or a meeting (no one does really). But, to them, you are just looking at your watch. to leave. If you sync outlook with your phone, it will also vibrate the calendar reminders. (I hate being late for a meeting.)

    The display is elegant. It isn’t a big, bulky, geek watch. (OK, it a small, elegant geek watch).

    As a pedometer, it works ok. One of the watch face options allows you to see time and steps. As a heart rate monitor, it works poorly. While running, it controls the music on the phone, has a countdown and count up watch. I’m not sure whether it keeps accurate measurement of distance (it isn’t a gps) while I run, but it provides that data. And, for now, the integration with other fitness programs is hit or miss. I think that will change as third parties (e.g., endomondo) adopt to it. I already have a Samsung phone, and I find it an indispensable tool as a smart watch. For those with an iphone, it probably won’t be of interest.

    • Thanks for the further insight!

      Yes, it’s very useful with a Samsung device. I couldn’t test the notifications too much, since the phone I used was an AT&T sales model and nobody would call me back.

      One of the only drawbacks to the notifications was that I couldn’t respond. I still needed to use my phone — though the quick replies were very efficient.

      For tracking mileage, I actually prefer My Tracks, which uses your phone’s GPS to record the path (Endomondo does something similar). The Gear Fit was pretty accurate as for the distance. My phone said I walked 1.25 miles, while the Gear Fit said I walked 1.24. Not that big of a difference in my opinion.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.