JUST A PRETTY FACE
Samsung Gear Fit
Compared to other wearable devices in the market, the Gear Fit looks quite appealing. Its 1.84-inch curved Super AMOLED touch display is simply gorgeous thanks to vibrant, punchy colors. The silver chrome frame also adds a certain degree of style to the overall package.
While we questioned the practicability of curved displays in smartphones, it's not the case for the Gear Fit. We liked how the curved display wraps around the wrist for a natural feel. It's how a wearable device should be designed and Samsung nailed this aspect.
Like the Sony SmartBand SWR10, the Gear Fit is made up of a removable core module and an interchangeable rubber strap. The core module is certified IP67 water and dust resistance, is in line with the GALAXY S5 and Gear 2 devices. For comparison, the SWR10 is IP58 rated, making it worse against dust, but better against water.
The rubber strap is pliable and feels comfortable to the skin. With 13 circular holes on one side and two hard pegs on the other, the Gear Fit should be able to fit different wrist sizes. The process of putting on the Gear Fit is relatively easy and requires little effort.
The combined weight (module with rubber strap) of 27g makes the Gear Fit the second lightest wearable device after the SWR10 (20~21g). It rests so comfortably on our wrist that we sometimes forgot that we were wearing it.
One of the biggest friction points when using the original GALAXY Gear was the need for a special charging cradle to clamp onto the smartwatch. Unfortunately, the Gear Fit has the same fate; there is a special adapter from Samsung that you need to attach to the charging contacts on the underside of the device before you plug in the USB charging cable. Samsung should have taken a page out of Sony's book by putting a micro-USB port on the Gear Fit and protect it with a sealed cover. This would have made it easier for users to charge.
Currently, the Gear Fit is compatible with 18 Samsung mobile devices which include the GALAXY S5, S4 and Note 3. To connect and sync the Gear Fit, you need to download the Gear Fit Manager app from Samsung Apps.
The Gear Fit Manager app
is straightforward and easy to use. Its basic functionality is to personalize and customize the looks and features of the Gear Fit. For example, you have 15 different clock faces to choose from and can rearrange the layout or order of apps that will show on the display.
What's improved in the Gear Fit is the notification system; it is slightly more polished in terms of support for thirdparty apps and functionality. You can now see a preview of new messages from Gmail, WeChat and WhatsApp on the Gear Fit. To view the full content, you need to tap on the Notifications icon on the device. Notifications from up to 10 apps can be selected to be shown on the Gear Fit.
The Gear Fit is powered by a 180MHz ARM Cortex M4 processor and 8MB RAM. Unlike the Tizen-powered GALAXY Gear (with software update) and Gear 2 devices, the Gear Fit is designed to process real-time app requests without buffering delays.
While navigation was smooth on the Gear Fit, there are few quirks that ought to be mentioned. The display is hard to read under direct sunlight even after increasing its brightness to the maximum. This severely limits the Gear Fit as an outdoor exercise tracker. Getting the heart rate sensor to work is a frustrating affair too; it took more than three attempts to get a reading. Even if it does, the readings are inconsistent. The same applies for its pedometer. The number of steps recorded on the Gear Fit was much higher than the GALAXY S4 unit we tested on. Battery mileage was average as we were able to squeeze out about three days of usage.
The Gear Fit brings nothing new to the table as a fitness tracker and smartwatch. Its design is commendable, but the overall proposition and performance left us wanting more. Priced at RM599, it is advisable to hold your horses to see what the competition
has to offer later this year.