I shamefully admit I’ve kept myself away from the fitness gadget segment, because I thought it was all overpriced gizmos that don’t actually change your life. Eventually I was going to test some of these gadgets, such as the Gear Fit below and while it didn’t prove me wrong, it’s still a nice looking accessory to have on our wrist…

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This device is a fitness bracelet announced at MWC 2014 and priced at $199 on Amazon. It works as both a smartwatch and fitness tracker and it’s dust and water resistant. The design is light and slim plus minimalistic and the product weighs just 27 grams. There’s only one button, the On/Off one, but you can also assign other features to it, associated to the double tap function.

We used it pair to the Galaxy S5 to do a proper review, by the way. The bracelet of the watch is easy to latch on with the aid of metal pins and at the front we’ve got a curved Super AMOLED display, while on the back there’s a bunch of charge pins, plus a heart rate sensor. The device comes with a charging accessory, that’s attached to the pins and offers a microUSB port to attach your charger to.

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The smartwatch can be used with interchangeable bands of various colors and the screen has chrome edges and a plastic body. The band is rubberized and the watch sits nicely and comfy on the hand. This is a sporty accessory, not an elegant one, so it’s an oudoorsy device. The product is compatible with the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Note 3, S4, S3, S4 Mini and the likes, 17 devices in total. It hardware includes a 1.84 inch curved Super AMOLED screen, a touchscreen with a 432 x1289 pixel resolution and 244 ppi density.

We’ve got an accelerometer available, gyroscope, heart rate sensor, Bluetooth 4.0 LE and the battery on this model should provide 3-4 days of usage. The band is not exactly easy to remove, so that’s a bit of a pain. The screen offers great contrast, deep blacks, vivid colors, great view angles and you can adjust the brightness as you please. Inside the Gear Fit we find the ST Microelectronics Cortex M4 180 MHz CPU and a 210 mAh battery, good enough for about 3 days of fun.

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The UI is all about the swipe and tap, plus you can flick the wrist to activate the clock window. The OS is not Android and not Tizen, but rather something else, inbetween them. There’s no speaker here and no camera, so this is a more basic device. You cannot install apps on it, which diminishes the smartwatch concept a bit. Users can view the image on the screen in portrait or landscape mode and the UI involves a homescreen, that shows the time, weather and other customizable info.

There’s a pedometer showing you the steps you’ve gone, a history and a goal of your walking. Then there’s the Exercise section, with Walking, Cycling, Hiking and Running all of them with a history, a goal to set (distance, time, calories etc) and coaching option. You can also have the heart rate displayed at all time during the exercise. The history of your workouts is shown with an average speed included, pace, max speed and other such details.

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Sadly, all of these workout tools are pretty much useless if you work out on a threadmill indoors. For cycling you need a phone to get the location of your device, for example, so that’s out of the picture indoors. You’ll get vibrations telling you to speed up or slow down as you progress and all of that is based on your speed and heart rate. The coaching will try to keep your heart rate up usually.

Then there’s the heart rate section, that measures your pulse. Sadly this is not an accurate tool, nor is it fast after a sweaty workout session and if you have a hairy hand. Another feature included on the Samsung Gear Fit is the Sleep Tracker, that makes use of the accelerometer to monitor your moves during the sleep. The less you move, the better you sleep apparently. Too bad that this feature was not integrated with S Health, so you can create a graph of your sleep pattern and such…

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Other features available on this product include a stopwatch, a timer, Find My Device and a bunch of Settings. Those include the Homescreen, that can display the date plus time, time plus calendar, time plus steps etc. Other options and settings include brightness, wrist (left or right), screen rotation (horizontal/vertical), screen timeout, home icon customize (small/large), front size and wake up gesture.

Double press of the physical button can be associated to a variety of commands. Finally, there’s privacy lock with a pin, the ability to reset the watch and profile (male or female). You can also control media from this smartwatch, like the videos or songs played on the tablet or phone (fast forward, back, volume up or down, pause). This smartwatch does notifications, from your calendar, Gmail, Facebook, calls, texts and such.

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The notification is delivered through a screen flash and vibration of the device and you can answer the call or text with a bunch of predefined texts by the way. Users can read full emails on the tiny screen, send replies via the Samsung mail app or just delete the notifications. On the phone/tablet you’ll manage the watch via the Gear Fit Manager. This app includes a Home Screen Styler, with options like wallpaper, clock and layout, S Health for syncing with it (pedometer and such) and notifications. The latter has a ton of options on the handset, including, their limitation, Smart Relay (view content from Gear on mobile) and preview (show preview of notifications on gear screen).

You can select up to 10 apps to get notifications from, including the Samsung App Store, Play Store and many more, some more intrusive others less. And now let’s get to the verdict!

Here are the Pros of this product:

  • light and slim
  • good display
  • sleep tracker included
  • heart rate sensor included
  • many notifications offered
  • water and dust resistant

And the Cons:

  • not accurate heart rate sensor
  • workout doesn’t get tracked indoors
  • price is big
  • hard to remove band
  • no audio/cam
  • sleep tracking is limited
  • battery life below other fitness bracelets

We give the Gear Fit a 9.3 out of 10 for design, a 7 for hardware and an 8 for OS and UI. The final grade is 8.1 out of 10 and I wouldn’t buy this device, because I cycle indoors, but people with a more outdoorsy lifestyle may dig it, especially thanks to its nice looking design.