Sunday 28 December 2014

Tech Insider: Keep fit and healthy with Samsung Gear Fit

Jessica Kelly

Published 16/05/2014 | 02:30

Samsung gear fit
Samsung gear fit

In February of this year, Samsung unveiled new pieces of wearable technology at Mobile World Congress. The Galaxy Gear 2, Galaxy Neo and Gear Fit attracted a lot of attention at the global consumer show.

The Gear Fit is, funnily enough, their fitness tracking watch and is available in stores now.

Many saw and loved the Samsung Galaxy Gear which was released late last year with its stunning screen, call capability and camera. The Gear Fit looks very Samsung, but has few of the features of the original Gear. It's fairer to compare it to the likes of Up's Jawbone bracelet than the top-end wearables.

The smartwatch has a 1.84-inch curved screen which sits perfectly on the wrist. The Super AMOLED screen, like the Gear, is simply stunning. The neat device may feel small and light in the hand but is dust and water resistant – and the screen is sturdy too, meaning it'll take more than a slight knock to dent it.

The user-interface is fully customisable, which is great. It's possible to rotate the screen either horizontally or vertically. Switching to vertical makes it much easier to read whilst on the go. There are more screen colour options than necessary – but it's a harmless add on. The watch strap is very lightweight and easy to keep clean, unlike the original Gear.

FIT FUNCTIONS

One of the great things about Samsung phones is the S-Health app which can monitor users' movements and diet. The Fit works in a similar way and, once connected to a device, works alongside S-Health.

It's loaded with an exercise tracker, pedometer, heart rate monitor and a sensor which monitors sleep patterns.

The pedometer is a handy way of monitoring movements throughout the day and can be read on the watch screen – unlike the Jawbone which has to be connected to a phone.

The exercise tracker is great. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I use RunKeeper but the Gear Fit works so well as a running companion device. It tracks time, distance and pace and is easy to read whilst on the go.

Samsung made quite a song and dance about the heart rate monitor on the S5 and the Gear Fit has one too. After hitting the heart monitor icon, the user has to stand perfectly still with the watch in a particular place on the arm for it to get a reading. Apart from being cool to play with, unless you know what those numbers mean, there's not a whole lot of use to it. However, it can't be used whilst running or walking – or breathing too heavily.

The Gear Fit pairs up with Samsung devices via bluetooth and displays notifications such as incoming calls, texts, WhatsApp messages and so on. Unlike the Gear, it's not possible to answer calls on the Fit, which is not the end of the world. It does not have a camera – a feature which many liked on the original Gear.

The battery life was slightly disappointing – lasting only three days with little usage. It's a good companion to the S5 and works well as a smartwatch, but for those looking for a Power Ranger-esque device with all the bells and whistles, check out the Gear 2.

First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday’s Irish Independent

First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent
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