A little too bulky for its own good but worth its salt!
For ₹13,590 you get a lifestyle and activity tracker which looks exactly like its predecessor, but is 5 ATM water resistant. Which means you can now splash around in water without thinking twice about it, just don’t go deeper than 50 m (160ft). Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro (took me sometime to get the order of the name right) is cheaper than its sporty rival Garmin Vivosport. But is it any good? Let’s find out.
Design and build: The Unbreakable
With all this damage resistant tech emerging, M. Night might want a new name for Mr. Glass. The Fit2 Pro isn’t exactly the most elegant looking fitness tracker but boasts of a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 curved screen. Its bulky appearance sure looks like it can take a nice punch and go unscathed. The Nokia 3310 of the fitness world, y’all.
The device’s look and feel leans very heavily on the sporty side. While most fitness trackers do a good job of passing off as sleek watches that you could sport to a black tie event and go unnoticed, subtlety isn’t the Fit2 Pro’s forte.
It has replaceable silicone straps which I didn’t take a real liking to. But given that Gear Fit2 Pro is meant to be a water baby let’s not replace those straps just yet.
Display: Something Old..
The Fit2 Pro has a ‘Super’ AMOLED curved 1.5in display. Its sturdy screen lights up every time you flick your wrist, displaying your 24 hours of activity or the lack of it in gorgeous colours that are very easy on the eye. I had a bunch of people spot the screen from far and compliment on how great the watch face and its colors looked.
Its brightness settings are equipped to take the sunniest of days head on and even though adjusting it is a manual task it is so easy, even a monkey can do it.
The only issue I have with the screen is that it lights up every time you flick your wrist, in your sleep. Since the watch auto-detects that you’re asleep shouldn’t it also slide into DND mode around that time?
To make sure nothing stands between you and your precious REM sleep the DND button is your friend right about now.
Your watch face is customizable. All you have to do is press down on the screen for around two seconds and you will be able to pick from an array of colorful options for watch faces. There are a bunch of third party watch faces available on the Samsung Galaxy app store some by notable brands like Under Armour.
OS, Apps and Widgets:
The Tizen OS works well. No lags, no glitches. The whole system looks pretty neat. You can add up to 8 widgets to swipe through apart from displaying the basic step count, calories burnt, stairs climbed and heart rate on the main screen. The rest can be accessed through the menu setting. You’ll find two buttons on the side, top one takes you back and the bottom one opens the menu. What I’m still scratching my head over is why they wouldn’t give me the most useful alarm clock instead of the most useless Schedule widget on the menu.
The device has an inbuilt GPS which does a decent job of tracking your walk, run, hike very accurately. Albeit there have been times when I’m walking around in Andheri Station (read my daily workout) and the tracker nudges me to step out in the open for the GPS to locate me better. There are also mini apps that help you tally your daily caffeine and water intake.
The tracker is pretty self sufficient but works well with apps such as Under Armour Record, MyFitnessPal, MapMyRun and Endomondo for activity, nutrition, sleep and fitness tracking functions. However take note that these apps do not connect to the tracker if it’s is synced with an iPhone. Not yet, atleast.
Battery and Performance:
Gear Fit2 Pro has a 200mAh battery which charges pretty quickly (an hour or so tops) using a Pogo type charger but it drains just as quickly too. On full charge the Gear Fit2 Pro it will last for about 2 days maximum.
There are ways to optimize the use of its battery such as turning off the Auto HR. Instead of tracking your HR second by second it does it every 10 minutes. But even then you don’t seem to buy a significant amount of time.
The tracker’s battery lasts a little over 2 days even if there is less activity on your part. You have to keep in mind that this watch does a whole lot of tracking, and notifying and does it all while looking pretty. This means it guzzles up your battery like a little smart phone strapped on your wrist.
Gear Fit2 Pro regularly captures your Heart Rate for you and very dramatically at that. It can document your heart beats based on mood or activity. You can tag your heart rate post measuring with its status. There are various tags you can choose from such as Resting, After exercise, angry and in love.
You can then find all these tagged ratings neatly filed on your Samsung Health App. I’m still wondering what great will come from me knowing I was in love on Wednesday the 17th with 72 bpm heart rate but then..what the hell.
Although HRM is pretty on point , its accuracy at times has been a bit of a question mark for me. There are no other devices to compare the accuracy with and be absolutely certain but there are times when your heart is practically thumping out of your chest, post cardio and your watch tells you “You bpm is lower than average resting range”. For a sensitive device the Gear Fit2 Pro does fall short sometimes.
Sleep tracking is detected automatically which is great. It even gets the time you get to bed to the time you open your eyes right. It breaks down your sleep cycle into
three categories : restless, light, motionless. You can also view your sleep report that shows up in your notifications a little after you wake up.
The tech with which it detects your flights of stairs climbed is absolutely ace. Its barometric altimeter is so accurate that gathering numbers when climbing flights of stairs makes me more high than the activity itself!
If you see a big number flashing for calories burnt, when you wake up in the morning, don’t worry. There are calories you burn just by existing and some more get added based on your lifestyle and activities. The tracker breaks down your daily activity into various parts… Light, sleeping, inactive etc. So it does a decent job in telling you how many calories you burnt post your 30 minute workout or your quick run to the market.
A notable feature here is when the device detects that you’ve been inactive for over an hour and nudges you to stand up and stretch.
The accelerometer detects when you run without you manually logging in, which is pretty cool. Just make sure the setting for auto-detection is on. There was a little discrepancy in that matter though. The first time it auto-detected a workout, it listed the activity as walking instead of running. Just a tiny little detail, you know.. Of the apples and oranges variety.
Packed with sensors such as Accelerometer, Gyro, Barometer and HRM makes the Exercise tracker a thrill to use. It has a bunch of activities which you can choose from like running, swimming, cycling to hiking, rowing, yoga. What was exciting is how it detects your crunches, squats and jumping jacks impeccably. 10 points to Gryffindor! No? Ok!
Once the activity has ended the device gives a full report of the time duration and the calories burnt. You can find the exact duration of the distance covered, the average pace and heart rate which is great from a training point of view.
Waterproof: Something new
The Gear Fit2 now has 5 ATM water resistance which means it can now survive upto 50 m in water which the earlier model could not. It is advisable to turn on your water lock before you get into water, in order to avoid your screen from wrongly detecting water drops as touch. You have to swipe down from your home screen and tap on the water lock mode so the touch screen is disabled safely before you decide to go splashing around. It’s just as easy to get out of water locking mode. Just press the menu button for 2 seconds and with an immensely satisfying animation of water droplets popping, you’re out! Even with the touch screen turned off, the watch still has its sensors on and continues to capture data.
The watch even reminds you to be on the safe side and shake all water droplets off from screen after turning off the water lock mode. Like our superhero Bob Newby would say “Easy Peasy”. When you track your Swimming through the exercise widget or Speedo ON, this happens automatically.
Speedo ON: Samsung’s new friend
I have already talked about the Gear Fit2 Pro’s new found 5ATM water resistance but it also allows you to easily track your swimming metrics with Speedo’s latest swimming training app- Speedo On. This feature is unavailable on the iPhone SE for some reason but works well with Android devices. It captures a lot of important data such as distance, timing, calories, pace, number of strokes, Best SWOLF (your swimming efficiency) and heart rate. Pretty impressive, that. For the iPhone peeps who are feeling a little deprived don’t worry the inbuilt swimming tracker is just as useful.
Notifications: Short and sweet
The Gear Fit2 pro does a decent job of displaying a precise version of all your messages from various apps. Showing you just enough of the message. You can block the ones that truly annoy you and if the buzzing gets too much it can be silenced by hitting our good old friend DND button. The Gear Fit2 pro alerts you when your phone rings along with the ability to answer or reject the call.
The Pairing process : The tough cookie
The Gear Fit2 Pro like its predecessor is pretty independent of the The Samsung Gear Fit app but still needs it to pair the device to the phone. The pairing of the device took some time with the iPhone. After much racking of head and a little dance we call the mating ritual the Gear Fit2 Pro and my phone finally decided to hold hands. The app’s limited role includes, pairing with the phone, displaying battery (which can be viewed on the device itself) , storage and RAM space. It also give you access to Samsung Galaxy apps and Samsung Health, which captures all the data for you to view in one place on the phone. It’s funny that The Fit2 Pro handles the numbers independently and yet requires minimum of two apps to be in sync with your phone.
Compatibility: A thriving community, not.
Gear Fit2 Pro is compatible with Android 4.3 or later on Samsung Galaxy and 4.4 or later on other android devices and iOS 8.4 and later on iPhones. iPhone users may face certain problems, pairing took a while and iPhone SE on looking did not have Speedo ON that’s compatible with the Gear Fit2 pro which was disappointing. Another problem I faced was with the Samsung Health App. The Together feature where you can share your fitness goals with friends is very limited. Gear Fit2 pro owners using an iPhone can only compete with other iPhone owners. For a fitness tracker that is so independent of the phone it is synced with, this seemed odd and felt like a colossal disappointment. Android users however can participate in worldwide challenges and compete with their Android friends.
Gear music manager: Go online and then offline
Following simple instructions you can load music onto your device. All you need to do it connect to the Wi-Fi followed by typing in an IP address on your browser. Once you’ve paired your device to the online music manager, you’re free to upload music. You have 4GB of space to play around with. Just make sure you have a BT headset to connect your device to.
Being a lot cheaper than devices such as Garmin Vivosport and Apple Watch Series 3, the Gear Fit2 Pro is pretty impressive for its price. Call alerts, Whatsapp messages, emails, flash discounts on Make My Trip there is nothing this tracker lets you miss. All this without so much as looking at your phone for long periods of time, is pretty commendable.
However the experience would have been far better if it didn’t have such a short battery life and kept scrawnier wrists in mind. A little more app rich and an iPhone friendly apps wouldn’t hurt us either.