It's taken a few years, but Samsung's wearable strategy has settled — as has much of the industry — on fitness as its primary selling point. This year's crop of wrist-worn products from the Korean giant include the excellent Gear Sport, along with the Gear Fit2 Pro, both with the intention of making it easy to track steps and workouts while receiving notifications.
In other words, the value proposition hasn't changed dramatically from the original Gears of a few years ago, but the 2017 refreshes put an emphasis on durability, longevity, and comfort.
Gear Fit2 Pro What you'll love
The Fit2 Pro is the direct successor to last year's Fit2, and besides the new strap design, the two could be interchangeable — at least on the surface. With a 1.5-inch vertical OLED display that gets really bright, the Tizen-based interface — black background throughout to lengthen battery life — is easy to understand and extremely touch-friendly. Samsung has this down pat.
|Display||1.5 inches 216x432 pixels|
|Processor||Dual Core (1GHz Exynos 3250)|
|Size||25 x 51.3 x 12.6 mm|
|Wireless||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS|
|Sensors||Heart rate, Accelerometer, Gyro, Barometer|
|Battery||200mAh (three to five days)|
|Compatibility||Android + iOS|
While 2016's Gear Fit2 had a built-in GPS it was only IP68 water resistant, not waterproof, which has since been corrected in its sequel. Not only can the Fit2 Pro plumb the depths of your average pool, it's certified waterproof to 5 atmospheres — even if you dive to the bottom of a pool, it'll survive. The red plastic casing has two buttons on the right, one to go back to the previous screen and the other to enter the app drawer, and they're both clicky and responsive. No complaints there.
The Fit2 Pro lives up to its name: it effortlessly tracks workouts, automatically after 10 minutes or as directed by you when engaging in something specific like a bike ride or swim, and records a number of worthwhile metrics including heart rate, steps taken, floor climbed, and more.
It actually takes heart rate measurements constantly throughout the day, similar to the latest Fitbits, and does so with accuracy; I wore a Fitbit Ionic (opens in new tab) on another wrist for a day and found the metrics to be close enough to satisfy me. I'm no athlete; I just want a fairly robust approximation of my steps taken, calories burned, and route taken. That the Fit2 Pro is comfortable enough to wear the whole day without noticing it is helpful, too.
All of those things are table stakes for a so-called fitness tracker, but the Fit2 Pro emulates a smartwatch in a number of impactful ways; it shows notifications in a dedicated area to the left of the watch face, and even allows users to action them — reply to a text message, for instance — in certain situations. Generally, if you can reply to a message on an Android Wear watch, you can do the same here (though only with a selection of canned responses or emoji).
Notifications are easily one of my favorite aspects of the Fit2 Pro; it's ostensibly a fitness tracker, but it conveys what's happening on your phone better than the more-expensive Fitbit Ionic, and about as well as its "real" smartwatch counterpart, the Gear Sport. Yes, the long-and-thin screen wraps sentences oddly at times, but it requires less scrolling as a result, and the touchscreen is capable of keeping up. I missed the Gear Sport's rotating bezel, but not as much as I thought.
Finally, battery life is the cherry on this smart milkshake. It's really, really good — like three days plus from this little 200mAh cell. Mind you, I didn't regularly run with GPS turned on because I always have my phone with me, but Samsung promises nine hours when engaging the GPS. That's pretty good, but not remarkable when compared to the Gear Sport or Fitbit Ionic.
Gear Fit2 Pro What you'll hate
I don't think you'll hate anything about the Gear Fit2 Pro, but here's what you'll leave wanting, especially if coming from an Android Wear or Apple Watch — apps. While the tracker comes with a handful of decent first-party and third-party apps from the likes of Under Armour (MapMyRun and Endomondo) for tracking runs, and Speedo Go for tracking swims, the Galaxy Apps "store" is, as it is on the Gear S series, a wasteland of expensive, poorly-designed watch faces.
The actual app downloading and update procedure is less than convenient, too, showing just how far Samsung still has to go when it comes to designing and curating its software experiences. Even the sparse Spotify app, which for some reason isn't pre-installed on the tracker, is basic to a fault and difficult to use.
On the tracking side, you'll probably find fault with the sleep tracking, should you choose to use it. I wore the Fit2 Pro to bed for a week or so and found the metrics to be almost useless.
Moreover, the screen doesn't automatically turn itself off once it detects you're snug in bed, which makes for constant disruption unless you explicitly enable Do Not Disturb — which requires disabling it in the morning. These things are automated on Android Wear.
I'm also not a huge fan of the rubbery, cheap-feeling strap. While the latch design is an improvement over the more sporty (and uglier) button clasp that shipped on last year's Fit2, the 24mm replaceable straps on the Fit2 Pro are neither robust nor attractive. Thankfully, Amazon has plenty of alternatives (opens in new tab) that look and feel better.
Finally — and this is no big deal, really — I dislike the plasticky charging dock that, somehow, always seems to fall over when the tracker is magnetically latched to it. Didn't Samsung test it?! At least, when properly supported, the Fit2 Pro dock doubles as a nice bedside clock.
Should you buy it? Yes!
I really like the Samsung Fit2 Pro. Yes, it's not as robust a smart thing as some other trackers out there, but at its current price of $170, it's a steal. The screen is out-of-this-world good, and the tracking is fantastic for those who'd rather be reinforced with kind messages and automatic number crunching than to-the-millimeter perfection.
At the same time, the notification system on the Fit2 Pro is better than some smartwatches (coughFitbitIoniccough), and even most of the negatives are nitpicks.
The Fit2 Pro goes up against the Fitbit Blaze (opens in new tab), Garmin Vivosport (opens in new tab), TomTom Spark 3 Cardio (opens in new tab) and a Series 1 Apple Watch, and it largely comes out ahead against all of them. If you're looking for more accurate fitness tracking or better sleep metrics, you're better off with a Garmin or a Fitbit, but nothing touches Samsung for an all-around experience.
And, wow, that screen.
Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central.
Awesome review. Minor correction: the original gear fit2 is waterproof, ip68 to be exact. It just wasn't designed to track swimming and water activities like the Pro is. You can take the fit2 in the shower, though, or drop it in the sink and it will be fine.
thanks for the correction!
IP68 is not waterproof, it is water resistant. There's a big difference.
They're all water resistant, not waterproof.
No offense Daniel, b/c I too have smallish wrists, but that thing looks like a parole monitoring bracelet 😕
Just wondering b/c you say it's comfortable enough to wear all day, Yes?
MY WRISTS ARE JUST FINE THANK YOU. 😝 It doesn't feel like it's a parole monitoring bracelet, but if you're concerned about the aesthetics the all-black version is a bit more understated.
Thanks . . Yes, I'd prefer the all black, and yes I'm sure your wrists are fine 😉, I guess I could have worded that question differently, sorry, I just thought it looked clunky on some of those photos and wanted some more feedback . .
Not enough incentive to give up my Gear Fit 2. I'm sure the bluetooth is much improved on this as mines has connection issues sometimes to headphones. I think I'll wait for a full gen update next year.
Another tiny nitpick about the sleep tracking and do not distrub, you can set a schedule on the device that turns DND on a a pre-defined time every day (and also turns it off at a set time in the morning). I've had that turned on on my Fit 2 since the first day I bought it over a year ago.
Great review. I have the Gear Fit2 from last year (no need to upgrade at this point), and I never understood why it wasn't more popular. As you indicated, it does fitness tracking well enough, gets solid battery life, and has 90% of the full blown "smart watch" features that I want, primarily message and calendar notifications. On top of it all, the price can't be beat for all those features. Excellent product by Samsung, and I truly hope they continue this line for when I am ready to upgrade.
Well it is expensive for something that isn't a real Smartwatch. You can't really add apps to it. I designed watch faces for mine but they explicitly would not allow you to make apps for it. So they're going for the fitness tracker crowd and it's way more expensive them most other fitness trackers. The only reason I could afford one was that Samsung gave it to me for free with my Note 7 purchase.
Can this, and the Gear Fit2 before it, be worn on the inside of the wrist? I read reviews that the counts are often inaccurate. I had more accurate readings when I wore my Band on the inside of the wrist, but then again Microsoft stated that inside of the wrist was preferred because the skins is thinner.
Yes, you can, but the raise to wake gesture wasn't as consistent so I always wore it like a regular watch.
This may be a dumb question, but is it worth using with a non - Samsung smartphone?
I have an LG V20 and was wondering the same thing!
I have an Honor 6 and it pairs up brilliantly. :)
Thank you for the response! Do you use the Samsung Health app, or some other app to gather information from it?
I'm on iOS and whilst I don't own a Gear Fit 2 Pro yet. I've been following it very closely since release, you'll need both the S Health and Samsung Gear apps. The S Health app will allow you to see the health metrics such as heart rate, steps etc. and the Gear app will allow you to download watch faces, update the gear, transfer music etc.
Will this be the replacement for the UA Band from HTC? In the red & black color scheme it is a dead ringer for my UA Band. It, too, suffers from the sketchy and magnetic connection for charging. I just hope it is tougher than the HTC.
I also have the UA band. Had it since April. I am keeping my eye on this as it is very tempting to get and I like that it does integrate with UA Record
I love this watch! One problem with this one and the previous Fit2 was counting floors, sometimes I'd have 75 floors by end of day and I never left the 1st floor. The has been a recent firmware update for the Fit2 and Fit2 Pro that finally addressed the issue!!! Be sure to update.
One huge plus that I didn't see in this article is, like the Fit2, the 4GB storage is also for loading MP3s and that you can connect Bluetooth buds to it, this makes the watch perfect for the gym!
I had a Fit 2 last year that got lost after just a few months because the strap came unglued from the metal part that attaches it to the watch. Unfortunately there was nothing i could do about it after looking around the area didn't help. I sure hope they've improved those bands.
You can set a schedule for do not disturb mode in the fit 2. Settings>device>do not disturb. Presumably this exists in the pro as well.
I'm also surprised about the sleep tracking is bad, I've found the fit 2's to be pretty excellent. That said, Samsung has pumped several major feature enhancing/adding updates to the fit 2, so presumably the pro will get the same treatment.
Does anybody else have issues with the screen responsiveness when swiping? Usually I have to swipe 5 times to get it to the notification panel Or click an on screen button several times before it registers. It's very annoying. Maybe mine is bad...
Same here. Not as responsive to swipes as other smart watches. But better imo than the Fitbit Ionic I tried for a week
With my Microsoft Band 2 (which looks very similar to this), I wear it on the inside of the wrist - much easier that way.
Can it run Strava?
Doesn't have Strava, but I connected Strava and S Health together, and my rides are automatically got pushed to Strava.
Nice review. However, I'm not getting good battery life on mine. I can barely make it a day. Do you have always on display active? I do but had to turn off always heart rate tracking and auto detect workouts just to get it a day. AOD is kind of a must for me but curious if you used that setting
Always on heart rate could be a power hog. I set only frequent HR tracking, auto workout detection, GPS off, but it turns on in certain workouts, BT on, Wifi off, AOD off, I can go with it 2-3 days,
Kill AOD, learn to use the gesture. I can leave HR always on and get a full day and a half from my GF2, but AOD kills it in 8 hours. Same issue probably with the Pro.
Can someone please review this device SPECIFICALLY as a swim tracker?! I want to buy one, or I want to sell this GS8+ and go all Apple.... Need info to decide...Please help
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