Friday, 10 June 2016 13:30

Samsung gets its Gear Fit2 into gear – but can it beat Fitbit?

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Samsung’s next-generation fitness tracker has the market leader Fitbit to defeat before it can take the fitness crown, but the Gear Fit2 is its attempt to do just that.

Fitbit is the undisputed fitness champion in the world of fitness trackers and smart fitness watches, and its market supremacy is unparalleled.

After all, there are a host of fitness devices in the marketplace, but Fitbit has almost become as synonymous with fitness trackers as Google is to search, Xerox was to photocopiers, Kleenex is to tissues and Hoover was to vacuums.

Still, that hasn’t stopped competitors from trying, even long-standing fitness device makers like Samsung who have already offered various fitness devices in the market, although none of them could be said to have enjoyed the success of the Samsung Galaxy smartphone range.

So, what’s left is to try, try again (unless, perhaps, if you’re into skydiving), and thus Samsung has launched its Gear Fit2 "designed to bring Australians closer to achieving their fitness goals".

The Gear Fit2 promises "refined fitness and activity tracking, GPS, water resistance and sleep monitoring, in a slim and lightweight build".

The water resistance is "IP68 certified and provides ingress protection against water and dust to a maximum of 1.5Metres for up to 30 minutes".

The Gear Fit2 can also be connected to a compatible smartphone, so that you can still receive notifications, including SMS and calls, during your workout – although devices like the Fitbit Blaze happily do this, too.

Prasad Gokhale, vice-president, IT and mobile, Samsung Electronics Australia, said: “Many Australians love to lead an active lifestyle, and expect to be connected and mobile while on the go.

“The Gear Fit2 offers Australians a great suite of practical features, such as a music player, heart rate monitor, and exercise reminders, making it the perfect tool for achieving fitness goals and managing an exercise program.”

Stay connected during every work-out

Building on Samsung’s legacy in the Wearables category, the company says its "Gear Fit2 is designed with connectivity at its core".

The device features "a curved touch Super AMOLED display", which can display those notifications from a compatible smartphone including "incoming calls, SMS, alarms, social media and emails".

Like the FitBit Surge, the Gear Fit2 also features a standalone GPS "to accurately track your walk or run".

It differs from the Fitbit Surge by adding a built-in music player, which enables you to take up to 2.1GB of music on your next workout.

However, on the topic of having 2.1GB of user accessible space, Samsung states: “User-accessible memory will vary depending on apps or software updates provided by Samsung or third party content providers.”

One day, device makers will simply allocate an amount of memory permanently dedicated to music or personal data, and will ensure enough OTHER memory is on the device to copy with "apps or software updates", but sadly we don’t live in that world yet, but one in which device and hard diskmakers can quote one amount of memory, and deliver another.

Still, that’s how it has always been. Perhaps Samsung will one day be bold enough to be the FIRST manufacturer to absolutely deliver what it promises — however many gig it is supposed to be  but we’ll have to wait to see if Samsung will one day be bold enough to do it.

So, how can you ‘achieve all your fitness goals’ with the Gear Fit2?

Samsung says its Gear Fit2 "partners with S Health, Samsung’s built-in health and fitness app, to help you achieve your fitness goals".

Ready to go at any time, Samsung says "the Gear Fit2’s auto activity tracking means it doesn’t require manual activation, whether you’re running, walking, cycling, or utilising a rowing machine or elliptical trainer".

The water-resistant device also allows you to keep track of steps, heart rate and floors climbed, as well as calculating calories burned based on activity levels.

On the subject of the heart rate monitor, Samsung reminds us that "the Gear Fit2 is not a medical device".

Fashion fit technology

Samsung proudly boasts its "Gear Fit2 is a beautifully crafted wearable device with a sleek curved design delivering comfort and style. Available in black, pink, and blue", designed to "let you will be able to pick the device that best suits their individual style".

Key features of the Gear Fit include:

  • Curved 1.5-inch Super AMOLED display
  • IP68 Certified Dust and Water Resistant
  • Heart Rate Monitor, auto activity tracking, and sleep monitoring
  • Alerts for incoming calls, alarms, schedule, missed calls, social media and email
  • Third party app compatibility including Strava, Runkeeper, Spotify, Skimble, and Golfnavi.

Pricing and Availability

The Gear Fit2 is compatible with a range of Samsung smartphones, including the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 edge and Galaxy S6.

The Gear Fit2 is available now from selected retailers with an RRP of $289.

Can it beat FitBit?

Well, that’s something we’ll just have to wait and see. Something tells me FitBit’s ascendancy isn’t going to diminish anytime soon, but that shouldn’t stop competitors from trying to knock FitBit off the perch – it just drives Fitbit to do better, and then competitors to do better, too - with consumers as the ultimate beneficiaries.

Here are the key specifications:

Display
1.5-inch, Curved Super AMOLED 216 x 432

Chipset
Dual Core (1 GHz)

Memory
512 MB (RAM) / 4 GB Storage (User Accessible: 2.1GB[3]

Connectivity
Bluetooth v 4.2

Sensors
Accelerometer, Gyro, HRM, Built-in GPS, Barometer

Dimensions
24.5 (W) x 51.2 (D) mm

Weight
30g

Battery
200mAh

Compatibility
Android 4.4/ RAM 1.5 GB

OS
Tizen

Additional Features
Notifications (call, email, applications, schedule)

Colours
Black, blue and pink

IP68 certified (up to 30 minutes in up to 1.5m of water)
Standalone music player

Audio
Audio formats: MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC, M4A, AMR, AWB, OGG, OGA, 3GA


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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