Perhaps you thought Samsung was done with its wearable news when it announced the Tizen-based Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches over the weekend. But turns out the company had one last trick up its sleeve (no pun intended).
Today, alongside the Galaxy S5, Samsung debuted the Gear Fit. Its primary purpose is to be a fitness tracker, though it can also display notifications from your phone, including new messages and incoming calls. But it lacks a built-in microphone, so you won’t be able to talk to your callers through the Gear Fit. Instead, you can tap the band’s 1.84-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen to reject a call or accept it and then use your smartphone or Bluetooth headset to have a conversation. There’s also no camera anywhere on the device.
What it does have is all of the fitness features of the Gear 2, including a pedometer and heart-rate sensor. Other stock functions include a sleep tracker, stopwatch, timer and a remote control for your smartphone’s media player. But there are no third-party apps available.
The Gear Fit isn’t running on the Tizen platform or Google’s Android operating system. Instead, it uses a real-time operating system, similar to something you’d find on a feature phone. The wristband is compatible with many of the Samsung Galaxy models, but not with other Android devices or the iPhone.
Samsung said it built the Gear Fit to give customers more choice in terms of functionality and design.
The Gear Fit is a lot less bulky than any of the Gear watches, and has a curved display. The main body of the device also pops out of the wristband, so you can swap straps in case you want it to match your outfit. Changeable straps will be available in black, orange and brown.
I got to spend a few minutes with the Gear Fit and was quite intrigued by it. Thanks to the curved display, the band rested comfortably on my wrist, but it can look clunky on dainty wrists (see main photo). The touchscreen was sharp and responsive, and I liked that it provided a lot more information and functionality than something like the Fitbit Force.
But the question with all these fitness trackers is whether they provide enough incentive and value to keep wearing them every day. Either way, I’m definitely keen to give the Gear Fit a shot.
The Gear Fit will be available in April. Samsung didn’t reveal pricing at this time, but said it would be cheaper than the Gear 2.
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