The first fitness tracker I’ve owned was the Samsung Gear Fit and I have been waiting for a newer version to be released because I was curious to see if my wish list of improvements had been taken care of. The list of improvements I wanted to see was improved battery life, more accurate step tracking, more variety of workouts, and most of all improved heart rate sensing. The GearFit 2 addressed all of those issues but still leaves room for improvement, and I’ll get to that in a bit. Oh, and before you read too much, it isn’t compatible with the iPhone. So, if you’re an iPhone user, you’re out of luck… Just like I can’t try out the Apple Watch, since it isn’t compatible with my Galaxy S7. I get the feeling that Samsung and Apple don’t like cooperating with each other. Ha!
First of all, the GearFit 2 the most comfortable fitness tracker I own. I also own the Garmin VivoActive, Microsoft Band 2, and the Fitbit Blaze. I can fall asleep with the GearFit 2 on my wrist and not feel the need to rip it off my arm. I am a premenopausal woman, so anything constrictive on my skin that makes me sweat irks me greatly, especially at night! So for comfort I would give it a solid A+.
Appearance and Style
The look of the band is low-key in a good way. Yes, it looks like a fitness tracker but it isn’t distracting, huge, nor does it look silly with semi-dressy attire. The screen is full color and responsive. Even Samsung’s first version hit it out of the park with screen quality. The GearFit 2 does the same. My only complaint would be that it can be a little difficult to read in bright sunlight, so for that I have to give it an A-.
The battery life is improved but still not as good as the Fitbit Blaze and definitely not as good as the Garmin Vivoactive. Battery life is better than Microsoft’s Band 2 but pretty much everything is. I could probably squeak two days out of a full charge, if I didn’t do too many workouts. The charging cradle is very convenient. Before I shower in the morning, I drop it on the charger and by the time I’m ready to leave the house, it’s ready. I’ve been able to get a full charge in less than an hour, so charging time is very quick. Through the day, I’ve never had to worry about running out of battery. However, I did download a particular watch face that caused the battery to drain ridiculously fast. After I deleted it, I had no more problems. Because of the tons of notifications I get and the number of workouts I do during a typical day, I’m forgiving on the battery score. For me, I’m perfectly fine with charging it every morning since it recharges so quickly. Others may not see it the same way and because of that I’ll score battery life a B.
Heart Rate Accuracy
Okay, now on to the important stuff. Does the GearFit 2 accurately track heart rate, steps, floors/stairs, and calories burned? Well, in tests against a chest heart rate monitor paired with the Vivoactive, the heart rate is pretty darn accurate during workouts. It is probably the best wrist-based heart rate tracker I’ve used. I never had an issue with it not being able to detect my heart rate during a workout. That’s been a problem with the FitBit Blaze and Band 2, which can sometimes fail to detect my HR temporarily. However, the GearFit’s HR sensor has been extremely reliable.
I’ve compared the step tracking against my other fitness trackers and it’s been on par with everything else. I could wear 10 fitness trackers and get 10 different step counts. Unfortunately there’s no way to know which one is the most accurate but the GearFit 2 seems to perform very well. Step tracking grade: B+
An area where I’d have to grade the GearFit 2 a big fat F would be stair tracking. I always end up with a ridiculously high number of floors by the end of the day, as if I had climbed up the Eiffel Tower two or three times. I pretty much just ignore that metric but it isn’t terribly important to me anyway. However, it should be far more accurate or just not have the feature if it’s going to be so far off.
It does seem to be stingy on calorie burns but in my case, I think it’s unfortunately more accurate than I would like. I have a very low resting heart rate and I’m small in stature, so I don’t burn many calories while asleep, throughout the day, or even during a workout. It’s the curse of being short, middle-aged, and female. Calorie burn estimates are on par with the Vivoactive, which is also a bit stingy. Fitbit seems to be the most generous in calculating calorie burn during workouts and maybe that’s why people like Fitbit so much. One area where it does seem to be too stingy is when I’m hiking. I can tell I’m working hard and should be burning more than what is indicated. I’m going to have to do more testing on the calorie burn accuracy, so I’ll have to give it an incomplete grade at this moment.
My overall impression of the GearFit 2 is a positive one. I find it motivating, comfortable, and accurate enough to help me be more fit. With some software updates, it could address many of the issues that others and myself have with the fitness tracker. I hope those updates are coming. I also hope third-party apps are developed for the GearFit 2 because the screen size would be perfect for many different uses, such as navigation, hiking, weather radar, etc.
There are some things that I’d like to see improved:
- Heart rate display during all workouts
- Up to the minute calorie burn estimates during workouts
- A microphone and speaker for calling, Google searches, navigation, music
- Accurate floor counts
- Compatibility with popular third-party apps like MyFitnessPal
- Auto-detect for workouts is a bit buggy. If I’m mowing the lawn, it thinks I’m riding a bicycle. It seems a software upgrade could easily fix this. An ability to turn off auto-detect would be helpful too
- More consistent heart rate monitoring throughout the day is needed. At times it measures my heart rate every so many minutes, while other times it can go a couple hours!
- Not waterproof. It is water resistant but not waterproof for swimming.
Things it does very well:
- Bluetooth connectivity is stable
- GPS is very accurate and quick
- Ability to store music and pair with Bluetooth headphones
- S Health connectivity has also been stable and the data is useful
- Move reminders are motivating
- Auto-detect for walking is fun and motivating
- Sleep tracking seems to be accurate
- Great screen both in looks and functionality
- Comfort on the wrist is excellent
- Accurate HR during workouts
- Step tracking is on par with everything else good on the market
So, would I recommend it? If you’re not a super serious athlete and want good smartwatch type notifications on your wrist, while motivating yourself to be more active, then I would definitely recommend the GearFit 2. It is my favorite fitness tracker, even with it’s flaws.
I’m going to publish workout comparisons against the Fitbit Blaze and the Microsoft Band 2 to give you a good idea of how they compare. So stay tuned!