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Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit: Beautiful tech is marred by shoddy software

The Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit wants to replace your dedicated fitness tracker, and be an extension of your phone, but it doesn’t do either thing well enough to warrant the $199 price tag.
by Richard Hall Published: June 3, 2014

The Fit is a bit unruly to use, and some software and design decisions left me scratching my head. Like having to go into the settings menu to check on the device’s battery life. Or being limited in which apps handshake with the Fit, most of which are fitness-based, despite it also being a smartwatch.

Speaking of fitness, the Fit does simple things other trackers do: counts your steps, and tracks your heart rate and sleep patterns. Syncing it up with Samsung’s S Health apps adds exercise modes that I found to work pretty well.

But that in and of itself is a problem: It only syncs with the S Health apps, which some power users might find to be too tame, as it lacks features other health apps have.

The Fit also isn’t a suitable replacement for the best fitness trackers out there, like the Fitbit.

I tested the Galaxy Gear Fit against a Fitbit One, and the Fit couldn’t keep up.

The Fit had underwhelming comparative results when it came to sleep tracking, and the heart rate monitor only worked most of the time. The Fit also can’t count stairs, while the $100 Fitbit can.

Furthermore the Fit has to be told when to begin tracking things, which begs the question: What were you thinking, Samsung? I’ve never used a modern piece of fitness tech that required me to tell it when I begin exercising or when to check my heart rate, as they all do it automatically. This is a major mark on a mediocre fitness device.

Battery life is so-so. It lasted me a few days on a charge, but that’s without having the pedometer running all day. During heavy use, expect the Fit to drop 20 to 25 percent in charge within a few hours.

As a smartwatch, the Fit does what it’s supposed to do: it receives notifications, emails and texts, and also pairs up with a few select Samsung apps. But if you get a long text, forget about reading it on the Fit due to its long, slim screen.

And if you get an email, in this case via Gmail, you still have to break out your phone to read it since the Fit only shows the sender’s name and subject line.

If Samsung wants to be a powerhouse in the smartwatch and fitness tech markets, then they need to step it up. It’s a shame to have a device that looks as good as the Fit only to have it marred by shoddy software and price.

It won’t ever replace a dedicated fitness tracker, and it isn’t a good choice for a smartwatch, so why bother when similar devices offer more but for half the cost?

by Richard Hall
Digital Media Specialist
Richard Hall is an award-winning newsroom developer, editor and blogger for NewsOK. He was born in Austin, Texas, spent his childhood in southern California and has lived in Norman since 1999. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2008.
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