Alongside the new Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung is expanding its line of wearable technology to include a fitness tracker. The new Gear Fit is a downsized version of its smartwatch siblings, with a focus on tracking your heart rate and counting your steps. It looks like a Samsung version of the popular wrist-worn Fitbit trackers, but with a larger screen and quite a few more functions.
The display on the Gear Fit is the real draw: it's a rectangular, curved AMOLED touchscreen panel with characteristic-for-Samsung vibrant colors and exceptionally wide viewing angles. The curve in the display allows the Fit to conform around your wrist yet still have a large enough screen to make text readable and buttons easy to press with your finger. It's not the first product from Samsung to have a curved display, but it does feel like it's the first to actually benefit from its curvature. Plus it just looks cool.
The Fit doesn't have the camera, microphone, or speaker of the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, but it still can receive all of your smartphone's notifications and alerts, making it one of the smartest fitness trackers we've seen yet. The focus is clearly on fitness, however, as the Fit includes a real-time fitness coach to encourage you to speed up or slow down via alerts, the ability to measure your heart rate in real time, and syncing with Samsung's S Health apps on Galaxy smartphones.
It's significantly more comfortable to wear than the other Gear smartwatches, mainly due to the fact that it's half the weight and much narrower. The rubber strap is interchangeable and available in a variety of colors, and its basic clasp is pretty easy to close with one hand. The band's soft-touch finish was comfortable in the few minutes we had to wear the Fit, though we'll have to see how comfortable it is when breaking a sweat at the gym.
Samsung promises that the Fit will last three to four days between charges with normal use, and light users will be able to eke out even more time than that. Like the new Galaxy S5 and other Gear smartwatches, it's IP67 rated for water and dust resistance, so it shouldn't stop working when it's doused in sweat or rinsed off in the shower.
Fitness wearables are becoming increasingly popular, and Samsung is a bit late to enter what is already a pretty crowded market. But from what we've seen thus far, the Gear Fit is quite impressive, and its integration with Samsung's existing ecosystem is powerful. Samsung isn't yet revealing how much the Fit will cost when it arrives on April 11th, but if it's able to offer it for a reasonable price, we could see it easily rising to the top of the fitness-wearables heap.