- Well-built device now capable of up to 50m submersion
- Most sensors work alright; swimming features not spot on though
FITNESS trackers have been around for over five years now. And while there are signs that they are struggling to gain further market share, there are nonetheless some brands that are continuing to soldier on.
My last review of one such tracker was the Fitbit Charge HR, which debuted in 2015. A lot of improvements have been made since then and many more brands have come into the market.
An example of this is the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro, which just came out last month, alongside the Samsung Note 8 launch in Malaysia.
READ MORE: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 rises above expectations
Just to be clear. I classify fitness trackers differently from smartwatches. The former are purposefully-built devices that are biased towards tracking and capturing data points when exercising. Examples of these are the Fitbit series of trackers and Samsung Gear Fit alongside many others such as Garmin, Misfit, Moov, and Xiaomi to name a few.
Smartwatches on the other hand have a wider variety of functions which include the likes of Apple Watch, Fitbit Ionic, Samsung Gear S2, S3 and the newly announced Samsung Gear Sport.
This dichotomy is important, IMHO. As much as consumers want everything convenient – from heart rate monitor to nice leather straps – on their wrist, the fact is that a fitness tracker and a smartwatch today can’t be everything to everyone.
For example, a fitness tracker such as the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro weighs next to nothing (34g) but the S3 is a hefty 133g. Ditto for the screen size of the two devices. Just having a large screen on a fitness tracker isn’t convenient as the weight and size will make working out impractical.
Design and build
The Gear Fit2 Pro is very solidly built as with most Samsung products. From a look and feel perspective, it isn’t very different from its predecessor, the Gear Fit 2, launched last year.
It comes equipped with a 1.5-inch Super AMOLED curved screen at 216 x 432 resolution; a dual-core processor running at 1.0 GHz; 512 MB of RAM; 4GB of storage; 200mAh battery; measures 25.0 x 51.3 mm, and weighs 34g. A full listing of all the specs can be found here. As with all Samsung smartwatches and fitness devices, it operates its proprietary Samsung Tizen OS.
Specs-wise, it isn’t very different from its predecessor, and why should it be? The Gear Fit 2 was a capable fitness tracker and there isn’t any reason to change from a tried and tested form factor and design.
The most obvious hardware change is that the Gear Fit Pro 2 is capable of going underwater for swims. It is rated at 5 Atm/bar, which is good for a swim of up to a depth of 50m. Aesthetically, the Gear Fit2 Pro also has a proper watch-type buckle, which is a long-awaited upgrade from the previous model, which only had a flimsy peg-and-hole clasp.
Much of the upgrade is software based. Because of the swim capabilities now, Samsung has included a new app called Speedo On, which is able to track your swim runs and lap times (more on this later).
Also, you can now play your favourite songs via Spotify in an offline mode, something runners would appreciate as they would not have to carry their phones with them outdoors.
The screen was nice on the Gear Fit2 Pro and the colours of the AMOLED screen are what we’ve come to expect of Samsung devices. The screen brightness was OK for most applications, except in the brightest of sunlight, where you would struggle to read the screen.
Overall, the Gear Fit2 Pro does a nice job of being a tracker. It’s not too big that it becomes cumbersome to use while on a swim or run; and not too small that you have trouble reading everything from time to health information.
Next page: Ready, get set up, go