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My Gear Fit Review
I know that there are other reviews out there, but I wanted to give my personal take on the Gear Fit.
Overall Look and Feel, Basic Usage
Personally, I like the curved display, and at 27 grams it is pretty light compared to the Gear 2 (68g), Gear Live (59g), and LG G Watch (63g). I am using it with the Note 3. I refuse to wear heavy watches myself. Usage is pretty easy, the main screen is the watch, and you can swipe left or right along the long axis to see the other functions. You can choose either horizontal or vertical mode. I find that vertical mode is easier to use and this review was done in vertical mode, unless noted otherwise.
The Fit screen is by default off, and there is no option to leave it always on. There is a feature to auto turn on the screen when you turn it towards you, but it doesn’t always work. I find that when you rotate it past the 180° plane that it would turn on, even with a slight maneuver. But a strong and long maneuver not crossing the 180° plane will not turn on the screen. You can press the button on the side to turn on the screen as well. The screen itself is bright and nice to look at indoors. Outdoors, in outdoor mode(6), it is okay. But unfortunately, after 5 minutes, outdoor mode will automatically revert to default(4). I have mine set to 5, which is just one step below outdoor mode. You can set the background to black, which makes it easier to read outdoors as well. There is no ambient light sensor.
When connected, you will see a Gear Fit icon in the Notification bar. You will also see the Fitness with Gear widget (Top) which displays the Pedometer reading, as well as the last exercise. For reference,the Walking Mate widget from the Note 3 is shown in the middle.
The default apps are as follows (you can re arrange the order) :
Charging is done by a proprietary dock that is small, and easy to lose. I would suggest that you keep the dock plugged into the micro USB cable. While it is a little inconvenient, I prefer this to a microUSB port on the phone, as I think that the dock method makes it less likely to get water damage. Charging time is about 2-2.5 hours for a full charge. It lasts about 2-3 days for me with light to moderate usage, but heavy users can expect less.
I have washed the watch under running water, and it works. It is rated at ip67, 30 minutes at 1 meter, but personally, I would not go swimming with it, or anything beyond washing your hands.
The band is easily removable, and Samsung does sell a few different colors if desired. You can switch the orientation of the band if desired, meaning you can either have the clasp coming from the bottom or from the top.
The Bluetooth range is good. I can leave the phone in another room, and it would still be connected. If I leave the phone at one end of my house and walk to the other end, then it would disconnect. Keep in mind that the Fit requires Bluetooth connectivity for Notifications and App Connect, and some other fuctions. You can still use it as a watch, pedometer, and other functions that do not require connectivity. The Fit will automatically sync once it comes back within Bluetooth range.
The clock is semi customizable, however, I wanted the weather and pedometer to show at the same time on the home screen, and this is not possible. You can show one or the other (or none), but not both. The options for the homescreen are as follows:
-Weather Clock – Weather requires the stock weather widget on a home screen (doesn’t have to be the main one), and the maximum auto refresh is every hour. Also, I noticed that if the screen isn’t turned on, then the weather won’t update. I had to turn on the phone (to the lock screen is ok), to have the weather update. The weather is only displayed here. You cannot find the weather anywhere else on the Fit.
-Style Clock – This option allows you to use various different clock faces, or you can use a third app like “Watch Styler for Gear Fit” to further customize. The style clock allows for clock only, you cannot use it in conjunction with the Dual Clock, Pedometer Clock, Event Clock, or Weather Clock.
Basic Functions – Timer, Stopwatch, Media Controller, Find my Device and Settings:
Timer - The Timer allows you to set a time up to 99 minutes and 59 seconds. Once the time is up, the watch will vibrate with a message indicating that time is up.
Stopwatch - The Stopwatch allows you to split up to 99 times, but it only shows the last 3 “splits”. I haven’t tried to max out the stop watch, but it has two minutes digits, so it probably goes up to 99 minutes.
Media Controller - When I have Spotify or Power Amp running, I can use the media controller to play/pause/forward/backward and it also has volume controls. In Power Amp, it will display the artist and title of the track, and when first playing the track, it will scroll if the information doesn’t fit on the page. If you want to see the text scroll again, you can exit the Media Controller, and go back into it. In horizontal mode, it will display more of the artist and title than in vertical mode. Spotify doesn’t show the artist and title. Also, if you run Power Amp, then start using Spotify, then it will keep the old artist and title from Power Amp listed.
Find My Device – This option allows you to ring your phone from the Fit. You have to be within Bluetooth range. Note that there is no option to Find the Fit from your phone.
Settings – This app will display the Bluetooth connectivity state and the battery life. You cannot see this information anywhere else, except on this screen. It also allows you to change Clock, Wallpaper, Display, Bluetooth, Blocking Mode, Double Press, Profile, and Privacy Lock Settings as well as give you the option to reset the Fit and displaying the Fit Info.
Fitness Functions: Heart Rate, Exercise, Pedometer, and Sleep
These four items are synched with Fitness with Gear on your Smartphone. Note that it does not Sync with S-health. It uses the Fitness for Gear app, and the app does have a widget that you can use on your phone. The maximum sync interval is 1 hour, so it will not read instantaneous pedometer reading. You can manually refresh it if desired.
Heart Rate - The Heart Rate measures the heart rate just once. It is not a continuous heart rate monitor. This is pretty finicky in my usage. During a light walk, it read over 160 beats per minute, which was way off. When positioned correctly with dry skin, the accuracy seemed to be within range, though I did not test it against another heart rate meter. Also, there is a piece of plastic over the heart rate sensor when it shipped from the factory. Be sure to remove it before using. This info is synched with Fitness for Gear.
Exercise – There are 4 modes – running, walking, cycling, and hiking. The exercise mode lets you continuously see the heart rate, time, miles, and calories, BUT, you cannot log the heart rate. In running mode, there is an option for coaching, which advises you based on heart rate. Also, the maximum screen timeout is 5 minutes. After which time, you would have to turn the screen on again. Cycling and hiking modes can only be used outdoors as it requires a GPS lock and a connection to the phone.
Pedometer – By default, the goal is set to 10,000 steps, but you can change it. The fit will notify you once you reach 50%, and once you reach 100%. Also, if you use the Pedometer clock, then the symbol will change after you reach the goal. After some trial and error, I have found that the Gear Fit works best with the hands straight down, as in normal walking. I did a test walk of 1.18 miles and the Gear Fit showed 1.4 miles. So about 20% higher. When your hands are at an “L” shape, say you are walking with a beer in your hand, then a lot of the steps won’t be counted, so accuracy here is pretty bad. Also, I have found that walking short distances, say 5-10 steps, sometimes won’t even register on the Gear Fit. The accuracy of the Pedometer, when walking with my hands straight, is within 5% of the Pedometer on my Note 3.
Sleep – The Sleep mode uses the accelerometer to indicate what percentage of the time you slept motionless. You have to manually activate the mode and manually deactivate it. You have the option to set blocking mode to be active when you are sleeping. The alarm would still go through even if blocking mode is active.
You can choose which apps to get notifications from. Each time you get a notification, it will turn on the screen and vibrate the Fit. If notification for an app is enabled, then you cannot disable either the vibrate or screen on. It is an all or nothing proposition.
The alarm clock is synched to the stock clock app, and will vibrate when the alarm on the phone goes off. You have to manually swipe to either snooze or turn off the alarm. It will not work with third party alarm apps.
The Calendar app will pop up calendar messages and require you to swipe to close it. Third party apps can display a notification, however, it will not be able to use the swipe to disable feature.
Due to the size of the screen, it isn’t practical to use the Fit to read emails, long messages, etc. It didn’t let me scroll e-mails either, so I only saw the first few words. Also, on Google voice, when I get a single message, it would read the first few words of the message. With 2 or more messages, it would let me know that there are 2 texts from a person.
I set my important notifications to show on the Fit, and for that purpose, it works well. Sometimes, my phone will chime and vibrate but sometimes I will miss it. On the Fit, it makes it much less likely to miss a notification.
By default, it will show incoming callers, but you cannot answer the phone with the Fit. There is a third party app that allows you to answer the phone, which discussed in the Third Party Apps Section.
Third Party Apps (App Connect)
There are a number of third party apps that work with Gear Fit through the App Connect function. These require a Bluetooth connection to the phone. These can be found from the Play Store. I didn’t list all of them, but some of them are:
-Gear Fit Phone: Allows you to make and receive phone calls. Note that the Gear fit doesn’t have a speaker or microphone, so the phone call is still going through the phone. There was an audio issue with the older version where when you received a call, that Bluetooth audio would not work correctly and I had to restart the phone to fix it. As of the 07/14/14 update, it seems to be working properly now. Displays in Horizontal Mode (even if Fit is set to Vertical Mode)
-Gear Fit Quick Settings: Allows you to toggle on and off: Wifi, Sound (Ringer, Vibrate, Silent), Mobile Data, Master Sync, Phone Flashlight, Wifi Hotspot. It also displays phone battery life. Note that the Wifi Hotspot didn’t work on my Verizon Note 3. This is probably a Verizon issue as other widgets on my phone can’t turn on hotspot either. Displays in Horizontal Mode (even if Fit is set to Vertical Mode)
-Gear Fit Calculator – Basic Calculator. Buttons are a little small, so it could be hard to use if you have big fingers. There is no decimal point. Displays in Horizontal Mode (even if Fit is set to Vertical Mode)
-Gear Fit Flashlight – Turns your Fit screen all white (or whatever color you choose). There is a back button to exit.
-Gear Fit Calendar – Works with the Stock calendar. I have repeating entries, and it will only display the entry on the first day, and none of the repeating entries. Displays in Horizontal Mode (even if Fit is set to Vertical Mode)
-Gear Fit Share – Allows you to send a text from your phone to the Fit. When the app is opened on the Fit, it will display whatever text you chose. I don't know what the limit is, but I was able to copy this whole review and read it on my Gear Fit.
The hardware seems okay, but I think that the software needs a bit of tweaking. I bought mine for $100 on sale, and I think that this is probably about the most I would pay for it. I think that the original retail of $200 is a bit too much. For me, lightness is very important, as I don’t like to wear something heavy on my hand. Even the Fit is a bit heavy for me already. While it has it’s flaws, it works well enough for my for my needs.