Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro
In a nutshell, the Fit2 Pro is like the Fit2 in design and size. The strap now comes in standard watch buckle instead of the fitness band style. The hardware remains identical with built-in GPS and 2GB usable internal storage to store music for off-line listening without carrying any smartphone. Built-in Wi-Fi means the user continues to receive notification even when the watch is out of Bluetooth range from the smartphone.
Major improvement comes in the form of water resistance, now rated at 5 ATM which is resistant up to 50m. The exercise app now supports swim tracking by laps in the pool. Battery life is also slightly improved, delivering about more than 2 days of usage (always-on and GPS turned off). The heartrate monitor can also be set to reduced intervals to improve battery life slightly.
My review unit works great for about a month. Then one day, the watch went into restart loop, a common issue that was reported online. Factory reset did no help. If you encounter this issue, just send back to Samsung for servicing. Hardware problems occur occasionally, that is why there is product warranty.
Samsung Gear Sport
If you find the Gear S3 series too big for your liking, Samsung Gear Sport might interest you. Compared to the S3’s 1.3-inch (33mm) display, the Gear Sport comes in 1.2-inch (30.2mm) face which looks like a better fit for me. The silicone strap comes in 2 sizes, and can be easily swapped without any special tool.
While the AMOLED display resolution remains 360×360 like the Gear S3, the battery life is reduced from 380mAh to 300mAh. But the greatest improvement over the Gear S3 is the waterproof properties. Yes, the Gear Sport has a water resistance rating of 5 ATM, certified to survive depths of up to 50 metres. The OS is also enhanced with swim tracking and water lock mode to disable the touch screen so that water does not interact with the touch panel.
Samsung Gear Sport supports Samsung Pay, and it works on any non-Samsung device. After successfully installing all the relevant plug-ins triggered by the watch or the Gear app, you can simply pay by tapping the Gear Sport on the payment terminal. Not all Android devices work: I could not complete the installation of Samsung Pay on Honor 8 Pro. And I felt paying with the watch is uncomfortable as I need to twist my wrist and shove it against the terminal reader for scanning. It also requires more steps than Android Pay to initiate the scanning mode.
Samsung Gear app
All Samsung Gear accessories rely on the Gear app to work with the smartphone. Every time a new Gear accessory is detected, a separate plug-in app will be installed from Google Play store. This design causes some technical challenges. For instance, if for whatever reason the Bluetooth pairing is removed, then there is no way to re-pair the connection unless you reset the device, which will result in loss of Samsung Health data. If you are tracking health stats for some rewards programme like AIA Vitality or Singapore National Steps Challenge, then too bad. On the Samsung Gear Sport, you can backup the health data, but if the Bluetooth pairing is cut, there is no way to initiate backup. Interesting to note that Pebble watches do not have such problem. In fact, I can pair multiple smartphones to the same watch without resetting the watch.
The other unfriendly aspect is that the Samsung Gear app can only manage one accessory at a time. When toggling among the connected devices, it takes several seconds to load the screens and tabs.
Gear Sport or Fit2 Pro?
Both wearables deliver slightly different purposes but the functions are largely similar, like GPS, 5 ATM water resistance, heart-rate monitor, notifications, internal music storage. The Fit2 Pro is more compact like a fitness band, less conventional screen, yet still offering similar amount of information on the wrist. The Gear Sport is a more conventional round-face smartwatch with added Samsung Pay function and a higher price. Whichever model you go for, you will still get to enjoy the impressive feature list.
Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro retails for S$268, while Samsung Gear Sport retails for S$448.