Thursday, 23 October 2014

Product Review: Samsung Gear Fit

I am an Android fan.  There, I said it.  In the world of Apple, Macs and iPhones, I have never used any of their products.  But I have had multiple Android and Microsoft devices, and I have no plans to change.  My recent phone brand of choice – Samsung.

One of my most recent acquisitions (or, truth be told, gifts – thanks Dad!) was the Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit.  It is an accessory to be used with the Samsung Galaxy S5 phone.  I needed a new phone, and I may have unconsciously mentioned numerous times that I was probably going to also get the Gear Fit to go with my Galaxy S5.  My Dad just bet me to it.
The Gear Fit is essentially a watch that can do other cool stuff.  You sync it to your phone via Bluetooth.  It’s got a touch screen, and you can change the wallpaper (through limited colours and patterns) to match your outfit (VERY important of course).  You can also buy alternate bands in different colours – although I haven’t.  

Some of the key features are:

Notifications: you set up a list of defined apps that will send notifications to your Gear Fit from your phone, which makes your Gear Fit vibrate on your arm.  I currently have notifications set up from my multiple email accounts, Viber, Facebook, Calendar, and local Public Transport app, as well as the standard phone calls, text messages and alarms.  You get a little preview of the notification – email subject and sender, or person calling or texting.  I’ve been told that I am much more likely to actually answer the phone now when someone calls.  I had a bad reputation for screening, but I really just don’t have my phone on my person all the time.  The Gear Fit means I don’t have to!

Pedometer: as you saw during my 10,000 step day, I use the pedometer to track my steps each day.  It’s kind of addictive and a bit of a challenge.  I think I’ve maxed out at about 26,000 steps – yeah, baby!

Timer: I’ve found this super useful when I’ve been doing the NROLFW workouts, so I can keep track of rest periods between sets.

Heart Rate: I check my heart rate just for fun – the Gear Fit reads your heart beat through the bottom of the watch.  It actually made me realise running has made my resting heart rate pretty low – I hadn’t noticed before!

Sleep: I have to confess that I even wear my Gear Fit to bed.  Sexy, huh.  But if you turn on the sleep function, it tracks your movement during your sleep, and tells you the percentage of the night that you were motionless.  Last night – 91% motionless.  Angus woke me up a couple of times cuddling up when he was cold.

Stopwatch: I haven’t used it, but it seems pretty standard.

Exercise: You can use this to track your workout durations, and estimated distance.  You can choose from running, walking, cycling (which syncs to your phone’s GPS) and hiking.  I actually have a TomTom GPS watch, so I haven’t used this too often, other than to find out how long my regular walk with Angus is just out of interest (3.3km for those who care).

Media Controller: if you listen to music on your phone, you can actually put your phone away, and control your music through your watch.  Pretty cool!

You can customise the order you see these functions, so you can put your frequently used ones closer to the ‘home’ page (or watch face).  Oh, and you can change the presentation of your watch face – I have the current temperature, time and date on mine.  

All the personal data (steps, exercise, sleep, etc) is synced via Bluetooth to an app on your phone.  It collects all your history, and also has other functionality such as you can record what you eat to track calories in, set your profile (gender, weight, height etc) to personalise the calorie tracking features, and you can even add on other functions like a Workout Trainer.

Some of the great things about the Gear Fit are:

  • The battery life.  I change it for maybe half an hour each night, and that’s enough.  I probably don’t even need to do that – the lowest the battery life has dropped to in one day is about 75%, so in theory it would last another 3 days.
  • It’s personalisable – both in appearance and usage.  It’s like a funky new accessory!
  • I can review my history on the Gear Fit Manager on my phone.  I love a good trend analysis!
  • As mentioned, I am actually more inclined to notice calls and messages via the notifications
  • The notifications are actually quite discrete (just a vibration) so at work I can turn my phone on to silent so I don’t bother my co-workers, but still know if I get contacted.
  • You can also reject calls with a pre-defined message if you’re busy and can answer.  Like you’re in a work meeting.

Some of the things that don’t work for me:

  • I find the Bluetooth can drop out for no real reason, but I’m not sure if that’s my phone or the Gear Fit
  • I don’t think the distance is particularly accurate – I think it’s an estimate based on steps taken and your height.  There can be a bit of a difference when I wear my TomTom as well (yeah, total dork) on a run
  • It's a tiny bit bulky for a girl in size, but not really too bad considering it's a unisex watch
  • Sometimes emails tend to be duplicated in the notification, especially when I haven’t reviewed a prior notification.  It can just be a little annoying to clear all the notifications.
  • I use the smart alarm on my phone, which is a quiet sound that goes off before the actual alarm time.  This doesn’t get picked up in the notifications, so generally I don’t receive alarm notifications because I’ve already been woken up.  

Can you tell that I’m in love with my Gear Fit?  Not as much as my husband … but it’s probably too close to be normal.  The main reason?  It helps bring the healthy aspects of my life into my consciousness more, which I hope just means I keep making more healthy choices with the information. If you get a chance to try one, I say go for it!

What is your current favourite tech device?  What can't you live without?

I have not been supplied with products or sponsored in any way by Samsung to review this product.  It’s just something I love and I wanted to share my experience.  All my opinions are my own.

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