- Versatile Design
- Good Battery Life
- Easy to Set up
- Good Sensors
- Helps keep track of fitness
- Compatibility is limited
- Limited selection of watchfaces in Samsung Store
- Proprietary OS
The Samsung Gear Sport joins the company’s line up of supplementary devices and accessories which make up the “Samsung Galaxy”. It is also the latest iteration of the successful Gear smartwatches which run on the company’s proprietary Tizen operating system (OS). That said, the new Gear Sport, while iterative in updates brings new features that cater to a brand new group of people that Samsung’s smartwatches couldn’t have before.
Classic Design Cues Versatile Execution
The design of the Gear Sport is one that marries style and function seamlessly. It has the style queues from the Gear S3 frontier edition, the sleekness of the Gear S2 and functions from both predecessors and more. This includes the rotating bezel which has become the signature design of the Gear smartwatches. It also continues to be an integral part of the user experience on the Gear Sport; being the easiest and most natural way to interact and navigate the OS.
That said, the physical design of the Gear Sport takes a more versatile, less aggressively sporty look. In fact, the Gear Sport adopts a more neutral design which allows it to be both sporty and double as a dress watch or fashion statement. The size also makes the Gear Sport a comfortable fit for both men and women.
Customizable and Personal
User customisability is still a mainstayof the Gear Sport. Like its predecessors it comes with easy to replace straps. Out of the box, it comes with 2 straps of different sizes to accommodate smaller wrists. That said, the Gear Sport is compatible with any 20mm strap which you can buy over the counter. So, you’ll be able to gear yourself up for sports with a silicon strap or get ready for a night out with a classic leather strap.
Aside from the physical customizations, Samsung’s gear ecosystem has numerous watchfaces which you can download to express yourself. You’ll be able to find watchfaces for your favorite Marvel superhero to cute little Snoopy or, if you fancy, some more abstract designs to keep your mysterious demeanor.
Self expression and customization isn’t the only features that come with the Gear Sport. This time, Samsung has partnered with Speedo to take advantage of the 2 atm pressure resistance. This collaboration allows you to keep track of your swims to help up your game. From my testing, the sensors in the Gear Sport are quite accurate. They are able to detect false movements and zoom in on swimming when using this feature.
In addition to sensors that help track your swimming, the gear also comes with a heart rate sensor; allowing you to keep track of your heart rate throughout the day. This is done by measuring the heart rate in the background throughout the day. The heart rate sensor on the Gear Sport is one of the more accurate ones on the market. This feature will also come in handy for at risk patients to monitor their heart rate. Of course, the Gear Sport isn’t able to take blood pressure but I’m pretty sure Samsung is already looking into it.
The Gear Sport as the name suggests is meant to help you monitor your fitness and also get the most out of your workouts. One of the ways it helps you stay fit is regular reminders for you to get up and do a little walking. It even suggests stretches which you can do. This is definitely one of my favorite features. It not only keeps you alert and attentive during work, it also helps you be more active throughout the day.
That said, the gear is also able to kick into workout mode when it detects a change in momentum or movement. This has to be one of the more finicky features of the gear as it kept detecting that I was cycling when I was driving and brisk walking when I was on the MRT. While it can be a little off putting, it in no way diminishes the ability of the Gear Sport to keep track of your workouts.
The Gear Sport is also able to help keep track of sleep. The smartwatch is able to differentiate between deep and shallow sleep and keeps track of your sleep quality.
All of these data synchronizes with the Samsung Health application which comes pre-installed on Samsung devices or can be downloaded from the Google Play store and the Apple App Store. You can set goals for daily steps taken and also other activities. Keeping track of your progress is done simply by launching the app on the smartwatch or the smartphone. Of course, the smartphone will have more detailed information.
Compatibility & Additional Features
The one major issue you may face with the Gear Sport is compatibility especially outside the android ecosystem. It’s only guaranteed compatibility with Galaxy devices running on Android 4.3, Android devices running Android 4.4 and Apple devices running iOS 9 and above. If you’re not on these Operating systems, you won’t be able to fully utilize your Gear Sport.
That said, the Gear Sport also comes with NFC capabilities which makes it compatible with Samsung Pay. Adding your payment cards is as simple as putting in the details into the watch. Of course, you’ll need internet connectivity to verify the information before you can use the service. After the initial setup, all you have to do is hold down the menu key to bring up Samsung Pay and key in your PIN to verify your identity and tap the NFC capable terminal. Yes, you’ll need a NFC capable terminal as the Gear Sport doesn’t come with MST technolgy built in like Samsung phones.
The Gear Sport also comes with 8GB of onboard storage which allows you to save a selection of Spotify music on the Gear or transfer a few audio files over through the smartphone application. However, don’t expect your Gear to turn into a Bluetooth speaker. You’ll need a set of Bluetooth headphones to fully take advantage of this feature. Audio quality is, of course, dependent on your headphones.
Made for Everyone, Worth the Money
Overall, the Samsung Gear Sport is an awesome smartwatch which allows you to take a better glance at your habits and improve your health. That said, it can afford to improve on the compatibility front. Performance of the smartwatch was smooth with little to no stutters. All in all its worth the money spent even if you’re not a health junkie.
Also published on Medium.