- Amazing Connectivity
- Endless Customization
- Swapable 20mm Universal Straps
- IP68 Certified
- Built in Memory and Storage makes a difference
- GPS for better tracking
- Tizen App is limited
- Weird Glitch while Charging
- Samsung Pay only works with Samsung Devices
- Rotating Bezel feels Fragile-ish
Ever since smartwatch became a thing, we see a lot of companies making their own. Some of the products are even targeted to a specific audience, especially sports. Helps them to improve over time with their personal coach on their wrist. Samsung is no stranger to such products. They came into the market with their Gear Sport, a smartwatch that let’s you keep your fitness a priority. Following that, in 2017, Samsung announced their new updated Gear Sport. Is it a worthy contender to other products that we already have in the market? Let’s find out.
Design & Build
In terms of design, it looks exactly the same as the Samsung Gear S3. More like the Samsung Gear S3 Classic because of it’s clean rotating dial with no markings. The whole module looks thick and in comparison with the S3, it’s actually smaller than you think. On the sides, there’s 2 buttons, back and home which is clicky and tactile. The screen is a 1.2″ Super AMOLED display with touch interaction capability. So, it sounds about alright. The straps that comes with the Gear Sport by default is a 20mm hypoallergenic straps that’s comfortable to wear.
The build quality is solid and feels a bit to the chunky side because of the sensors and sorts that’s inside the body. It’s sealed so well that there’s not even a single opening. Also, it’s IP68 against water. Which means you can dip it inside the water for a limited time. The whole product feels like a fine and polished product overall.
The Gear Sport uses a 20mm hypoallergenic straps by default. Samsung made sure that every consumer gets to use their favorite watchstrap with their Gear Sport. So, there’s no issue with the customization. The pre-installed straps are easier to remove with a pull to remove lock behind.
In terms of the watchface, the customization is on point. If you were to look for a different watch face, you can always find it in the Samsung App store where there’s tons of free and paid watchfaces. It also supports 3rd party applications like Watchmaker and Facer, which also has a lot of other faces. The quick pages can be customized accordingly as well. You can have the widgets you want and remove the ones you don’t find using it everyday. Overall, it gets an A for customization.
In terms of connectivity, the Gear Sport uses Bluetooth v4.2. It connects to the smartphone via bluetooth and handles the situation really well. The Gear Sport is also capable of connecting via WiFi 802.11 (b/g/n). The Gear Sport syncs with the smartphone and saves all the WiFi details on it. This is pretty convenient because even after leaving the phone behind, when the Sport connects to a known Wireless connection, I still can see some of the notification my Smartphone received. On top of that, pairing my Bluetooth headphones with the Sport when I’m on the move is good because I don’t have to take my phone out to change my music at constrained spaces.
Charging & Battery
The battery isn’t the strongest suit of the Gear Sport. Under normal usage, which is just paired to your smartphone and nothing else, the Gear Sport lasts two days and nothing more than that. Pairing a Bluetooth headphone to the Gear Sport and using it reduces the battery life by 50%. Which means, it goes into battery saving mode in the middle of the day, using it for 5 hours. Turning on the GPS on the other hand, uses up the battery, a lot.
The Gear Sport takes about an hour and half to charge from 0 to 100% via the wireless charger that’s included in the box. It’s easy, hassle free and the charging is instantaneous. There are times the Wireless dock makes the watch cranky. Right after the watch is placed on the charging dock, it tends to disconnect and reconnect continuously. Sometimes, it even gets hot. I tried switching the Micro USB Cable and a USB Charging Adapter, but it wasn’t gone. I had to remove the watch, turn it off and then charge it, this worked.
The whole point of getting a Gear Sport is for those fitness enthusiast to keep their life in track. The Gear Sport supports swim tracking, thanks to the IP68 Certification. Also, it has a heart rate monitor that keeps your health in check at all times and logs into the Samsung Health app.
One of my favorite feature is, the watch’s capability to detect what we are doing. At times, I forget to turn on the tracking when I go for a run. But the watch detects the movement and my heart rate, finds out that I am running and it starts the training session. What makes the experience even better, is when it’s paired with a headphone where it gives information about your pace and your time. With the help of the GPS, it also tracks how far you’ve walked.
Other feature that I like is the Health Nudge. These are nudges the watch gives when you’re inactive for a longer period of time. In my daily routine, I spend a lot of time sitting and writing. These nudges becomes a frequent thing. It asks me to go for a short walk after 30 minutes of inactivity or sometimes it asks me to stretch. These are the kinds of feature that helps in making our lives smarter and healthier.
As a person who is always on the move, I rely on music a lot. Having the option for Spotify Music is amazing. Especially when it’s possible to download and store it in the local storage. I was able to listen to my favorite playlist when I was going for a jog and it was just too good to be true. The watch also supports Samsung Pay. This only works if you use a Samsung Device which has the support for Samsung Pay. I wish that other android device users were able to use it.
Using the Gear Sport as an independent smartwatch after registering through my phone was a one-of-a-kind experience. I loved it.
Samsung Gear Sport runs Samsung’s in house OS, Tizen OS 3.0. It was surprising to see that the Tizen is smooth, flexible and compatible with most of the Android Smartphones. But if you were to use it with a Samsung Device, you get to use everything. Since it’s a Tizen powered smartwatch, Tizen applications are pretty limited. Some of the apps I was able to find was Spotify, Speedo, Under Armour and so on. It’s doing fine for now but things need to get a lot interesting in the long run.
Long pressing the back button launches S Voice, where you can interact with your voice because it has a microphone but no speaker. It recognizes what I say really well. In fact, it’s even possible to launch S Voice with a hotkey word of your own. Mine was “Go Go Gadget”. It did pick up really well. But the thing is, the functionality is kind of limited, which could be a bummer for some. Typing on the T9 Prediction keyboard feels nostalgic and surprisingly accurate, I have to give them that.
The Samsung Gear Sport is definitely a smartwatch targeted towards people who takes their fitness seriously. But it’s also for those who wants to make sure that they don’t miss important mails and calls from their work regarding huge projects and sorts. One thing is that, it tends to do the fitness part a lot better than the work part because of it’s lack of native Tizen apps. Despite being disconnected to my phone physically, the Gear Sport stayed connected wirelessly and kept the internet world connected to me at all times. This is definitely something a lot of Smartwatch fails to do.
If you’re looking for a fitness centric smart wearable, look no further. But if you want something that’s more work than play, you can always go for the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier or Classic which comes in a bigger package.