More than the Galaxy S5 or the two Gear 2 smartwatches, it was Samsung’s new health and fitness-focused Gear Fit that took everyone by surprise at the company’s Unpacked event at Mobile World Congress. As we said in our hands-on preview on the day of the announcement, it’s the most impressive of the new devices unveiled by the Korean manufacturer. The main attraction? The flexible OLED display that is awesome to look at, and is your window into the functionality and features offered by the device.
Samsung’s AMOLED displays are already the best in the business, but what makes it better on the Gear Fit is its curved nature – a curved display was one of the most sought-after features of the Galaxy Gear but one that never made it to the final product, making the Gear Fit the first of its kind in the mobile industry. Technical details include a size of 1.84-inches and a resolution of 432×128, but sensible folks understand that it’s never really about technical numbers – if you fall in that camp, you’ll simply love the Gear Fit’s display.
In terms of features, the Gear Fit is pretty similar to Samsung’s smartwatch, though the focus in fitness means it’s not exactly aimed at being a permanent companion to your smartphone. You can receive calls and notifications from your phone, use functions like a timer and stopwatch; and track your activities, including steps taken and your heart rate thanks to a dedicated heart rate sensor. Operating the interface is based on swipes – there’s no home button on the thing unlike the Gear 2, which isn’t exactly surprising considering the smaller dimensions of the Fit.
Like the Gear 2, the underlying operating system is Tizen instead of Android, and you can pair it up with around 20 of Samsung’s smartphones (provided they have been updated to Android 4.3), with battery life of around three to four days with typical usage. You get interchangeable straps as well, in black, orange and Mocha Grey colors, and swapping them out is as simple as separating the display and the strap with an effortless tug.
It’s too bad Samsung launched the Galaxy Gear before the Gear Fit, since the latter is the product that should have spearheaded Samsung’s entry into the smart wearables market. Not that it’s too late right now – there’s no other device that comes close to the beauty of the Fit or its functionality, especially for fitness freaks that want a dedicated device for keeping track of their health. The fact that only Samsung devices are compatible remains a limitation, but if you’re willing to look past that, the Gear Fit is a wearable that has no equal in the market.
A beautiful display, brilliant form factor, and useful features combine to make the Gear Fit one of the most innovative devices this year, and we’ll be waiting with bated breath to give it a more thorough look in our upcoming review.