Hands on with the Samsung Gear Fit

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Samsung were showing off their new Smartwatch – the Gear Fit, at the Wearable Tech Show in London – and I got to have a (very) brief play. Read on for more.

After not quite getting smartwatches right the first time round, Samsung took things back to the drawing board – a few weeks ago announcing three new Samsung Gear smartwatches. The new watches all run Samsung’s own “Tizen” operating system rather than Android, and I had a very brief chance to have a play – albeit on a version of the watch running six month old software (there’ll be a big software update at launch – so expect “updating the firmware your watch” to be one of the first things that you do). Here’s the Gear Fit pictured next to my Pebble smartwatch.

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First things first – the Gear Fit is very nice to look at. Now, I’m no fashion expert, but I can tell you that the screen is nice and crisp – and fully bright and colourful – and it can be seen from a wide variety of angles, so there won’t be much arm twisting. The only downside of Samsung opting for such a vivid screen is that the time isn’t displayed all of the time – you have to press a button on the side of the watch to activate it. Compared to Pebble, with its always on e-ink display and this could be frustrating.

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The touchscreen on there works great too – you feel super slick using a touchscreen that is mounted on your wrist. Interface-wise it ‘feels’ very Android-esque in terms of design and visual grammar – the back buttons look the same and so on. So if you’re a Galaxy user, it’ll all be familiar. To navigate around, its all about swiping.

I didn’t get to see any notification in action but I’m told that with the Gear Fit, apparently whilst you’ll get notifications on the watch, they won’t be hugely detailed – merely “1 new email” – meaning you’ll have to check your phone to find out exactly who has been contacting you. Apparently the other two new Gears, with the larger screen will give more details.

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As the Gear Fit is fitness focused, there’s plenty of fitness apps – a pedometer, a stopwatch and also – much like the rumoured iWatch is supposed to have – a heartrate sensor mounted underneath. It wasn’t able to find my pulse when I tried it – but I’m assuming that’s because of the hasty three minutes I spent with it, rather than that I’m a vampire.

Apparently the battery will last two or three days – which isn’t bad either. But obviously I can’t verify this at this point.

So things are looking good – could this be the smartwatch that finally makes the difference? Samsung will be hoping it will… as there’s a seemingly inevitable November announcement from Apple on the cards…

James O’Malley