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.
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.
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.
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…