Samsung Gear Sport: First Look

Samsung combines sleek and sporty to build a must-buy gym accessory

Last month Samsung launched its updated fitness-focused Gear line-up. I’ve had the Samsung Gear Sport for a few days and it’s been an interesting companion. Let’s take a dip, for now, into Samsung’s new sports and fitness-targeted Smartwatch.

Samsung Gear Sport: out of the box

Unboxing is always a fun moment for me. A relatively small container holds the Gear Sport watch and its charging dock. The installation of the apps and initial connectivity of the watch took a little longer than it should and got slightly irksome. It could possibly be a standalone issue but the app wouldn’t let me create a new account until I closed and relaunched it. I first had to download the Gear App, then it made me download the Health App and I had to sign in on both apps and it was all a little more messy than it should have been. The Samsung Health App also tends to annoy with notifications and reminders, so its best when turned off. Of course the initial bitter tones faded away quickly as I was off to my first session in the gym with the Gear Sport.

Samsung Gear Sport Side
The buttons: on the top is the back and the bottom is the menu. I really do wish they could be switched around

Samsung Gear Sport: specs and specialties

The face of the Gear Sport is a sleek Super AMOLED screen measuring in at 1.2 inches – a pretty functional size for daily use, especially while jogging on a treadmill or catching your breath in between sets. It’s equipped with Bluetooth 4.2, which provides quick and seamless pairing to your phone every time. It come with NFC to facilitate Samsung Pay as well so now you can easily pick up a post-workout smoothie. Tizen OS does well in taking hints from Android Wear and builds a formidable platform that can easily be used by anyone. The new Gear smartwatch sports the company’s unique rotating dial used to switch between modes and toggle apps. The Gear Sport has a water-resistance rating of 5 ATM or 50 metres.

Samsung Gear Sport Back
The Gear Sport has a water-resistance rating of 5 ATM or 50 metres

 

The 300mAh battery doesn’t disappoint. I was able to get a full three days of use out of mine before needing to recharge. Point to note: the Gear Sport has an always-on mode, mine hasn’t been always-on during the first look. I’ve kept an eye on the battery gauge throughout to see how it would fare, I’m initially impressed. The watch is lightweight so feels no different from your regular watches. However, looks can be deceiving. It may seem bulky but fits like a fine glove. Its striking blue silicone strap works great under wet and dry conditions. Its comfort was welcome during an intensive gym session with sweaty arms and feels equally comfortable while out and about.

Samsung Gear Sport: a healthy track

What the Gear Sport is really about is health and fitness. The design is great and functions are equally well thought-out. You can set goals for yourself in terms of workouts and calorie intake through the Samsung Health App. Like any fitness tracker, the Gear Sport tracks your steps but it also monitors your heart rate constantly so at a flick of a wrist you can check your pulse. Along with your resting heart rate you can easily see how many steps you’ve taken, how many floors you’ve climbed, hours you’ve worked out in a day, in a week, and much more along with comparing these achievements with set goals.

Samsung Gear Sport
It’s when it comes to fitness tracking that the Gear Sport really shines

What’s really helpful are the workout trackers. Go into Workouts and select what you’re about to do. Trackable activities include cycling, treadmill, yoga, pilates and so many more.

If you spontaneously get into some form of activity, after ten minutes the Gear Sport automatically starts tracking your impromptu workout session. You can easily glance at a brief of your daily activity or dive deep into them. In the world of big data, Samsung gets how to make so many numbers visually appealing to a user.

Of course one of its highlights is the ability to use the Gear Sport while swimming and track your activity. Many fitness trackers don’t have this ability.

I’ll dive into more details on how it performs underwater in my full review, coming soon!