In this review I’ll go over compatibility, pricing, appearance, specs, and I’ll talk about some of the Samsung Gear Sport’s functionality that I use.
I’ve been using the Gear Sport for about 6 months now, and for my first smart watch I can say that in general I’ve had a great experience with it.
I use the watch daily and keep it on my wrist at all times except for when it’s charging, or I’m taking a shower — even though you could totally shower with it and have no problems. I’ll get to the specs later, but it’s 100% water resistant up to 50 meters. Unless you’re bathing at the bottom of a lake you should be fine. 😉
The last thing that anybody wants is to spend a lot of money on a new smart watch and end up having problems with connectivity and not being able to use all of the features that were promised. So, I’ll go over compatibility first because it’s most important.
According to Samsung:
All Android phones running Android version 4.4 and later are compatible with the Gear Sport, although some features on non-Samsung phones will have limited compatibility. Gear Sport is compatible with iOS phones, but the Email and Samsung Pay features are not available.
Pairing With A Non-Samsung Device
I have the watch paired with my Motorola Moto Z Force and I’ve had zero issues with compatibility. My Moto Z Force is running on version 8.0.0 which is a relatively up-to-date version of Android. I can’t say for certain, but non-Samsung phones running older versions may have more compatibility issues than mine.
For iOS users, if you can live without Email and Samsung pay features then you should still be good to go with this watch. I’ve never used Samsung pay, however I do like getting email notifications on my watch, but it’s not a deal breaker for me.
Gear Sport normally retails for $279, but right now Samsung is selling them for $100 off — so you can get one here for $179. In my opinion this is a phenomenal price for the watch. I personally wouldn’t pay the full retail price.
My brother works for US Cellular so I financed mine through them for a monthly payment of only $16.50.
The watch still has plenty of great features and it’s far more affordable than Apple watches which can retail anywhere from $279 for the Series 3 to $799 for the newer series 4.
Samsung’s Gear Sport watch features the round bezel that you don’t see with most fitness watches. For people who don’t really prefer the look of the slender ‘Fitbit’ style watch like Samsung’s Fit2 Pro, the Gear Sport maintains a more standard watch design while still packing the same fitness features desired from those watches.
How About That Round Bezel?
The round bezel on the Gear Sport actually allows more screen real estate than the slender screen on the Fit2 Pro. This means you won’t be accidentally clicking on UI elements that you didn’t intend on clicking — which is incredibly annoying on any small device. I have fatter fingers so I definitely wanted a bigger screen.
Also, the additional rotation control of the bezel provides extra functionality that I find myself using just about as much as touching the display. In some cases where UI elements are packed on the screen, rotating the bezel can be easier and more accurate to use.
One downside that I found with the round bezel is that small particles sometimes get lodged underneath. This bogs down the rotation which can be really frustrating. I ran on the beach every day for about one week with the watch, and everyday I had to try and loosen up the particles to get it back to spinning properly. Of course, you can always still use touch on the display so it’s not that big of a deal.
Colors And Wrist Strap Customization
The watch itself either comes with black or blue hardware and straps out of the box. The straps are interchangeable and you can find all kinds of straps made of different material and colors online.
Let’s go ahead and quickly go over the specs of the Gear Sport:
- Physical Dimensions: 42.9 x 44.6 x 11.6 mm
- Weight: 67 g
- Display: 1.2” 360 x 360 Super AMOLED Full color AOD, Gorilla Glass3
- Accelerated Processor: Dual Core (1.0 GHz)
- Storage: 4.768 GB
- Operating System: Tizen OS 3.0
- Battery: 300mAh
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Barometer, Heart Rate Monitor, Ambient Light
- Connectivity: BT4.2, Wi-Fi(802.11 b/g/n), GPS/Glonass, NFC
- Water Resistant: 5ATM / 50 Meters
- Apps: UA, Spotify Offline, Speedo
- Strap: Any 20mm watch band
The Gear Sport’s 300mAh battery typically lasts me about two full days of average use. I exercise once everyday and use the GPS feature while running for about 20–30 minutes.
The watch also has a battery saving mode for when you only need to keep track of time and this can great increase the battery life.
The Gear Sport also comes with a wireless charging dock which is pretty cool and convenient. So far it’s always been 100% reliable and the watch charges within 1 hour.
The Gear Sport is primarily used for fitness and that’s pretty much the only thing that I use it for. This watch has about all of the functionalities that you need for fitness — GPS, calorie intake tracking, over 60 workouts to choose from, water resistance up to 50 meters, heart rate monitor, workout reminders, and more.
Personally, I like the ability to track the length and intensity of my runs. With the Samsung Health app I get a map of my run and a breakdown of my heart rate levels during different times — essentially all you need to know how the exercise went.
Samsung Health App
Like I said, I primarily use the Gear Sport for health and fitness. The Samsung Health app has everything that you need to keep track of your activity and I absolutely love it.
When I go for my daily run, I just leave my phone at home and use the watch to track everything. Once I get back into Bluetooth range of my phone, the workout automatically syncs up with the app. The days of running or working out with your phone are over.
Issues With The Watch
I’ve only experienced two major issues with the watch that I feel are worth mentioning in this article.
The first problem I had was trying to use the Spotify app. Multiple times when using the Spotify app I got stuck on the loading screen when opening the app and couldn’t fix the issue without restarting the watch. I’m not sure whether this was an issue with the watch itself of the app software.
The second issue had to do with battery drainage. For about a week I had to keep the watch on battery saving mode because it was losing 100% charge in literally 30 minutes. After the latest software update the problem seems to be fixed.
Overall the watch has functioned properly and I’ve had very little headache with anything else.
Originally published at austinhoward.tech on December 19, 2018.