Update: The Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro is now available. We've updated our early impressions with pricing and availability information. Stay tuned for our full review to see if this one's worth checking out.
Original review follows below.
Sometimes, a total overhaul just isn’t necessary. The Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro is such a case, wherein the company’s previous effort, the Samsung Gear Fit 2, ticked all of the necessary boxes (plus some) to make it one of the best fitness trackers around.
Now, the Pro version is here. But what’s so “pro” about it? Not much, really. The battery is the same size. The processor, screen size and general design features haven’t wiggled a bit. It’s still IP68-protected, meaning it’s impervious to water and dust. You’ll be treated to built-in GPS to track your runs, walks and swims, too.
Here’s what is different: the Gear Fit 2 Pro features fitness-centric apps pre-installed, like MapMyRun, UA Record and Endomondo, so you can get going faster.
The other difference is that Spotify’s sought-after offline mode works here, meaning this wearable can act as a standalone music player. The latter is probably the main draw for most, as you usually need to bring your phone along to achieve such a feat.
Even after just a short time testing out the Gear Fit 2 Pro, it seems to be the better choice if you’re jumping in for the first time. While there doesn’t seem to be enough incentive for those who own the original Gear Fit 2, Samsung’s latest is but $20 more, bringing the total up to $199 (£209, not available in Australia).
We’ll be updating this hands-on with our final impressions, including whether its differences warrant a purchase once we’ve tried each and every one of the Gear Fit 2 Pro’s new features.
Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro release date and price
Samsung has announced that following a pre-order period, the Gear Fit 2 Pro is now available. You can purchase it via Samsung's website and retail stores, as well as Best Buy in the US. As we hear of additional retail availability, we'll let you know.
It's always worth keeping in mind that given the Gear Fit 2 Pro is out in the autumn, it will make for an easy purchase come the winter holiday period.
Design and screen
The Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro design is the same as its predecessor, which means a curved screen clipped into a rubber strap.
However, the band is now buckled, rather than using toggles to hold it in place, making it more watch-like and secure on the wrist. This is a far better idea and we're glad Samsung made the upgrade.
Available in two colors (black and red) the Gear Fit 2 Pro sits nicely on the wrist, much like its predecessor, the curved display not feeling sharp or angular like on the original Microsoft Band, for instance.
In terms of the screen, you just have to look at this device to know that Samsung means business. The curved Super AMOLED screen, which boasts a 216 x 432 resolution and measures 1.5-inches, is pin sharp, giving it a clarity that's something like a mid-range smartphone rather than a pixelated monochrome fitness band (we're looking at you, Fitbit Charge 2).
The screen is also protected by Gorilla Glass 3, to give it more safety when being bashed around enthusiastically.
Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro fitness
The main upgrade Samsung has brought here is that the Gear Fit 2 Pro has 5ATM waterproofing, compared to the original's five foot of depth maximum, meaning it can be smashed around in a swimming pool to properly see what you're up to when wet. We'll definitely be testing this out for the full review.
Samsung has smartly partnered with Speedo to include the Speedo On app. which means it'll have more accuracy when logging your swims - we couldn't test this (obviously) but if it works, it's going to be a big draw for fitness fans.
The inclusion of GPS isn't novel, but it is thoroughly welcomed on the Gear Fit 2 Pro, as it means your run logs will be more accurate as a result.
There's automatic exercise recognition on the band as well, so if you just start cycling after 10 minutes the Gear Fit 2 Pro will start logging for you, porting the information to the S Health app on your smartphone.
There's a heart rate monitor underneath the band too, so you'll have access to continuous heart rate monitoring on the go, which is especially useful in dynamic workouts where you'll be able to see how fit you're getting during tennis or football.
Offline Spotify support
We've already heard this is coming to the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch, but one of the headline features of the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro is the the ability to playback songs from Spotify... without a phone connected.
In terms of the phones you can connect, if you're using an Samsung phone with version 4.3 or above, or any other Android 4.4-enabled phone, the Gear Fit 2 Pro is a go. Also, if you're an iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus or SE user, you can get involved with the new Samsung band too.
The Fit 2 Pro has 4GB of internal storage onboard, so you'll be able to download loads of songs to take on a run or swim without needing a large device welded to your arm.
Combine that with a dual-core processor, longer battery life, Under Armour / MapMyRun / Endomondo / MyFitnessPal support and the ability to perform smartwatch functions like ordering an Uber, controlling the Nest thermostat or opening your BMW i8, and you've got an impressive device on your wrist.
We've not heard word of the battery life of the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro just yet, but with the 200mAh battery pack in there it should be the same as the Gear Fit 2, which will last a couple of days in standby mode easily and be able to log most exercises with plenty of juice left to get you home and start syncing up.
Of course, that projection will change depending on the rigors you put the Gear Fit 2 Pro under. Samsung says that with GPS mode activated, you'll likely get around nine hours out of the wearable.
Samsung's new wearable is similar to last year's, so current owners of the Gear Fit 2 will likely not find much reason to upgrade. But we'll be seeing if the Gear Fit 2 Pro can improve on the formula in the full review.
We'd personally go for the watch every time, as it's more powerful and does a little bit extra, but if you're someone who likes wearing a fitness band, this will be a fair bit cheaper and has all the sporting smarts while taking less space on your wrist.