How do you attempt to follow up the Samsung Gear Fit 2, a wearable that ticked all of the necessary boxes to make it one of the best fitness trackers around? In the case of the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro, a few very tiny steps forward.
Following last year’s release of the original model, the Pro version is now 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. You’ll be treated to built-in GPS to track your runs and walks, too.
Here’s what is different: the Gear Fit 2 Pro features fitness-centric apps pre-installed, like MapMyRun, Speedo Go, UA Record and Endomondo, so you can get going just a bit faster.
And Samsung has doubled-down on the original’s IP68 rating to add MIL-STD-810G certification, which means this wearable is more durable. It’s more swim-friendly, too, with the ability to withstand 5ATM of water pressure.
For most, the main draw for this wearable is that Spotify’s sought-after offline mode works here, meaning it can act as a standalone music player that pumps tunes to your wireless headphones. Indeed, this is an awesome perk.
Unfortunately, not all that has changed is for the best. In fact, much of these tweaks act to highlight some longstanding issues. The pre-installed apps, for instance, seem like a time-saver given the nightmare that setting up and navigating through Samsung’s Galaxy app store is. But two things: Spotify, which offers arguably the coolest feature here, isn’t pre-installed. Second, you’ll also need to download most of these apps onto your phone to even get started. So for those hoping for a ready-to-go device out of the box, this change is meaningless.
Next is its price. Looking at retail prices, Samsung’s latest is but $20 more than the original was at launch, bringing the total up to $199. This doesn’t seem like an egregious price hike, except it’s dead simple to find last year’s Samsung Gear Fit 2 for around $130 on Amazon. That’s half the cost, and the Gear Fit 2 Pro’s new features, of which there are very few, aren’t worth nearly double the price.
After testing out the Gear Fit 2 Pro, I’m not confident that the changes made turn this into the best choice if you’re jumping in for the first time. In fact, not only are there too few reasons to incentivize those who own the original Gear Fit 2 to upgrade, it makes last year’s wearable even easier to recommend because of its lower price.
Sometimes, a total overhaul just isn’t necessary. But as it turns out, a bit more of an overhaul would have gone a long way in making the Gear Fit 2 Pro worth it.
Update: We've updated this review to note that the Gear Fit 2 Pro is now compatible with iOS.
Since MWC 2018 is right around the corner, it's likely that we'll see a big presence for the Gear Fit 2 Pro there. That said, it's also possible that we'll get a look at something new, perhaps a new Samsung Gear Fit 3 or the Samsung Gear S4.
There hasn't been much movement on the Gear Fit 2 Pro front in terms of bringing more features and desired apps to the forefront, but we're keeping a close eye on its development.
Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro release date and price
The latest smart fitness tracker from Samsung is now available across several regions for $199 (£209, not available in AU) through the company’s website.
If you order now in the US, Samsung will toss in a set of Samsung U Flex wireless headphones, which admittedly sweetens the purchase quite a bit.
For perspective, the Samsung Gear Fit 2 launched last year for $179, though is now easy to find for a much cheaper rate through third parties, like Amazon. Of course, Samsung is selling it still at full cost, so we don’t recommend that avenue
- Traditional strap clasp is a good improvement
- Absolutely nothing has changed, but that's not so bad
Last year’s Samsung Gear Fit 2 was – and still is – one of the best-looking fitness trackers around, and this year’s model reiterates the same statement.
Around the front is a curved Super AMOLED that shines brighter and with far more detail than you’ll find in the average wearable. The interface is oriented vertically, meaning all of the metrics can easily be read without tweaking your head to the side, like we saw with the otherwise fantastic Microsoft Band 2.
As far as controls are concerned, the screen offers touch functionality, but its two buttons on the side control the Gear Fit 2 Pro’s main interface features: one for waking the wearable and jumping into the main app menu, and the other, which is designated as the “go back” button. To put it to sleep, simply place your hand over the screen.
The biggest physical difference here is that Samsung has introduced a standard watch strap clasp instead of a latch strap. It’s a subtle change, but a big one for those who stick with tradition. Thankfully, this strap is also compatible with the original model, though it isn’t available for purchase separately.
Flipped over on its back, this wearable rocks the same hardware, including a heart rate sensor and a few pins to charge when rested on the included USB-powered charger.
Speaking of the charger, charging the Gear Fit 2 Pro is a breeze thanks to its fail-proof magnetic charging mechanism. No matter which way you align the device, it’ll start charging without any fuss. This is how you make proprietary chargers work in the favor of the user.