I’ve been waiting for a while to get on the fitness band bandwagon. I have had an interest since I work out almost daily and try to watch what I eat, how much water I drink and so on. But I kept thinking that the specialty fitness bands were too special. I’ve been waiting for a band that would do double duty as both a fitness device and a smart watch. I also wanted something that had a fairly reliable heart rate monitor since that is the best way to actually measure your exertion when working out.
Finally, I found the Samsung Gear S2. I was excited about the fact that it could:
- Track steps
- Track calories burned
- Track workout (running, biking, etc.)
- Measures heart rate
- Quality of sleep
In addition, the app you use on your phone in conjunction with the watch tracks other things like foods eaten, water intake, caffeine, even stress.
Best of all, it would be an actual watch and show me alerts from my phone. So how cool is that?
The Reality: Seemed too good to be true and you know how that goes!
When I ordered the S2, I wasn’t really all that concerned about styles and watch faces, etc. After all, I’m a gizmo girl and it’s all about the apps and what it can do, right? Well, once I started using it, I quickly appreciated the style features. I have a very small wrist. So I was worried that it would look and feel like a boulder on my wrist. In fact, it didn’t. It comes with two size bands and the smaller band worked great. And I really enjoyed changing the watch face to find the perfect one. Within a day I had bought and downloaded a Kansas City Royals face. Go Royals!!!
Although the watch surprised me with it’s cool factor, it’s practical use was pretty flawed for me. First, the battery lasted not quite a day. In fairness, I had purchased a used, but like-new version from Amazon. It still had all the new packaging including the plastic screen protectors and such. So I’m not sure it had actually been “used.” But it was bought as a used item so battery life may have been impacted by that. Many people say it can go more than 24 hours. But it didn’t even last much past dinner for me.
The other thing I learned is that I’m not enamored with smartwatch features anyway. To have my wrist vibrate when I’m getting a call on my phone is not really all that useful. If I could have answered from my wrist, talked into it and then hang up, that would be cool. But you can’t do that without the 3G version. And that version requires another data plan. I don’t know about you, but one data plan for me is enough. If you are a runner or walker, however, that might be worthwhile. It would allow you to leave your phone home during your run/walk yet still track your activity and get a call.
One thing you can do is to get your email from your phone (easy to set up with a Gmail account.) But my over 50 year old eyes do not particularly like to read email messages on a screen the size of a postage stamp. And 98% of the time my phone was within reach anyway.
The fitness features were very weak. It wouldn’t auto-recognize when I was working out. And it didn’t consider a simple aerobic workout a workout. You had to enter something like running, walking, biking, etc. I found the step counter to be quite inaccurate. And the work of logging food, water, and more was done on the phone, not the watch. The sleep monitor was not very good at all. And while the watch was perfectly good as a watch, it was too bulky for me to sleep with it. My poor sleep it monitored was likely because the watch was so uncomfortable on my wrist while sleeping!
As for the apps you can use, there are quite a few. However, they are not very robust. For example, you can get the ESPN or CNN app. That will allow you to get headlines and scores. However, if you want to read about them, you get an abbreviated story on a postage stamp sized screen. Don’t look for rich text or videos for heavens sake!
In the end, I realized that what is important to me are the fitness features – not the smartwatch/phone connectivity features. Between that and the extremely poor battery life, it went back to Amazon.
I’m not using a FitBit Charge HR. Watch for an upcoming review.
If you want to read email on your wrist or want to change watch faces (for a lot of money), this may be just the thing. This rating is based on what my needs are. I want a great fitness gizmo. Thus, the Gear S2 for me is a loser.
- Great style
- Nice fit
- Good for not having to look at your phone as much
- Great if you are a runner/walker and want to leave home without your phone and can/will pay for another data plan
- Compatible with most Android Phones
- Poor fitness device
- Poor battery life
- Few apps that are worthwile