The Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro
Review: Is This the Perfect Running Watch for Spotify Subscribers?
The Samsung Gear Fit2 was released in 2016 and, by most accounts, it’s still a top-tier fitness tracker, especially if you own a Samsung smartphone. The new Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro doesn’t mess too much with its predecessor’s success. It has a similar two-button design, beautiful curved display and multiple sensors including heart-rate, built-in GPS and sleep monitoring. You can quickly respond to text messages and calls if your phone is nearby, too.
The improvements to the Gear Fit2 Pro over the Gear Fit2 are noteworthy-yet-incremental. It’s now water-resistant enough to go swimming with, and Samsung partnered with Speedo to include Speedo Go preinstalled on the device. Samsung also partnered with Under Armor to include running-focused third-party apps MapMyRun and Endomondo. The improvement I’m most excited about though its built-in music feature. That is, thanks to a partnership with Spotify, the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro is one of the only fitness trackers that allows you to download songs to the device — if you’re a Spotify Premium member.
The Good: The Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro can work with any smartphone, you’ll just need to download both the S Health and Samsung Gear apps. It’s comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, with a striking curved AMOLED display. You can leave your phone at home and this fitness tracker will still accurately track your workouts and enable you to listen to Spotify (if paired with Bluetooth earbuds or headphones).
Who They’re For: It’s a great fitness tracker if you own a Samsung Galaxy smartphone; it’ll work with iOS and Android devices, but you might not be as familiar with the interface. If you want to listen to Spotify offline, you have to be a Spotify Premium member.
Watch Out For: The app experience on the Gear Fit2 Pro can be frustrating, partly because of its two-button design (navigation can be tough) and partly because not many of the available apps are all that desirable. The Gear Fit2 Pro utilizes a proprietary charger, unlike a micro-USB or USB-C cable that can charge other devices, so if you forget it at home you’re out of luck. Spotify isn’t downloaded on the Gear Fit2 Pro — you have to download the app and that process isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.
Alternatives: Even though the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro isn’t a full-fledged smartwatch — it doesn’t support Samsung Pay or have access as many third-party apps, nor can it control your smart home devices or access your email — some of its main competitors are smartwatches: Apple Watch Series 3 ($329), Garmin Fenix 5X ($650), Fitbit Ionic ($299) or Samsung’s Gear Sport ($300). More dedicated fitness trackers include the Fitbit Blaze ($200) and the Garmin Vivosport ($199). Also, the now-older Samsung Gear Fit2 ($130) has been updated with Spotify support, so you can listen offline, and it costs $70 less.
Review: As a runner who needs music as motivation, the dream has always been to run with music without being burdened by a smartphone or other bulky device. That’s part of the reason why I enjoyed testing the Apple Watch Series 3 so much. But I’m fundamentally against devices that make you change your habits in order to use them. For instance, in order to stream music on the Apple Watch Series 3, sans iPhone, you need to be an Apple Music subscriber — and I’m not (I used a free trial during my test). I’m a Spotify subscriber, along with 70 million other people.
The Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro is one of the only wearables that works with Spotify offline — with a Spotify Premium subscription, you can download Spotify playlists and listen to them without your phone. (The only other wearable that I know about that can do this is the Samsung Gear Sport smartwatch ($300), which is basically the Gear Fit2 Pro’s more expensive and more capable sibling.) I tested the Gear Fit2 Pro, paired with Samsung’s Gear IconX wireless earbuds ($200) (though you can easily pair it with any Bluetooth headphones), with one goal in mind: to see if this is the ultimate wearable for Spotify users. Is it? Almost.
For the span of two weeks, I ran with just the fitness tracker and a pair of earbuds — no phone and I was still able to listen to music (liberating!). That said, the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro and its Spotify experience aren’t without flaws. For starters, the Spotify app is not pre-downloaded on the device, which is arguably the device’s standout feature. Actually downloading the app felt like a roundabout. You have to go through the Samsung Gear app on your phone, search for the Spotify app and then log on (instructions here) and it’s actually much more tedious than it sounds.
Verdict: The Spotify offline features worked as advertised and I found the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro to be liberating. There’s room for improvement, especially when it comes to setting up the Spotify app, but if you’re a runner and a Spotify Premium subscriber, and willing to spend $200 on a fitness tracker, the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro is a great one to consider — especially if you’re an iPhone user. That said, when Samsung launched the Gear Fit2 Pro it also pushed out a software update that enabled the older Gear Fit2 ($130) to support Spotify offline listening. It’s a slightly less capable fitness tracker, but, because it’s also significantly cheaper, it’s probably a better value for the dedicated Spotify runner.
What Others Are Saying:
• “The Fit2 Pro goes up against the Fitbit Blaze, Garmin Vivosport, TomTom Spark 3 Cardio and a Series 1 Apple Watch, and it largely comes out ahead against all of them. If you’re looking for more accurate fitness tracking or better sleep metrics, you’re better off with a Garmin or a Fitbit, but nothing touches Samsung for an all-around experience.” — Daniel Bader, Android Central
• “The Pro’s new features don’t change that last year’s model is far easier to recommend thanks to its lower price and equally comprehensive feature set.” — Cameron Faulkner, TechRadar
• “Samsung’s Gear Fit2 Pro is sleek, stylish, and remained comfortable on our wrist no matter if we were sweating in the gym, or sitting at our desk. For $200, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal on a feature-rich, water-resistant fitness tracker.” — Rick Stella, Digital Trends
Display: 1.5 inches 216×432 pixels
Weight: 34 grams
Water resistance: 5ATM
Sensors: heart rate, accelerometer, gyro and barometer
Compatibility: Android and iOS
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