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Hands on with Samsung’s new waterproof S5, activity tracker and Gear watches–with built-in heart rate sensors

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Tonight in Barcelona, Samsung announced their latest flagship phone – the Samsung S5, as well as three additional devices.  Ahead of the event, Samsung touted that fitness would be one of the core pillars of the event, and it didn’t fail to deliver.  The other three devices included two smart watches and one activity monitor – which easily shifted the activity monitor landscape in one fell swoop.

Samsung S5 Mobile Phone

There are many sites where you can read about some of the more generic tech specs of the S5 phone.  For here, I’m going to focus on sports/fitness features.  The new S5 starts off by including IP67 waterproofing, which means it’s rated for water ingest up to 1 meter in depth up to 30 minutes, as well as being protected against dust (such as sand).  This will make day to day sports activity easy without having to worry about sweat, rain or sports gel getting on the unit.

They note that “water resistance is not equivalent to waterproof…so don’t keep it underwater”.  They noted it was fine to “listen to a playlist in the shower”, or “watch a video in the tub”, but definitely don’t go for a prolonged snorkel trip with it.

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Next, the phone contains an optical heart rate (HR) sensor on the back.  This sensor is primarily used to measure resting heart rate – similar to that found on the Withings Pulse activity monitor.  Because of the position, it wouldn’t be ideal for constant HR monitoring.  The sensor is seen just below the camera:

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The goal of the sensor is to pull this data into Samsung’s S Health application targeted as the name suggests, at health data.  I initially previewed this back in October when Samsung outlined new capabilities including connecting to Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ devices.

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Now, in my testing with a few S5’s I tried, I wasn’t actually able to get the HR sensor to work correctly for me.  However, perhaps I’m just unlucky, as it seemed others were having success around me, such as the person directly before me, recording his 80bpm HR.

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Speaking of sensors, the new S5 will connect to both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ sensors.  Of course, it’ll still connect to old school Bluetooth legacy sensors as well.  This carries forward with it the precedent and commitment set forth by Samsung at the ANT+ Symposium to bring ANT+ to all current and future generation devices.

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In fact, if you wandered the tables of Samsung’s booth ahead of the announcement, you’d have found that all the current generation tablet and phone devices support ANT+ now – a shift from just a few days prior that didn’t include such widespread support.  Unfortunately, the legacy S3 phone is not one of those such devices (nor will it be).

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One interesting non-fitness related feature is Samsung’s inclusion of an ‘Ultra Power Saving’ mode for when the juice left on your battery gets tight.  In this mode it will shutoff virtually everything on the phone except incoming call reception and text messages.  They noted an example that if the battery has 10% remaining, it would still have 24 hours of battery life in the new mode.

Gear Fit Activity Tracker

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Next, looking at activity tracker – the Gear Fit.  This is Samsung’s first activity tracker, and they’ve made one heck of an introduction.  The unit features a full color curved touch screen (Super AMOLED), which is 1.84-inch (432 x 128).  The unit clocks in at 27g.

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The unit tracks steps and activity throughout the day (steps), but also contains a full optical HR sensor on the back.  This means it can record both one-off readings of your heart rate as well as continuous monitoring during an activity.

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To take a single reading that gets transmitted to Samsung’s S Health app, you’ll simply open the heart rate menu and that’ll initialize the green LED sensor which in turn captures your heart rate.  In playing with it a number of times, it took perhaps 5-10 seconds to get the reading.

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The second method of HR data display is if you want to record HR data during an activity.  For example, if you run or walk, you can capture the activity using the internal accelerometer.  At the same time, you can enable the HR sensor to capture the information.  While in cycling mode, the unit will also enable the GPS on your phone (if nearby) to capture that for distance/speed instead.

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The Fit seemed to auto-pause the activity (with HR monitoring) when I removed the band from my wrist, thus breaking pulse capture.

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This information is then transmitted to the Samsung S Health application where it can be stored, or alternatively uploaded to various partners, such as MapMyFitness and others.

Now, in talking to more than half a dozen Samsung employees, one interesting tidbit I received was a repeated mentioning that the HR data doesn’t track well while running (like how the Basis B1 watch works great sitting still, but not during activity).  But nobody had seen it firsthand while running, and rather was just being told that.

In my playing with the band and doing a bunch of shaking, I didn’t see any fluctuation, but then again, such fluctuations are typically driven by impact (and closely parallel cadence when it goes wrong).  In any case, I’ve reached out to one of the leads on Samsung’s Health team to get some final clarification.  I’ll note once I hear back.

Beyond fitness features the Fit also contains an IR sensor that can remote control electronics like your TV.  And, it supports notifications from your phone (such as text messages).  The ‘Find my Device’ function will trigger alarms to help you find your lost phone between the couch cushions.

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The band has three basic colors available for order: Orange, grey, and black.  The pod simply pops out and can be swapped between bands.

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In addition, they have a small flotilla of other custom bands coming up:

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Note that the Gear Fit does not rebroadcast your HR out via Bluetooth Smart to the phone, thus 3rd party apps are unable to access that (according to Samsung representatives present).  Further, there’s no access to the Gear Fit as a device from a 3rd party standpoint.  Finally, the Gear Fit will only work with Samsung Galaxy devices currently on Android version 4.3.  It will not work with non-Samsung Android devices, nor with iOS devices.

Battery life for the Fit is specified at approximately 3-5 days, depending on usage.

Gear2 Smart Watches

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Finally, the Samsung Gear2 smart watches.  Samsung has introduced two new units to replace the first generation watch launched just last fall.  The two units are the Gear2, and Gear Neo (the Neo is the cheaper one).  The core differences between the two is that the Neo doesn’t have a camera, whereas the Gear2 does.  And the Neo has plastic straps, whereas the Gear2 has a metal strap.  The Neo felt a bit cheap, whereas the non-Neo felt more sturdy.

Samsung started the section of the keynote noting that “Gear2 represents progress”, by focusing on removing things that consumers didn’t like, and adding things they requested.  It was a seemingly small admission that this isn’t necessarily the end-state of a perfect device, but rather a stop along the road towards a better smart watch.  For example, the location of the camera has changed, as has the addition of the home button.

However, most importantly in the fitness field, the unit now includes optical heart rate capability, meaning it can track your heart rate during a workout.  Shown below, the Neo.

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Both Gear2 editions include the same optical HR capabilities as I demonstrated within the Samsung Gear Fit activity band earlier, which can be leveraged by the unit to record/display your heart rate.  Just like the Fit activity band, this data by default gets uploaded to Samsung’s S Health app.

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In order to allow you to operate it independently of the phone in a gym scenario (or while running), the Gear contains 4GB of memory to act as a music player.

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The unit also features Samsung’s Lifestyle Coach, which aims to give you directions during a workout, such as that based on heart rate and intensity.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t really dig into this on a unit, given the settings.

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Within the Gear2 series, developers can now tap into the new features (such as HR data) with the Gear2 SDK.  To that end, MapMyFitness has announced tonight being one of the first major fitness providers connecting into the Gear2 platform.  The app was even loaded on some of the units in the the pavilion.

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In addition to MapMyFitness, both Runtastic and Strava are present.  First up, was MapMyFitness and their running app, MapMyRun:

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Here’s a few more screenshots from MapMyFitness showing how the app will work (since inside standing still was tough to simulate a run):

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I was briefly able to play with Runtastic as well:

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I might get a hands-on tomorrow with Strava, but did have a chance to at least load the app tonight:

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With the apps, the unit will record data from the watch and then transmit it to the phone for usage – such as uploading to the MapMyFitness site.  Of course, there were other non-fitness focused apps as well.

The Gear2’s battery life is now at 3 days, which is triple the previous Gear1 rating of…gulp…one day.  Like the S5 phone and the activity tracker, the Gear2 and Neo have waterproofing ratings of IP67.

And, like the Gear Fit, the unit only works with Samsung Galaxy devices on Android 4.3.  It will not work with non-Samsung devices, nor with iOS.

Summary/Analysis:

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No doubt, Samsung has put up a very impressive line-up, especially in the activity tracker.  The display size, and the display quality is unlike anything we’ve seen in this segment – by miles and miles.  In my playing with it, it felt very reactive, perhaps a bit too much at times (too sensitive to accidental swipes).  Though, with over a month until release I’m sure they’ll be able to tackle that.

The brilliance of the color (which is adjustable in brightness) is astounding, and the speed at which it finds heart rate (all the wearable devices) was solid, on par with other optical HR devices I’ve used.

Obviously, there’s a lot of areas that I’d have to be able to spend time with in testing to see how it shakes out.  For example: What’s the accuracy on the activity trackers (steps, etc…)?  How accurate is the HR readings while exercising?  Is battery life really as claimed?  And what does the data fidelity look like when sent to S Health (in particular, from the Gear Fit)?

There’s also the cost aspect.  Try as I might, nobody was willing to discuss costs (and trust me, I tried to get a feel from a lot of people).  A few higher ups noted that it would “be competitive” with the marketplace.  Which today, means between $99 and $150 for the activity tracker.  Whether or not they can deliver this high quality of a device in that price range seems like a pretty big astounding question.  The same goes for the Gear2 and Gear Neo Smartwatches, which haven’t had pricing released either.

And finally, there’s the one big pickle: It (Gear2/Fit) only works with Samsung Android phones/tablets.  Similar to the Gear1 before it, it required being in the walled garden of Samsung phones.  While I think that’ll work just fine for the smart-watch side of things, I think that’s really going to hurt sales of the activity tracker, which I suspect would otherwise slaughter many existing contenders – especially with the inclusion of smart notifications.

It’ll be fascinating to watch after release of the devices (on April 11th concurrently to 150 countries) to see how the market takes hold of them.  Perhaps even more importantly for the Gear2, is whether app developers will flock to it, or largely ignore it like the Gear1.  No matter the case on the smart watch, I can assure you that activity tracker companies tonight have definitely found a new and formidable competitor in the space.

Thanks for reading!

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135 Comments

  1. frank d

    Will Samsung have a companion app (for either or both devices) for iOS?

    Or will one need to depend on mapmyrun etc.

    Reply
    • Marty replied

      And, like the Gear Fit, the unit only works with Samsung Galaxy devices on Android 4.3. It will not work with non-Samsung devices, nor with iOS.

      Also what was shown here was only the start of apps to come, I think a lot of the other activity/fitness apps will catch up very quickly and have compatible versions out shortly after the devices launch.

      Reply
    • David replied

      I think you both miss the point... the Samsung Gear Fit will NOT work with ANYTHING other than recent and future Samsung phones and tablets... PERIOD. It is a hard coded decision by Samsung to restrict this, 3rd party apps on iOS or other Android phones will NOT be able to sync with the Gear Fit even if they wanted, EVER.

      Samsung is trying very hard to NOT be an "Android" company... they want to be like Apple... an "ecosystem" of all Samsung products working together to make things easier. Clearly this will limit the sales of the Gear Fit, but I think sales of the Gear Fit are really meant to help lock you into what is important to Samsung... sales of the Samsung Galaxy S5.

      Reply
    • frank d replied

      I'm not "missing the point"? Where was that point made?

      All I did was ask a question, geez.

      I have various Samsung devices which actually have iOS apps and Android apps, so I think my question was quite logical.

      And if Samsung wants to be the next Apple, well they just shot themselves in foot, because the iOS / mac market is higher income and spends more on apps and accessories. People aren't going to switch to Samsung to accessorize, switch to Samsung phones and laptops/desktops running Windows.

      Reply
    • David replied

      fair enough frank d, i totally apologize i didn't mean to sound adversarial just meant that samsung makes it clear that they are positioning these devices to be extensions of their phone and tablet ecosystem and they won't work with iOS or even other Andriod devices from outside Samsung. again i apologize for the wording.

      Reply
    • frank d replied

      We're OK :)
      I really wasn't aware of Samsung's intentions of keeping it locked up, and I read plenty of tech blogs, but I admit I don't follow the phone market and knew they had the gear watch but figured it was android compatible at least. And that given cross platform other stuff they'd go that route with watches and trackers.
      When it comes to something that doesn't exist, if you don't ask, they will never reconsider.
      Plus the Fit or Gear could be trojan horse that beats Apple by months at least.
      So I really think Samsung is cutting sales short. I'm deeply entrenched with Apple and not buying Samsung gear to get a wearable. My wife has a recent samsung tablet and laptop, but we're not going to upgrade those either to have a compatible wearable. Yet they could sell us two Fits or a Fit and a gear at launch. Some people may wait for the iWatch of course, but anyhow, it seems silly to restrict it to 2013/14 samsung phones when they immediately can start stealing sales from fitbit, garmin, etc. because the Fit looks 10 years newer to a Force and twenty plus to something that just shows dots.

      Reply
    • Marty replied

      I don't think that samsung would restrict the fit band to just their own software. Seems kinda silly with there are full support for 3rd party apps on the galaxy gear watch.

      This article does not say anything about whether 3rd party apps will be restricted from being able to connect to and utilize the data device. Because the device is so new 3rd party vendors may have not had time to get a beta app together for demo purposes.

      But I would wait for further information before saying that its going to be a walled garden, blah, blah, blah......

      Reply
    • Turn The Damn Cranks replied

      Ray wrote: "Finally, the Gear Fit will only work with Samsung Galaxy devices currently on Android version 4.3. It will not work with non-Samsung Android devices, nor with iOS devices." Sounds like a walled garden to me.

      Reply
    • Marty replied

      Not a walled garden anymore, as noted here, there will be SDK's for third party apps on the Fit.

      link to engadget.com

      Reply
    • Gingerneil replied

      But only on Samsung hardware...?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Correct. Thus, walled garden.

      Reply
  2. David

    Excellent wrap-up Ray. While this will never be the fitness tracker for me as I'm in the Apple "walled garden"... seeing the Samsung Gear Fit IMHO is a big clue as to what the Apple wearable device will be sometime this year (in terms of form factor and screen.)

    Immediate questions that come to mind in regard to the Samsung Gear Fit (and I know you can't answer until you can actually trial the unit beyond your short use...)

    1. Not only is the HR tracking accurate when running or working out... but how does having the optical HR tracking on for long runs affect the battery life?

    2. When activities are recorded are they just transferred to an S-health app on the phone? Is there a Samsung health website ala Garmin Connect? What data do they track besides the obvious steps and HR... for example... cadence, weather, mapping, etc.?

    3. Is there any gameification of the data?

    4. Is the data exportable to other sites such as Strava etc.?

    The real big "question" a device like this brings is perhaps this is just the first hint of a new class of wearable fitness devices that go far beyond the first generation of fuel bands, fitbits, and loops to blending with smart watches and our omnipresent mobile phones. Sure they might cost more, but just like our iPods gave way to more expensive but more capable iPhones perhaps in a few years the $99-150 band will give way to the $150-250 band that does so much more than just fitness (but does a great job at fitness too.)

    In the meanwhile my Vivofit just shipped to me, I really hope Garmin is paying attention before they get blown up, because the one thing they have that Samsung, Apple and others don't is the Garmin Connect platform and athletes using sport specific devices they can leverage with their new fitness bands to create a complete "lifestyle/fitness system" and from what I understand that merging of data, even with Vivofit, still leaves much to be desired here in early 2014.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      1) Nobody could clarify on how exactly optical was going to impact battery life. Knowing the electronics involved a bit, my guess it that the display is the primary killer of battery, not the optical HR measuring.

      2) S Health can then send them to various 3rd party sites, or just hang out on the phone. They track quite a few metrics, including cadence, etc... But it's not clear which exact metrics will be captured at this point.

      3) No direct gamification of the data.

      4) Yes, exportable.

      Reply
    • taniwha replied

      link to allaboutwindowsphone.com
      It might be interesting.

      Reply
  3. Mike Richie

    Wow, Ray - I am amazed you got out such a detailed post on the S5 and Gear watches - it must be the middle of the night in Barcelona! Doesn't your current training plan include sleep? Thanks, though, I thought I wouldn't get your take on this until tomorrow. Any chance you will be able to convince Samsung to let you get your hands on some pre-release hardware (do they realize how important you are to the sports/fitness device space?)
    Also, given Samsung's Ant+ claim, does the Gear 2 and Fit include Ant+, and, if so, do any of the Gear 2 apps connect to sensors like the foot pod or speed/cadence? Given the local memory, this may be a fairly capable watch even without the Samsung phone (although no GPS).
    Finally, did you get a chance to look at the new Sony Xperia Z2. With IP58 waterproofing, a 4K video camera and Ant+ it looks like it has almost everything you would need in an action cam - watch out Go-Pro and Garmin ;)

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      This sleep you speak of...

      I'd doubt that I'll get pre-release hardware. Companies like Samsung and Apple are pretty tight-fisted there. No worries on my end, there's plenty of other toys to play/test with today in my queue.

      Neither the Gear nor the FIT includes ANT+. Or at least, neither make it accessible. it woudl be perfectly expected that the chipset includes the capability given Samsung is probably re-using some of the same chips from the S5, which are dual.

      Sony coming up tomorrow...

      Reply
  4. Jose I

    I think this is just the beginning of a wave of very capable multi-function wearables at a fraction of the cost of legacy sports watches (Garmin, Polar, Suunto, etc)

    I don't think these devices will set out displace Garmin, Suunto, & Polar. But they will have so many features at such a low cost that the days of the $400-600 multi-sport watches are numbered. And whatever feature they don't have day one will be added through apps.

    It won't matter how open the big sport watch manufacturers make the data from their products at this point. The sport metric sites will bypass them completely and install their apps directly on the hardware.

    I think Garmin, Suunto, & Polar, etc have 1, maybe 2 years to roll out a Linux/Android/Tizen based wearable platform or face losing the sports watch market entirely. It really should have been out this year.

    Reply
    • David replied

      Jose is spot on. I wonder if the likes of Garmin, Suunto & Polar have the hardware, software, UI know how combined with the money to develop against the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung who are developing devices that while not dedicated fitness devices are going to be so beautiful, powerful, open and cheap that 3rd parties will rush in and fill in the blanks on your wrist devices and turn them into Garmin, Suunto & Polar world beaters for the cost of $1.99 app.

      Reply
    • Marty replied

      I think that the gps chip/reception would have to be improved a little more, and the wearable devices made to a higher water resistance rating before they can start displacing the more traditional gps sport devices (IE: Garmin 910xt, Garmin Edge/ForeRunner, etc...). The Fit and Gear watches are a great step in the right direction.

      To truly displace the dedicated devices they would need to be able to work without the phone itself, in terms of use of the GPS, showing pace/speed etc....

      The reason I say that the GPS chip/reception needs to be improved is because there is a difference in accuracy of the track points and elevation between my Edg500 and my iPhone 5S. The GPS tracks generated by my Edge500 unit are far more accurate than the iPhone.

      Reply
    • Bill R. replied

      I agree with Jose here. Hardware is coming that is changing wearables. Announcements like Intel's 14 nanometer technology and Broadcom's 40 nanometer highly accurate/low power GPS location chip are just the beginning. The Apples, Sumsungs, Googles of the world are going to produce a wearable with the hardware we currently have in our GPS watches. It's not unfathomable that these devices will also contain a cell chip that would allow you to add the device to your data plan. No tethering needed. The days of having a phone strapped to your arm or in your bike bag are going to come to an end. Sport metrics will indeed just be apps purchased from an app store. Bring it on. The sooner the better.

      Reply
    • simon replied

      another one in total agreement with the above. I don't think this current generation is quite there but it's getting very close. I only hope that the edge/forerunner market is big enough for the investment in decent GPS/ant+ support.

      worst scenario for current edge/forerunner uses is that apple/samsung/google drive garmin etc out of business - but leave us with 2nd rate 'fitness logging' type products with inaccurate GPS and HRM, something that an app designer can't necessarily work around.

      you would have imagined that Garmin would be at the forefront of this kind of software development but look at their appaling Garmin Connect app and even the flakey firmware in the 810/620 show that they are well wide of the mark.

      Reply
    • Steven Brown replied

      must be quite sobering for Garmin et al. I just realised with this announcement, and my recent reading (mainly through Ray's excellent website), that it will be very unlikely I'll ever replace my forerunner 610. and that's a device I think is great. but it'll do me a few more years, by which it's hard to see how the scenario you talk about above, with the device/app combo cleaning up, won't come to pass.

      would imagine quite a scary thought for companies like Garmin.

      Reply
    • Larry replied

      I think the accuracy of mobile phone GPS/GLONASS can be excellent. My 2 generation old Samsung GS3 captures tracks way better than my Edge 800. Under difficult conditions the Edge 800 isn't even close whereas the SGS3 is un-phased by dense cloud cover and a full tree canopy. Ditto for the barometric altimeter. The SGS3 provides much more accurate data. Still love the Edge 800 as it's battery lasts a very long time and the GPS is good enough most of the time.

      Reply
  5. Jason

    Incredible write up as usual Ray. Excellent point David. Garmin has to be very very careful in the coming months/years to remain relevant. The beautiful Samsung and Apple UI, physical styling, and full on integration with iPhone/Galaxy is going to be an enormous selling point against Garmin.

    Reply
    • Sofia replied

      Hi. Just a quick question. Will I still need to carry my phone for apps? For GPS purpose? I have a note 3 with is well... Massive. And not the simplest thing to run around with. Thanks for another great review! ;)

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, these devices require you to have connectivity to the phone. It's where the app runs.

      I'd argue that the Note3 wasn't really made for running... ;)

      Reply
  6. Sky

    Excellent article Ray , big thanks from D.C.
    I think Samsung has raised the bar by including the optical HR monitoring sensor. At this point, there is no reason not to do that. Most of the fitness devices on the market don't have that (Mio Alpha doesn't count since it can't do/store anything). I hope that Garmin Fenix 2 should have included a optical HR sensor. May be Suunto Ambit 3 will do that.

    Reply
    • Aaron replied

      At this point, there is no reason not to do that.

      Patent fees.

      Reply
    • Sky replied

      then you are out of the game. The company like Garmin and Suunto need to do more. I love my Suunto and Garmin 810 but I still think they need to do more to charge that kind of money.

      Reply
  7. giorgitd

    Awesome report from the event - pretty astounding, actually. The Samsung activity band - any hint about sleep tracking?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No hints in the UI for sleep tracking. Though, I've got to believe that's in the cards. With Sony having it, it'll prod them on.

      Reply
  8. Marty

    Great write up. Hopefully Samsung will be able to get a beta/test/demo unit to you for a full review shortly.

    Reply
  9. Now if only 4iiii would release an android app for viiiiva I would preorder an S5. Otherwise cool looking stuff. I'm not sure I need a activity tracker or smart watch, and the optical HRM will have to be put through its paces to convince me. Great write up!

    Reply
    • ifor replied

      What do you need a Viiiiva app for? Any app with ANT+ support built in should work with an S5 and your Viiiiva strap for HR. The only thing you can not do the set the viiiiva up for bridging ANT to BTLE but you have no need for that as the S5 has ANT built in.

      Reply
    • Tristan replied

      the 4iiii app is the only one offering support for heart rate, speed, cadence, and power meter simultaneously.

      link to 4iiii.com

      The Strava App, for example, does not have power meter support for mobile devices. I have yet to find an single app that will measure all of these things. 4iiii is the best option so far but only offer an iOS app. 3rd party apps are partial solutions as far as I can tell.

      Reply
    • ifor replied

      IpBike has had support for all the ANT+ cycling and running sensors for getting on for 2 years now there is also now support for the environment and muscle Oxygen profiles. There are other apps with multiple ANT+ sensor support as well. BTLE is harder with Multiple Sensors but that I believe is really Google framework issues but I have beta level support some what reliably in IpBike.

      Reply
    • Tristan replied

      Thanks for the info, I'll look into it!

      Reply
  10. Steven

    "It was a seemingly small admission that this isn’t necessarily the end-state of a perfect device, but rather a stop along the road towards a better smart watch"

    Yes, they're waiting for Apple to release the iWatch and show them how it should be done! ;-)

    Reply
  11. Nicky Defraeye

    Hi Ray,

    As I was reading the HR tracking when moving isn't accurate I suppose they use different technology than mio Alpha? Could you confirm this?

    Thx

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I can confirm Alpha isn't supplying the sensor. I haven't gotten clarity yet on exactly who. My guess is that it's also not TI either based on what I've heard elsewhere. I'm sure someone will drop me a note with the details...

      Reply
  12. scott buchanan

    Any idea if you'll be able to get pre-release equipment for review? or if not when would you expect to start publishing your reviews i.e. First Look & in-depth review etc

    You said that the Samsung people were ultra tight lipped about prices.... did they give any indication as to when prices would be announced?

    You said that these items of kit only work with other Samsung product.... not perfect but liveable with. What would matter would be the ability to export a .fit (or whatever) file from the Gear to upload to other sites i.e. GarminConnect, strava etc. Did you get any idea if this will be possible

    @Jose I never really thought about it but having done so now I also think your spot on! I'm happy to spend £360 ( here in the UK) on a Forerunner 620 because I refuse to run with a smartphone but when I look at other products its surprising how many have been assimilated into my smartphone. I no longer have a separate compact camera or a watch solely to tell the time, my home phone landline has gone. Even the small things... I used to have a calculator and a USB thumb drive but no more, my smartphone takes care of all that.
    Would be really interesting to read an industry perspective on this.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I'd expect I'll probably go straight to In-Depth review, sometime in April, probably 10-14 days after I get a unit.

      You can export the data to 3rd party platforms as long as said platform is part of the S Health ecosystem/app. What's unclear however is how general activity data will work there.

      Reply
  13. Juro

    As much as I am amazed by the device I am increasingly concerned about the fact that devices lock you to other devices etc etc... not liking the trend.

    Reply
  14. Kenn

    I can 't help but think the landscape mode screen of the Gear Fit has to be very awkward to read. Are they going to have an optional portrait screen view? Apart from the pretty screen, there doesn't seem to be any great reason to choose it above the other well established, smartphone agnostic and strong 3rd party ecosystem supported platforms from Fitbit, Jawbone, Withings and Garmin... No matter how you look at it, the Gear Fit and watches are accessories for someone who already owns a compatible Galaxy, not a product that would make anyone go out and buy a Galaxy.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      There wasn't an option to change orientation in the menu's today. However you can 'flip' the display (so to change from left to right wrist, and invert it. As well as the option to make the menu buttons full-screen size, or smaller size.

      Reply
  15. Mimmo

    I laugh when I think of the biggest producers realized that it is time to use the optical heart rate technology and Polar, Suunto, Garmin, still have not let cardio with this technology… They would be the first !! I think that is very difficult for them to accept to lose mutch money not being able to sell HR bundle or not, is the heart rate strap!! But now ? How much time will take Samsung or Apple or Tomtom to create a full cardio fits even the pros? I think the very short...

    Reply
    • Gingerneil replied

      I'm not convinced... I wear my forerunner on top of long sleeves throughout the winter so that I can see it. It would therefore be a dealbreaker to have the the HR on the inside of the watch. I am looking to buy a Mio or Viiiiva as this can be worn under clothes and seperate from the watch itself.
      Not having GPS on the band or the gear watches is a FAIL in my opinion. No serious runner is going to carry a smartphone for GPS, or want to rely only on the internal sensors to estimate distance/speed.
      So whilst this looks interesting tech for the hobbyist/casual user, I cant see the current generation taking off as proper garmin/Sunto etc replacements. But the again, I dont think that the intention.

      Reply
    • Mimmo replied

      I else think that it is great especially for the users that practice indoor and outdoor swimming...how many people use the HR band into pool ? I have not see anyone yet in my pool...

      Reply
    • Niclas (Polar) replied

      Optical heart rate is not as accurate as based on the electrical signal. Optical is good for heart rate and calories, that's about it.

      Reply
    • Leandro replied

      Neither ANT+ or BTLE frequencies go through water, that's why you haven't seen anybody swimming with them.

      Reply
    • Frank replied

      Apparently not, according to this link to helsinkibusinesshub.fi

      Looks like Samsung might be using a newer generation of optical heart rate that can produce HRV output, so that Firstbeat can analyze:

      “For its flagship products, Samsung has chosen the best technology. The products will help you to exercise according to your individual needs. The Firstbeat analytics acts as a personal coach”, says Aki Pulkkinen

      Looks like the exact same technology used by both Suunto and Garmin

      Reply
    • Mimmo replied

      Polar use 5ghz frequency but I haven't seen antbody... ;-)

      Reply
  16. Great first-look!

    The Gear 2 looks so interesting to me that it could make me switch from iPhone (never thought I'd say that).
    It will be interesting to read if the HRM is accurate during exercise (this made me ditch the Basis).

    Will the Strava-app use the built-in HRM?

    Reply
  17. The swedish press release states the following recommended prices: Gear Fit 2000SEK, Gear Neo 2000SEK, Gear 2 3000SEK.
    For reference, the Galaxy S5 got a recommended price of 6500SEK.

    Swedish prices always include all taxes.

    Reply
  18. driedees

    Samsung Netherlands official Twitter claims the Fit is gonna cost € 199, the G2 wil be € 299 and the de Gear 2 Neo will go for € 199 (prices include all taxes) link to twitter.com

    Reply
    • Mimmo replied

      That means Fit 140/150e,G2 200/250e and Neo 140/150e into online shops...

      Reply
    • Mimmo replied

      But why I must pay 150e for a fitband that I can only use with a Galaxy smartphone when I can pay 60-70e for a band that I can use with all? ;-)

      Reply
  19. This are some very nice products, but I am not going to lock myself to Samsung. I am too happy with my mix of device manufacturers. And the data seems to be locked in too, which is even worse than just a hardware lock in.

    Looking forward to see what Garmin, Sony and Google have to bring to the table now though.

    Reply
  20. Nicolas

    Hi Ray! do you think that the Samsung product is a vivofit-killer?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I don't think it's a Vivofit killer. At the rumored $200 price point, it's the most expensive unit out there. The lack of non-Samsung devices will hurt it. Thus, I fear at $200, it'd be more successful than the Gear, but not a break-out winner than it'd be at $99.

      One thing that'll be critical is accuracy of the unit during sport. If it's not accurate, it's useless.

      Reply
  21. Ari

    Hi Ray! As you said that "if you wandered the tables of Samsung’s booth ahead of the announcement, you’d have found that all the current generation tablet and phone devices support ANT+ now" - and also that all current devices have ANT+ support.

    So, is the Galaxy S4 Active now discontinued or obsolete, or has Samsung finally woken up and started to support ANT+ on Active too? Last time I heard about this the answer was a firm "no".

    Reply
    • Anders Majland replied

      [quote]So, is the Galaxy S4 Active now discontinued or obsolete, or has Samsung finally woken up and started to support ANT+ on Active too? Last time I heard about this the answer was a firm “no”.[/quote]

      To get ant+ we need android 4.3.

      I bought a s4 mini i9192 long before christmas when it as announced that it would get at least 4.3 (BT smart and ant+ was important to me). I'm still waiting ....

      Reply
    • Ari replied

      Well, at least in the US AT&T has started to provide Android 4.3 update to S4 Active - but if I've understood things correctly, that update doesn't have ANT+ support in it (although it should have BT Smart support)

      Reply
    • NewClydesdale replied

      Yes, I have 4.3 on my ATT active, I don't see any indication of ANT+. If it is there it is hiding.

      Reply
  22. Brett Stirling

    Hope you can help out here - If I don't want to lug my phone around when running etc, is there a chance that the Gear 2 watch will be compatible with another company's GPS sensor?

    Thanks,
    B

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Zero chance. The Gear 2 can only connect to the Gear Manager on the Samsung phones, and only utilize the phones GPS.

      Reply
  23. bibe

    Great post, Ray, thank you!
    Will there be any chance of pairing the Gear Fit with, say, a Garmin 310XT (at least for the HR data), so that I can get rid of the chest strap and use the Gear Fit instead?

    Reply
  24. Kiwook

    Amazing posting!
    Some questions.

    1.Samsung guy says he is not sure about accuracy of HR data in action? Hmm...
    2.Gear fit. You say there is no 3rd party app available. I understand Gear fit only connects Samsung Android phone with 4.3 OS. But It still cannot give HR data to the app on Samsung Android phone with 4.3 OS? endomondo, strava, etc?
    3.I see such app like MapMyRun on Gear 2. So It just display data from Samsung phone? or Gear 2 has GPS too?

    Sorry for too many questions.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      2. Correct, it will not allow non-Gear apps to access the HR strap from the phone. Only Gear apps can access it. MapMyFitneess apps are on the Gear 2, it's a Gear app along with Strava and Runtastic. Rumors of RunKeeper, but it sounds like that didn't pan out.

      3. The Gear2 doesn't have GPS, it uses the phones GPS.

      Reply
    • Kenn replied

      One of the most exciting announcements from Google for Android 4.4 was the new Fitness API (here's hoping Apple do the same). If Samsung are going to keep data from their own devices in a closed garden and not expose it to this API, I would hope they would at least make any ANT+ data be available to the Fitness API - otherwise the ANT+ support on their devices would be somewhat pointless... It would make the new fitness API somewhat dead in the water if Google's largest Android OEM didn't support it.

      Reply
  25. driedees

    I don't think the Gear Fit can act as a replacement for HRM-bands. From Ray's post:

    Note that the Gear Fit does not rebroadcast your HR out via Bluetooth Smart to the phone, thus 3rd party apps are unable to access that (according to Samsung representatives present). Further, there’s no access to the Gear Fit as a device from a 3rd party standpoint.

    Reply
    • Kiwook replied

      Thank you for your reply.
      In the posting
      "This information is then transmitted to the Samsung S Health application where it can be stored, or alternatively uploaded to various partners, such as MapMyFitness and others."

      I think at least S-Health app can receive data for Gear fit. and other 3rd party may cannot get data directly, but they still could have data by uploading. What do you think?

      And I also wonder if Gear2 can give data to MapMyRide app on the S5(phone).

      Reply
    • bibe replied

      Thank you for pointing that out, I completely missed the statement.

      Still waiting for the Mio Link, at least to get rid of the chest strap while running... ;)

      Reply
    • driedees replied

      I haven't read any statements on data export options after a workout. Also no note on the way S Health stores activities (will it be a propietary file type or maybe the .FIT file type?!).

      Since MapMyFitness has a MapMyRun on the Gear2-devices Ray was able to see at the event, I would be surprised if MapMyFitness wouldn't connect their other apps to the Gear2 platform.

      Reply
    • LV Bob replied

      MapMyFitness uses a single API across their apps. If you upload to MapMyRun, the data automagically appears in the other MapMyXXXX apps.

      Reply
    • LV Bob replied

      I should have said a common back-end rather than a single API but results are shared across all MapMyXXXX sites.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, it cannot. It must go through a Gear app, not just an Android app.

      Reply
  26. Alex

    Will S health be enable to make HRV analysis ? It seems that samsung signed a partnership with firstbeat.

    Reply
  27. Reply
    • simon replied

      that is very interesting - seems like samsung are treating this very seriously

      Reply
    • Frank replied

      Very impressive. They must be using a newer generation of optical readers that are able to output HRV data for Firstbeat to analyze, just like Suunto and Garmin!

      Reply
    • Rodrigo Valle replied

      The Firstbeat algorithms are also used in the Garmin Forerunner 220/620 watches:
      link to firstbeat.fi

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Sorta.

      In talking with a few companies that both currently make optical sensors, this still isn't really technically possible at the sensor level. What they are doing is making some educated guesses at the software level. The Dash folks are ultimately doing the same thing. Most of the time, it works out - but it's not the same accuracy level as ECG-based HRV.

      Reply
    • Frank replied

      Thks Ray for the clarification. I assumed that as they alluded to HRV data, it meant that they were analyzing the output at the same level as would a Suunto and Garmin HRM would produce. Thus, Samsung's optical reader is definitely not on par with chest HRM straps. Definitely, something worth taking into account.

      Reply
    • Empewu replied

      I'd suggest to have a bit of skepticism on HRV and estimation of fitness level based on it. This article explains why:
      link to researchgate.net

      Reply
  28. Robert

    I assume the Gear Fit display is not always on. What do you have to do to wake it?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Just tap it. You can configure the display sleep time through the settings.

      Reply
    • frank d replied

      Hopefully there will be an option/preference to just raise it (like Casio auto-illumination) to eliminate needing to bring your hands together.

      I understand it is not a problem for running, unless that would throw the statistics, but some other sports or activities you're holding on to something with at least one hand.

      Reply
    • frank d replied

      Thanks.

      If I were to buy it, I guess I will be raising my left arm and tapping it with my nose then :-/

      Reply
  29. Tom

    Apple briefly launched iTunes as Mac-only, preventing Windows users from having an iPod. The thought may have been to get people to drop PC's for Macs but quickly they realized the mistake and opened up iTunes. Obviously the iPod was a major turning point for the company and led to the iPhone/iPad.

    If Samsung only wants to use this to sell Galaxy phones they may win over a few people that want to be first adopters of smart watches, but its a terrible long term strategy. At this point your phone is too valuable to switch just for a watch (that still isn't all that useful). But if they open up to other-Android devices (at a minimum) or iOS then they at least have a chance of dominating the smart watch industry like Apple dominated the music play industry.

    ...Maybe a bad analogy, but that is what came to mind.

    Reply
    • LV Bob replied

      I think your spot-on. It will be interesting to see how Apple approaches this with the iWatch. I suspect they will not enforce their walled-garden approach and allow other devices to play hoping to lure people into the Apple ecosystem just as iPods and iPhones increased their computer sales. They will also be playing for getting people (and their billing information) into their back-end.

      Reply
    • Larry replied

      Interesting perspective about the possible future openness of Apple. It would be refreshing and welcome! Other than iTunes on Windows, I'm struggling to think of another Apple iProduct/iService/iApplication which isn't 100% proprietary and captive only to their ecosystem. Must be missing the iCloud/iMessage/iPhoto/iTunes/iMovie/Safari/iCalendar/iBooks/Facetime... entries in the Google Play Store.

      I agree with others that for all it's interesting features, Samsung is acting a bit like Apple with these products in they're being ecosystem captive. I'll pass even though I've had and were happy with my Samsung phone in the past. My preference is to support companies which have a broader market view which would include support for all the major platforms including iOS.

      Reply
    • Tom replied

      With the exception of iTunes, I'm sure all of those are replicated in Google Play by others and I imagine demand would be minimal.

      The only other Apple comparison I can think of is Apple TV which is partially open. You can use it with Windows/Android I believe, but it has additional functionality with Macs/iPhones.

      Reply
  30. Jimmy

    Great thread of comments and great initial review. I agree that the gear fit looks like a serious piece of equipment. At last someone is trying to raise the bar with a fitness band. The competition is going to heat up this year or a lot of manufacturers will be exiting the market even quicker than they climbed in. I will be very interested to see the battery life and weight of the gear fit. Not to mention the price. If i was a gambler i would say US$250 minimum for the gear fit. Its a great looking piece of equipment but like an earlier comment mentioned, there are going to be neck injuries reading it. Also it won't be reading heart rate in the water. I am a serious runner and i use a garmin 910xt for training. On the other wrist i have a basis B1 and that never comes off. There has been a lot of discussion about heart rate accuracy with the optical sensors and rays reviews on the amigo are essential reading but i am very happy with the basis for 24 hour monitoring and trends like heart rate recovery hours after a run and after heart rate after eating. The basis b1 is so light you hardly know its there. Heaven knows why they offered a much heavier metal bracket. I have had no issues with it falling off even when i fell heavily on a run and banged my head pretty hard. The basis gets 5 days of 24 hour monitoring and then the memory is full if you haven't synced it ( or had problems sycning to different devices and OS's..and who hasn't?). And 5 days is with a screen which can hardly be seen in daylight. Anyway sorry to go on but the devil will be in the details with the gear fit for serious athletes. For joe public its a no brainer... The gear fit just looks beautiful. And one last thing....(sorry steve) once we have all this data... What to do with it? Basis is on the way and their sleeping tracking is very interesting and motivational but we need to know what it really means. The manufacturers need to start seriously analysing the data from a coach/ medical/ athlete angle for me. Thanks everyone again for such an enjoyable set of comments and review and congratulations again to samsung from an apple diehard for finally getting ahead with a potentially game changing fitness wearable..the gear fit.

    Reply
  31. For Samsung to put OHR and ANT+ in their flagship phone is gutsy and proves how much importance they put on wearable sensors not just for the fitness enthusiast niche, but for the general masses. As a safe, conservative iPhone 5 user, I have to admit I'm jealous and really hope Apple grows a pair, otherwise Samsung may have a convert soon.

    Reply
  32. Alice

    Congrats Ray! I agree with the reader above entirely, your site is a joy to read. The high standards you've set yourself are once again reflected in the civilized tone of conversation that follows. That's a testament to the quality of your work here, which I personally find truly exceptional :) THANKS AGAIN!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Thanks Alice - I appreciate it! And indeed, it's neat to see with so many comments, everyone is quite civilized and debating on merit and technical functionality, rather than just company allegiances or in non-friendly ways.

      Reply
  33. Marc

    My question is does it actually save any data on the device or does it just show the information and then if you wanted to use it for tracking purposes it would need to be saved on a smartphone at the same time or even. Something like how the MIO devices work.

    Also I agree with the comment above that this site is great and I really love the in-depth reviews that you give to all the devices.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It saves it on the device (and displayed it during activity) and this is transferred to S Health on the Samsung phone. From there you could upload it to various partners.

      Reply
    • Marc replied

      Thank you for the reply! Was there any mentions on how much data could be saved on the device before needing to be dumped or will we need to wait until closer to launch for that information.

      I am interested about this device and the epson pulsense so any information you post I am definitely appreciative.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Grr, I knew there was something I didn't see - Epson. No worries, I can talk with those folks on the side (and have been).

      As for data, no, no clarity on the activity tracker side there. Finding technical folks with actual knowledge was incredibly difficult. I've got some contacts to help there, but the time-zone differences to Korea slow things a bit.

      Reply
    • Anders replied

      If you talk to the Epson guys, could you please ask how often their units reads HR?
      Thanks for your awesome job of keeping all of us other geeks up to speed. :)

      Reply
  34. Tyler

    Like the look of these devices, and optical HR seems like a killer feature (if it works reliably during activity).

    But, man that phone is ugly, looks cheaply made, and their proprietary software is poor.
    Forced pairing of the wearables and phone without having both up to the same standards seems like a way to sink a good new product line.

    Reply
  35. I'm almost tempted to leave my Apple fanboy days behind if they can't match this sort of tech later on in the year

    Reply
    • Darwin replied

      This is just the usual shoddy, half working, Samsung junk.
      The motion sensor in the iPhone 5s combined with apps is far more useful and Apple has big plans beyond that for the medical and health care space.
      There are a bunch of apps btw that use the iPhone camera to monitor resting heart rate and they have been around for years.

      Reply
  36. Omar Shaikh

    Will this watch be a solid contender against the mainstream fitness devices by polar/ Suunto?

    Reply
    • Thomas G replied

      I am also VERY interested in knowing if this could replace my garmin/polar devices !! Will I be able to use this for my activities and have data stored in endomondo/strava apps...

      Reply
  37. Havelaar

    Finally a replacement for my Xperia active, even if it's not really the lightest smartphone with 145g.

    What would be really interesting to know is whether apps will be able to use the 'black&white screen with only white pixels on' feature of the ‘Ultra Power Saving’ mode. For me this would be a killer feature, most notably for bike computer apps such as IpBike, but also for e-book reader apps like Cool Reader.

    I'm not sure if I perfectly understand what HRV and its added value exactly are. But some kind of measurement dedecting fatigue due to overtraining would be really helpful, as endorphins made me ignore such fatigue more than once in the past.

    Reply
  38. jb

    I also agree smartwatches will be the future.
    We are starting to see the first usable products.
    I have not see any review of the Sony smartwatch 2 from a runner's point of view. I know it provides integration with runtastic and endomondo.
    I think it is one of the serious competitor for these new Samsung stuff.
    A review on dcrainmaker would be great !

    Reply
  39. Jeff Schreier

    Any discussion of what will be available in the Gear SDK? Specifically, I'm wondering if the raw optical signal from the HR sensor will be available or if only calculated HR, estiated HRV, etc. will be accessible?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hmm, I can ask a few folks. In talking with some of the companies that have access to it, things are a bit...slim.

      Reply
  40. Hi Ray..

    Is the chipset of S5 the same of S3 and S4 (BCM4335)?

    What about ANT+ in S3? because the chipset is into the phone

    thanks

    Reply
  41. Phil Barnes

    What's the cable/plug in the gear fit? and, will Samsung be bringing out a clip for the gear fit? - can't wear a band at work

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It's a proprietary cradle. I've got a photo of it somewhere I can dig up. Then connects to USB.

      Reply
  42. Eli

    Here is what Firstbeat is providing:
    link to firstbeat.com

    Looks like the optical HR data doesn't do HRV

    Reply
  43. Kirk

    Hi Ray, sorry, now in English: A report on the Gear 2 would be great. Now even Samsung has an optical heart rate sensor, even though they are not specialists for heart rate measurement. Why not create Polar, Garmin, Timex and Suunto, to integrate an optical heart rate sensor, although they are specialists for heart rate measurement and they know that a chest strap for many runners is annoying?

    Reply
    • gingerneil replied

      Adidas have done this - link to dcrainmaker.com . I think others will follow, but there are considerations such as how to get decent battery life with the optical HR alongside GPS/ANT etc etc. I would also prefer to keep these as seperate devices as I like to wear the watch above clothes where I can see it (in the winter) and not against my wrist. A seperate wrist worn heart rate monitor would be best for me - like the Mio (and its a Mio sensor inside the Adidas).

      Reply
  44. Eli

    Looks like there is a S Health SDK now:
    link to developer.samsung.com
    (Just came out so seems to be the initial beta)

    Reply
  45. Frank

    Shot across Garmin's bow. Hopefully this will tear Garmin away from their incremental "improvements" and prcie tag.

    Reply
    • Simba Durio replied

      While wearing my Garmin 910Xt (with the quick unmount band), I encountered a head on collision during an open water swim. The other swimmer grabbed my wrist in a startled manner and sent my beloved Garmin to the bottom of Lucky's Lake (in Orlando, Florida).

      Make no mistakes, I loved my Garmin and miss it dearly. But I have been slow to reorder it, because of the Fennix 2 coming and also these other companies coming out with some killer fitness watches. I've always thought the 910 is a little dated with features and functionality. The Garmin doesn't even have a stopwatch or basic time function (albiet, I have managed to use the other mode to display time only). I also thought the Garmin 910 replacement should have a color screen too.

      I agree with most of the comments on this article stating that Garmin/Sunnto should be very very worried. If Samsung or Apple were to come out with a hardcore Multisport (swimming included) watch, Garmin would be in some serious trouble. I find this Samsung watch to be absolutely gorgeous. My Gamin 910 did not serve well as a regular watch, when it should've been able to. If we have to spend $400 for a multisport watch, it should at least to be able to double as a regular watch too.

      My dream device would be the form factor of the Samsung Gear Fit with the true multisport functionality of the Garmin 910. Ah, I would never take the thing off, except to let my skin breathe a few minutes. I think it is only a matter of time, before a company figures out how to merge the needs of the hardcore fitness folks like us with the needs of the casual fitness enthusiasts. Just like Apple did to cell phones, someone will do with these fitness watches. Tom Tom came close, but lost me on the lack of swimming features. Garmin has it all in the 910, minus the sexiness and phone support. It will be interesting to see who gets it right first?

      My problem is I can’t wait that long and will probably get the Fennix 2. As a triathlete and hardcore open water swimmer, I need a durable, water-resistant, watch that can’t track all my data points. I also still have all my Garmin ANT+ accessories. I personally hope it’s Garmin, just because they are so invested in the sports community (triathlon in particular). In any event, I think the watch I dream about is a couple of years away.

      DC, can you use your supreme influence and wake up the folks over at Garmin to the competition that's coming their way?

      Reply
  46. Jon

    I'm interested in whether either of the two watches could serve as a voice recorder during a workout (for me, this is the most critical function I seek during a workout--lots of thoughts tend to pop into my head.)

    I'm assuming it's just a matter of an appropriate app being developed....

    Reply
  47. Alessandro

    I'm waiting for your review about this new devices, (garmin vivofit, nike sport band, samsung gear fit, polar loop e all others...).
    I'm would like to receive one of this for birthday's gift, but which to choose?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I have reviews published for the Garmin Vivofit, Nike Fuelband, and Polar Loop. They are located up under the "Product Reviews > Activity Trackers". Upon release of the Samsung Gear Fit, you'll see a review shortly thereafter. Enjoy!

      Reply
  48. timmy

    ok so i site glanced thru most of this thread looking for talk about the s5/ and watches working with
    ant+ speed / cadence sensors, so as to record without GP$! ,and keep things simple
    and if not does the s5 alone calculate, with GPS, the calories?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      That really comes down to apps, not the phone directly. So on Android, I'd start with ipBike as a great option, which does what you ask.

      Reply
  49. timmy

    thanks dc
    and does this mean i can run it without GPS?
    any recommendations for sensors, bike to bike with multiple mounts would be best
    combo speed / cad sensor means less stuff
    would a HR strap be included in this line up?
    thanks again…
    monrovia ca.

    Reply
  50. timmy

    reading older posts #96, ALICE nails it!
    thanks alice...

    Reply
  51. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a phone that looks and feels like another top-end S-series phone. It offers loads of new features, and some much-needed improvements to the Samsung interface.

    Reply
  52. Idris

    I've had the gear neo for the last 6 days and had chance to play a little. The smart functions of the watch are fantastic, texts, calls, notifications from Facebook etc. battery life is also impressive, 4 days between charges. The HR sensor is utterly useless, you have to stay still, quiet and press the watch into your skin in order for it to register, even then it's hit and miss. I haven't tried paring with a HR strap or using the phone as a GPS recorder. The other massive plus is the ability to stream music directly from the watch to a pair of BT headphones, I've got a pair of the Jaybird freedoms and it's a great combination.

    I'm holding judgement on the fitness aspect, I'll know more when it's paired with the S5 and its fitness app. I paid £180 for the watch and I'm already really pleased with it, it's obviously a developing market and I'm looking forward to see what 3rd party developers can do,with it.

    Reply
  53. Any reason to think the Samsung Gear Live watch will be better?
    link to play.google.com

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Probably not, but I've gone one coming in the mail to poke at.

      Reply
    • I am toying with the idea of using only phone tracking when I retire my Forerunner 305. Not sure about fitness trackers or smart watches. I am still wondering if I need want HRM. Bluetooth smart HRM might be less clunky than a ANT+ USB to go dongle (too bad more phones don't have ANT+ built-in). I'll look for your recommendations!

      Reply
  54. Rich Hess

    Can the Galaxy Gear devices export .fit files for use with Garmin Connect?

    Reply

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