Fitness trackers have moved rapidly from geek status to fashion item. Our recent comparison (July 2014) showed just how much attention designers are paying to the style aspect of these new must-have devices. But that doesn’t mean they can afford to fall short on functionality, either. Samsung’s entry to the fray leans heavily on its smartphone line. The question is, is the Fit a smartwatch or is it a fitness tracker?

DESIGN
The Gear Fit’s sleek Robocop look is a distinct plus, I reckon. Featuring a full colour AMOLED touch screen that is asleep until activated by the single pushbutton, it definitely is one wearable that whispers “style conscious” rather than screaming “gym bunny”. You can get your rubber strap in a variety of colours, too.

One worrying aspect (not confined to the Gear Fit, among fitbands, though) is its dongle, whose small size suggests it might be easy to mislay. Lose it, and you won’t be able to charge the Gear Fit.

One big plus point is that, whereas conventional sportswatches combine with heart rate monitor chest straps, the Gear Fit cleverly locates its HRM sensor within the device itself. The Gear Fit is splashproof, too, so it is well suited to its role as a device that can be worn 24/7.

Speaking of which, the Gear Fit’s smartwatch aspects include calls and notifications, in concert with a Galaxy smartphone. Operation in this mode takes only a little acclimatisation and the user will soon be dealing with everything from workouts to e-mails.

What about the fitness aspect? Functions besides the heart rate monitor include a pedometer and programs for activities from walking to running and cycling. Like the Fitbit before it, the Gear Fit also tracks sleep quality and duration.

IN USE
I used my Fitbit as a basis for comparison. Although no match for dedicated sportswatches, the Fitbit is perfectly acceptable as fuss-free alternative. Well, the Fit certainly has the edge on visibility. It compares well with regard to actual data recording (steps, for instance). However, when it comes to analysis of that data via Samsung’s S Health, the Gear does fall short.

THE FINDINGS
The Gear Fit scores heavily on looks, but could do with some more sophistication in functionality. Given Samsung’s relentless march to smartphone supremacy, we don’t doubt that improvement will happen.

JUST THE FACTS
Display resolution: 128 x 432 pixel
Display size: 47 mm
Run time: 3-4 days
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Sensors: HRM, gyro, accelerometer
Weight: 27 g
Price: R2 800 and up