Samsung Gear Sport review: The fitness smartwatch to get for Samsung users

The Gear Sport comes with built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, altimeter and barometer. It is also water resistant up to 50m. PHOTO: SAMSUNG
The Gear Sport comes with built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, altimeter and barometer. It is also water resistant up to 50m. PHOTO: SAMSUNG

The Gear Sport is the only smartwatch Samsung is releasing this year, after launching two Gear S3 models last year.

Unlike the 46mm case and 1.3-inch display of the Gear S3 frontier and classic models, the Gear Sport features a smaller 42mm stainless steel case and a smaller 1.2-inch circular display.

It uses a narrower 20mm strap, compared to the 22mm strap of its predecessors. My dark blue review unit comes with a blue silicone strap.

While this strap is very comfortable, it lacks the "premium-ness" of the S3 frontier's silicone strap. But you can easily replace it with a third-party strap.

Design wise, the Sport takes after its predecessors. There are two buttons on the smartwatch's right - located at the two o'clock and four o'clock positions - which serve as the back and home button respectively.

It also retains the series' unique rotating bezel for navigating the smartwatch's interface. You can easily scroll through Samsung's Tizen operating system by turning the bezel.

I prefer bigger watches and the more classic design of the S3 models. By comparison, the Gear Sport lacks that wow factor of its predecessors.

But with "Sport" in its name, this smartwatch has a more of a fitness focus. It comes with built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, altimeter and barometer. While the S3 models are only IP68-certified, the Sport is water resistant down to a depth of 50m. In other words, you can swim with it.

Also, it is able to track your swims, on top of tracking your daily physical activities such as steps taken, calories burned and heart rate, as well as recording your runs using GPS tracking.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $448

    WATER RESISTANCE: 50m

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Near-Field Communications

    WEIGHT: 50g (without strap)

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

For this review, the Sport is paired with a Samsung Galaxy Note8. It can also work with other Android smartphones and iPhones. But there are fewer apps available when paired with iPhones.

It is quite accurate in terms of step-tracking. It recorded around 5 per cent fewer steps compared to my calibrated Apple Watch Series 3.

For runs, it was able to secure a GPS lock in a quick 30sec. And it was only off by around 200m less on my usual 5km jogging route. Heart rate readings were no different from that of my Apple Watch Series 3.

To track swims, you can use either the built-in workout app or the Speedo On app. The built-in workout app failed to record two laps in a 500m swim, while the On app recorded one extra lap.

The Gear Sport supports the Samsung Pay contactless payment. Press the back button to activate Samsung Pay, select the credit card, press Pay on the watch's display and tap the watch on the payment reader. I paid for my post-run drinks at a Sheng Siong supermarket this way.

Battery life is pretty admirable at around two days with the smartwatch constantly connected to a Note8 for notifications, and with a 5km run and a 500m swim tracked during the period.

Verdict: If you are a fitness enthusiast using a Samsung Galaxy smartphone such as the S8 or Note8, the Samsung Gear Sport is the fitness smartwatch to get.