Hands-on: Samsung Gear Sport review
It might not be the Gear S4, but Samsung has a new smartwatch on show at IFA 2017. With the Galaxy Note 8 arriving at Unpacked already, it’s all about wearables now so here’s our Samsung Gear Sport hands-on review.
In Berlin, Samsung has announced the Gear Sport alongside some other new wearable tech. They are the Gear Fit2 Pro, a GPS fitness band, and the IconX wireless earbuds.
We don’t know much about the availability of the Gear Sport but it will go on sale Q4 this year and we expect the price to be around £250.
Samsung Gear Sport design
It’s no surprise that Samsung hasn’t changed the design of the Gear Sport much when compared to previous devices.
The smartwatch is available in Black or Blue colours and the firm says it offers ‘military-level durability’. We like the look of both colours but the blue option is quite a subtle ink-like ton rather than a bright hue – this is a good thing for us.
With Sport in the name, it’s aimed at fitness and with a 50 meter waterproof rating is particularly good for all you swimmers out there.
Like a lot of smartwatches on the market, the Gear Sport uses a 20mm strap size so you can quickly change it for different situations. You’ll want a silicone one for the gym but might want to switch to a leather one if you’re going out for dinner.
The supplied silicone one feels typically clammy and a little cheap but it is a sports watch. The Gear Sport is nice and lightweight at 50g, not including the strap.
Samsung once again offers a rotating bezel with which to interact with the device. You can still use the screen and there are also buttons on the side but the bezel is a really nice way of using the interface.
Samsung Gear Sport specs and features
As you’d expect, the Gear Sport has a fully round – not flat tire section – screen that’s 1.2in in size so it’s on the smaller side of things in terms of smartwatches.
The resolution is 360×360 which is decent enough to provide a crisp image – 302ppi – and Samsung sticks to its preferred Super AMOLED technology so there’s excellent contrast and colours. We were particularly impressed with the viewing angles.
Smartwatch internal specs are still nothing to get excited about and haven’t changed much over the last few years.
Samsung has opted for a 1GHz dual-core processor with 768MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. That’s all pretty standard and the device appears to run very smoothly during some hands-on time with it.
There are some specs that are a little more interesting and Samsung has packed in an impressive amount of gadgetry here. The Gear Sport has NFC, GPS, an accelerometer, barometer, gyro and an ambient light sensor.
GPS is essential for most fitness enthusiasts and NFC is still fairly uncommon on smartwatches but here means you can use the Gear Sport to easily pay for things with Samsung Pay.
With the tech inside, Samsung says you can use the Gear Sport to control IoT (internet of things) devices via Samsung Connect. You can also use it as a remote control for presentations or the Gear VR headset.
Being a sports watch, the Gear Sport wouldn’t be complete without a heart rate monitor which sits on the back. This is an element which need to be properly tested when we have a final sample.
There’s Wi-Fi so you don’t have to connect it to a phone for data but most users will do this via Bluetooth 4.2 in this case. Although the device runs Tizen as opposed to Android Wear, it’s compatible with Android 4.4 or later and iPhone 5 or later running at least iOS 9.
We’re really waiting for a breakthrough in battery technology so you shouldn’t expect much from the 300mAh battery inside. It’s neat that the Gear Sport has wireless charging, though.
Running Tizen used to be something of an issue – in the early days of Gear devices – but that’s not the case anymore. The interface is much improved and so is the app support.
Samsung has partnered up with Speedo and the Gear Sport, along with the Gear it2 Pro, are the first devices with the Speedo app making it even more appealing to swimmers.
There are plenty of other health and fitness apps as well as the usual smartwatch functions like notifications and music control.
Samsung Gear Sport: Specs
- Tizen OS
- 1.2in circular Super AMOLED display (360×360)
- 1GHz dual-core processor
- 768MB RAM
- 4GB storage
- Bluetooth 4.2, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
- Heart rate monitor
- Ambient light
- 300mAh battery with wireless charging
- 5 ATM (50m) water-resistance
- 50g without band
We need to know the price, but our first impressions of the Gear Sport are very positive. It’s a great looking smartwatch packed full of tech and could be one of the best for both fitness and style. We are a little worried about battery life though.