Samsung’s range of smartwatches really took off with the Gear S2. It was one of the sleekest smartwatches at the time, and its rotatable bezel was especially impressive. Fast forward a couple of years, and now we have the Samsung Gear Sport.
In many ways, the Gear Sport is quite similar to the Gear S3, but it does bring some meaningful upgrades. Unfortunately, that doesn’t exactly make it the best smartwatch in the market now, though the Gear Sport certainly has its own appeals.
What Is It?
The Gear Sport is Samsung’s latest smartwatch after the Gear S3. As is the case with Samsung’s wearables, the Gear Sport runs on Tizen OS, and it comes with a 1.2-inch 360 x 360 circular Super AMOLED display, a 1GHz processor, 768MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, and even a built-in GPS.
What’s particularly unique to the Gear Sport in comparison to its predecessor is its water resistance rating: it’s rated at 5ATM, making it water-resistant up to 50m. So yes, you can go swimming with it, and it can also track your swimming routine. Oh, the Gear Sport also retains the Gear S3’s clicky, rotatable bezel – very satisfying to use.
Is It Any Good?
As its name suggests, the Gear Sport is a fitness-centric smartwatch, and it does a very good job at it. It’s capable of tracking your steps, continuously monitor your heart rate, and it can even track your run or bike ride accurately with its built-in GPS. Interestingly, it can also automatically detect and track your workout, although it does have difficulty identifying certain workouts.
Beyond its fitness-focused features, the Gear Sport has one gorgeous display too. The 1.2-inch Super AMOLED display is sharp enough for daily usage, the true blacks are very impressive, and the vibrant nature of AMOLED panels really make for a pleasant display to look at. Samsung produces some of the best displays in the market, and it really shows on the Gear Sport.
In the software side of things, Tizen OS remains pleasant to use. The circular user interface is intuitive to navigate, and using the bezel to navigate the menu is both satisfying and fun. I also love getting notifications pushed to the watch – even after switching to a traditional wristwatch, I kept looking at my watch whenever my phone vibrates.
Yes, I do feel silly for expecting to get notifications pushed to a normal, traditional wristwatch.
Battery life is one of the Gear Sport’s strong suits too. With the Always On Display switched on, I can get about one and a half day worth of usage out of the smartwatch. With that mode disabled, I can get around three full days of use – very impressive for a smartwatch.
If you’re a fan of wristwatches in general, you’ll be happy to know that the Gear Sport uses a standard 20mm strap. If you don’t quite like the packaged rubber strap – which is actually pretty darn comfortable – you can easily swap it out for any 20mm watch strap. Personally, I love the freedom to customise the kind of watch strap I can use with the Gear Sport.
The Bad Stuff. Tell Me.
Even though the Gear Sport has plenty of good qualities, it ultimately shares the same shortcomings as its predecessor. Limited third-party app support is one of them, and S Voice on the Gear Sport hugely pales in comparison to other digital assistants like Google Assistant and Siri. It’s not as quick as its competition, and it doesn’t respond to my voice consistently enough.
On top of that, many of the Gear Sport’s winning features are also found on the Gear S3. Sure, it’s slightly smaller and you can wear it for swimming now, but the incremental upgrade…is quite underwhelming. But hey, at least the Gear Sport retails at only RM1,299 – that’s RM100 less than the Gear S3’s price tag at launch.
Should I Buy It?
If you love the design of the Samsung Gear Sport and its fitness-centric features, it’s definitely worth considering. At RM1,299, it’s not the most expensive smartwatch in the market too, making it that much more compelling.
However, if you’re not a fan of smartwatches to begin with, the Gear Sport won’t be changing your mind. For those who have already bought into the idea of a smartwatch, however, the Gear Sport is one of few wearables released in 2017 that is easily recommendable.
Photography by Soh Li Jin.