Samsung Gear Sport hands-on review with the fitness smartwatch

Samsung Gear Sport hands on review and unboxing with the fitness oriented smartwatch.

The Samsung Gear Sport is aimed at the fitness user with the device packed with features to help improve your daily workout. Whilst its made for Samsung devices and Android, the Gear Sport is also compatible  with iPhones and is supposed to play pretty well

The Gear Sport was announced at the IFA technology show in Berlin with Samsung boasting that it is “designed to help consumers of varying fitness levels meet their goals and aspirations.” Whilst plenty of people were expecting Samsung to unveil the Gear S4 at the IFA in September they shocked everyone with the Gear Fit2 Pro and the Gear Sport.

Before I get into the main article, this is just a Gear Sport hands on first impressions review. The Samsung Gear Sport review will be coming soon. This is simply to give the readers an early impression. 

Checkout the Samsung Gear Sport Youtube Video

Essential reading: Samsung Gear S4 release details

Samsung Gear Sport key features

The Samsung Gear Sport key features below are just a few and I will call out many in the full review.

  • Display – 1.2’ full colour Super AMOLED display
  • Pixel – 360 x 360 pixels
  • GPS – Supports GPS and GLONASS
  • Size – 44.6 x 42.9 x 11.6mm
  • Weight – 50g
  • Battery life – 3-4 days
  • Wireless – Bluetooth, wifi, NFC but no ANT+
  • Industry-Leading Water Resistance and Swim Tracking: An ideal companion for any swim – from laps to playing in the pool – these devices are 5 ATM1 certified for water resistance. Now with Speedo’s latest swimming training app, Speedo On, the Gear Sport also allow you to easily track key swim metrics.
  • Top-of-the-line Heart Rate Monitoring: With improved accuracy, the devices offer advanced real-time heart rate monitoring. They help you continuously monitor your heart activity – whether it’s enjoying a stress-free nap or an invigorating cycling class.
  • Storage – Features 4GB of onboard storage and supports Spotify offline so you can stream music to Bluetooth headphones directly from the watch
  • Auto Activity Detection: Automatic activity detection built into the devices are in tune with your body and can recognise the following categories of activities: Walking, Running, Cycling and performing Dynamic Activities that could include dancing to basketball.
  • Personalised Motivation: You can customise your own wellness plan with tailored goals and alerts.

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Samsung Gear Sport unboxing

The Samsung Gear Sport comes in a neatly packed boxed that is pretty typical of Samsung packaging, not as elegant and simple as Apple packaging but after all its a box. Opening up the seals on the box and lifting the box cover reveals the watch to the left and then a small compartment with the charging dock, charging cable and small extra strap. The Gear Sport is gently held into position and this can be lifted out fairly easily.

In the box you get

  • Samsung Gear Sport Watch
  • Charging cradle
  • Charging plug – Micro USB
  • Instructions
  • Small size quick release band


Samsung Gear Sport unboxing

Samsung Gear Sport iPhone setup

You have the ability to use the Samsung Gear Sport with an Android phone or an iPhone and because my primary phone is an iPhone 7 Plus i decided to see how easy it was to setup the Gear Sport with an iPhone.

First of all you need to download the Gear S app from the Apple App Store, turn on the Gear Sport and follow the instructions, its that easy. I was so surprised how easy it was to setup up the Gear Sport with an iPhone. When I am building the review, I will use an iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy S7 to compare.

Samsung Gear Sport design

The Samsung Gear Sport is available in Black or Blue colours and I went with the Blue version for this review as I like the colour blue and I wanted something different compared to the black or grey sports watches that are available at the moment.

The Gear Sport is made is of aluminium and is 45mm in size weighing in at 50g, which on first touch feels premium and has weight to it, which I like in a watch. The Gear Sport also features a changeable silicon bands that are 20mm in size which use quick release. My first try of changing the band was a-bit fiddly and not as smooth as an Apple Watch or Garmin’s QuickFit on the Fenix 5 series and I think this is down to the clasp being flush with the band as show in this picture.

Samsung Gear Sport quick release bands

On the front of the watch is a rotating bezel that is used to navigate through menu’s and this is a really cool feature, I like it so far better than Apples digital crown on the Apple Watch and every time you rotate the bezel it gives you a vibration to give you feedback. In addition to the rotating bezel the Gear Sport also has two buttons and these are for selecting things like settings or accepting commands and digging deeper into the menus.

Samsung Gear Sport display clarity

Samsung have also included a wrist based optical heart rate monitor on the back of the Gear Sport and this is more or less flush to the watch and feels nice when you have it on the wrist. I have not had much chance to test out the accuracy of the wrist HR.

Must Read Review: Garmin Vivosport review

Samsung Gear Sport screen

Samsung have included a 1.2’ full colour Super AMOLED display which is 360 x360 pixels and on first use its a beautiful full coloured display that looks great at various viewing angles. I love the brightness and sharp crisp colours that seem to pop and its very easy to read. The Gear Sport also features a touchscreen and this is a pleasure to use. It works much better than the Vivoactive 3 and on par with the Apple Watch

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Samsung Gear Sport fitness & activity features

I have not had a lot of time to actually use the fitness features as of yet, but I plan todo so for the Gear Sport review that will be coming soon. However the Samsung Gear sport has a host of activity and fitness. It tracks steps, distance travelled and all the usual stuff. It will also has Auto Activity Detection that detects activity based on movement and increased HR and when I went for a walk this worked well and caught the activity. You can also track sports like running, cycling and swimming


Samsung Gear Sport Fitness features

Speaking of swim tracking, the Gear Sport is waterproof to 50m and whilst I don’t have a pool 50m to take it to I have used it in the shower so far and washing the pots and its still working.  Samsung has also partnered with Speedo, so you download their Speedo on app for swim tracking. I plan to get into the fitness features of Gear sport and will test them out extensively like I always do.

Samsung Gear Sport smart features

Whilst its made for Samsung devices and Android, the Gear Sport is also comparable with iPhones and it so far it plays pretty well. Whilst you get smart notifications on the Gear Sport I have not been able to figure out yet if can reply to them on an iPhone as of yet, but I will keep you posted. The other thing I like about the Gear sport is when you are charging, the screen will rotate to match the orientation and allow you still use the screen and features

Samsung Gear Sport smart features

Must Read Review: Fitbit Ionic Review

Looking at the App Store for the Gear Sport it does seem pretty sparse at the moment, however Samsung has partnered with big names including Speedo and Under Armour, with Gear Sport buyers getting one year of premium access to UA’s portfolio, which includes UA Record, MyFitnessPal, Endomondo and Map My Run.

Samsung Gear Sport early verdict

My early impressions of the Samsung Gear Sport is so far positive. The Build quality is better than most fitness watches in this price range and it just feels nice on the wrist. The Rotating bezel is really cool and I like how you can navigate the menus and this works better than Apples Digital Crown and Garmin’s Sideswipe technology.

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    • First impressions the screen and is better than the Vivoactive 3, not sure about the Apple Watch I would say the same. Give me sometime to review and compare

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Jon Ratcliffe
I have a huge passion for technology having worked in the sector for over 18 years in a variety of roles. I cover Wearables, tech and smart home. My reviews and information will talk about how the product works in reality and not just what the marketing departments want you to think.

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