Samsung Gear Sport: Is It Worth Your Penny Today?

Mobile Accessories

Smartwatches are the perfect peripheral for those who are closely monitoring their health. It is also a must-have companion for sporty people. With the continuous demand for smartwatches, the Samsung Gear Sport is one of the prominent contenders in the smartwatch market. This watch may have been launched over three years ago, but it is still a formidable wearable up until now. It packs a performance that is deemed to be the ideal smartwatch for health buffs. It is also touted to be Samsung’s direct rival against the Apple Watch.

Today, we will see if Samsung Gear Sport fares up to the smartwatch competition. Is it still worth every penny today?

 

Samsung Gear Sport Specifications

samsung gear sport colors
Photo from Samsung’s website

The Samsung Gear Sport is the smartphone company’s take against the Apple Watch. It is said to be the ideal fit for sporty people out there. If you are eyeing the Samsung Gear Sport as your sports companion, here are the detailed specifications for this smartwatch:

Price $299 (RRP); $277.15 (Amazon)
Launch Date October 2017
Dimensions 1.69” x 1.76” x 0.46”
Processor 1 GHz Exynos 3520 dual-core processor, 768 MB RAM
Storage Capacity 4 GB
Display 1.2”, 360 x 360 Super AMOLED screen, Gorilla Glass 3
Battery 300 mAh
Operating System Tizen 3.0
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), GPS/GLONASS, NFC
Sensors Heart Rate Monitor, Accelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Barometer, Ambient Light Sensor

Looking at the specs of this smartwatch may give you an idea that this is already outdated. And you’ll not be excused to think like that. But don’t bat your eyes on other smartwatches yet for this smartwatch still packs a punch. We will see if Samsung Gear Sport can compete against other smartwatches.

Buy on Amazon

 

Samsung Gear Sport Review

The specs may be outdated at first glance, but is the Samsung Gear Sport still worth its price and performance?

Price

The Samsung Gear Sport is regularly priced at $299.99. But it is currently price-slashed at Amazon for $277.15. This price is fair enough for those who want a decent smartwatch plus a functional fitness companion. And as the name suggests, it is also perfect for those who live a sporty life. However, if you are on a hunt for the latest smartwatch in the market, better search somewhere else. This smartwatch was launched three years ago, thus making it technically outdated. But don’t leave just yet, for this smartwatch still packs a punch three years after its iteration.

 

Build and Design

Now, let’s talk about its build and design. This watch is somewhat distinct from its competitors because of its circular face. A hybrid smartwatch oddly looks similar to this, but this is a fully digital smartwatch. It is somewhat unusual to see a sports smartwatch with a circular face but this adds to the overall beauty of the watch. Its material is made of stainless steel, adding to the elegance of the watch. And if you don’t like the color of your strap, its 20 mm (0.79”) strap size can be found anywhere so you won’t find it hard to replace it.

Its screen size has gotten smaller compared to its predecessors. This smaller screen size makes it a little less awkward though when worn during your exercise routine. This makes it looks like your typical luxury watch. And if you’re a swimmer, you’ll surely love its 50 m (164.04 ft.) waterproofing. This makes it one of the best waterproof smartwatches out there. It gives you an edge because ideally, you can wear this watch while scuba diving.

samsung gear sport design
Photo by Samsung from Amazon

It has physical buttons and an outer rotatable bezel. The two physical buttons are located at the top-right and bottom-right of the watch. Pushing the top-right button pauses your workout progress while the bottom-right works as your home button. The outer bezel serves many functions within the watch like volume control and navigation controls. Given this small screen size, Samsung Gear Sport’s design is somewhat finicky. Because of its small screen, you might just squint your eyes while swiping the screen with your fingers. That is why this bezel and the buttons are essential for navigating through this watch.

Overall, its stainless steel build gives this watch the elegance that you can flaunt, even on your exercise routines. But the navigation experience is somewhat flawed, thus the need to fidget on your watch.

 

Processor

Your smartwatch is like your second smartphone. It should execute tasks as fast as your smartphone.

This smartwatch sports Samsung’s own Exynos 3520 dual-core chip paired with a 768MB of RAM. It runs your usual tasks as expected, though app freezes may occur once in a while. Running two workout apps within the watch can result in the watch crashing and freezing. Do not open your health apps simultaneously so you won’t experience these kinds of lags. There are also times when apps take minutes to load. This is a bit of a letdown especially in this time where “fast” is the mainstream for modern devices. If you hate sluggishness, buy an alternative for this sports smartwatch.

 

Display

Samsung Gear Sport is equipped with a 1.2” 360 x 360 Super AMOLED screen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The screen adds to its elegance factor due to its pure black screen displays. The color display is as accurate as ever so you can see your activity. But again, some may find the screen size to be too small so consider that factor, too. Another great thing about this watch is its customizable watch face. This gives this watch a more personal touch for you.

It may have an ambient light sensor, but its turn-to-wake-up seems to be a little off. You will end up tapping on your watch screen or turning the rotatable bezel just to check the time. An Always-On display is readily available, though it tends to be power-hungry. If you’re alright with it, enable this option so you won’t need to tap on your screen always.

 

User Interface

samsung gear sport ui
Photo by Samsung from Amazon

Before using the Gear Sport, you need to download Galaxy Wearable apps (formerly  Samsung Gear) on your Android or iOS phones. This will make sure that you can fully maximize the usage of the watch. Everything will be smooth sailing after downloading this app and syncing it with your phone.

The greatest thing about this watch is its Spotify offline integration. You can load your Spotify playlists on your watch so you can concentrate more on your workouts. You can then connect a pair of wireless earphones to listen to your tunes. Just double-check if you have truly loaded your watch with your Spotify tracks. The process of doing this can be quite daunting though, so pack up some patience when doing this. When everything is set, you can smoothly swipe on your Spotify soundtracks on your workout.

Since this watch runs on Samsung’s Tizen operating system (OS), this watch will work best on any Samsung phone. It is also compatible with other Android phones and iPhones, but you will never enjoy all the perks with this watch when you pair it with the iPhone. Better buy an Apple Watch if you are keen on getting a smartwatch for your iPhone.

This watch also has voice assist in it. But you’d be better off with either Siri or Google Assistant on your phone. It still has that dated S Voice virtual assistant that does a terrible job of understanding your voice commands. Samsung should’ve just integrated Bixby instead of S Voice with this watch.

 

Connections

samsung gear sport design
Screengrab from Samsung’s website

This sports smartwatch is equipped with your usual connectivity devices. You’ve got yourself Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS, and Wi-Fi. As already mentioned, this connects to your Bluetooth earphones easily. This enables you to listen to your saved Spotify playlist.

You can also use this watch to pay your bills using Samsung Pay, thanks to its NFC compatibility. Too bad Samsung has abandoned the Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) in this watch. You might find it hard to pay on POS systems, so better chuck out your Samsung phone if you want to use Samsung Pay on your transactions.

Accuracy is the key to some of your workouts, and that is why Samsung has equipped the Samsung Gear Sport with GPS. You can easily track your steps progress whenever you do your jogging, running, or cycling activities. Watch out for your battery, though. Leaving your GPS enabled will drain the juice of your battery and will leave you with just 14 hours of uptime.

Connecting to the Internet is only possible through Wi-Fi. This will enable you to sync your activity to your phone, from your offline Spotify playlists to your workout routine. The absence of mobile data connection such as LTE or 5G is not that necessary unless you want to monitor upcoming emails or chats on your watch.

 

Apps

samsung gear sport apps
Screengrab from Samsung’s website

The Samsung Gear Sport is equipped with Tizen OS 3.0, Samsung’s proprietary OS for its smart devices, from its wearables to smart TVs. Since this is Samsung’s iteration of sports gear, you will probably be stuck using Samsung’s S Health app. Don’t fret, though, for S Health has a slew of exercises that can be tracked on the Samsung Gear Sport.

If you are not a fan of Samsung’s S Health, you can load third-party sports apps within this watch. But the selection of apps is mediocre. You’ll only get a handful of apps that are specially developed for Tizen. Its rival OS, Android’s Wear OS, provides more integration within its smartphone counterpart. We just wish more smartphone apps like Strava can be ported within the Samsung Gear Sport. This can be a formidable contender against the competition if this watch can only be loaded with more apps. You may look on other Android smartwatches if you want to have a smartwatch that can be loaded with more apps.

 

Fitness Tracking

samsung gear sport activities
Screengrab from Samsung’s website

Now, let’s get to the last but most vital feature of the Samsung Gear Sport. Do the sensors accurately tally your exercise routine? Does your every physical activity get recorded on the Samsung Gear Sport?

First off, you get your usual workout monitor on your exercise options. There are tons of workout options that you can select. Here are some of your workout options:

  • crunches
  • cycling
  • elliptical
  • exercise bike
  • hiking
  • jumping jacks
  • lunges
  • pilates
  • rowing machine
  • running
  • squats
  • step machine
  • swimming
  • treadmill
  • walking
  • yoga

Some of these activities such as walking, running, cycling, elliptical, rowing machine, and dynamic workouts can be easily detected by the watch. Automatic activity detection is essential especially if you forgot to navigate your workout options. There is also automatic rep detection on your crunches, lunges, squats, and jumping jacks. The detection is somewhat slow, though. It only detects such activities after 10 minutes, so better start your workout manually.

If you are not a fan of S Health, you can integrate some of your favorite workout apps with this watch. Workout apps such as Strava, MapMyRun, and Endomondo can be synced with it. But just as we mentioned, we wish that more workout apps are available for this watch. This watch can be connected through Wi-Fi, so it would be best if you could directly upload your workout activity from your watch. Developing these apps for this watch can make it an all-in-one sports smartwatch for your workout routines.

 

Verdict

Sports smartwatches are vital for those who want to track their fitness goals. It is also a great way of surpassing your limits because it tracks your every step. The Samsung Gear Sport can help you track those physical activities for you. It can track every common workout known to man and you can even immerse this in water, thanks to its waterproofing. Now, you can track your swimming activities without any hitch.

It also has a fashionable finish with its stainless steel body. This can double as your watch for your corporate meetings or casual events. We just wish Samsung can further improve its selection of apps. Its Tizen OS is slick, but the app choices are not that great. The small screen size is not for everyone, too. You may not see all the information whenever you do your workout.

Overall, this sports smartwatch is a decent competitor in the world of an active lifestyle. Its slew of workout activities is more than enough, especially for those who want to unleash the potential athlete in them. But if you just want to closely monitor your health, there are other smartwatches like the Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch that can cater to your needs.

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