The holiday season is upon us so that means it’s that time of year where the cold weather and warm food can make our tummies filled with, uhh.. holiday cheers. Fortunately Samsung has the pseudo answer to those exact worries as the perfect fit companion will be ready to get you in shape when you are.
This is my experience review of the Samsung Gear Sport.
It came tightly and safely wrapped in true Lazada fashion that was delivered 2 days earlier than expected. The nice sleek box arrived and, admittedly, sat on my desk for a few days because I was still rocking my Samsung Gear S3 Frontier.
Now having used it for some time, it’s easy to see the distinction between the two.
The watch itself is a bit smaller than the chunky Frontier. It measures 42.9mm x 44.6mm and is only 11.6mm thick compared to the 12.9mm of the Frontier. It is also noticeably lighter and unlike its older sibling, the Sport will be something you won’t mind wearing the entire day with the weight that’s easy on the wrist. You can also track sleep patterns with the Sport worn the entire time that prompts you of your sleeping habits (snores not included.) It was still surprisingly comfortable overnight compared to its chunkier sibling.
What you’re seeing is the fashionably fit blue that emulates a kind of blue-black piano finish on the body with a matte rotating bezel. It’s a very small detail but adds a very classy element to the design. I love small touches like that. The strap is not a very dark shade of blue, somewhere around Cobalt which is sporty enough for casual daily wear but is something that would not awkwardly stick out on formal events. The strap is high quality rubber that is perfectly molded, rugged but very comfortable around the wrist. That’s one of the things I like about this watch compared to the Frontier, this one is more manageable to wear but you don’t miss out on any of the features. Well aside from the speakers for calls and music. But that’s something I never used anyway. I still find talking to your wrist tacky but who knows, in the future I just might find a place for it.
The heart rate sensor can be found at the bottom, the back button on the upper right and the menu/home button on the lower right. The signature Samsung rotating bezel, which personally I think is the best way to interact with your smartwatch is on top wrapping that 1.2” 360×360 Super Amoled Full Color Display protected by Gorilla Glass 3. Compared to the Frontier the bezel here is a bit more secure and a bit tighter which I appreciate. No accidental rotations or waking up the watch unnecessarily when the watch brushes up on something. It still has satisfying click like your opening vault or a safe when your using it.
The screen is large and bright enough to see outdoors so when you are on a jog under the sun you would still be able to see your notifications, access your widgets and keep track of your activities via the Samsung Health App. I also noticed that the watch, when I start to sweat, does not feel slimy and even the 20mm strap seems to remain grippy which is very good. It also has Water Resistance Rating of up to 50 meters so you can use this on occasional laps in the pool. You can keep track of your water and caffeine intake, calories burned, weight, heart rate and exercise records within the app and monitor everything on your watch. I also found that this has a psychological effect on the user. Whenever I earn a badge when I for example reach my step goal, I want to get it again the following day and I even go to lengths just so I can make it that day. Like when it was raining the other night and I was not able to go on a walk but was still short a few steps, I paced around the house till I earned my badge. I wanted to keep my streak going. Crazy right? But I believe this is what this watch is for; to be a nice little reminder that we have to keep active, we have to drink enough water, mind what we eat, stretch and exercise when we can and live healthy overall. It does that while being unobtrusive and by being functional without overshooting. I have a few apps like Spotify that helps me control my music which is very convenient, News Briefing keeps me up to date with news and stuff which I find useful while I am bored in line at the bank or at the grocery, the NBA app which lets me know of game schedules and running scores, much needed Calendar notifications, a GPS tracker to find where I parked my car, notifications on almost all of my messaging apps on my phone, some photos and some songs so when I don’t have cellular data I can listen to offline music on my Bluetooth earphones. Other than that, I don’t need it to do much else because I have my phone for that.
Of course one of my favorite things about smartwatches is the abundance of watch faces so I can customize my watch to suit my taste and I can have one for every occasion. The Tizen OS for Samsung smartwatches is also something I’ve grown to love. Clocked with a 1.0 GHz processor it is zippy and simple enough for anyone. It doesn’t lag or stutter and seamless when pairing to any phone with a Gear and S Health App. It also has a good backup system for when you switch devices or watches. The battery life is superb as well. I can go well over two days and that is with a ton of notifications and constant tinkering with the watch face; something I am slowly getting addicted to ha-ha.
The only thing I noticed and I think Samsung should address is to have their watches use a uniform charging dock. My Frontier won’t charge with Sport’s dock and vice versa not because of the size but because the Sport has a small indentation at the back for the heart rate sensor and the Frontier has a flat back. I’m sure the decision was to make the Sport slimmer overall but I’m sure there’s a way for an official universal dock. One of my gripes as well is that aside from Lazada, none of the Samsung stores I’ve been to seem to have any available straps for this or the Frontier. Why advertise it at all if I can’t buy the accessories? Not a big thing but I would love the option. The watch is priced competitively in my opinion and well worth it but compared to the Apple watch, where are my strap options Samsung, where? Enough about that.
One thing though that I really need to mention is that my watch has already had its share of bumps and bangs against table corners, walls, car doors, escalator railings and more and it survived unscathed. Mint my friend, mint. This is really something worth noting.
Overall, I would highly recommend this watch. Not as a Samsung fan or as an Apple watch alternative. Just as a smartwatch. It’s tough, beautiful and versatile to fit any lifestyle and help keep your head focused on your health goals. I hope you find one under your tree because the Samsung Gear Sport is something you might want to have to help you with those New Year’s Resolutions.
Til next time folks. Enjoy the Holidays and Mabuhay, Manila!
Photos by Kadin Tiu