Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro hands-on review: If it ain’t broke…

Cards on the table: I love the Samsung Gear Fit2. How much do I love it? What, the five-star review not enough for you? Okay, Mr Doubty, I love it enough to have bought my own after Samsung broke my heart by asking for the review model back. I’m wearing it right now as I write this.

Why do I love it so much? It doesn’t put a step wrong: its screen is large and bright, it’s comfortable to wear for long periods, it offers just the right amount of motivation, and it has GPS built-in. In short, if you have a Samsung phone, it’s as close to a no-brainer in fitness tracking terms as I can think of. If you don’t, it’s still worth consideration – only dropping from a nailed-on must-have because of Samsung’s insistence you download Samsung Health – which is already installed on its own models.

How do you improve on (close to) perfection? Well, it’s pretty darned difficult, which is why the Gear Fit2 Pro looks similar to the Gear Fit2. Compare the two side by side, as we had the chance to at IFA 2017, and you literally won’t see a difference, unless you happen to flip them over. The studded strap has been replaced by a buckle, which is slightly better, but hardly worth upgrading for.

So why would you consider upgrading? Two reasons, as far as I can tell. The first is that, like the Gear Sport, the Gear Fit2 Pro is now water resistant to 5 ATM 1 standards. That not only means that you can wear it in the shower, but that Samsung actively wants you to wear it in the swimming pool – and Speedo On, a dedicated swim-training app, is built into the device as standard. It’ll count all kinds of metrics, from tracking lap times to offer stroke tutelage.[gallery:2]

Like the Gear Fit2 before it, the Pro version includes 4GB storage for songs, meaning you can run, cycle or gym without your phone on you and still have (some of) your music with you for the trip. This time, though, it’s a lot more useful: thanks to an agreement with Spotify, Samsung will now let you use some of the space for offline Spotify playlists.

That may sound familiar. Spotify was technically featured on the Gear Fit 2, but was hobbled for two reasons: 1) It was only in the US, and 2) It still needed your phone to work, so basically felt like a glorified remote control. This time, it should be a big draw – and I’m personally hoping Samsung brings it to the Gear Fit2 in time through a software update.

But with so little changed, there’s every chance they won’t. The Gear Fit2 is a baby step forwards – unless you’re a swimming fanatic, in which case it’s a whopping great front crawl. But when your first stab at a product was so good, there’s really no need to reinvent the wheel. Just ask Apple.[gallery:3]

We don’t have a UK price yet – it’s going for $199 in the USA, which will probably translate as £199 over here, given the original Gear Fit2 retailed for £170 at launch. That wouldn’t be unreasonable for a device as fully featured as this, to be honest.

Hopefully, we’ll have review units soon so we can really put the Gear Fit2 Pro through its paces. Until then, it would be very surprising indeed if this wasn’t a five-star product in waiting.

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