Is is a band? Is it a watch? New Samsung wristband blurs the lines
It’s fitting that Samsung sponsors Robin Thicke, whose song Blurred Lines was one of the mega hits of 2013 – because with the new Galaxy Gear Fit, Samsung is further blurring the lines between the next-generation smart wristband and the smartwatch.
Today, it’s largely down to a choice of how much information you want to consume – a wristband has a rudimentary display, which will show some basic information such as the time, the number of steps you’ve moved in a day, etc. If you want calendar alerts or instant messaging on your wrist, then a smartwatch is the answer.
With the new Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit, you can have both in a smart wristband, since it packs an “advanced curved super AMOLED touchscreen display” (that’s impressive, but gaudy) and takes a step (no pun intended) towards the fashion issue with interchangeable bands.
The “GGF” is therefore following the same approach as Huawei, with its headset/wristband combi. But Samsung is stretching it a bit by claiming that the screen and band “make you look cool even during the most strenuous of activities”.
Say that again? Since when did it look cool for a sweaty jogger to stand steaming in the street reading their Facebook posts?
Or maybe checking their pulse, since the Gear Fit has a heart-rate sensor, which is still a rarity on an armband. The Polar Loop works with a chest-worn heart-rate sensor, but this is sold separately.
No mention of sleep tracking, though – something that WTW thinks is one of the most under-appreciated features of wristbands like the Fitbit Flex and Jawbone UP24.
All this comes at a price: Samsung’s will be the most-expensive smart wristband yet, at US $197. It’s due to go on sale later this month.
With an IP67 rating, the band is dust-proof and “immersion protected“, meaning that it is suitable to be worn 24×7, but right now you’ll need a Samsung Galaxy smartphone to be able to pair the device. Since Samsung is now the leader in smartphone market share, it can afford to restrict compatibility. Sorry, iPhone users … you’ll have to wait for the iWatch.