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Samsung Gear Sport review: A worthy contender
- Bezel controls
- Automatic activity tracking
- Limited app library
If you want something that isn’t Apple, looks, feels and executes on the conventional smartwatch with more pizzazz than the rest, the Gear Sport is the way to go.
Price$ 449.00 (AUD)
The thing to keep in mind here is that while the Gear Sport doesn’t really add too much to the usual smartwatch equation, it does execute on that equation with the kind of thorough polish that you’d expect from Samsung. After all, this is company that bounced back from the ashes of the Note 7 to deliver one of the best smartphones of last year.
Personally, I found the Gear Sport just a touch heavier than I’d like on my arm. However, on the whole, it was pretty wearable and practical to use. Sliding the bezel to check my notifications was fast. Jumping into one of the device’s workout modes to track my daily activity was easy. What’s more, if the Gear Sport detects that you’re doing something akin to one of those presets, it’ll jump into that mode automatically.
Controlling audio is similarly quick and easy. Since the Gear Sport boasts on-board storage, you can easily pair it with a pair of wireless headphones leave your phone at home. In addition, transferring music to the smartwatch was significantly more straightforward than doing the same with the recent Fitbit Ionic - even if there is a lingering clunkyness and lack of polish to the mobile app involved.
Spec-wise, the Gear Sport does tout a smaller battery than the Gear S3. Regardless, in terms of battery life, there was a lot we came away happy with when it comes to the Gear Sport. As is the usual, we could make it a day or two before we needed to top the unit up using the bundled wireless charger dock. To our surprise, we often made it to even a third or sometimes fourth day of regular use - putting it well ahead of the Apple Watch but still behind the Fitbit Ionic.
The Bottom Line
For all the ‘Good Samsung’ that’s present in the Gear Sport. There’s a lot of the the company's bad habits on display here too. Sure, it’s a highly-polished take on the category and it’s very easy to recommend to anyone looking for a modern smartwatch.
Unfortunately, much like their recent Gear IconX earbuds, it doesn’t do a huge amount to push the category forward. It’s the company’s best effort yet but it really feels like the same core experience Samsung offered with the Gear S3 and S2. There’s no new cutting-edge addition to the hardware like the cellular connectivity found in the Huawei Watch 2 nor any killer apps among the software for the device.
As far as these kinds of gadgets go, the Gear Sport is a good bet - but it’s a frustratingly safe one. If you want something that isn’t Apple, looks, feels and executes on the conventional smartwatch with more pizzazz than the rest, the Gear Sport is the way to go. However, it still fails to crack open the category and find the breakthrough innovation it so desperately needs.
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