Samsung Gear Sport Review
A year after the announcement of the Gear S3, Samsung has released a new Tizen-powered smartwatch, the Gear Sport. As the name suggests, it’s designed for those with an active lifestyle who are looking for a wearable device that can do more than just tell time. With the Gear S3 already on the market, do we still need another smartwatch from Samsung?
Design and Construction
The Gear Sport features similarities to its older cousin, the Gear S3 Frontier. The only difference is that it is smaller and looks more like a sports watch than a luxurious timepiece. Still, it looks nice for a sport-centric smartwatch and feels premium.
The body sports a glossy metal chassis, which is a fingerprint magnet, by the way, with a rotating bezel with serrated edges at the top. On the sides are two buttons and the microphone for S-Voice.
Found underneath is the heart rate sensor which regularly monitors your heart rate even when you’re not activating the feature.
On the wrist, it’s comfortable, and lighter than the Gear S3 Frontier and Classic at 50g (without strap), which is a good thing since you don’t want something noticeably hefty on your wrist when running or swimming.
It has the same strap as the Gear S3 Frontier which is a soft yet durable silicone band. The package comes with an extra strap in case it breaks and wears out, but you can also replace it with any 20mm watch band to suit your taste.
The Gear Sport features a 1.2-inch display, which is slightly smaller than the 1.3-inch on the Gear S3. The display type and resolution are retained at 360 x 360 Super AMOLED Full-color touchscreen AOD. Protecting it is Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3.
Quality is good with nice punchy colors and good contrast. It has auto-brightness and is vibrant enough to be used outdoors under the bright sun. There’s a water lock mode as well if you’re going to take it for a swim. The resolution is sharp and good enough to show-off the different watch faces we downloaded for it.
Setup and Features
Setup is simple and straightforward. First, you need to select your language on the Gear Sport, then it will require you to download the Samsung Gear app which is available in the Galaxy Apps, Google Play Store, and Apple App Store.
The Samsung Gear app will then initiate a Bluetooth connection to the Gear Sport. Once paired, you just need to agree to the terms and conditions and it’s ready to go.
The Gear Sport has direct access to Galaxy Apps where you can download apps, the Samsung Gear app can give you more control over the smartwatch like installing watch faces, managing notifications, transferring content, updating apps, finding your Gear, and updating the Gear’s firmware. If you’re using a Samsung phone, you can also link it to the Samsung Health app.
OS, Apps, and Performance
The Gear Sport is running Tizen version 188.8.131.52 which comes with an updated user interface and improved fitness tracking. Navigation is done using the touchscreen, rotating bezel, and two buttons on the side.
Rotating the bezel counterclockwise will show notifications while rotating it clockwise will reveal widgets to fitness monitoring features like calories burned, steps taken, heart rate, as well as apps like the weather and calendar. You can add more if you like.
Pressing the Home button would reveal a carousel of apps. From here you can access Settings, Music player, Reminder, S Voice, Calendar, Alarms, Gallery, Email, and Samsung Health. Also found here are Messages for your SMS, and Phone with a built-in dialer. However, unlike the Gear S3, the Gear Sport doesn’t have a speaker so you will need to still use your phone directly.
As with the Gear S3, app support is still a problem with Tizen as you’re limited to what the Galaxy Apps store can offer. There are dedicated apps like Spotify, Speedo, Under Armour, and Endomodo, but doesn’t feel enough compared to Android Wear offerings.
The Gear Sport is powered by similar internals as the Gear S3 – 1.0GHz dual-core CPU, 768MB RAM, and 4GB of storage with 2.4GB left for the user. Performance is good, as apps launch fast while the trackers, including the heart rate sensor, are responsive and work as advertised. The vibration notification, at its strongest, is gentle but strong enough to be noticed.
The Gear Sport packs a 300mAh battery which is smaller than the Gear S3’s 380mAh. It was able to last us for a little over 2 days in Default mode (all features activated) with constant Bluetooth connection to our phone, which is shorter than the 3 days we got from the Gear S3.
If you want to extend its battery life, you can choose its Power saving mode which uses a grayscale Home screen or Watch-only mode which limits the Gear Sport to display only the time. As for charging, the Gear Sport takes around 2 hours to charge from 0% to full using its wireless charger.
The Gear Sport is basically a toned-down version of the Gear S3, a bit underwhelming considering it doesn’t offer anything new, but can still a good smartwatch for those who don’t want to splurge. It looks and feels premium, fun to use, has great health monitoring features, and can be customized frequently with different watch faces. If there’s one disadvantage, that would be the app limitations of Tizen, but hopefully, it picks up soon.
The Samsung Gear Sport is now available at Lazada for Php13,999 (Php14,990 SRP) and comes with free Samsung Level U Flex Bluetooth Headphones. See listing here.
Samsung Gear Sport specs:
1.2-inch Circular Super AMOLED @ 360 x 360 pixels (302ppi)
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Dual Core 1.0 GHz
4GB internal storage
GPS, GLONASS, Beidou
5 ATM water resistance
Accl, Gyro Sensor, Barometer, HRM, Ambient Light
300mAh (wireless charging)
42.9 x 44.6 x 11.6 mm
20 mm (strap)
What we liked:
* Premium build
* Good display
* Good performance
* Long battery life
* Wireless charging
* Supports Android and iOS
What we didn’t:
* Limited app choices
* Fingerprint magnet