If you're an all-round fitness fan, your workout routine might just include swimming. And that means your fitness tracker or smartwatch until now probably hasn't been tracking your laps and strokes — unless it's the excellent Apple Watch Series 2. Samsung has two new fitness trackers, though, that'll go stroke for stroke, and a Speedo-developed training app to collate it all and push you further.
Both of the new fitness smartwatches now have continuous heart-rate monitoring, and are rated to 5ATM pressure — they can be worn while swimming, including while lap training. Automatic sleep tracking will give you an accurate profile of your rest trends over days and weeks, and you can use either device to directly keep track of your water or caffeine intake.
The Gear Fit2 fits the curved rectangular 'fitness band' profile made popular by Fitbit, while the Gear Sport mimics Samsung's own Gear S3 smartwatch. The Gear Sport's 1.2-inch screen, though, is a little smaller than the S3 (it's identical to the Gear S2) and uses the standard 20mm wristband lug — so you should be able to swap out the included blue or black elastomer band for something classier if you want.
The $549 Gear Sport and $329 Gear Fit2 Pro have largely similar feature-sets — both run on Samsung's energy-efficient Tizen platform, and have heart-rate tracking as well as the Samsung Health fitness app built in — but differ in a few small ways. The Gear Sport is the only one of the two that can be used to store your tap-and-pay credit cards through Samsung Pay, but the Gear Fit2 has standalone GPS and can track your running or cycling away from your phone.
Samsung has partnered with Speedo — y'know, Speedo — to launch the Gear Fit2 Pro and Gear Sport alongside a new swim training platform called Speedo On for Android, iOS and on the web. It's part training app and part social network, letting users set personal fitness and swimming goals, share their results with other users, check their fitness metrics and take part in challenges.
Samsung does make the point that neither smartwatch is made for "high velocity" watersports like waterskiing, or for scuba diving — these activities amplify the water pressure exerted on seals. But for just about any kind of swimming, as well as for rinsing off in the shower, both the Gear Fit2 Pro and Gear Sport should be just fine. Samsung is also pushing connectivity between its ecosystem of devices: you can watch fitness videos on your Samsung TV with fitness data displayed from your Gear Sport, for example.
The company has also introduced a second-generation version of its Gear IconX wireless earbuds, introducing support for Bixby voice controls when used with the Galaxy S8 or Note8. Five hours' battery life outside the charging carry case should make them more appealing than the original, as well as improved ergonomics and a couple of extra colours.
The $329 Gear Fit2 Pro will be out in Australia come September 15, and the $549 Gear Sport will be out in November, with pre-orders opening soon. [Samsung]
Gizmodo travelled to IFA as a guest of Samsung.