Why we’re not impressed with Samsung’s latest wearable effort

They’ve got it all backwards.
They’ve got it all backwards.
Image: Reuters/Gustau Nacarino
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Today at the Mobile World Congress, Samsung unveiled three new wearables to replace their previous flop: The Galaxy Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo, and the Gear Fit. The first two are smartwatches like the original (widely-panned) Galaxy Gear. The third marks the company’s first foray into fitness tracking.

With so many companies jumping on the fitness tracker bandwagon, it would take a lot for Samsung’s new product to make a splash. Unfortunately, we weren’t impressed, and here’s why:

1. The display makes no sense

On first glance, the Gear Fit has an awesome look. A sleek display nearly flush with the wrist is just what we want—as evidenced by the most pervasive speculation on the iWatch design. But that concept features a rotating display. When you realize that the Gear Fit stays horizontal, the design becomes problematic. To read it, you’re going to be craning your neck or contorting your wrist.

2. The band swapping is blah

Much was made today of the Gear 2 and Gear Fit’s ability to swap out new bands. This, the company says, will allow you to take the wearables from weight lifting to wine drinking. But all those straps are still rubber, and the nesting of the computer inside them looked a little flimsy during today’s presentation. Even if they’re super secure, having swappable straps just isn’t all that impressive. Call us when the device is beautiful enough that no one will care if they can switch from neon orange to black.

3. The heart monitor is the best part, and Samsung made it redundant

The most promising aspect of the Gear Fit—a heart monitor, which until now only much bulkier fitness trackers have boasted—is no longer unique. The Galaxy S5 smartphone will have a built-in heart monitor. So if you’re planning on upgrading to Samsung’s newest phone anyway, you might as well hold out for a more impressive fitness wearable.