Samsung Gear Sport hands-on


Samsung has been on the forefront of the modern smartwatch wave, but its already long line of Gear smartwatches hasn’t exactly been among many a user’s wish list items. That almost started to change with the radically improved Gear S2, and then the S3 following it: smartwatches which introduced the rotating bezel as a key interface and design element.

Today, we got the chance to try out the next iteration in Samsung’s smartwatch line: the Gear Sport. Interestingly, this isn’t a Gear S4, or anything that would suggest we’re looking at a direct successor to the S3. While it is extremely reminiscent of the previous Gear watch, the Gear Sport feels more like a slight course correction for the wearable series.

Like last year’s S3 Frontier, it’s clearly targeted at people who… well, work out. There are such people out there, yes. However, Samsung insists you’ll look just as appropriate in the gym with the Gear Sport, as you would at a night club. We aren’t sure about the latter if you choose to stick with the stock rubber strap, but the good news is Samsung has been working hard on giving you options here: there should be about 23 different band types available from Samsung for the Gear Sport, including ones that come with rubber on the inside and leather on the outside.

Compared to the S3, we’re happy to find this year’s Sport to have a slightly smaller and thinner body. On the downside, it’ll only be sold in Blue and Black, so no fancy color choices here: all of the fashionable aspect will have to come from the bands that you choose to pair it with.

The Samsung Gear Sport also feels pretty similar to last year’s model. It almost feels like a Gear S3.5. It’s reassuringly made, with solid, almost rugged construction. The knurled bezel isn’t the most minimalist or stylish design element we’ve seen, but at least the transitional squircle shape (that’s the shape between square and circle) gives it a somewhat friendly look.

Functionality-wise, Samsung claims to have upgraded the heart rate sensor to a more precise and reliable one, which is very good news. It’s also enabled the Gear Sport for water adventures, with a 5 ATM rating of 50 meters (165 feet). The watch can be safely used/worn during a bath, in the shower, or for swimming in the pool or the ocean (there is salt water protection), but not for scuba diving or water skiing.

In terms of traditional smartwatch features, there are, of course, staples like Samsung Pay and access to the third-party application storefront, as well as some goodies from the nice-to-have category like remote control for PowerPoint presentations or Samsung’s own Gear VR.

So far, Samsung hasn’t decided to announced the Gear Sport price, but at least we know it’s bound to arrive later this fall, so potential customers shouldn’t have to wait too long before they can order one.

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13 Comments

1. EC112987

Posts: 1215; Member since: Nov 10, 2014

Idk but I love my s3 classic a lot more than my I watch. So I don't see this as a correction to the s3 but another option for future buyers.

7. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Because its a Gear Sport and not a Gear S.

13. cheetah2k

Posts: 2256; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Good to see they've incorporated swimming capability. Now I can get the most out of my training laps :)

2. adecvat

Posts: 640; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Dat bezels

3. nivek4011

Posts: 49; Member since: Jul 31, 2014

I'll keep my S3 Frontier. However, I feel this IS an improvement over the last iteration.

4. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Nothing tops the Frontier at the moment. This is a nice looking watch though. My Frontier, paired to my Note 8 in a couple weeks.

6. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Agreed..... Frontier over this.... I was hoping for a frontier improvement type of watch. I would maybe think of the pro sports fitness watch.

8. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The next Gear S probbaly won't come this year. I believe the Gear S has reached the top possible capabilities that such a device will ever have. Other than how it looks, there is nothign left to add or improve. It has 4G, BT, WiFi, IP68, has apps and plays music and give you call, texts and notifications. I don't see these doing anything more. Unless you want 4 hour battery-life.

12. deleon629

Posts: 462; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

I agree. I have one, and I think they'd tried too hard to make it the watch to do everything, yet at the expense of allowing it to be great at a few things, and it suffered in a few areas (GPS tracking for runs being the biggest bluff). I was totally pissed off when I'd finished numerous runs only to discover that the tracking had either stopped mid-run, reset itself, or worse. Mediocre at best

5. acruzlu unregistered

May just order a frontier. Price drops should be expected soon.

9. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Why? Because of the Gear Sport? The Gear Sport is not 4G capable which means it will have zero effect on the Gear S3. The Gear Sport won;t be sold by carriers because they can't tie you to a phone plan. It will just be sold by retailers and my guess the cost will be about $199 or $250. The Gear S is $360+. So know the Sport isn't gonna cause the S3 price to drop. You can already get the Gear S3 for $200 if you just know where and how to shop.

10. Cat97

Posts: 1892; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Wow, I don't think they could have designed something uglier than this, really ! So you have the technology to make a round watch, and yet you make it square-ish ? Samsung really blew it up with this !

11. darkkjedii

Posts: 31039; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

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