How do you follow up the launch of a highly anticipated handset in the Galaxy Note 8? If you are Samsung, you wait a week and then blitz IFA 2017 in Berlin, Germany, with a refreshed wearables lineup. Samsung did exactly that today by introducing three new items to the wearable category, including the Gear Sport smartwatch, Gear Fit2 Pro fitness band, and Gear IconX cordless earbuds. We had an opportunity to spend some hands-on time with each one of them.
Before anyone brings out the pitchforks over perceived typos in the product names, that is not our doing. Samsung has seemingly waged war against using spaces in product names, hence the Gear Fit2 Pro and Gear IconX. it is quirky, but whatever. Here is a few minutes of footage from our time at Samsung's booth, where we got to get touch-feely with all three wearables.
The new Gear devices are designed to assist with a range of activities, whether it is robust fitness t racking and nutrition, or sleep monitoring and even motivational coaching as a lifestyle companion (and they're cheaper than hiring a 24/7 personal trainer to whip your behind into shape).
Starting with the Gear Sport, Samsung's aim was to make it stylish and practical. It has a minimalistic, circular bezel with a 1.2-inch Super AMOLED display with a 360x360 resolution. The user interface is improved over the previous generation, with a focus on easily viewable and digestible information at a glance.
The Gear Sport is powered by a dual-core processor clocked at 1GHz. It has 4GB of internal memory and 768MB of RAM. Other features include 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2. and Tizen running the show.
This is also a durable smartwatch. It features MIL-STD-810G certification and is water resistant up to 5 meters. And as for the display, it is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 to prevent nicks and scratches.
Users can choose from a variety of colorful and easily changeable 20mm straps, a sampling of which you can see above. The Gear Sport itself will be available in blue and black color options, and from there you can customize it to your own personal style and preference.
Beyond the aesthetics, there are some interesting things you can do with the Gear Sport. You can use it to control compatible Samsung IoT-enabled devices through Samsung Connect. It can also act as a remote control, such as when giving a PowerPoint presentation or rocking a Gear VR headset. And of course it supports Samsung Pay.
Shown above is the Gear Fit2 Pro, Samsung's next-generation fitness band. In addition to new swim and heart rate monitoring capabilities, it also boasts advanced built-in GPS tracking to capture your run or ride with accurate activity tracking.
The Gear Fit2 Pro has a 1.5-inch curved Super AMOLED display with high-resolution 432x216 touchscreen display. This is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. Like the Gear Sport, the Gear Fit2 Pro is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor and runs Tizen underneath the hood, which is Samsung's home grown operating system.
Other specs include 4GB of RAM, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2connectivity, and a 200 mAh battery. Also like the Gear Sport, Samsung's fitness band is durable with water resistance up to 5m and MIL-STD-810G certification.
Last but certainly not least is Samsung's cord-free Gear IconX earbuds. Apple has already gone all-in with wireless earbuds, and it appears Samsung is doing the same. What is neat about the IconX is that users can store tunes on up to 4GB of memory per earbud. That is great for those times when your runs or bike rides take you beyond Wi-Fi and cellular connections.
These earbuds can also stream music via Bluetooth 4.2. They are lightweight at 8g per earbud and feature capacitive touch support, and accelerometer, and IR sensor. With a simple tap and hold of one of the earbuds, users can summon Bixby, Samsung's digital AI assistant, with their voice. And for fitness gurus, the Gear IconX automatically tracks running routines and features a standalone running coach, which can provide in-ear audio exercise status updates in real-time (and without your phone). Cool stuff.
As for availability, you will be able to pre-order the Gear Fit2 Pro on August 31, 2017, for $200. If pre-ordering from a participating retialer, you will be eligible to receive a free pair of Samsung U Flex wireless headphones. The Gear Fit2 Pro will then ship on September 15, 2017. The other wearables will be available later this year.