When it comes to your wrist, there are two kinds of wearable gadgets besides a wristwatch. You can go with a fitness tracker, an efficient little wristband that may or may not have a display. Or you can drop serious coin on a smartwatch.
Once in a while, a device splits the difference. The Samsung Gear Fit and Microsoft Band 2, both billed as fitness bands, combine the roomy touchscreens of a smartwatch with the battery life and affordability of a fitness band. The Gear Fit2 blurs the line further, providing notifications from your phone and canned one-tap responses to messages. It also sports more onboard instrumentation than rudimentary fitness trackers. And despite the added firepower, Samsung says it’s good for as long as four days on a charge.
The advantages start with the built-in GPS, which lets you view progress on a map without tethering the tracker to your phone. It’s got an impressive 4GB of storage and the ability to listen to music through Bluetooth headphones. A Spotify app lets you stream tunes, but you’ll need to use a Wi-Fi connection or tether the band to your phone.
Samsung says the Gear Fit2 riffs on the Tizen operating system powering its Gear smartwatches. The UI has been rejiggered to a vertical orientation on the 1.5-inch AMOLED waterproof (IP68-rated) touchscreen, which the company says is more natural when you’re looking down at your wrist. The extra screen real estate provides a map interface, visualizations for your activity targets, and leaderboards that let you challenge friends to feats of crushing it. Inside you’ll find a heart-rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, and a dual-core 1GHz processor.
The device auto-tracks the usual categories like steps, floors, calories, and sleep, and it’s purportedly even smart enough to recognize when you’re doing squats, riding a bike, using a rowing machine, or doing hot yoga and logs those stats accordingly. A redesigned band–it’s curvier underneath–available in large or small should help provide a snugger fit for any size wrist.
Preorders for the Gear Fit2 start June 3 for $180, and it ships a week later.