I’ve spent a decent amount of time with the Samsung Gear S3 and the Gear Fit2 this year, and while neither are a permanent fixture around my wrist right now, they are arguably two of Samsung’s best wearables. Let’s be clear, Gear S2 aside, we got a lot of rubbish before that.
It sounds like both Samsung’s flagship watch and sports tracker will be getting a refresh possibly over the coming months with the Gear Sport and Gear Fit2 Pro names popping up over the past week. The rumours suggest we’ll have not one but two new devices to play with before the end of the year.
Smartwatch face-off: Samsung Gear S3 v Apple Watch Series 2
I know it’s probably too late to enforce any last minute design changes or feature additions to the Sport of the Fit2 Pro, but when they do land, I really hope that Samsung manages to sort out these six things.
Won’t somebody think of the skinny wrists?
Okay, so this only really applies to the Gear Sport if this ends up being the Gear S4 smartwatch we’ve been calling it for some time now. There was a lot that I liked about the Gear S3, but I just didn’t get on with big it looked on my wrist. Granted, I know there’s plenty of people that like big, bold watches, but Samsung got so much right with the build of the Gear S2, namely the size.
I know that Samsung has got to go big to accommodate those additional sensors and hardware, and it’s highly unlikely they’ll be cramming in more sports tracking features, but I’m hoping this time they manage to squeeze it into a frame that’s closer to the S2.
Like Garmin has proved with the Fenix 5S or Suunto with the Trainer Wrist HR, striking a better balance between features and a slimmer form factor can be done.
All the features right from the start
One of the most frustrating but equally great things about the Gear S3 and the Fit2 was that Samsung rolled out regular software updates to give you more reason to keep wearing it. We got proper iOS compatibility, automatic rep counting for crunches and sit-ups and even the ability to better customise workout data.
What would have been nice was if those features were available straight out of the box, then maybe it might have stuck around the wrist for longer. Here’s hoping Samsung doesn’t have to drip feed these features to use for its next round of devices.
Apps, apps, apps
This has been a big problem for a while for Samsung. With the Gear S3 we were promised a whole bunch of high profile apps at launch including Nest, which utilised Samsung’s great rotating bezel and an official Spotify app that offered offline playback.
We were made to wait for them to turn up and while I don’t expect the catalogue of Gear apps to grow significantly, I would at least hope that the ones that are promised are available when the watch is available to buy and they really take fully advantage of the hardware.
Play nice with others
Staying with apps, if Samsung’s new wearables are going to be all about fitness again, I hope that they build on the support for third party health and fitness apps they already offer with Under Armour’s suite of apps.
Samsung Health is an improving platform, it’s been cleaned up and there is more reason to spend more time with it, but I’d like to see it work with more high profile fitness apps. Hopefully the likes of Strava will change its mind about offering support for Samsung’s wearables. It might be wishful thinking, but it could convince me to take a Samsung smartwatch or fitness tracker out for a run.
Those designer collabs
In the past Samsung has teamed up with luxury jewellers de Grisogono for a special edition Gear S2 and more recently luggage maker TUMI for a more travel-friendly Gear S3, but the problem is that these special editions always seem to arrive some time after the standard smartwatch models have launched.
It would be nice for once if Samsung followed in Apple’s footsteps and got these other models out at the same time giving us a better selection of watch designs to choose from. Collaborations take time, and lots of designers now have their own connected gear, but we could also do with more of a household name on the ticket.
Keep improving that iOS support
Using a Samsung fitness tracker or smartwatch with an iPhone is by no means a match made in heaven, but it’s still pretty good to pair the two together. Hopefully now that Samsung has made that compatibility official, it’ll continue to work on how it can make the experience closer to the Android one.
Inevitably, there will always be features that will be harder than others to include, but if Samsung gets the hardware and software right, it could well eat into a few of those potential Apple Watch Series 3 sales.
Don’t forget about the Gear IconX…
When Samsung launched the Gear IconX, its first pair of truly wireless smart earbuds (before Apple did), it felt like we were more excited about them than Samsung were.
They weren’t perfect like many of the first generation hearables we’ve tried since, but here’s hoping that these wireless buds are still part of the wearable equation for Samsung’s new wearables and it can actually add something significant to the fitness tracking experience with the Gear Sport and Gear Fit2 Pro.
What are you hoping to see from the new Samsung wearables? Let us know in the comments below.
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