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Hands-on with the Samsung Gear Sport, Gear Fit 2 Pro, and Gear IconX 2018

Samsung is filling in the gaps of its wearable strategy with a new, slightly smaller Gear Sport smartwatch, Gear Fit 2 Pro fitness band, and Gear IconX 2018 wireless earbuds.

Published onAugust 30, 2017

If you listen to the way Samsung tells it, wearables are hot news right now. While the fitness band market has taken off, non-Apple smartwatches haven’t been quite as fortunate. But at the top of the Android-based smartwatch pyramid is Samsung’s Gear S3 range, with the Frontier being the most popular LTE-equipped wearable device in the US and global markets.

At IFA 2017 Samsung is further filling in the gaps of its wearable strategy, with a new, slightly smaller Gear Sport smartwatch, Gear Fit 2 Pro fitness band and a 2018 version of its IconX truly wireless earbuds. Join us as we go hands-on with the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro, Gear Sport, and Gear IconX 2018.

The Gear S3 will remain the flagship offering, with the Gear Sport fitting in somewhere between it and the Gear Fit 2 Pro

To be clear, the Gear S3 will remain the flagship wearable offering, with the Gear Sport fitting in somewhere beneath its $349 price tag and the Gear Fit 2 Pro’s $199 price tag. With that in mind it doesn’t take much to realize you’ll be missing out on a couple of features in the new Sport version.

Like the regular S3 Classic, there’s no LTE, with Samsung saying about 50% of its US customers want LTE. The Gear Sport is the first of its name in a sports-centric wearable offering, with its big ticket feature being 5 atmospheres of water-resistance.

That means you can wear it 50m under water and it’s even certified for use in salt water, although Samsung doesn’t recommend you go scuba diving with it. The Gear Sport also ups the military impact resistance rating of the Gear S3 for added peace of mind.

There’s also no MST payment option for Samsung Pay, meaning you pay with your Gear Sport via NFC but not on older magnetic stripe terminals. Again, if you want that flagship feature, you’ll have to fork out the extra for the Gear S3 Frontier. You will still get built-in GPS tracking on the Gear Sport though.

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The Gear Sport is a little smaller than the Gear S3 at 42.9mm, and it features standard pins for 20 mm bands with a wide variety of colorful Nato watch straps in both traditional nylon and a hybrid rubber and leather variation.

Some new partnerships with Speedo and Under Armor add some additional bloatware training apps to your Gear Sport

There are a bunch of new Tizen updates on the Gear Sport, some of which will likely make their way to other Gear wearables, including an improved caloric counter, baked-in Samsung SmartThings support, the ability to control a Powerpoint presentation with your watch or use the dial as a VR controller.

Some new partnerships with Speedo and Under Armor add some additional bloatware training apps to your Gear Sport. Speedo will let you track your laps in the pool and Under Armour has its suite of training apps on board, including MapMyRun, UA Record, Endomondo, and MyFitnessPal.

Offline playback is now available with Spotify for around 500 songs (assuming you have nothing else loaded on your watch), which is good news for the 60% of runners that listen to music while working out and the almost 80% of Gear Fit 2 owners that pair Bluetooth headphones to their wearable. Spotify Run playlists are supported and Samsung is looking at bringing playback bpm controls to match your pace.

The Gear Sport is available in black or blue with exact pricing and availability to be announced soon. It will ship with a silicon band by default and a new collection of watch faces.


If a fitness smartwatch isn’t really your thing, then Samsung also has the updated Gear Fit 2 Pro on offer, which comes in a small or large size. It offers the same built-in GPS, auto-activity tracking, 5 ATMs of water-resistance and swim tracking via Speedo On.

It lacks LTE, as you probably guessed, and is a much more fitness-focused device, being the first device to offer second-by-second heart monitoring (although the default is every 10 minutes).

The Gear Fit 2 Pro is the first device to offer second-by-second heart monitoring

The 200 mAh battery will obviously take a hit if you choose the continuous monitoring option, but the option is nice to have when you need it. Samsung says that using the default 10-minute option, you’ll get the same four day battery life as the current Gear Fit 2 or about 10 hours of GPS usage.

Most of the specs are the same as for the Gear Sport, barring the 30% lighter weight, less RAM and different form factor that occupies a lot less space on your wrist.

The Gear Fit 2 Pro ships with a new band with a clasp-fastened strap, so its less likely to fall off in the pool or at the beach. It comes in black or black and red color options and each has a slightly different silicon band out of the box.

Both the Gear Sport and Gear Fit2 Pro are compatible with Android devices running Android 4.4 or later, Galaxy devices running Android 4.3 or later, and iPhones running iOS 9.0 or later. Pre-orders for the Gear Fit2 Pro start August 31 for $199 with in-store availability on September 15.

The big news with the Gear IconX 2018 is improved battery life

The Gear IconX 2018 edition is much the same as the original Gear IconX but with improved battery life. From 1.5 hours in the original to 5 hours of streaming playback in the successor, the Gear IconX has 4 GB of internal storage for downloaded playlists. It’ll get you four hours of talk time.

The charging case offers an additional charge and can quick charge your earbuds in 10 minutes for an hour’s worth of battery.

Capacitive controls on the earpieces offer a range of options to play/pause, skip to next track or playlist, answer and end calls, adjust volume and call up the default voice assistant on any paired phone. There’s no option to choose your assistant, so if you pair your IconX to a Samsung device you’ll be stuck with Bixby, pair them to a Pixel and you’re getting Google Assistant and so on. Naturally you’ll need to have your phone with you for this to work.

Gear IconX 2018 pricing will be announced soon with availability in the Fall, available in black, pink or gray.

Thoughts? Which one of these wearables are you most looking forward to?