Samsung today unveiled the second generation of its Gear Fit health wearable, the Gear Fit2, as well as a new pair of wireless earphones that have a heartbeat monitor built in.
The biggest difference between the $179 curved-screen Gear Fit2 tracker and its 2014 predecessor is that it can do some important things independent of a paired smartphone. It has its own music player onboard, which can be used to play tunes through a pair of Bluetooth headphones. There's 4 GB of onboard storage for music files, which are loaded from a paired phone. An integrated Spotify app lets you play your own workout playlists. (The band still connects to a phone for some tasks, and requires an Android model.)
The Gear Fit2 has a GPS radio inside, so you can leave your smartphone at home and still map your runs. The Super AMOLED display on the device shows maps and routes colorfully and clearly.
An improved heart rate monitor provides real-time data during workouts, and aids in the calculation of calorie burn and other fitness stats. Aside from the accelerometer for step counting, there's a gyroscope, plus a barometer for detecting when you run up a hill or climb stairs.
With many fitness trackers it's up to you to select what kind of workout you want tracked, then start the device tracking. But the sensors and algorithms in the Gear Fit2 can detect when you've started a workout, and begin tracking whatever kind of exercise you're doing.
The Gear Fit2 also differs from the first Gear Fit in that it runs Samsung's own Tizen operating system, which Samsung says is more battery efficient than other wearable software. (The first Fit used a proprietary OS called RTOS.) There's also a more powerful chip inside—a dual-core Samsung Exynos 3250.
The new Gear IconX earphones pack a lot of functionality into a compact and lightweight design. Sensors in the earphones track distance, speed, heart rate, and calorie burn. They also house an onboard music player and enough memory for 1,000 songs, Samsung says.
During workouts, a voice guide feature give you feedback on your workout progress.
The Gear Fit2 will launch June 10 in stores and online at retailers and major wireless carriers. The Gear IconX earphones will sell for $199 and will become available in Q3 2016.