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(Pocket-lint) - Samsung makes some pretty great smartwatches, but if you care more about counting steps than downloading apps and making payments from your wrist, then you can save yourself some money and cast an eye at the Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 instead.

This budget option offers those fitness tracking staples, including sleep monitoring, and even offers to squeeze in some smartwatch-style features to make it useful outside of your workout time. There's no shortage of cheap trackers at this price, so can Samsung's do enough to stand out from the crowd?

Design

  • Weighs: 21g

  • Water-resistant up to 50 metres

  • 1.1-inch AMOLED display
, 126 x 194 resolution

With the Fit 2, you're getting the main tracking module, which hosts the touchscreen display that's wrapped up in a flexible silicone strap with a watch-style buckle. You can pop that module out from the strap, but when it's in place it certainly does not budge.

That strap comes in your pick of scarlet (as pictured) or black, offering something that gives it an undeniably sporty look. As a package, it's safe for showering and swimming with a water-resistant rating that makes it safe to be submerged in depths to 50 metres.

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy Fit 2 review photo 9

There's no physical buttons here, so you're getting a streamlined look - further enhanced by the fact the device measures just 11.8mm thick, so it's similar to a flagship phone in overall thickness terms. That's also slimmer than the Fitbit Inspire 2 and it's certainly a pleasingly light and comfortable band to wear all day, both during exercise and when it's time to get into bed.

All of your interacting time with the Fit 2 is managed via the touchscreen display and a discreetly hidden capacitive button. That capacitive button can be tapped to wake the display and will return you to the main home screen when you're swiping through the other screens.

Above that button is a 1.1-inch display. It's a nicely responsive screen, offers strong maximum brightness, vibrant colours, and good visibility both indoors and outdoors. It's a good quality screen to find on a tracker at this price.

It's not an always-on display, though, so you'll need to tap on that capacitive button to wake it up or use the raise-to-wake gesture support, which thankfully is nicely responsive.

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy Fit 2 review photo 15

Around the back of the tracker is where you'll find the optical heart rate sensor and it's where you'll clip on the proprietary charging cradle. Thankfully, you don't need to pull the main unit out of the strap to charge. While we don't love the fact it's a proprietary kind of cradle, it's one that does securely clip onto the back of the top half of the tracker and does stay put.

Features

  • 24/7 activity tracking

  • Automatic exercise recognition

  • Continuous heart rate monitoring


Despite its slim stature, the Fit 2 does still manage to fit in a decent array of features. You're not going to get Galaxy Watch levels of features here, but there's enough to make it useful inside and outside of tracking your fitness.

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy Fit 2 review photo 2

There's accelerometer and gyro motion sensors to track daily step counts and enable sleep monitoring. There's dedicated sports modes for walking, running, cycling, pool swimming - along with a generic workout mode to cover everything else that involves getting the heart pumping. 

There isn't onboard GPS tracking or even the ability to connect to the GPS on your phone, though, leaving you with accelerometer based tracking for outdoor activities. You can make use of Samsung's automatic exercise recognition software, which works for all five workout modes and saves you going through the process of manually tracking activities, but non-GPS tracking is nowhere nearly accurate enough for most sports - especially cycling.

An optical heart rate monitor will track heart rate continuously, including during sleep and can help you measure effort levels during workout time. It also brings stress tracking into play, using heart rate variability to let you take on the spot stress measurements.

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy Fit 2 review photo 8

Outside of health and fitness tracking, you can view phone notifications from both Android phones and iPhones, including the ability to send a quick reply to some notifications. There's also music controls, the ability to view weather forecasts, set timers, a hand wash timer, and a sizable collection of watch faces.

Performance and battery life

  • 159mAh battery capacity
  • Claimed: to 15 days life

  • 5 exercise modes


In terms of performance, the Galaxy Fit 2 does a good job overall, but it's not without some issues. For daily step counts and sleep monitoring it held up well against other rival trackers from Fitbit and Garmin, so handles those tracking staples well enough to keep you moving and better understand how you're sleeping.

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy Fit 2 review photo 3

When it comes to heart rate monitoring whether it's for capturing resting heart rate data or measuring effort levels during exercise, it generally recorded higher maximum readings across the board - even with the tracker sitting snug and securely in place on our wrist. So if you care about heart rate, this is certainly not the Fit 2's strength.

The lack of GPS for outdoor workout tracking and reliance on the accelerometer to track movement means you're not getting supremely reliable distance tracking here either for indoor and outdoor exercise modes. On outdoor runs, it was usually 1-2km out compared to a GPS sports watch. That's a whole lot!

When you chuck the running shoes to one side, the Fit 2's smartwatch features work well despite the small amount of screen estate that's available. It handles displaying notifications surprisingly well, the music controls are easy to use, and there's a nice mix of digital-style watch faces that make good use of the AMOLED screen.

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy Fit 2 review photo 10

On the battery front, Samsung claims you should get up to 15 days with typical usage and up to 21 days in low usage. Ultimately, it's a fitness tracker that will comfortably hold up for a week's worth of use with all features in use and is capable of making it to 15 days if you're not tapping into workout tracking on a regular basis or have the screen cranked up to full brightness.

Software

  • Samsung Galaxy Wearable app (iOS and Android)

  • Runs on FreeRTOS


Unlike Samsung's smartwatches, there's no Tizen or Wear OS here, with the Fit 2 running on a much simpler FreeRTOS operating system. Crucially, it's software that's easy to get around. You can swipe left and right from the main watch screen to view your different data screens and swipe down to get the quick panel settings.

Pocket-lintSoftware photo 2

Off the band, you're dealing with Samsung's Galaxy Wearable companion app, which is compatible with Android phones and iPhones. It's from there you can tinker with watch faces, widgets and the quick panel settings. 

This is also the place to setup alarms, make sure weather data is being pulled through from your phone, and you also have a useful 'Find my Band' feature, if you've forgotten where you last lost your Fit 2.

If you're planning to check in on your health and fitness stats, you'll additionally need to download Samsung's Health app, which along with storing tracker data, will also let you manually count calories, water intake, and even blood pressure. You can also join in on fitness-focused challenges and make use of fitness programmes and mindfulness modes like meditation and sleep stories to get you into a much calmer, more relaxed state.

Pocket-lintSoftware photo 1

It would be nice to see Samsung build these two apps into one, but as solo apps they are at least easy to get to grips with, making it really straightforward to adjust Fit 2 settings or dig deeper into your most recent night's sleep.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 is a solid fitness tracker if you care about the basics of tracking steps and monitoring your sleep time.

Beyond that, it comes up a little short. Particularly for delivering reliable heart rate data, while the effort to include sports tracking features doesn't massively impress here either - because there's no GPS tracking or ability to sync with your phone's GPS.

It does offer a nice sporty look and some useful smartwatch features, along with battery life that's capable of keeping you from charging for double-digit days.

It might not be the most feature-packed fitness tracker you can grab around this price, but there's still enough to like to make it one to consider.

Also consider

Pocket-lintAlternatives photo 1

Fitbit Inspire 2

It lacks that more desirable colour display you get on the Samsung, but does offer the best of Fitbit's fitness tracking and some of the best sleep tracking support in the business too.

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Pocket-lintAlternatives photo 2

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Xiaomi's flagship budget tracker packs in a lot of features, has a great colour display, and while not the most exciting to look at, offers a solid overall performance for even less money.

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The Gear Loop reviews

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Writing by Michael Sawh. Editing by Mike Lowe. Originally published on 27 October 2021.