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Galaxy Fit vs. Galaxy Watch Active vs. Fitbit Inspire HR

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Samsung Galaxy Fit: a bit Fitbit, a bit Nike.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The Samsung Galaxy Fit has finally arrived today. I’ve been wearing the $99 tracker on my wrist for a little over 24 hours. How does it compare to the Fitbit Inspire HR, or to Samsung’s other new fitness watch, the Galaxy Watch Active? It feels, in a lot of ways, like it falls right in between them.

The Galaxy Fit feels more like a lightweight, budget fitness tracker than the round, higher-design Galaxy Watch. It’s an evolution of Samsung’s longer-display bands going back to Gear Fit. Despite its lower-key look, it has some impressive specs: it’s 5ATM water resistant, has onboard heart rate (and Samsung’s “stress level” tracking, which seems a little unreliable/confusing), automatic sleep tracking, automatic activity workout tracking (for walking, running, biking, rowing, elliptical) plus phone notifications.





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Galaxy Fit vs. Fitbit Inspire HR

The closest parallel in Fitbit-land is the Fitbit Inspire HR, which also costs $99. The Inspire HR also has water resistance for swimming, sleep tracking, heart rate, and notifications. It has a black and white screen instead of a color screen. Otherwise, it’s pretty similar.

The Galaxy Fit band is thin, feels like firm rubber, and has proprietary connections. It felt comfy on my wrist and attached firmly, but maybe it was a bit too slim. The included (proprietary) charger magnetically attaches to the back of the Fit.

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It’s not always easy to see the text.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Navigation on the Galaxy Fit happens through touching and swiping: it works fine, but it’s not always easy to do when moving (the text is small). A side button goes back to the main watch display, or quick starts a workout when pressed and held: this is my favorite thing it does that, weirdly, the Fitbit Inspire HR doesn’t.

I also like Samsung fitness devices’ automatic tracking of walks and workouts, and how the stats instantly appear onscreen. On a brisk walk, I’m suddenly in workout tracking mode without doing anything.

Loading a limited set of five customizable watch faces is pretty easy, even on iOS, via a watch face gallery that feels like what the Apple Watch has. Steps, heart rate, weather and a few other stats can appear on the watch faces, but you can’t cycle through them or see more than a couple at once, which is annoying. Also, only watch face can be on the Galaxy Fit at a time. Watch faces are faster loading from the phone than Fitbit Inspire HR, but Fitbit’s a lot better with adding more stat access.

Much like Fitbit Inspire HR, you can swipe to see a quick dashboard of daily stats: heart rate (and resting heart rate), steps, calories burned. There’s no stair climbing feature, though.

Galaxy Fit vs. Galaxy Watch Active

The Galaxy Fit doesn’t have music storage or playback, any mobile payments, GPS, dedicated swim tracking, or integration with third-party fitness apps like the Galaxy Watch Active has. That’s where the Fit becomes a weird choice. The Galaxy Watch Active is really, really good, and doesn’t cost all that much ($200). Spending an extra hundred isn’t absurd at all.

The Fit feels pretty basic compared to the Watch Active, which is my biggest concern with it. Battery life is supposed to last up to a week (versus about 4-5 days on Inspire HR). I haven’t worn it long enough to know what the real battery life is.

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Swapping the (limited) watch faces is easy, even on an iPhone.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Should you buy it?

If you’re budget conscious, and want that smaller band design, and like Samsung hardware, the Galaxy Fit may be a good choice. But I still think the Fitbit Inspire HR hooks into a far better social fitness ecosystem with Fitbit, which is why you’d be best off with that instead. (If you’re a huge Samsung S-Health fan, the Gear Fit may be something you’d prefer.)

Samsung’s biggest advantage tends to be unique hardware features, and those are mostly on the Watch Active. More to come in a full review.

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