Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Samsung S5 and Gear Fit on SCKLM 2014

My time with the S5 and Gear Fit has been pretty enjoyable. I've worn the Gear Fit everyday except when I am taking bath or doing any rough work that may scratch the unit. It is on loan and any damages are my responsibility.
Including taking it to a fight - not! Photo from my Instagram on the One FC night out with Team 2ndSkin. Orange strap device is Gear Fit
Recently, I completed the SCKLM 2014 run and I took the S5 and Gear Fit along with me for the 42km journey. Part of it was to test how well the unit track activities and of course to see if S5 live up to it's name of being used outdoor, in a sports (controlled) environment. Let me put in caveat that I did not purposely put the units into water, or immerse it into water to check for the IP6X ability. Any incidences of the phone (S5) getting wet was not on purpose - furthermore, with the mindset that electronics such as phone and water, I was careful.

Exposed to Sweat, Sun and Water
While the Gear Fit were on my wrist all the time, the S5 were shuffled between my left and right hand as I ran. Sweat from hands and also sponge (water) and the not on purpose temporary dip into the water to reach out for sponges. 
Yeap, pretty much how the 42km were done. Thanks Andrew!
It survived with full functionality of the S5 intact. If there was anything, a wet finger reduces the sensitivity of the screen by 90%. You will need to consciously press down hard to get the apps functioning, or to unlock the phone. S5 is one phone you can bring it out and not worried about water damages as long as you keep the seal tight and the manufacturer's reccomended exposure limit in your mind. 
Photo Quality
In the race of megapixels with phones camera, it still does not beat the full functioning camera for those low light condition and flash burst. Photo in the dark requires a steady hand and moving photos requires a lot of "burst" to capture one that is clear. When in daylight, it then functions well - much like any other camera phones. If you want to view all the photos taken during the run, click the link below.

Gear Fit Functionality
I found out that the Gear Fit work best with the Samsung Phone via the S Health apps, which is specific to the Samsung phone. Good thing I brought the S5 along as it then acted as the "GPS" beacon for the run. If you do not use the S5 with the Gear Fit, you will still be able to capture the "workout", which is very much specific to what the Gear Fit records. Here, is an example of it tracking me walking my dogs.
No GPS found because I walked without the S5

But the Gear Fit recorded it pretty accurately (1 loop around my home area is 1.5km)
So, for a short run/walk it is good with minimal issue with accuracy. What surprises me on the SCKLM day was the GPS failed to record anything until KM20. I certainly ensured all sensors were switched on as I wanted to test how long the battery can last with everything ON as well.
This is the tracking from the 42km SCKLM.
Recorded a 51.21 km, which is a good 9km extra.

Started recording only at DUKE!
Now compare this to my Garmin 910XT capture
Interestingly, my Fenix too captured similarly to what the S5 captured, which makes me think if someone switched off the satellite until Km20!
The distance differences between all the devices used were pretty ok except the S5 where it recorded 51km. I may conclude that for shorter distance, it is OK to rely on S5+Gear Fit, but for longer distance, it may not be ideal. As long as you know the limitation, the most important thing is to get some exercise done.
Compared to Other "lifestyle" tracker
In the course of the two weeks, I've tried to find something that may functions the same, perhaps at a cheaper price. It turned out that the Gear Fit is by far the best available as it has the heart rate monitor built in. Others requires you to use the phone app (aka the flash as HRM, and then displayed via Bluetooth), or a physical strap itself (Garmin), which is less than ideal as the whole purpose of the lifestyle monitor is to simplify the use.
- Built in HRM
- Good battery life - up to 4 days on normal use
- Oled display
- Customisable out of box
- only work with S Health, by Samsung. Tried locating other Android apps to run with the Gear Fit, but none available. Works with Endomondo but not a fan of additional (or more) apps just to track exercise. S Health is "all included", but only for Samsung devices.
- Limited "sleep" data. Divided only to Hours sleep and hours "moving". Two stages as opposed to some capable to break it down to 4-stages of sleep. How useful is the data? No idea unless you are insomniac and need some sort of monitor to see the quality of your sleep.

Note: This two unit of Samsung S5 and Gear Fit is loaned to me for approximately 2-weeks. The recommended retail pricing for the S5 is RM1999 (16GB LTE model) and the Gear Fit is RM599. Thank you Samsung Malaysia for the usage. Opinion in this review is my own personal view and not influenced by any parties.

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