Samsung Group is banking on you shaping up this spring. Samsung on Monday unveiled its new Galaxy S5 smartphone, which is set to go on sale in April, along with a pair of watches. And many of the features included on the devices focus on fitness.
Considering America's continued fascination with personal health and health-related products, this is probably a good idea. What Samsung has attempted to do is combine the best attributes of the top-of-the-line fitness trackers currently on the market with those of its own phones and smartwatches.
The S5 and the watches were unveiled at an event at the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain. I had a chance to briefly test out all three products in New York on Monday.
The S5 includes a built-in heart rate monitor, pedometer and fitness tracker, though I'm not sure how useful they actually are. For instance, to check your heart rate, you hold your finger over a sensor on the back of the phone - something I can't imagine doing in the middle of a jog.
True fitness buffs will probably head straight for Samsung's Gear Fit smartwatch, which also does all of those things, but in a much more user-friendly way. Want to check your heart rate? Just open up the app for that and it gives you a reading within seconds.
While many people have become accustomed to wearing fitness bands either constantly or for their workouts, I think a lot of them would balk at going running with, or perpetually being tethered to, a phone as big as the S5.
It's worth mentioning too that the Fit Gear is very nicely styled. I have to admit, I wasn't a fan of Samsung's first Galaxy Gear smartwatch, because it felt heavy and clunky and was just too big for a normal-sized woman's wrist. But the Fit solves that problem. It's thin, light and features a curved color screen. If you don't mind wearing something like a Fitbit Force or a Nike FuelBand, you won't mind this product either.
The trade-off is you can't place or answer a call from the Fit, but it will notify you of things like calls, emails and text messages. There's also no camera.
Samsung's new Gear 2 watch also comes with basic fitness features including the heart rate monitor and pedometer. While it's still too chunky for me, it is