As fitness tracking as an industry keeps growing out of control, almost, there are certain companies that have been most popular for their fitness trackers and fitness apps, in tandem. Although Microsoft’s Microsoft Band might not be the most popular fitness tracking gadgets in the world, it has certainly become one of the most praised with many positive reviews pointing out the simplicity and the integration features of the wearable. Samsung has probably the broadest range of fitness tracking gadgets out there, and has become a leader in the industry thanks to their portfolio. The Samsung gear Fit seems like the most popular out of their devices, for two reasons: efficacy and affordability. The Samsung Gear S might be the most feature-filled of their smart watches/ fitness trackers, but it is also the most expensive one they have. The extra feature that makes the Gear S so popular is that it comes with a built in 3G antennae, which allows the users to use the watch/fitness tracker without having a smartphone tethered to it.
Since neither the Microsoft Band or the Gear Fit have this antennae and stand-alone trait built-in, they are mostly the gadgets that smartphone owners go for. But the question that many people ask themselves and the internet is which would be the better fit for them? When it comes to fitness tracking, you can’t really go wrong, except if you opt for the cheapest, Chinese imitations. which will most likely disappoint you in the long run. The Microsoft Band and the Samsung Gear Fit are two of the more affordable options out there but what sets them apart? Let’s see what features, specs and design elements each of these fitness tracking devices can boast with and which would suit who better.
First off, we should say that both the Microsoft Band and the Samsung Gear Fit were created with the average wearable enthusiast in mind. The come in smartband formats, which are more comfortable, thinner and possibly easier to use for first-timers, but rather bland for those who have used many different types of fitness trackers. Since the wearable market hasn’t really reached its full potential yet, we can say that either of these could be good gadgets for those just starting out in fitness tracking or want a gadget that will help keep the motivated in their journey towards getting into shape or keeping up with their fitness goals.
The smartband as a form factor seems to be the most popular choice for those who don’t need a smart watch with every feature they can imagine, but appreciate all the fitness tracking features that these usually come with. Off the bat, that is a plus for both the Microsoft Band and the Samsung Gear Fit. Although fitness tracking doesn’t seem to be such a hard thing to do without a gadget, these two will definitely help you gain more insight into your activity, your goals and keep you motivated to keep going, following your short-term and long-term fitness goals. Motivation seems to be a big part of fitness tracking nowadays, as more and more people turn towards more sedentary lifestyles which don’t necessarily promote them getting out of their comfort-zone. Such small items like fitness trackers help this aspect by simply being there, reminding you of the fact that exercise is one of the most important things in life. exercising is a must, because it not only keeps you in shape, but it keeps you healthy and plays a major role in prolonging your life-span, staying clear of depression and anxiety and having an overall healthy lifestyle. Both the Microsoft band and the Samsung Gear Fit can do that. So what’s the difference?
Let’s start by looking at the Microsoft band and the fitness tracking features it offers. As hardware is crucial, first off we should see what the Microsoft Band specs are and what they offer to the user. The Microsoft Band is available in three sizes, small, medium and large and it comes with a plastic strap in black or grey, which is kind of bulky and rigid, slightly larger than most fitness trackers out there. The small version measures 39 mm, the medium one 41 mm and the large one 49 mm, so it will definitely fit anyone, that’s at least for sure. It isn’t really heavy at 60 grams, but some people find that weight a bit too much. The strap houses the 1.4 inch display which has a 320*106 resolution capacitative screen on board. The Microsoft Band also features two physical buttons, one for power and for cycling through options, selecting things, bringing Cortana up and changing views.
Seeing as fitness tracking requires some sweat and some dust, the Microsoft Band is dust and splash resistant, although it is not waterproof completely, so you can’t swim with it, which can be considered a minus for the device. One of the biggest pros of the Microsoft Band is that is cross-platform compatible, which makes this device an option for any smartphone user. You can connect an Android, iOS or Windows Phone to the gadget, which makes it extremely versatile and allows the company to access a wider audience interested in fitness tracking. Moreover, there are people out there who have two or three smartphone in their household, running on different platforms. In that case, any member of the household could use the Microsoft Band to track their progress through their fitness goals, although we’re not sure how good the Microsoft Band is at separating users.
The Microsoft Health platform is running the show on the Microsoft band and it offers you access to an online dashboard where you can monitor all the data that the fitness tracking gadget monitors, including sleep, calories consumed and burned, steps, heart rate and more. Here, the motivation part of the device and software steps is, as through the Health platform, you are able to set goals for yourself. The platform will offer guided workouts, route mapping for runners, hikers, cyclists and more by using the built-in GPS. That means that you don’t even have to have your phone with you when going for a run, which is yet again, another huge plus for the Microsoft Band. You also get a built-in UV monitor in case you’re wondering how high the UV index is and if you should be out in the sun.
One feature that is pretty neat when it comes to the fitness tracking the Microsoft band is capable of is tracking your run or cycling even on a treadmill or stationary bike in your home. That feature isn’t included in many new smartbands and smart watches, although there are many people out there who prefer exercising indoors. Moreover, the Microsoft band can offer you smart watch functionalities, but only when tethered to a smartphone. It can bring up notifications, messages, calendar appointments, incoming calls and voice mails, emails and you can even use a virtual keyboard to respond to these, granted that you have a Windows 8.1 smartphone in your pocket. More hardware specs include Bluetooth 4..0, timer, stopwatch, heart rate monitor, gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer, pedometer and GPS. Considering that the Microsoft band is more about fitness tracking than notifications and smart watch functions, it still does a very good job at blending the two together.
Microsoft Band specs also include an ARM Cortex M4 MCU CPU, 64 MB of internal storage, ambient light sensor, skin temperature monitor and you connect to a smartphone using that Bluetooth 4.0 built-in. The Microsoft Band battery life is average, and it goes as advertised: two days of general use, with the GPS turned on. That’s pretty cool, as you might not need to use the GPS every day, so it might lengthen the battery life to three days. The Samsung Gear Fit battery life is better than most similar fitness trackers, as it will last for three days with all the features in use. Of course, there are many fitness trackers out there that will go past the one week battery life time, making fitness tracking a breeze, but they tend to be more expensive than these two.
Moving on the Samsung Gear Fit, we have no choice but to start with a minus and a disclaimer: the Samsung Gear Fit only works with Samsung smartphones running Android. With that out of the way, let’s see about that hardware and those features. Compared to the Microsoft Band, the Samsung Gear Fit tries to match fitness tracking with a good design, and does so successfully. It comes with a curved display that measures 1.85 inches and gets an OLED display with a higher resolution of 128*432. Although the Microsoft band is good for outdoor activities, the Samsung Gear Fit display is better, as it’s brighter, crisper and more colorful. The display itself is encased in a faux-chrome finish frame, which looks nice, but it wears out pretty fast, just like it does on Galaxy phones launched last year and before that.
The Samsung Gear Fit comes with six different straps, that are made from rubber and they are removable and interchangeable. It also gets a physical button that is used to power on the display on the device when you’re ready for some serious fitness tracking monitoring. But most likely, if you choose to get the Samsung Gear Fit, you won’t be using that button very much as the proximity sensor within will turn the display on whenever you raise your arm in front of you, which is neat, as it offers more hands-free possibilities than the Microsoft Band, with which you will fiddle a lot. With the Gear Fit’s button, you can make use of a shortcut, too, which means that you can choose a function to be activated when you double tap that physical button.
The Samsung Gear Fit has IP67 certification, which means that it is water and dust resistant. That translates to: yes, you can shower with it on, but no, you still can’t swim with it on your wrists. Bummer for all the swimmers out there. Another thing that is missing from the Samsung Gear Fit, it’s there on the Microsoft Band and it is essential for fitness tracking outdoors: GPS. Sadly, Samsung didn’t include a built-in GPS into the wearable, which means that you’re going to have to bring your smartphone along when going for a run, a walk, a hike or a cycle. You can still use the Gear Fit for running and walking without the GPS, because it has a pedometer built in, but you won’t be able to map your routes this way.
Much like the Microsoft Band, the Samsung Gear Fit comes with a heart rate monitor (which isn’t as accurate as the one in Microsoft’s version, honestly), stopwatch, timer, sleep monitor and that’s about it. When it comes to notifications and smart watch functionalities, the Gear Fit is just as endowed as the Microsoft Band. If you don’t want to have just fitness tracking on your wrist, both of these will get you your notifications and stuff like that. The Gear Fit will feed you notifications from your smartphone or tablet, change the volume of music and generally control playback, get notifications of incoming calls, voice mails and you can even reply to texts and messages directly from the band.
Moving on to one of the most important traits of any fitness tracking gadgets: prices. The Microsoft Band price is set at $200, which is a bit steep for a fitness tracker, but not as expensive as to make price a deal-breaker. The Samsung Gear Fit price is at around $150, depending on the seller, which makes it the cheaper option out of the two. Based on pricing, the Samsung Gear Fit should definitely be worth its price, as long as you’re using a Samsung smartphone. It also looks and feels better than the Microsoft Band does, which is a plus for the fitness tracking device. But for anyone who doesn’t own a Samsung smartphone, the Gear Fit will be useless. If you are not bothered by the design of the Microsoft Band, it would just about suit anyone with a smartphone nowadays. The built-in GPS is a huge plus for fitness tracking capabilities, so it’s definitely worth its price, in my opinion. What other fitness tracking gear would you recommend to someone who is just starting out in the field? Do you think that fitness tracking equipment does motivate people or is that just a misconception? Sound off in the comments below and let us know which of these smartbands you would choose if it were offered up free to you.