As a person who is always scouring the internet for articles on new wearables, I’ve been excited lately to see that companies like Samsung and Google seem to have a lot in the hopper. I was anxiously awaiting the release of the Google Pixel Watch in October of 2018, but sadly Google did not end up releasing a wearable at all last year. There are rumors that a Pixel Watch will be on the slate for 2019, but I’m less likely to believe the buzz after “reliable rumors” last year turned out to be false. I switched to the Google Pixel 3 after getting bored with my Samsung Galaxy S7 that I had used for two years. Since I predominantly use Google software, I figured it would be interesting to try Google’s proprietary hardware designed specifically around all the apps I already love. So far the Pixel 3 has been incredible (that camera!), but I’ll have to wait an see if a Pixel Watch surfaces anytime soon.
In the meantime, I’m sad to announce that the Fitbit Versa I had so lovingly chronicled in my previous series on Finding the Perfect Smart Watch has died on me. It actually started in July 2018, just a few months after purchasing the Versa. I noticed that my battery was draining very quickly, and the device was starting to have some software issues like buttons lagging and not wanting to switch modes to track exercise. I contacted Fitbit, and since the product was still under its 1 year warranty, they sent me a replacement device (note, only the tracker body was replaced, no additional straps, chargers, or other accessories were sent).
The new device they sent worked well until last week, just 7 months since it was sent to me. One night my sleep didn’t get tracked and by the next morning the screen was failing, totally unresponsive to touch and unable to be restarted. After an hour or so of that, the device completely shut off and hasn’t restarted since. I am technically still under warranty, so they are sending me a fresh device. Since this will be the third device in under a year, I’d say the reliability of the Fitbit Versa is very low compared to others trackers on the market, and I won’t be buying another Fitbit until they can improve their hardware. I still think Fitbit has some of the best fitness tracking software available, but I think their hardware is lower quality than the competition.
For my next device, I have pre-ordered a Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, which will be released on March 8th, 2019. I look forward to trying it out and posting a review. I also considered the new Fossil Sport, but my hopes for Wear OS, the Google wearable platform, were dashed by early reviews of the Fossil Sport. Even with the new Snapdragon 3100 chip that was meant to revolutionize the Android wearable world, the Fossil Sport still has slow processing times, lags in user interface, and struggles to hold a charge for more than 18 hours. It’s also more expensive than the brand new Samsung active device, and it lacks the ability to automatically detect workouts and sleep. For me, that was the ultimate deal breaker.
Considering software, reviews of the Wear OS phone app are just as bad as the devices. Instead of streaming data from the device straight into Google Fit, the fitness portion of the software, users are forced to download apps for each individual fitness tracking need. Google Fit then acts as a hub of all this information by collecting it from associated apps, of which Google provides a list that are compatible. So imagine having to download separate apps for tracking heart rate, sleeping, running, female health, and any other need you may have. Instead of managing one app, you end up managing a plethora, which to me seems incredibly redundant and un-user-friendly.
That’s just my 2 cents for today. Be on the lookout of my Samsung Galaxy Active review, coming next week!
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