My Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has problems working with the Fitbit Charge HR so I tried Samsung's own Gear Fit to see if I would have better luck.
For some reason, unlike in other countries, Samsung doesn't have their own retail stores in the US. Instead, they use BestBuy, the largest electronics retail chain in the US, to showcase their wares.
Samsung has a variety of wearable products ranging from a full smartwatch all the way to the Gear Fit which is more targeted towards fitness similar to the Fitbit.
I opened the Gear Fit at In-N-Out Burger, a classic California institution.
The Gear Fit comes with some power charging accessories- they are small and easy to lose so be careful. Without the small power charging adapter that clips on to the back of the Gear Fit, you won't be able to charge it.
The Gear Fit is different from the Fitbit approach with Samsung emphasizing the curved color display making it really pop-out on your wrist compared to a more traditional sports band or watch.
The Gear Fit is a lot more affordable compared to similar class Fitbit models, but there are a lot of implementation issues which make the Gear Fit less user friendly despite the easier integration into Samsung Galaxy phones.
The Gear Fit is one of the few models in its price range that includes heart rate monitoring. However, unlike the Fitbit Charge HR, the Gear Fit actually doesn't continuously monitor and track the heart rate. You need to go navigate to the heart rate screen and do a single point measurement of the heart rate. This is essentially the same feature as using the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge to measure your heart rate, and doesn't take advantage of the fact that the Gear Fit is worn and could always be taking heart rate measurements. One possible reason for this is that taking heart rate measurements seem to quickly drain the Gear Fit battery.
Measuring heart rate during exercise is also useful to make sure you are in the right cardio zone but when you check your heart rate with the Gear Fit, it asks you to "Try and Relax" and you have to be really still to take a measurement. It's almost impossible to take a heart rate measurement while being active compared to the Fitbit Charge HR.
Keeping track of steps and sleep is also something that most fitness trackers do nowadays. While the Fitbit Charge HR will automatically and continuously monitor your steps and sleep, the Gear Fit requires you to go to a Pedometer screen to make press a button to turn on the step tracking. Similarly, you need to go to a sleep menu to manually press a button before you start sleeping and after you wake up. Most people will forget that they need to manually enable this tracking, and as a result you will only track data only when you remember you want to do it. The nice thing about the Fitbit Charge HR is that it is very unobtrusive to your every day life while the Gear Fit constantly reminds you that it's on your wrist.
Another example of this is where the Gear Fit will keep on vibrating to notify me when Bluetooth is connected or not connected to the Galaxy S6 Edge. One of the main reasons to have a wearable is to not require keeping your smartphone in your pocket over time especially during sports. However, if your smartphone is left on the side of the gym, and you are running around the court, the Gear Fit will annoyingly vibrate every few minutes as you get in and out of range of the smartphone.
Unlike the Fitbit app on your iPhone or iPad which integrates pretty well with your Fitbit, the Samsung S Health app makes you feel like the Gear Fit is competing with the Galaxy S6 Edge's own fitness tracking features. For example, if you use S Health to track your heart rate, instead of enabling the Gear Fit, you instead are directed to use your Galaxy S6 Edge to take the measurement.
The main advantage of using the Gear Fit over the Fitbit Charge HR is that you don't have to worry about sync'ing the the Gear Fit with the Galaxy S6 Edge. All that is taking care of in the background. However, the Gear Fit still feels like a de-featured smartphone truing to be a fitness tracker instead of a fitness tracker trying to integrate seamlessly with your smartphone and everyday life.