BERLIN — Samsung today introduced three new fitness-minded wearable gadgets at the IFA trade show here. The company hopes the devices, a watch, a fitness tracker and a pair of earbuds, will get you spend even more of your time with Samsung’s latest smartphones — but if you leave yours at home for the next run, each of these three can continue tracking your activity and playing the workout soundtrack of your choice.
The Gear Sport Watch, Gear Fit2 Pro band and IconX wireless earbuds also represent Samsung’s idea of what will stop people from thinking about whatever Apple (AAPL) introduces alongside the iPhone 8, which is expected to happen on Sept. 12.
The Gear Sport is a moderately chunky watch, at 0.46-inch thick, done up in dark plastic that makes it look a better fit for the trail than the symphony. With water resistance up to 50 meters — the same as the Apple Watch and Fitbit’s Ionic — Samsung says it’s also set for the pool.
The Sport — pricing and availability details won’t come until fall — connects to Android and iOS phones to display selected notifications on its 1.2-in. AMOLED display but offers substantial independent capabilities without your handset nearby.
It offers 4 GB of storage, though a display unit available at Samsung’s event showed just 2.6 of those four gigs free, and built-in GPS, so it can track runs and bike rides in fine detail without a phone’s help. • Like the Gear S3, the Gear Sport also includes NFC wireless capabilities to allow for Samsung Pay transactions. You can use the watch as a remote control for Samsung’s GearVR virtual-reality headset.
Samsung has expanded this heart-rate-monitor-equipped device’s app menu with new exercise-tracking options from Under Armour (UA) and Speedo. You’ll be able to scroll through your software choices using the spinning-bezel control Samsung introduced in 2015 on the Gear S2, though the prototypes I used weren’t working.
Samsung isn’t talking about battery life, but a peek at the Settings app on two of those models revealed “default” battery-life estimates of about 31 and 35 hours. Their “power saving” run times, in which the screen switches to grayscale and only displays basic notifications, showed up as 89 and 100 hours.
Like many smartwatches, the Sport’s screen automatically shuts off, requiring a tap or a flick of the wrist to check the time.