It's a common truth in new tech: a company releases a firmware update, and suddenly there are all-new features to discover. When I reviewed the Samsung Gear Fit, I was using the latest software Samsung had at the time. I couldn't use the Fit's long display in anything other than a sideways-landscape mode, which meant turning my arm around awkwardly, and syncing with S Health was semi-broken.
The newest firmware update to Gear Fit, which will be what anyone buying one will have available to them, introduces a bunch of new features. Some of them really do change the Fit quite a bit. Here's what I found so far.
Portrait mode: Yes, finally, you can flip the Gear Fit's display to stretch out vertically, so you don't have to twist your wrist. It seems to work with every feature, even notifications. Some work better than others.
Sleep tracking: A new mode will track sleep data, much like other fitness bands such as the Jawbone Up and Misfit Shine do.
More watch faces: Additional watch faces have been added, including some cool ones that take better advantage of vertical-display mode.
Customize your Fit via Manager app: Now you can swap the layout of icons, and even change the home screen and add your own photo to the Gear Fit's background.
Extra coaching options: I found some new ways to control the coaching mode while running, setting the heart-rate coaching awareness to "auto," or setting the device to coach around your own maximum heart rate.
Better syncing with S Health: Samsung promises that a lot of the weirdness I found before has been fixed.
Credit goes to Samsung for making these changes so quickly. Sometimes it takes a while for wearables to get much-needed updates, or they never get them at all.
A review update to the Gear Fit will be posted once I've lived with these changes for a while, and once CNET has reviewed the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. Stay tuned.