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Samsung S.Health app review

Health and wellness apps and trackers are all the rage these days. Fitbits, the Garmin Vivofit I review etc. Of course at the center of these fitness trackers is an app to interface with the device, get the data, track it and display it in a usable fashion. Recently I reviewed the Samsung Gear 2 Neo and sadly the Samsung S.Health that shipped with my S4 was not properly supported. It kinda worked and kinda didn’t. Just as I was finishing off the review low and behold Samsung released a new version of Samsung Health to remedy this issue. Why they were so late with this update is beyond me when the S4 was a supported phone for the Gear 2 Neo, but with that little fopa aside let’s get into the new version of the app that supports the Gear 2 Neo 3.51.0693. The version can interface with the Neo to get heart rate data or can use bluetooth or ANT+ heart rate monitors. As expected Samsung S.Health does NOT support Android Wear devices like the Samsung Gear Live 😦

I was shocked that a few of my colleagues that have Samsung phones have never explored this app. So I thought I would take a moment and review what it can do. It really is quite well done and worth your time. S.Health is ONLY available on select Samsung devices as a preload and while some have tried I had little success loading it onto other devices.

S.Health attempts to cover off a broad array of categories:
Screenshot_2014-12-05-17-55-49Screenshot_2014-12-05-17-55-44
A pedometer, exercise tracker, heart rate, thermo-hygrometer, food, weight, and sleep.

The pedometer can use the sensor in the phone and/or your Samsung Gear 2. You can individually pause the pedometer in each. And can swap between the two’s data by clicking menu select devices.
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It displays the number of steps, approximate distance (remember it does not use the GPS) and the approximate number of calories burned. It also attempts to differentiate between when your walking and running. It use to also differentiate between walking and steps but this seems to have been removed.
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It does a pretty good job and even has historical data, as well as you can set goals and it encourages you when you get to half or the total goal you set.
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These screens can be shared multiple ways as a JPG. The sharing is so so IMHO. One of the nice things about using the Gear 2 Neo is that you don’t have to always carry your phone for the pedometer to be accurate. The data is sync’d frequently off the Neo and can be manually sync’d anytime you like (over bluetooth). The pedometer data can be displayed as a widget on the phone or on one of the base watch faces on the Neo. All in all nicely done. So good it is frivolous to use dedicated pedometer. And even if you don’t have a Gear you can still use your phone to track your steps and it is surprisingly accurate.

Next up is exercise. You can add workouts for Running, walking, cycling, or hiking. Cycling and hiking use the GPS on the phone to give you a more accurate distance number. Oddly walking and hiking do not stop the pedometer. All modes can use the Neo’s heart rate monitor or a bluetooth/ant+ heart rate monitor to make calorie counts more accurate.
Screenshot_2014-12-05-17-57-17
Oddly in the latest version the calorie count from the pedometer does not get passed into the exercise count. They have also removed the ability to manually add workouts not tracked on the device. A pity I used this feature to give myself a more clear count of the number of calories I burned exercising in a month. The Running/walking modes can be used to interface with a heart rate monitor to more accurate track your sleep! If your using the Neo’s heart rate monitor while you sleep remember to put the watch into blocking mode to avoid having the display brighten up and potentially wake you up when you move around. Sounds like a Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle thang 🙂 A little engineering humor. No really it does exist 🙂

The heart rate is a one time snapshot of your heart rate. It can use the Neo’s heart rate monitor or on the S5, it uses it’s. You can not initiate the HRM from the phone it needs to be initiated from the watch. The app then tracks your historical HR data. Kinda useless but it is there.
Screenshot_2014-12-05-17-57-30

The thermo-hygrometer tells you the temperature and humidity at the moment you request it near your phone. Not sure the purpose of this but heh …

The food app allows you to track how many calories you are eating by manually adding your meals from a large database of available food. You can get a complete break down of the food’s nutritional value. This section of the app is quite comprehensive and well done for anyone watching their weight, or keeping an eye on cholesterol etc. There is historical data too … I have to say I don’t use this part at all, but I also don’t have a weight issue.

There is a weight area where you can manually add your weight in and track it historically.

Last but not least is sleep which seems to only work with the Gear 2 and Neo. You manually tell S.Health on the watch that you are going to sleep and when you wake up. It automatically listens to your sleep for when you move and if your wearing the watch will give you a percent motionless your sleep was. It keeps historical data too.
Screenshot_2014-12-05-17-58-38

If there is anything missing it’s the ability to import/export the data as well as the lack of web portal to view the data (or enter data) off the device.

For a free app, it really is quite well done and worth a look if you have a Samsung device with it preinstalled. This app, for me sets the bar for what ought to be there.

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December 9, 2014 - Posted by | Android

3 Comments »

  1. I do not like the update. The old version had a running record of my daily stepsI would like to get the old one back but of course you cannot and I did not give permission for this one to be put on my phone i have no updates checked. Ifthere was a 05 rating that’s the one I would give

    Comment by Shirley Armstrong | July 8, 2015 | Reply

  2. Well for me I have samsung galaxy s6 & it tracks everything yall are saying it doesn’t. My question is will other sport trackers watches work with this app besides a samsung brand exp: garmin vivofit 2, fitbit, jawbone or do I have to purchase a samsung sport tracker gear watch?

    Comment by Heather W. | November 24, 2015 | Reply

    • It will only support a limited number of Samsung devices. It doesn’t even support the Samsung Gear Live.

      Comment by johngalea | November 24, 2015 | Reply


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