Samsung’s Gear Fit smartwatch/fitness band is finally available online and in stores, but unfortunately, its Android compatibility is still very limited. According to Samsung, the Gear Fit will only work with 17 different Galaxy devices including the new Galaxy S5. Once again, Samsung is keeping its Gear line within the family, but luckily we’ve found a way around this small problem. We’ve learned that the Gear Fit can can function with almost 100 percent of its features on other Android devices such as the HTC One M8. We haven’t had the opportunity to test this method on a wide variety of Android devices, but it’s important to note that both the HTC One M8 and M7 we’ve tested were running Android 4.4.2. This doesn’t mean that KitKat is required, but it’s better to lay out all of the facts surrounding our experience. It’s very likely that you’ll be able to get this to work on other Android devices though. The interesting part is, all that it took was sideloading a couple of apps onto a non-Galaxy device. Unfortunately, this same method didn’t work with the Gear 2 or Gear 2 Neo, but we’ll take what we can get. Check out the video tutorial below for a full walk-through and demo. If you’re interested in testing out this method, there are a few things you need to do. First download the Gear Fit Manager (located here) and sideload it onto your device. Next, download the Gear Fitness app (located here) and install it as well. After you’ve installed both of the apps, launch the Gear Fit Manager and connect your Gear Fit via Bluetooth using the on-screen instructions. After you’ve paired the Gear Fit, head over to the “Notifications” section and tap on the bar labeled, “General Notifications.” This will prompt you to enable system-wide notifications for your Gear Fit. From there, you’ll just need to select the specific apps that you’d like to receive notifications from. As you would imagine, this configuration isn’t perfect. The Gear Fit wasn’t meant to work with devices outside of the Galaxy family, and because of this, some features are nonoperational. In our experience, the Gear Fit’s quick reply options and alarm notifications failed to work. Along with that, any weather or location-based watch faces and services did not function. Your mileage may vary, but in our experience most of the important features that the Gear Fit provides worked as advertised on the HTC One M8 and M7. One minor downside to using an unsupported phone is that you’ll probably miss out on official updates to the Gear Fit. You’ll probably have to connect it to a compatible device to update the firmware in the future. Maybe Samsung will consider expanding the Gear Fit’s official compatibility in the future. It’s definitely one of the best fitness bands on the market and I’d love to see official compatibility. Currently, Samsung’s Gear Fit is available for $199 from AT&T, Best Buy, Amazon, and many other retailers. If you happen to give this a shot, let us know your results down below.
Update: We have also learned that an initial update of the Gear Fit may be necessary to get this method working. This Gear Fit must be updated with a compatible Samsung device or the Gear Manager app could have trouble connecting with it during the setup process on an unsupported device.