Major Samsung S Health update adds popular connected services including Strava and RunKeeper

Watch out Fitbit and Apple, here comes Samsung. Along with a compelling new, inexpensive wearable band Samsung just rolled out a major S Health update that opens up its service to all.

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Late last year I purchased a Samsung Gear S2 from T-Mobile, see my full review, in hopes it would serve as my smartwatch, daily activity tracker, and GPS running/cycling watch. Unfortunately, the closed nature of S Health eventually led to the Gear S2 being put in a drawer.

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Last week Samsung announced the Gear Fit 2 that is available in stores now. It turns out that the Gear Fit 2 launch came with a fantastic gift for existing Gear S2 owners, the ability to connect your S Health data to a number of popular online services including Jawbone, RunKeeper, Strava, Microsoft Health, Fitbit, and Misfit.

Nearly all of these connected services allow you to share exercise and sleep data between S Health. The Fitbit integration only supports sleep so just like the Apple Watch there is very limited functionality between any service outside of the Fitbit ecosystem if you own a Fitbit. It's exciting to now see my RunKeeper data within S Health while also having the ability to sync run data collected by the Gear S2 back to RunKeeper.

As a result of the S Health 4.8 update, my Samsung Gear S2 3G is going back on my wrist for further testing. While I like the S Health app, I've been using RunKeeper for years and have a massive amount of run data stored there, along with a community of friends that help motivate me to get out and run.

I am also a paid Strava user where I also store run data, in addition to cycling data. The ability to now have my GPS data synced to these other services make S Health and the Gear S2 much more useful products.

If you have listened to my MobileTechRoundup podcast with my buddy Kevin Tofel, you know that both of us have been on the hunt for the perfect wearable that provides daily activity tracking, GPS run tracking, music playing from the watch to a headset, ability to sync data easily to RunKeeper, and battery life that can get us through a half or full marathon. With this S Health update, the Samsung Gear S2 may finally be that perfect device for me.

I just spoke with Kevin last night and he is headed to Best Buy to likely purchase a Samsung Gear Fit 2 because it does everything listed above, with the addition of sleep tracking. I'm testing Sleep as Android on my Gear S2 to see if it too can provide sleep tracking. However, the ability to make calls and send SOS text messages from my Gear S2 3G while on a run is vital to me while sleep tracking is a nice to have.

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Another new functionality added to S Health version 4.8 is the ability to have a steps leaderboard where you can compare your weekly step count with your friends and even create step challenges to help motivate each other. This is one thing I miss from Fitbit and Jawbone so I look forward to challenging Kevin, and others, soon.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge that I own can also connect to various sensors, such as the Garmin bike speed and cadence sensors I purchased so I could truly go all in with the Gear S2 as my running, hiking, and biking wearable with the Galaxy S7 Edge mounted on my bike.

It will be interesting to see how the Gear S2 3G works out now that I recently purchased a Garmin Fenix 3 HR that is the ultimate multi-sport watch. Maybe I'll run with both and have the Gear S2 provide music and the cellular safety net. Then again, if the Gear S2 works out then maybe the Garmin will get sold. Stay tuned.

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