The Android and iOS ecosystems are filled with a sea of apps around fitness tracking capabilities. The notable mentions are Runtastic, MyFitnessPal, Swortkit, Runkeeper, and more. Almost all of them are paid ones or come with some subscription. That's when you want to try the basic ones first.
Apple has an excellent Health app and integrates nicely with the Apple Watch series. Not only that, the company is doubling down on its efforts for fitness tracking in the upcoming products.
For the Android world, there are mainly two choices — recently redesigned Google Fit or Samsung Health app, if you want to be in Samsung's ecosystem.
Both apps offer several health tracking functions and at the same time differ in numerous aspects. In this post, we will compare both Google Fit and Samsung Health on various characteristics.
Google Fit app size varies with the devices, but on my Pixel XL, it occupies around 20MB of space. The Samsung Health app takes up 72MB space which is almost 3.5x times of Google Fit.
Both Google Fit and Samsung Health received a facelift with the recent redesign. Samsung and Google seem to have followed the same philosophy here. Both the apps have the bottom menu bar and lots of white background on the main page.
Google’s approach is simple though. The homepage displays the profile photo with today’s data on the bottom. It involves the number of moves, steps, calories, and kilometer for the current day.
You can also see the heart rate (If your device supports it), weight chart and add an activity through the ‘+’ icon at the bottom right corner. One area where Fit can improve is at the use of space. A lot of areas is wasted by just a profile picture with steps data.
Samsung displays a big motivation banner with news articles up front. The steps data with current week's trends is shown at the bottom. You can access all your health data like weight, heart rate, water intake, floor counts, sleeping habits, and stress level from the homepage itself.
The app now follows Samsung’s One UI guidelines with rounded corners. I like Samsung’s approach here as the main content is neatly presented right on the home screen without any unnecessary swipes.
The Discover tab lets you read the popular health-related articles in your national language.
Cross-Platform and Wearable Support
Google Fit is available on every Android smartphone. Whichever model you choose, the app data will follow you. Just sign-in with your Google account and sync your data.
Samsung Health was only limited to Samsung devices, but the company made some of its services available for the masses. However, you will need a Samsung account to access the data.
Talking about wearables, Google Fit is available on all Wear OS devices. With a recent redesign of the platform, the Fit data is just a swipe away on all Android watches.
As expected, Samsung Health is accessible on all Galaxy/Gear smartwatches. The recent data suggests that Samsung’s wear ecosystem is way ahead of Google's Wear OS.
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Fitness Tracking Capabilities
By default, Google tracks every move of yours in the background. The recent makeover brings something called Hearts points, which motivates you to perform the activity at a faster pace.
On the homepage, you can see your movements, steps, calories burned, Heart points, and kilometers. Tap on any item and access the respective data in details.
For example, the image below shows that Google has automatically tracked my morning and evening bike ride with accurate time and route data with Google Maps integration. As usual, you can see the weekly and monthly chart data from the above menu.
Apart from that, you can also manually add blood pressure, weight, and any activity including sports play, walking, Hiking, Diving, etc. to the journal. Tap on the ‘+’ option and choose the appropriate menu.
The app also lets you track your workout. You can choose from several options and start the timer.
The image below shows the walking activity with maps data, and it will mutually add the calories and kilometer data to the journal.
Samsung has added a packed the app with tons of functionalities. By default, the app tracks your exercise data, active time, the number of floors climbed, and sleep data. You can manually check your Heart rate and stress level, and also add the weight and water intake of the day.
Tap on any widget, and it will present you with a detailed analysis of activity with pie charts and graphs. For example, you can set the bedtime and wake-up time in the sleep menu and let the app notify you about the sleeping time and waking time.
The Together tab lets you challenge your friends on any activity. Similar to Heart points in Google Fit, Samsung Heath gives rewards you with different badges.
Accuracy is the prime aspect of any fitness tracking app. And I’m glad to report that both apps performed as expected in my limited two weeks of usage. There are a couple of observations though.
The Fit app often ended my biking activity when I paused for a minute or two for fuel refilling (sipping a sports drink). The app counted the tracking activity twice for a single route. The maps accuracy was on point though.
Samsung’s Health app took my bus ride as a walking activity and counted the total distance in the walking activity. With Sleeping data, when I woke up to check my phone for barely a minute, the app registered it as a wake-up call and ended the sleeping time.
In short, both apps struggle to detect the activities correctly and are at the mercy of sensors to record the data. So you'll get near-accurate data and not a precise one.
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Which One Should You Use?
Honestly, if you are living in Samsung’s ecosystem, look no further and stick with the default option. The app is filled with a plethora of health tracking options, and surprisingly most of them worked accurately in my testing. The app is also available for all Android smartphones.
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