Should I buy the S7 edge phone with "free" smartwatch and VR headset?
January 18, 2017 4:46 AM   Subscribe

At the moment the Galaxy S7 edge is being advertised heavily in the UK and if you buy one you get a free Gear Fit 2 smartwatch. I can also get a free Samsung VR headset. Do I want this stuff?

I'm having a lot of trouble deciding whether to shell out for this phone, watch and headset. It would be about £38 per month and £100 up front with a 2 year contract. I currently have a 2 1/2 year old android phone and am paying £10 per month pay as you go. My old phone is fine and doesn't "feel" old to me. But a shiny new phone would be nice I guess.

The smartwatch might be neat to have for fitness. My new year's resolution for 2016 was to get in shape and I've actually done it. It might be fun and motivating to track my workouts. Monitor my heart rate, etc. But I'm not really a data wankery type, more of a "big picture" person so I'm not sure whether I'd get a ton out of this. Also because women's clothes tend not to have pockets (grrrr) the times when the smartwatch would be most useful I might not have my phone on me so the watch wouldn't work then for texting, etc I think?

The VR headset is pretty tempting. I tried it at my friend's house who has one of these phones and loved it - I watched the cirque de soleil thing and the guy singing in a studio and the feeling of being there blew me away. I think I would enjoy other immersive stuff like scuba diving simulations, trekking through forests, city tours, that kind of thing. If it could be used for exercising or even yoga (can it?) that would be brilliant. I'm not a gamer though so I'm not sure here would be enough to keep me busy? My friend got freaked out by the headset to the point he just gave it to me but it's no use without the phone.

I can afford this stuff but it's not cheap and don't want to regret buying it. I do feel it would be nice to have a "reward" for getting in shape. But it's a lot of money to me. Any advice please? Or any feedback from using this phone, headset and/or watch? I'm not usually this indecisive but really feel I need someone to tell me what to do on this one! Thank you.
posted by hazyjane to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total)
But a shiny new phone would be nice I guess
What will the new phone do that your current one cannot? New is nice, but mindless purchasing isn't a good habit.

£38 per month and £100 up front
Is that just for the phone, or is the plan included in that price?
£38 x 24 months + £100 = £1012 That's an expensive phone, I hope the contract is included.

At this point VR seems too gimmicky to me, it's interesting but there's not much replay value to it.
posted by FallowKing at 4:56 AM on January 18, 2017

Just to clarify - the plan is included (3gigs data per month with unlimited minutes and texts which should be plenty for me).
posted by hazyjane at 5:00 AM on January 18, 2017

You might be able to play around with a perfectly serviceable headset using your current Android phone; you can buy one from Google for under USD$10 (and over, too), or look around on the internet for cut-it-yourself cardboard patterns.

Since it seems like you'd primarily use the smartwatch as a fitness tracker, remember there are a ton of those on the market right now--and if you live somewhere full of ambitious young people with more money than follow-through (I do--and also I am one of these people!), you might have a friend who'd loan you an old one they're not using for a while. Or you could try out the Xiaomi Mi Band 2, which you can find on AliExpress for about $23. It's not as full-featured as a good smartwatch (because it's "only" an activity tracker), but it might be a good way to see whether this kind of gadget provides any useful motivation or quantification.

If you do find yourself leaning toward smartphone, smartwatch, and headset, be sure you do some research on the specific ones they're offering. Don't get overwhelmed by unnecessary features you think you might use; evaluate on the basis of a specific set of features you already know you want, and read the reviews with them in mind. Often I find the really hot deals mobile phone companies pressure you to jump on before time runs out are offers of inferior gear, and personally, as someone to whom user interface design matters a lot, I'd rather have a really nice X or none at all. Which is to say, if you were in the market for a smartwatch and there were no special deals on anything in particular, how high in the rankings would this one be? What about the phone?
posted by tapir-whorf at 5:26 AM on January 18, 2017

OK so calculated against your current plan (£10 x 24months = £240) the difference from the new plan (£38 x 24 months + £100 = £1012) is £762 over two years. I think you can get the things you want - a phone that supports VR and a smartwatch - for less than that. You already have your friend's VR headset, right?
posted by DarlingBri at 5:34 AM on January 18, 2017

Should've said more explicitly in response to your note that "My friend got freaked out by the headset to the point he just gave it to me but it's no use without the phone." Your old Android may support VR, but needs a headset designed for its shape and size.
posted by tapir-whorf at 5:47 AM on January 18, 2017

In my experience the phone + plans offered by UK carriers are almost never cheaper than just buying the phone outright, with the exception of some sales. All the big carriers offer both competitive pay as you go and sim-only contracts.

The calculation that DarlingBri did is one you should do every time you consider a phone. Compare the total cost over the contract period (initial cost + monthly cost x contract period) for both the handset and the SIM only deal, and then see how much the handset costs to buy unlocked elsewhere. It's often cheaper.

If your current phone is Android, you'll probably find the new one quite underwhelming. Once you've got all your old apps set up it's normally pretty much exactly like your old one was. The last time I upgraded my Android phone I was left wondering exactly why I had. Unless your current phone is actively breaking, is very old or was a very low end model the difference is probably quite small.

Finally, if you are going to buy a contract from a UK phone company, check out a cashback site like Quidco or TopCashback (there's quite a comprehensive guide here.) Most networks offer something back, sometimes it can be substantial.
posted by leo_r at 6:03 AM on January 18, 2017

Do I want this stuff?

If you have to ask, the answer is clearly No.

Resist marketing at every opportunity. Doing so will improve your quality of life.
posted by flabdablet at 6:19 AM on January 18, 2017 [5 favorites]

Thanks, all, for talking me down. I think the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 plus a Google cardboard headset is the way forward at least for now. Much appreciated.
posted by hazyjane at 6:40 AM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

An additional note, even though it sounds as if you made up your mind already: the Samsung Edge 7 is a PITA to use/hold in your hand. Why? Because you can activate any icon on your screens just by touching them and the ones nearest the edges will constantly launch as soon as you merely brush them with your fingertips. I tried the S7 and ended up buying the Galaxy Note 5, which is far less annoying, to my way of thinking.
posted by Lynsey at 11:22 AM on January 18, 2017

Good call with your choice. I couldn't recommend the VR headset - plus with your 3 GB of data, you'd chew through that relatively easily. The S7 Edge is a fantastic phone and the Gear Fit 2 works seamlessly with it, but yeah, not enough to justify the expense (says the dude who did just what you were going to do - without the VR).
posted by Tardis_Spin at 11:37 AM on January 18, 2017

I have a Gear Fit 1 and to be honest it's kind of crappy. It only works with the proprietary Samsung S-Fitness app, which is a walled garden that doesn't integrate with anything else, and which you can't get your data out of. I've found that pretty annoying personally but YMMV. I'd give some careful thought to why you want a smart watch / activity tracker and make sure that the Gear Fit 2 fits the bill before taking the plunge on that basis - especially as you can get a Fitbit Flex for £40 on Amazon Daily Deals in the UK with some regularity.
posted by bifter at 3:54 PM on January 18, 2017

Worth noting that Google are launching Android Wear 2 in February.

Whilst it's not a given, at the early stages of product development there is a much higher chance that you won't be able to put v2 software onto v1 hardware.
posted by mr_silver at 10:04 AM on January 19, 2017

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