With how popular smartwatches have become, it’s starting to cut into the dedicated fitness band space. Rather than having a limited-use fitness tracker and a watch, you can now have just one device that does it all. These fitness-focused smartwatches have all of the same functionality of a dedicated fitness band, but also have larger screens and operating systems to handle the daily tasks of a smartwatch. Here are the best picks available in the category.
Does it all
Samsung Galaxy Watch
Samsung has the "smartwatch" part of the equation nailed and has seriously improved its fitness tracking to the point where there isn’t a downside to selecting a Galaxy Watch. There’s GPS for running and biking, automatic workout detection, workout guidance and tracking for all of your daily activity. It also has deep smartphone integration, with a super-useful interface and rotating bezel that’s a treat to use. Plus, the case is robust and capable of handling anything you put it through.
Tons of people have trusted Fitbit with their fitness tracking for years, and that’s essentially what you’re getting here. The Ionic is a perfect smartwatch for someone who really wants to focus on activity tracking first, and the other "smartwatch" stuff second. Though it may be a bit big and blocky, the Fitbit Ionic has a bright display, GPS tracking, optical heart rate sensor, SpO2 sensor, 50-meter waterproofing and a lot of other cool features like NFC and 2.5GB of storage space.
The Fitbit Ionic is the best overall fitness device from the company, but for something a bit more balanced, the Versa is also worth considering. Fitbit learned a lot from the Ionic, and the new Versa has a much smaller and better-designed case that looks more like a regular watch than a gadget. The unfortunate downside of the smaller, better-designed case is that it doesn’t have GPS like the Ionic does. If you want to run, walk, or bike and get precise tracking, the Ionic is still the pick.
Wear OS’s finest
Our first Wear OS pick comes in the form of the Fossil Sport. Outfitted with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, the Fossil Sport has built-in GPS, NFC for Google Pay, and can be taken swimming in the pool. It’s marketed as the lightest smartwatch on the market and comes in a variety of striking colors.
The TicWatch series is one of the most prominent in the Wear OS space right now, and the TicWatch S is the one that’s geared towards active/sporty individuals. There’s a unique design here with the watch band being built right into the actual case, and while this does mean you can’t replace the watch band, it also results in improved GPS performance for mapping your walks, runs, and jogs when you don’t have your phone.
Still worth a look
Samsung Gear Sport
Samsung’s Gear Sport may not be the newest smartwatch on the market, but it’s still a great piece of tech and an awesome, affordable alternative to the Galaxy Watch. It has built-in GPS, supports Samsung Pay, features a gorgeous Super AMOLED display, and kicks out a consistent two days of use per charge.
When picking a device that spans the gap between two product categories, there are bound to be compromises, and a fitness-focused smartwatch is no different. But in this do-everything fitness smartwatch realm, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch is the leader. Not only does it handle all of the smartwatch features you want, but it also has the competition matched in terms of fitness tracking and workouts. The Fitbit Versa is a fantastic choice if you’re invested or eager to get into the Fitbit ecosystem, and if you prefer Wear OS, our top pick goes to the Fossil Sport.
January 11, 2019 at 06:04AM