Fitness trackers, despite the name, are for everyone — not just runners and gym rats. That's because fitness trackers can help you keep an eye on your overall well-being and health through things like logging steps, calories, sleep, and even your heart rate.
In this roundup, you'll find the best fitness trackers and smartwatches that stand out the most in 2023. Whether you want something sleek and slim, a more affordable option, or a fitness tracker that'll help you run marathons, there's something here for everyone. With options from Fitbit, Apple, Garmin, and more, here are our picks for the best fitness trackers you can buy in 2023!
Fitbit Charge 6
The best fitness tracker overall
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear
- Robust health-tracking tools
- Built-in GPS
- Google apps work well
- Fast, responsive software
- Nearly a week of battery life
- Unreliable notifications
- No local music storage
- Many features require Fitbit Premium
Why you should buy this: It's a well-priced, extremely feature-packed fitness tracker with a week of battery life.
Who it's for: Anyone who wants a great fitness charger and doesn't want a smartwatch.
Why we picked the Fitbit Charge 6:
The Fitbit Charge 6 has reminded us exactly why we love Fitbit's fitness trackers. Fitbit updated the Charge's design language with the Charge 5, adding smooth, rounded corners and leaving behind the boxier design of the past. It's a look that's more in line with the latest Apple Watch Series 9, and it means the new Fitbit fitness tracker is something you won't be ashamed to be seen wearing. It's made from aluminum, glass, and silicone, so it feels as good as it looks. The new Fitbit Charge 6 also has a side button that provides haptic feedback, which you can use to wake the screen or go back to the watch face.
We know it looks good, but good looks that aren't backed up by great fitness tracking are useless. Thankfully, the Charge 6 is great in this regard. It's a dedicated fitness tracker, and it's as capable as you'd hope, with over 40 exercise modes. A number of those start automatically, so it'll capture walks and hikes without you needing to start them, and while the GPS can lag behind slightly when starting a tracked exercise, it always caught up without severely impacting our workouts. Workouts are only part of the story, though, as the Charge 6 also has an impressive suite of wellness features. It can keep an eye on your blood oxygen saturation and your stress levels, and there is also an ECG app.
While it's certainly not a full smartwatch, the Fitbit Charge 6 does have some support for notifications from a paired phone, though it's not super reliable. Unfortunately, it's tied pretty heavily to the companion app on your phone. On the plus side, Fitbit's app is pretty good. The data you need is easy to see upon opening the app, and a few taps offer deeper insight into how you've been sleeping or performing in your workouts. A Premium subscription is required to give you all the data you might want, which is an annoyance.
The Fitbit Charge 6 also offers a seven-day battery life, which is pretty standard for this level of fitness tracker. Best of all, it's reasonably priced, so you won't be shelling out a huge amount of money for it, and it certainly offers a lot of bang for your buck.
Garmin Vivoactive 5
The best fitness tracker runner-up
- Exceptional fitness and health tracking
- Long-lasting battery life
- Gorgeous AMOLED display
- No subscription needed
- Software can be tricky for new users
- Smart features still limited
Why you should buy this: The Vivoactive 5 is a jack-of-all-trades smartwatch and fitness tracker that is relatively affordable.
Who's it for: Anyone who wants an everyday fitness tracker that is beautiful, comfortable, and affordable.
Why we picked the Garmin Vivoactive 5:
Garmin is a brand that is well-known for its rugged smartwatches and fitness trackers for runners, but the Vivoactive 5 has something for everyone. The Vivoactive 5 is made with aluminum and plastic, and it's super lightweight and comfortable to wear all day long, even if you wear it to track your sleep. And the Vivoactive 5 is compatible with standard 20mm straps for traditional watches, so your choice of band is pretty much limitless. You get a 1.2-inch AMOLED display with 390 x 390 resolution. Everything on it looks clear, colorful, and gorgeous. It also has an always-on display, and although it drains the battery life a bit, it's a better option than using the unreliable lift-to-wake feature. Plus, the display is super visible in bright light.
The Garmin Vivoactive 5 has all of the health features you'd expect, such as heart rate, respiration, energy, stress, sleep, pulse oxygen, and more. And like the Apple Watch, you can get stand reminders in case you've been sedentary too long or short breathing exercises if it detects high stress. And for fitness tracking, the Vivoactive 5 does very well, -- you can even get coaching programs to help you stay in shape.
Software-wise, the Vivoactive 5 uses Garmin's proprietary software, so it's a little different from the standard smartwatch. But it's pretty simple and intuitive to use. Battery life is exceptional, as it can last around 11 days on a single charge. And the best part? You get access to all of the Vivoactive 5's health features without having to pay a monthly subscription.
Apple Watch SE 2
The best fitness tracker for iPhone
- Comfortable to wear 24 hours a day
- Comprehensive, yet simple-to-use fitness tracking
- Excellent smartwatch software and support
- Latest processor provides all the power needed
- Two-day battery
- No always-on screen
- Slow battery charging
Why you should buy this: You want the best-value fitness tracker and smartwatch for iPhone users.
Who it’s for: You own an iPhone and would prefer a more watch-like design and many more features outside of just activity tracking.
Why we picked the Apple Watch SE 2:
The Apple Watch SE 2 is much more than an activity tracker. It has a beautiful screen, runs powerful apps, will make and receive calls, shows notifications from your phone, and will even time how long you’ve washed your hands. Obviously, this high level of functionality affects the price, and the Apple Watch SE starts at $249.
Why did we highlight it when it’s much more than a fitness tracker? Mostly because Apple’s health software and activity tracking are superb and incredibly easy to use. There’s a wide range of workout tracking, GPS, a heart-rate sensor, sleep tracking, and a swimproof body as well. The data it collects is easy to interpret, and the Activity Ring system for daily goals is simple and motivational.
It’s the little things that make the Apple Watch SE 2 a great companion. The automatic handwashing timer is surprisingly accurate, the watch will remind you to stand up after periods of inactivity, there’s a relaxing mindfulness app called Breathe, and it has a menstrual cycle tracking feature. It runs the latest watchOS 9, which adds new Heart Rate Zones, multi-sport workouts, race routes, automatic track detection, and more.
If you’re considering the Apple Watch SE 2 and health is a top priority, maybe consider the Apple Watch Series 9 as well. It’s more expensive at $399, but has an ECG, SpO2 measurement, optical heart rate sensor, and body temperature sensors designed primarily for fertility in women. Whichever one you choose, it’s by far the best health and activity tracker for iPhone owners.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
The best fitness tracker for Samsung phones
- Very comfortable design
- Colorful and bright display
- Smaller bezels are lovely
- Samsung Health keeps getting better
- Good, reliable performance
- Much-improved battery life
- Still a great value
- Wear OS still has its issues
- Slightly more expensive
Why you should buy this: The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is one of the best smartwatches for Android users, specifically those with a Samsung phone. It's lightweight and comfortable to wear, has robust health tracking with easy access to Google apps, and that AMOLED screen looks amazing.
Who's it for: Someone with a Samsung phone who wants the best smartwatch experience with their health and fitness tracking.
Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6:
Samsung's Galaxy Watch 6 is a smartwatch that retains a more traditional watch appearance with a round display. The aluminum casing comes in 40mm and 44mm sizes. Overall, it's lightweight and comfortable to wear, which is always important when it comes to a fitness tracker or smartwatch. The Galaxy Watch 6 also has an always-on Super AMOLED display that produces bright and vibrant colors with deep, rich blacks. You won't have any trouble seeing the watch face in direct sunlight.
With Samsung's Exynos W930 dual-core processor, it can hit clock speeds of up to 1.4GHz, which is about 18% faster than the Galaxy Watch 5. Apps will open quickly, scrolling is smooth, and everything is responsive.
The Galaxy Watch 6 ships with Wear OS 4.0, with Samsung's custom One UI Watch 5.0 software layered on top of that. Everything is gesture-based, and it only takes a moment to get familiarized with the navigation. You also get a full QWERTY keyboard that supports both tap and swipe typing, dual-SIM switching, more accessibility features, and more customization options.
But how about that health tracking? The Galaxy Watch 6 has step tracking, auto workout detection, manual workout tracking with support for over 90 different exercise types, and sleep tracking with a sleep coaching platform to help you create a personalized sleep program. There's also the other stuff that you can find in most other trackers: 24/7 heart rate monitoring, SpO2 tracking, ECG, and more, including a temperature sensor. Just note that you will need a Samsung Galaxy device — like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 or Galaxy S23 Ultra — to access all of the health features.
Battery life on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is also pretty great, as you can get around two full days of use on a single charge. When it comes to charging, it's a breeze with the fast charging support. You can get 45% battery in about 30 minutes.
Google Pixel Watch 2
The best fitness tracker for Pixel phones
- Battery lasts more than 24 hours
- One hour battery charge
- Slick, fast performance
- Comprehensive fitness tracking
- Comfortable to wear 24/7
- Only one case size
- Subscription required for all fitness data
- Small screen, big bezel
Why you should buy this: The Pixel Watch 2 is a huge upgrade over its predecessor, with better performance and battery, as well as comprehensive health and fitness tracking.
Who's it for: Those who use a Pixel smartphone and want a great fitness tracker.
Why we picked the Google Pixel Watch 2:
While the original Pixel Watch was a bit of a disappointment, the Pixel Watch 2 is anything but. Google knocked it out of the park with the Pixel Watch 2 in almost every aspect.
The design of the Pixel Watch 2 is the same as the first, so it still has that minimalist, modern look and feel. It still only comes in one case size, though, which is 41mm. The watch is made with recycled aluminum, so it's lightweight and comfortable, especially with the new Active band.
On the Pixel Watch 2's 1.2-inch screen, you have a 320 pixel-per-inch pixel density and up to 1,000 nits of brightness. It uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon W5 processor and 2GB RAM. It's a big improvement over the Exynos chip in the first model, so performance is smooth, there's less stuttering, and it's much more pleasant to use overall. The screen itself is bright enough for everyday use.
There are some better health sensors this time around, too. It has an updated, more accurate multi-path optical heart rate sensor that can track blood oxygen levels, skin temperature, and even your stress. You also have an ECG app to manually check your heart, and the Pixel Watch 2 can automatically notify you of irregular heart rate rhythms.
For the Pixel Watch 2, all the health and fitness tracking uses the Fitbit app. You'll have six months free of Fitbit Premium, after which it will cost $10 a month. To get the most out of the Pixel Watch 2, unfortunately, you'll want a Premium subscription. In the Fitbit app, you'll be able to see your workouts, steps, sleep, heart rate, stress, and more. And for stress, there's a new stress management feature that helps you get more insight into your stress levels.
The Pixel Watch 2 uses Wear OS 4, like other smartwatches. Also like other competitors, the notifications may not be super reliable, unfortunately. Still, Wear OS has come a long way — despite the spotty notification delivery, its design, functionality, app compatibility, and ease of use have improved.
Battery life on the Pixel Watch 2 is actually better than what Google claims it to be. It can easily last at least 24 hours on a single charge, and up to 36 hours depending on what you use it for. Charging it up is pretty quick, too, with 30 minutes giving you about 70% charge from zero.
Fitbit Ace 3
The best fitness tracker for kids
- Easy to use
- Comfortable, kid-sized fit
- Engaging, animated interface
- Fun, family challenges
- Clasp can break
- Works best with a parental Fitbit
Why you should buy this: It's a feature-packed, reward-filled fitness tracker that encourages kids to keep moving.
Who it's for: Parents looking for a tough fitness tracker for children ages 12 and under.
Why we picked the Fitbit Ace 3:
It's a fully-fledged fitness tracker, repackaged for kids. Like most of Fitbit's earlier bands, the Fitbit Ace 3 is composed of a fitness tracker unit that fits into a silicone band. This modular design means it's easy to keep clean — since you just have to pop the unit out if you want to give the band a deep clean — but also means it has some pretty strong durability. The silicone itself is fairly strong, but if you've got rough-and-tumble kids, then it's likely you'll need to swap out a battered band eventually, and Fitbit's design means it's easy to do. When they outgrow the more child-focused Ace 3 bands, you can also use any Fitbit Inspire or HR 2 bands to add a more grownup feel.
It doesn't compromise on features just because it's a kid's band. It has a three-axis accelerometer for step tracking and some fairly detailed sleep tracking. There's also a heart rate sensor, but its use is disabled by default. These sensors mean there are quite a few metrics to break down for you, and we did find the "adult" view in the smartphone app to be, well, a little annoying to use. Swapping between the views requires entering a password every time, and that can get very tiring when there's no option to use biometric login data.
Thankfully, that doesn't translate over to Fitbit's own display for the kids. It gathers a lot of data but doesn't swamp kids with it, and it mostly focuses on step count. There are a number of fun watch faces to choose from that show your kid's step count, including one where a rocket launches when the daily step goal has been reached. Much like the urge to close the rings on an Apple Watch, this visual feedback seemed to help kids exercise more.
While we have some issues with the software from the adult's side, the Fitbit Ace 3 is an excellent fitness tracker for young children. Older kids may find it too childish, but for those under 12, this should work extremely well.
Garmin Forerunner 265
The best fitness tracker for runners
- Extremely comfortable
- Lovely AMOLED screen
- Incredible health/fitness tools
- Highly customizable
- 4-plus days of battery life
- Doesn't require any subscriptions
- Limited smart features
- Proprietary charger
Why you should buy this: This is a super comfortable running smartwatch and fitness tracker with an AMOLED screen, powerful health and fitness tools, and highly customizable for your needs, whatever they are. It also has over four days of battery life.
Who's it for: Though other Garmin wearables are designed for serious runners, the Forerunner 265 is still great for even the casual runner who just wants some great health and fitness tracking in their smartwatch.
Why we picked the Garmin Forerunner 265:
The Garmin Forerunner 265 is similar to other Garmin offerings in terms of design. When you look at it, the first thing you'll think of is a running smartwatch because the entire casing is composed of "fiber-reinforced polymer." While the design is not super eye-catching, the utility of the design makes up for it.
You'll also find the Garmin Forerunner 265 incredibly comfortable to wear, thanks to the silicone watch band that has plenty of holes for you to find the perfect fit. Five physical buttons let you easily navigate the interface, and once you use the Garmin Connect app, you can reassign shortcuts to them, too. The buttons have nice tactility to them and are not hard to press. The Forerunner 265 has a 5 ATM water-resistance rating, which will protect the smartwatch from up to 50 meters of water submersion.
The display on the Forerunner 265 also got a huge upgrade from its predecessor, as it ditched the MIP (memory-in-pixel) display for a modern AMOLED with 416 x 416 resolution. That means everything is easy to read, blacks are black, and colors are super vibrant and pop out at you. This AMOLED display is easy to read outdoors, even in sunlight. Plus, the new screen means you have touchscreen support, unlike the previous Forerunner 255, which relied on buttons to navigate through the interface.
When you want to record a run with the Forerunner 265, it's easy to do — just press the dedicated "RUN" button on the side and pick your run type. Over time, the Forerunner 265 will give you a suggestion each day, which is personalized for you based on your records. They're optional, of course, but they can really shake up your normal routine if you want something different. Perhaps an hour-long run at your base pace, or a run to improve your VO2 max, sprint speed, or even a recovery run if you need a rest.
But the Forerunner 265 isn't just great for running; it's also fantastic at other health and fitness tracking. You get step count, heart rate tracking, heart rate variability (HRV), sleep, and VO2 max with SpO2 levels. Garmin takes all of these metrics to give you a Training Readiness score, which shows how fit your body is to train that day. It also keeps tabs on your stress levels throughout the day, which can be high-stress, medium-stress, low-stress, or resting periods. Stress levels also get a score. The last score is Body Battery, which is basically how much energy you have each day. Your sleep/restful periods will recharge that, but working out and stress decrease it.
Oh, and let's not forget the fact that you don't need any kind of subscription to get access to the powerful health and fitness data that the Garmin Forerunner 265 provides.
The best fitness tracker for sleeping
- Beautiful design
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Informative and easy to use app
- Accurate sleep tracking
- Wear-and-forget battery life
- Convenient charging
- Subscription required for app access
- No general fitness tracking
- Some people will need a smartwatch too
Why you should buy this: It provides comprehensive sleep tracking in a very convenient, very stylish package.
Who it's for: Anyone who doesn't want to wear a watch or band at night to track sleep.
Why we picked the Oura Ring:
If you want to track sleep using a piece of wearable technology, our recommendation is the Oura Ring. What makes it so good is not only the informative and useful data it collects but also its size and convenience. If you don’t like wearing a watch or something on your wrist at night, it’s also a great solution as it weighs very little, and after a few days of wearing it, you’ll forget it’s there.
It measures heart rate, breathing, and body temperature, and also watches for movement while you sleep to show sleep stages, duration, quality, and other stats, which it then puts into an easy-to-understand sleep score. Alongside this is a Readiness score, which helps you understand your level of recovery and whether holding off on another workout would be good.
The accompanying app is attractive and helpful, while the ring’s battery life is about one week before it needs recharging. It’s made of titanium, and it comes in two different designs in several different finishes. What it doesn’t do is track workouts, so to get a comprehensive picture of your health and fitness it needs to be paired with another wearable. It does count steps and calorie burn though.
The Oura Ring is quite expensive. It starts at $299, and while the features are excellent and work very well, they're not all that different from fitness trackers that cost a lot less. However, the cool design, high-quality materials, and unique style separate the Oura Ring from the competition. It’s the most comprehensive, least intrusive way of tracking sleep with a wearable.
Apple Watch Series 9
The best premium fitness tracker
- Supreme 24/7 comfort
- Choice of size, color, and bands
- Extensive health, fitness, and safety features
- Fast, smooth, and usable performance
- Total, easy integration with the iPhone
- Less than two days battery life with moderate use
- Almost no reason to upgrade from previous version
Why you should buy this: If you want a smartwatch for your iPhone with some more features than the Apple Watch SE 2, the Apple Watch Series 9 is the way to go.
Who's it for: Someone who wants an always-on display on a smartwatch, as well as features like SpO2 tracking, ECG, optical heart rate sensor, body temperature sensors designed for family planning, and the new Double Tap gesture.
Why we picked the Apple Watch Series 9:
Though the Apple Watch Series 9 doesn't look any different from the Apple Watch Series 8 before it, there's plenty to love about the latest mainstream Apple Watch that is great for most people.
With the Apple Watch Series 9, you get a large, always-on display that also has watch faces that are specifically designed to make use of that extra display space, so you get more information on your wrist in a single glance. And with the new S9 processor, the Series 9 is faster than ever, so watchOS 10 runs fast and smoothly. WatchOS 10 has a new app interface and even new ways to navigate around, which do take some getting used to if you've used previous versions of watchOS.
You also get more health features with the Series 9 than you would with the Apple Watch SE 2 that we mentioned earlier. The Apple Watch Series 9 has ECG, blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring, an optical heart rate sensor, and body temperature sensors. Though the body temperature sensor is rather limited, it is primarily designed for women since it's used to determine ovulation cycles for family planning purposes.
Some new features with the Apple Watch Series 9 include the Double Tap gesture, which lets you perform certain actions on the Apple Watch just by tapping your index finger and thumb together for one-handed use. The S9 chip allows for on-device Siri, so you don't need to connect to the internet to get Siri to process your requests, and it is now capable of even getting health information as well. The S9 chip also allows for Precision Finding with the iPhone 15 series, so you can pinpoint exactly where you misplaced your phone.
And while the Apple Watch Series 9 won't have 36 hours of battery life like the Apple Watch Ultra 2, you'll still have all-day battery life with the Series 9. It's even capable of fast charging speeds, so you can juice it up quickly when you need to. The Series 9 also comes with car crash detection, which is a feature that you hopefully don't need to use, but it gives you additional peace of mind in case you find yourself in that situation.
Fitbit Inspire 3
The best small fitness tracker
- Very comfortable
- Accurate fitness sensors
- Battery lasts over a week without a recharge
- Affordable price point
- Lacks an altimeter
- Charger is tricky to disconnect
Why you should buy this: The Inspire 3 is lightweight, comfortable, and packed with basic but accurate sensors to track all of your fitness needs. It's also super affordable.
Who's it for: Anyone who wants a great fitness tracker that doesn't break the bank.
Why we picked the Fitbit Inspire 3:
While a lot of fitness trackers seem super expensive these days, the Fitbit Inspire 3 is one of the best budget options you can pick up. Plus, it has a super minimalist design, so it just gives you a no-frills health and fitness experience, which is just what you need sometimes.
The Fitbit Inspire 3 is incredibly lightweight thanks to its small size. It comes with a short and long band so you can adjust it to your personal needs, and the band itself is a soft and rubbery material that is comfortable to wear all day long. You'll also get about two weeks of use out of the Fitbit Inspire 3 before it needs to be charged again, which is pretty great.
Despite the low price tag, the Fitbit Inspire 3 has an AMOLED display, which serves up vivid colors and deep blacks. It's also easy to see it in direct sunlight, so if you mostly do outdoor workouts, this should help out a ton. However, the actual screen size is pretty small due to the large bezels, but since the Inspire is designed to be minimalistic, it's perfectly fine for the information that it displays. It is also a touch display that is responsive, so it is easy to navigate.
But how about those fitness sensors? They're very accurate, considering the cost. In our review, the Inspire 3 was able to accurately track all of our steps on a walk, and the heart rate sensor seems a bit more accurate than other fitness trackers that we've used. Sleep tracking is also vastly improved and better than other trackers.
The biggest caveat with the Fitbit Inspire 3 is the fact that it relies on the Fitbit app, instead of just integrating with the native health apps on iOS or Android. But the Fitbit app is very informative with detailed health insights, and if you get the premium Fitbit subscription, you get even more fitness and health analytics. A Fitbit Premium subscription costs $10 a month or $80 a year.
The best fitness tracker without a screen
- Comfortable to wear 24/7
- Informative health data
- Motivational Strain metric
- No notifications
- Awkward, slow charging system
- Monthly charge makes it expensive
- Automatic workout tracking isn't customizable
Why you should buy this: If you don't want a screen or any other distractions on your fitness tracker, the Whoop 4.0 satisfies that need and provides valuable and detailed insights on your health.
Who's it for: Anyone who wants distraction-free fitness tracking.
Why we picked the Whoop 4.0:
The Whoop 4.0 band is simply a band that you wear on your wrist. There is no screen, no notifications, or any other distractions. It is simply a band that has health and fitness tracking sensors on it, and it's very comfortable to wear all day, every day.
As you wear it, the Whoop 4.0 will track things like steps, calories, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, respiratory rate, sleep, HRV, and more. All of this data gets processed and analyzed into three metrics: Strain, Recovery, and Sleep. It's similar to the Oura Ring that we mentioned earlier. Once Whoop 4.0 determines your baseline after a few days, your goals for each category are established, and all data is organized into easy-to-read charts. This data should motivate you to meet your goals and live a healthier lifestyle.
However, it's important to note that Whoop 4.0 does require a monthly subscription, though you get the hardware for free. The subscription price is $30 a month with a mandatory 12-month contract — this means for a year, the Whoop 4.0 will cost $360. In the long run, this may not be worth it, considering the other options available.
It's incredibly important to take into account the cost of Whoop ownership. It may be cheaper than other trackers and smartwatches in the first year, but after that, the cost will just keep adding up. It does have very detailed health insights and reports, but is it worth the cost in the long run? That's up to you.
Garmin Vivomove Trend
The best hybrid fitness tracker
- Hybrid, fashionable design
- Hidden screen is clear and sharp
- Comprehensive health platform
- No ongoing subscription fee
- Wireless charging
- Reflective screen hinders visibility
- Slow responsiveness
- Standard strap isn't very comfortable
Why you should buy this: The analog looks of the Vivomove Trend give it a timeless aesthetic that goes with everything, and you still get access to Garmin's comprehensive health platform.
Who's it for: Those who like analog watches but still want smart health features.
Why we picked the Garmin Vivomove Trend:
It seems like everyone has moved on to a digital smartwatch of some kind, making the analog watch a fading memory. But some people still prefer those analog looks, and Garmin has made a classic-looking smartwatch that still gives you access to smart health-tracking features. While Garmin is known mostly for its runner-oriented smartwatches and fitness trackers, the Vivomove Trend is for those who prefer some form over function.
The design of the Vivomove Trend is perfect for analog lovers. It has a 40mm case that is great for both men and women, and it is made with fiber-reinforced polymer (plastic) with a stainless steel bezel and strengthened glass over the dial. Since this is a hybrid watch, those are real watch hands over a disguised LCD screen, but you won't know that until it lights up.
The 1-inch screen is a 256 x 346 resolution, and it only shows up in a single "color," which is white. But the text is clear and sharp, making it easy to read, and when you activate the digital screen, the hands on the watch face will move aside rapidly, so that the text isn't obscured. The Vivomove Trend has no buttons on the side, and everything is controlled through taps and swipes on the glass, which is pretty cool.
Unlike Garmin's Forerunner series, the Vivomove Trend is more simplified in workout and health tracking. You can track your workouts through taps on the glass, and it can work for tracking sleep, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, steps, and more.
You'll get around five days of use on a single charge with the Garmin Vivomove Trend, depending on what you use it for. That's much better than one-day battery life with something like an Apple Watch. Plus, the price point is very competitive, and it just looks so much nicer than a typical smartwatch.
Casio G-Shock GBD-H2000
The best fitness tracker for battery life
- Refined, yet still classic G-Shock design
- Extremely durable
- Comprehensive activity tracking
- Solar charging
- No third-party app integration
- Too big to wear for sleep tracking
Why you should buy this: It's a hybrid smartwatch that has a great watch design with powerful activity-tracking capabilities, and you can charge it with the sun.
Who's it for: Those who want a rugged smartwatch that will withstand pretty much anything, and solar charging means you'll never have to plug it in if you live in a sunny locale.
Why we picked the Casio G-Shock GBD-H2000:
Casio is known for its G-Shock watches, which have a recognizable design that screams tough and rugged. The GBD-H2000 is a bit more modestly sized than previous G-Shock watches but is still meant to be worn outside your sleeve rather than under. This one is also made with biomass plastics, including the band, which is flexible and pliant. It's more comfortable to wear over the resin versions from before. You can get the perfect fit thanks to the many holes on the strap, and the lugs hold it in place at the top of your wrist. Even in the most extreme workouts, this watch band won't move around, get sweaty, and remains comfortable even if it's tight.
Multiple health sensors are housed within the GBD-H2000, like an optical heart rate sensor, blood oxygen sensor, accelerometer for counting steps, gyroscope for swim tracking, and a built-in GPS. You can even use it as a compass and monitor for air pressure and temperature changes thanks to the magnetometer, barometer, and thermo-sensor.
To get your data from the GBD-H2000 to your smartphone, you'll use the Casio Watches app. However, while Casio previously worked with Firstbeat (now owned by Garmin) for collecting and analyzing health data, for the H2000, it works with Polar. But again, you just use the Casio Watches app, as the Polar integration happens in the background.
The main focus of fitness and workouts with the H2000 is running, walking, and swimming, but you can use it to track other gym workouts, cycling, and interval training. It has a comprehensive list of supported workouts so it should work with most folks.
The H2000 uses Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone, and you'll get notifications from your phone. Of course, you won't be able to do things like make calls, but if you just want to check your notifications and clear them out, the H2000 can do this.
The best part about the Casio G-Shock GBD-H2000 is the solar charging. If you live in a place that is mostly sunny, this means you'll never really have to charge your H2000, because it will charge while you're out and about in the sun. But if you don't, there is still a regular charger for the H2000. But a single full charge on this watch, without sunlight exposure, can last around two months. If you do have sunlight often, then you'll never really need to worry about running out of battery.
Now is as good a time as any to buy a fitness band. Battery life is improving, built-in GPS tracking is far more common, and heart rate monitors are making their way onto more devices to ensure accurate measurements. The tech isn't likely to advance too dramatically, for now, so you'd likely get several years out of the options listed — if you stick with them.
Much depends on what you want to get out of it. If you don't have some motivation and goals to go along with your new fitness tracker, then it may be tough to justify spending the money on one. Smartwatches are a good alternative if you're concerned about finding that motivation, as most can run apps that can help push you and they also have multiple other functions too, so you won't feel like it's wasted money if you don't immediately meet any fitness targets.
One of the biggest complaints people have with fitness trackers is a lack of accuracy. Wrist fitness trackers are not 100% accurate in step count or heart-rate tracking. Fitness trackers use sensors like an accelerometer or an altimeter to calculate step counts and stair climbs. These sensors are not foolproof — they can and do make mistakes. Any movement of the wrist, when you are driving, for example, can cause the tracker to tack on steps or stairs when you are not walking. Sometimes you'll miss out on steps, especially when your feet are moving and your hands are still. We encounter this issue with missing steps whenever we use a treadmill desk. Ultimately, steps and stair count should be used as a loose guideline to gauge your overall activity level and not a step-by-step assessment of your day.
The same principle applies to heart-rate tracking. When compared to a chest-strap heart-rate monitor, wrist-based monitors fall short. They do a decent job of measuring your average heart rate but struggle to detect quick changes in heart rate. If you are going from a standstill to a sprint, the chest strap accurately detects the sudden increase in your heart rate. A wrist-based monitor, though, struggles to keep up with rapid changes and will often lag, showing the spike in heart rate a few seconds after it happens. For most people, this lag won't be a deal-breaker, but it is a concern for athletes who are using heart-rate tracking to gauge their effort during an exercise.
Almost all fitness trackers require you to sync the data from the tracker to the app that collects the data and analyzes it for you. Most people sync to their tablet or smartphone, but you also can sync to your computer. Connecting to a computer is not as convenient as syncing to a smartphone, but it can be done. Some smartwatches like the Apple Watch are available with a cellular connection and can perform many functions without a smartphone, but you will need to pay extra on your monthly phone bill to use this feature.
While a fitness band will work without a smartphone, you won't get all the benefits of syncing the data with the matching app or be able to perform other functions such as easily updating the software.
Fitness trackers can measure your heart rate, but most cannot measure your blood pressure. There are a handful of wearable blood pressure devices, but none of the major manufacturers like Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Polar, or Apple have integrated blood pressure into their products yet.
Fitness trackers can typically last up to five years. Problems with the battery charging and broken parts like the strap and the screen ultimately tend to lead to their demise.
While most smartwatches are equipped with GPS, only a few fitness trackers have GPS built into the tracker. GPS allows you to record the route you run, cycle, or walk without needing your phone. Instead of onboard GPS, fitness trackers use connected GPS that relies on your phone to record your route. With connected GPS, the tracker connects to the mobile app on your phone and uses that app to track GPS coordinates during outdoor activity. If you forget to connect your watch to the app, your distance and pace will be estimated using movement data and not the more accurate GPS data from your phone.
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