Why we picked the Apple Watch Series 4. For iOS users who have the money to spend, there is no question the Apple Watch Series 4 is the best full-featured fitness tracker available. The Watch also found a way to deftly mix features and fashion into a single wearable device, offering all-day battery life and a host of features that are tough to find on any competing device. The latest Apple Watch also offers a larger screen and two-times better performance over the Series 3.
We all know the Apple Watch delivers plenty of functionality, but its more fitness-oriented features include GPS tracking, an altimeter that records changes in altitude, and onboard heart rate monitoring. All of this comes at a price.
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Read our full Apple Watch Series 4 review. Why you should buy this: The Fitbit Ace 2 is high on the fun factor, making it a no-brainer for kids on the move. We strapped two of the fitness trackers on our kids, and the pair survived being dropped, stepped on, lost in the backyard for a week and more. We had no problem fitting it on kids ranging from 5 to 11 years old.
The band is available in either Night Sky and Neon Yellow or Watermelon Teal, and is replaceable if it breaks or your child wants a different color. The Ace 2 also is waterproof up to 50 meters, a must-have feature for kids who like to jump into the pool, pond, or ocean.
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The tracker has a kid-friendly interface that tracks steps, active minutes, and sleep. You can choose between a variety of different clock faces from a simple digital watch face to animated faces that change as the child reaches their fitness goal. The spaceship animation was a favorite among the kids.
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The watch has several data screens that show the daily step count and active minutes. These real-time stats allow kids to track how much they move during the day and whether they are close to reaching their goals.
At night, kids can get reminders to go to bed and see how long they sleep each night. Kids can view messages from parent-approved friends, but there is no tie-in to Facebook or any other social network. If the child has a phone, then the watch can be configured to receive messages from these trusted contacts. Why we picked the Fitbit Inspire :. You can use the band to track your steps, workouts, sleep, weight, water, and stress HR model only. Speaking of the display, it is a perfect size for a stylish device.
It is big enough to allow you to view incoming alerts and exercise statistics but small enough to not look overly big on your wrist. The tracker is so compact and lightweight that you hardly feel it on your wrist. Want to go out to dinner? No problem. Just swap out the sports band for the classic mesh metal band before you hit the town. The most significant difference between the Inspire and the Inspire HR is the wrist-based heart rate monitor on the HR model. Read our full Fitbit Inspire HR review.
Why you should buy this: The Fitbit Charge 3 is waterproof up to and can track basic metrics when you are swimming. Instead, we will focus on another area where the Charge 3 shines, and that is in the water. The fitness tracker is water resistant up to 50 meters, so you can wear it in the pool or the shower. The Charge 3 not only can be worn in the water, but it also tracks your swimming.
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You can choose swimming from the list of exercises or allow the device to auto-detect your swims. You have to swim in a pool for the Charge 3 to track the laps and distance. We swam in different sized pools and appreciated the option to set the pool length and choose between meters or yards for our distances. Our only gripe with the swim tracking is the heart rate monitor — Fitbit turns it off in the pool because of problems measuring the heart rate underwater.
Accuracy underwater is an issue with other trackers, so Fitbit is not alone in disabling heart rate tracking while swimming. Why you should buy this: The Garmin Vivosmart 4 has a pulse oximeter that can help you identify sleep disturbances. The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is a very capable fitness tracker that stands out from the crowd because of its sleep tracking. Like most wearables, the Vivosmart 4 uses movement sensors and heart rate data to break down your sleep into stages. The tracker can tell how many hours you slept and you how long you were in REM, light, or deep sleep.
It also records how restless your sleep was and how often you were awoken in the night. Its accuracy was uncanny; whenever we woke up tired, a quick glance at our sleep stats usually showed several periods of restlessness where we were waking up in the middle of the night and not even realizing it. Not only does the Vivosmart 4 track sleep stages, but it also has a pulse oximeter which measures blood oxygen levels throughout the night.
These values can be used to help identify sleep disturbances like apnea. In response to the low oxygen, their body jolts them awake causing them to wake up, change their position, and take a deep breath. This apnea episode can happen multiple times each night without the person realizing it. Read our full Amazfit Bip review. The stylish design and customizable battery modes also make this smartwatch worth a look. The fact that its Spotify app can't store music offline is also a disadvantage.
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But if you want to give Wear OS a try, this is the watch to buy. Read our full Fossil Gen 5 review. We test every new smartwatch to gauge its design and comfort. Most smartwatches are also fitness trackers, so we put all of its sensors to the test, from step counts to heart rate to GPS when applicable. If the watch has built-in LTE, we test cellular connectivity and call quality to make sure the device can actually stand on its own without a smartphone nearby.
And we measure battery life using everyday scenarios — including workouts, using apps, and getting notifications — to make sure you can get through an entire day without needing to charge up. Tom's Guide. What to expect from Black Friday Black Friday deals will start sooner than you think. Smartwatch news and updates Oct. Check out our full review of the Versa 2 to see what makes it one of the best smartwatches you can buy. Image credit: Tom's Guide. Feels limited compared to Samsung's and Apple's smartwatches.
Smartwatch Buying Guide. This 44mm model has a good heft to it; enough to feel expensive, but not be cumbersome. Same goes for the thickness, which isn't problematic for my wrist size. I think anyone who plans to use the Watch Active 2 at the gym with a variety of workouts should consider the 40mm instead , because the 44mm could interfere with some arm workouts, but it was never a hindrance at all when I was running. I didn't spend a ton of time with the original Watch Active, which was the launch device for Samsung's freshest iteration of its Tizen wearable software with a fitness focus, but I was immediately reminded of how great Samsung's software is on the Watch Active 2.
This latest version has big, bold and easy-to-read interface elements, useful widgets, great animations and generally great functionality. The included watch faces offer a ton of variety, from classic to modern and simple to informative, and each one can be customized dozens of different ways.
Wearables skew toward fitness so much nowadays that it makes sense for Samsung to make sure its software reflects that, but it's important to note that all of the typical "smartwatch" capabilities are here. Samsung's interface of widgets still gives you access to weather, calendar, contacts, tasks, music controls and more, and then you can go deeper with full app capabilities.
It also has a microphone and speaker for Bluetooth phone calls, notifications, and alarms. With customizable watch faces, widgets and notification settings, you can make the Watch Active 2 as capable or simple as you want. It may take a little time for configuration, but it really can be your watch for your needs. If you just want a watch face and some fitness functions, with no notifications, you can do that; or if you want to go all out, it can be a proper little wrist computer. The 1. The capacitive bezel is far better than a crown or just swiping, but not as good as the physical dial.
Since the Gear S2, the core underpinning of the Samsung smartwatch experience has been its rotating bezel for quickly moving through the circular interface, and it was baffling to see it missing from the Watch Active because it is far-and-away the best smartwatch interaction paradigm. The Active 2 now has a capacitive take on the rotating bezel, where you slide your finger along the edge of the screen glass to perform the exact same function.
Much to my surprise it wasn't even turned on by default, but once I enabled it I was incredibly happy with how well it worked. The interface moves exactly as far as you'd expect with the movement of your finger, and the haptic feedback with each "click" of the bezel is a nice touch.
It really takes getting used to compared to the physical bezel, and the capacitive version obviously makes your finger obscure more of the screen while you use it, but this is still easily better than swiping across the middle of the display for every interaction. You can use every single feature the Watch Active 2 has to offer and still get two days of battery life. The only issue with the capacitive bezel is that it's effectively useless for interaction during activities.
One of the many things I appreciated about the old physical bezel was the ability to quickly jog it a precise number of times to move through the interface even when walking, running or at the gym, and even with sweaty hands. The capacitive bezel is good and extremely precise, but it requires precise input from your hand as well, and you can't do that well enough while on the move.
With all of its capabilities, the Galaxy Watch Active has battery life fitting a smartwatch rather than a fitness band. Keeping automatic workout tracking, GPS, frequent heart rate monitoring and always-on display turned on aka, everything the Watch Active 2 was good for two days of battery life. That's really good for everything you're getting, and frankly the Watch Active 2 is a bit too big to comfortably wear to bed anyway so I'm guessing most people will simply charge it at night.
If you're going to take advantage of sleep tracking, you'll have no issue keeping the watch charged using quick minute top-ups while you're going through your morning routine. You can turn off always-on display and get at least another half-day of battery life, and tweak a few other settings to push past the three-day mark if you need to. The review has been updated to reflect the latest performance after these updates.