Health is wealth. I believe that just like me, you also agree with this mantra.
Staying fit and healthy is easier if we can track our activities. Thus, we should get a step counter or pedometer watch to assess how active or sedentary our lifestyle is conveniently 24/7.
I have created the Best Fitness Tracker Watch to help you decide. I have shortlisted the top 10 pedometer watches in the market to cut your research and reading time.
- Best Fitness Tracker Watch
- 1. Xiaomi Mi Band 2
- 2. Smart Bracelet Fitness Tracker
- 3. Garmin Vivoactive
- 4. Fitbit Charge 2
- 5. Apple Watch
- 6. Fitbit Alta
- 7. Moto 360
- 8. Fitbit Surge
- 9. Garmin Vivofit 2
- 10. Polar Loop 2
- 11. Misfit Shine 2
- Count More Than Steps
- Where to Start
- How Much Should You Spend on a Fitness Tracker?
- Choose Your Style
- Do You Want Heart Rate Monitoring?
- Will You Track Sleep?
- Go Sport-Specific
- The App Experience
- Smartwatch vs. Fitness Tracker
- Other Options
- Best fitness tracker at a glance
- 1. FitBit Flex
- 2. Polar RS300X Running Heart Rate Monitor and Computer
- 3. Garmin vívofit 2
- 4. Nike+ FuelBand SE
- 5. Misfit Shine
- 6. Timex Men’s Ironman Road Trainer
- 7. Jawbone UP24
- 8. Basis Peak
- 9. X-Doria KidFit
- 10. Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor
- Get the most accurate measurements using your Apple Watch
- Fitness Trackers That Look Like Watches (Hybrid Smartwatches)
- Fitness trackers that look like watches
- How to buy a hybrid smartwatch
- The 10 best hybrid smartwatches
- 1. Withings Steel HR Sport
- 2. Withings Move ECG
- 3. Mondaine Helvetica 1
- 4. Kronaby Sekel
- 5. Garmin Vivomove HR Premium
- 6. Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch
- 7. Garmin Vivomove 3S
- 8. Skagen Holst
- 5. Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacturer
- 6. Misfit Command
- 7. Fossil Q Commuter
- 8. Alpina Seastrong Horological Smartwatch
- 9. Breitling Exospace B55 Connected
- 10. Skagen Hagen
Best Fitness Tracker Watch
Our Best Fitness Tracker Watch list is comprehensive as it includes different types of bands. Thus, you will surely find one that fits your budget and requirements.
*I rate Xiaomi Mi Band 2 #1 most recommended fitness watch because this has all the functions all the other smartwatches have but cost less than 100$. It is also one of the most flexible wearables. Such as you can sync with both iOS and Android. .
Before we proceed, you should know that activity tracker watch may also come in the form of smartwatches. They do not just count your step but may also track your sleep, food, heart rate and more.
However, I must say that smartwatches with activity tracking features like Apple Watch can be costly. But there are simple and affordable pedometer wristbands that offer the basic functionalities.
We will try to cover all these types of pedometer watch because we do not want to develop a prejudice against smartwatches with great fitness tracking capabilities and plain pedometer watches.
You will be seeing high-end products in the list below like Fitbit, Garmin, and the popular smartwatch Apple Watch. These products are targeted for all people who are willing to invest in some really good pedometer watch, like you.
1. Xiaomi Mi Band 2
Xiaomi Mi Band 2 delivers you one of the top activity tracker right now, where performance meets style. Its simplicity and efficiency are impressive that’s why it is in the first place.
This fitness tracker is slim and fashionable. It feels great on the wrist. It is simple compared to smartwatches and other fitness wristbands but is as efficient when it comes to tracking your workout.
This particular wristband is the redesigned version of the Xiaomi Mi Band 2. This is the most full-fledged-yet-affordable tracker that you can get in the market.
Pros • Affordable
• Slim, lightweight and fashionable
• More secure fit than the first model
• Good battery life
• Compatible with iOS and Android
Cons • None
Xiaomi Mi Band 2 can track your activities and sleep pattern. For your activity, it can track your running, walking and moving. To help you track on your sleeping pattern, this device will automatically measure your Awake, Light and Sound sleep. It also allows you to log your food and more.
It also will encourage you to make healthy choices and celebrate your progress along the way. It includes an Idle Alert that will vibrate when you are idle for a long time. Furthermore, the more often you wear your fitness wristband, the more personalized its advice will become.
As for its design, you will probably love its slim, lightweight and modest but reliable construction. It has a strong clasp on the wrist and does not fall off easily. Meanwhile, Xiaomi 2 offers an impressive battery life than can last up to two weeks.
Unfortunately, since this is a very simple and straightforward device, this does not include smartwatch notifications and GPS. This is also water-resistant but can’t be worn when swimming.
2. Smart Bracelet Fitness Tracker
Smart Bracelet Fitness Tracker is a high-quality, cheap and durable smart watch that has all the features you need. This smart watch will shock you on how good it is for the price asked!
Smart Bracelet Fitness Tracker Watch can check your steps, distance, calories burned and will help you get a better understanding of your fitness level. It precisely monitors total actual sleeping time and motions every night both light sleep and deep sleep. Not only that it also has some special features that will really help your daily life like Phone call and messages reminder, Camera remote control, Phone Finder and much more!
It’s water proof so you can use it while washing hands and showering. Has vibrating alert so you will never miss a message or reminder and even has a reminder when you have been sitting down for too long. Great features for a great prices make Smart Bracelet Fitness Tracker Watch all you need for a smart watch!
Pros • Very Cheap
• Water Proof
• Easy To Use
• USB charging
• Compatible with iOS and Android
Cons • None
3. Garmin Vivoactive
Garmin Vivoactive is a smartwatch for sports lovers. This device is perfect for individuals with an active lifestyle. If you are always on the go and you need a fitness wearable that can keep up with your phase, this is for you.
Vivoactive is an ultra-thin smartwatch with a sunlight-readable and high-resolution color touchscreen. It is equipped with GPS which makes it perfect for running, biking or even golfing. It is also waterproof, so you can wear it during your swimming sessions. In fact, its auto length accelerometer-based technology can measure your total interval distance, calories burned, session average, stroke count and more.
• Great Battery Life
• Slim design
• Patchy notifications
• Limited apps
IMG Source: smartwatch.io
It has built-in apps to keep you active while still keeping you in the loop with its smart notifications. With this device, you will never miss any important text or call while keeping your phone away to focus on your workout. Transitioning from work to working out has never been convenient with Vivoactive.
You can easily read your stats on its display to keep you motivated and inspired. It also comes with built-in sports apps for running, biking, swimming, golfing and walking.
Vivoactive comes with a free watch face designs, widgets and apps from Connect IQ store. Its battery charge can last up to 3 weeks in watch/activity tracking mode. However, if you use GPS it can only last up to 10 hours. To enjoy the smart notification, you can pair it with your smartphone. I will gently vibrate and display alerts for incoming calls, text, emails, calendar items and notifications from social media and other mobile apps like weather alerts and temperature alerts.
To enjoy the smart notification, you can pair it with your smartphone. I will gently vibrate and display alerts for incoming calls, text, emails, calendar items and notifications from social media and other mobile apps like weather alerts and temperature alerts.
Although Vivoactive is close to being perfect, it still comes with some weaknesses. For instance, it has limited apps compare to other brands. Also, its sleep tracking feature is not as accurate as Withings or Jawbone. Furthermore, the smartphone and watch software connectivity are unstable that you have to do frequent reboots.
Garmin Vivoactive is a great smartwatch and pedometer watch in one. It has impressive fitness apps to keep you on track on your fitness goal and can compare with popular smartwatches when it comes to versatility and connectivity. Furthermore, with its functionality and affordable price, this device is something to beat.
4. Fitbit Charge 2
Fitbit Charge 2, the heart rate and fitness wristband in one comes second on our list because of its design, price and performance. This watch upon examining, this watch is almost similar to Garmin Vivoactive in most aspects. Unfortunately, it lacks built-in GPS, which you can just fix by connecting to your smarthone’s GPS.
This Fitbit tracker recognizes the importance of a healthy heart, so it tracks your heart rate continuously on your wrist. As a result, it helps you maximize your workouts and track your calories burn minus the uncomfortable chest strap. Aside from this, it tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes and hourly activity. Aside from that, Fitbit Charge 2 recognizes that being busy can sometimes make you forget to move, so it comes with reminders to encourage you to walk at least 250 steps per hour.
• Good Vo2 max data
• Sleek design
• Includes guided breathing
• Cardio Fitness score
• Interchangeable bands and customizable clock
• Easy to read display due to large font
• Comfortable to wear
• 5-day battery life
• Lacks GPS
• Not Waterproof
• Not so user-friendly interface
• Patchy notifications
• Limited apps
IMG Source: cnet
Fitbit Charge 2 also automatically tracks your sleep and helps you develop a healthier sleeping pattern. It also records select activities like hiking, biking, sports and more to give you credit even if you forget to log your exercise. If you are into yoga or want to spend quiet time, this device comes with Guided Breathing Sessions that are specially personalized based on your real-time heart rate.
Fitbit Charge 2 has a large OLED screen with tap display. It also comes with interchangeable accessory bands and customizable clock faces to allow you to choose the design that suits your taste. For ease of use, this also includes call text and calendar alerts so you won’t miss any important notification while you workout and keep your phone away.
If there is one thing that Fitbit Charge 2 lacks, it’s the absence of a built-in GPS. You have to connect it to your phone’s GPS to get your pace and distance stats. Also, it is not water-resistant. These features are available on other Fitbit watches, which makes it a point against Charge 2.
However, Charge 2 still impresses me despite the absence of the said feature because it remains effective and reliable in tracking our activities. What Charge 2 has is enough to be one of the most competitive trackers on the market.
5. Apple Watch
Apple has a strong reputation when it comes to innovating new technology. The Cupertino-based tech giant is popular in their line of MacBook but their smartwatch is as impressive. That’s why it is in the third spot.
So when they manufactured their first smartwatch, much is expected from it. Well, Apple did not fail their customers, especially when it comes to helping their clients get fit.
Yes, this product is a smartwatch. However, it is also a popular fitness tracker device due to its capabilities to count your steps and distance. That’s not all, Apple Watch can also track your heart rate and sleep. Meanwhile, its newer version, the Apple Watch 2 is water-resistant and can track your swimming workout.
• Great fitness tracker
• Allows you to send, receive voice calls and do more without looking at your phone
• Has a great design
• Short battery life
• Requires an iPhone to work
• Many apps are slow
• Lacks built-in GPS
IMG Source: cultofmac
This device also comes with an integrated all-day fitness tracking feature with 3-ring Activity screen that will inspire you to move more and reach your daily activity goal in three ways: active calorie, exercise minutes, and standing for at least a minute each hour.
This watch is available in two sizes and styles to cater your different personalities. The sports version has a polymer band that is available in black and neon colors. Meanwhile, the dress version has two sizes to fit smaller and larger wrists.
Aside from the design, it is equipped with different functions that make working out more convenient without having to check your phone from time to time. Apple watch can receive and make voice calls, text and emails. It also allows you to control your music video playback.
However, though this watch is very promising it lacks a built-in GPS, which is very helpful when it comes to tracking your distance and location. Also, most of its features require users to have an iPhone 5 or above. So, if you only own this smartwatch without its iPhone, you can’t maximize its features.
Overall, if you have the budget and you are a loyal Apple customer (by this I mean you own its latest MacBook Pro and iPhone), you will probably find this product very helpful for your fitness goal. Personally, I find this device perfect with my other iOS devices. Apple Watch makes working out and walking easier and more convenient.
6. Fitbit Alta
Fitbit brings you fitness and fashion on display via Alta. This device will make motivation your best accessory as it allows you to swap your band and switch up style by bringing you metal, leather and classic accessory bands. Alta makes it easy for you to create a look that fits the occasion.
Alta makes it easy for you to create a look that fits the occasion!
Just like the other Fitbit bands, this device can track your number of steps, distance covered, calories burned, active minutes, hourly activity and stationary time. It SmartTrack features automatically records your workout without bothering you to push a button.
• Short battery life
• Requires an iPhone to work
• Many apps are slow
• Lacks built-in GPS
• No GPS
• Not waterproof
• No heart rate monitoring
• Module is not very responsive
• Overly sensitive step tracker
IMG source: the verge
Fitbit Alta will also track your quality and duration of sleep. It has a silent alarm that will vibrate to wake you up peacefully. Furthermore, it will give you friendly reminders to encourage you to move all throughout the day.
Alta is a very slim device but it allows you to tap the display to give you instant access to your stats, time, and smartphone notifications on its slender OLED display. It also syncs your data automatically and wirelessly to computers and over 200+ leading iOS, Android and Windows devices via Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology. Charging may take one to two hours but power can last up to 5 days.
Alta is smart enough to give you call, text and calendar alerts so you won’t miss any important notifications while you workout and keep your phone out of sight. As for its design, aside from the different bands we mentioned earlier, Alta also allows you to choose from a variety of clock faces and pick between vertical or horizontal layouts.
The only downside with Fitbit Alta is that it is not for runners and those who are looking for intense tracking because it has no GPS, optical heart rate monitor or stair climbing tracker. In addition to this, while Alta is sweat, splash and rain resistant, it is not waterproof. You can’t wear it in the shower or while swimming.
Fitbit Alta is designed for your everyday fitness. It lacks a number of powerful features like GPS and heart rate monitor but if you only want a pedometer band or a simple activity tracker this is definitely a great choice.
7. Moto 360
We are already half-way on our list and I present you Moto 360! This device is from Motorola and it makes in our fifth spot because it brings fashion and functionality in one.
This watch is probably the best-looking Android Wear watch on the market. Aside from that, this highly customizable smartwatch provides you effortless updates and of course, a great channel in tracking your activity.
This device includes a built-in activity tracker to monitor your workout. It has a built-in pedometer and heart rate sensor to track your steps and heart rate. Its heart rate app also comes with an activity monitor to track how active you are. You will enter your vital stats like height and weight and the app will determine your daily heart activity in three categories: “Active,” “Inactive” and “Vigorous.”
• Great design
• Lightweight and comfortable
• Functional and reliable
• Charging cradle doesn’t come with a USB cable
• Large round size is not for everyone
• Heart rate sensor is unreliable
• Poor battery life
• Expensive for an Android watch
IMG Source: the verge
Aside from this, it offers coaching advice to help you meet your fitness goals. This feature, in particular, will give you spontaneous notifications throughout the day to keep you moving. It will also email you with a summary of your progress report via its Moto Body phone app.
Aside from its very helpful fitness apps, Moto 360 boasts about its impressive aesthetics. It has a stylish look, comfortable feel, and premium build. This Android watch is something to beat considering its design and performance.
However, while Moto 360 is a great fitness band it is still far from being perfect because while its large size works for some, it can be an issue if you have a narrow wrist. There are also reports of cutoff notifications. Furthermore, its battery life is short. You have to charge it once a day, which is a hassle given that some wearables already offer 5 to 7 days battery life.
Despite its imperfections, after testing this watch, Moto 360 convinces me that this is still a smart choice especially if you are planning to streamline your mobile life and pursue your fitness goals.
8. Fitbit Surge
On our sixth spot is another Fitbit device. Fitbit Surge is the fitness superwatch from Fitbit because it has a built-in GPS and heart rate tracker aside from its pedometer features.
You will surely love this device as your ultimate partner for your fitness goals because it is equipped with all the functionalities you need. In addition to this, if you are an outdoor person or you love working out this device is perfect for people on the move.
Fitbit Surge is designed to train you smarter so you can go farther.
• GPS capable
• Water resistant
• Battery can last up to 7 days
• Large social base
• Can’t be worn in the shower or when swimming
• Inaccurate heart rate data
• Limited notifications
• Bulky design
IMG Source: dcrainmaker.com
Surge tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbs, active minutes, hourly activity and stationary time. Unlike Charge 2, this device comes with a GPS tracking on board to allow you to see your distance page, split times and elevation climbed. This feature also allows you to review your routes.
That’s not all because Surge is also equipped with PurePulse Heart rate to track your heart rate and simplify your heart rate zones. It also comes with the SmartTrack+Multi-Sport feature to track your runs, rides and other multi-sport modes automatically. This feature is particularly helpful if you are forgetful in recording your activities. If you struggle to develop a healthy sleeping pattern, Surge can help you achieve this as it also monitors your sleep and wakes you up with a silent alarm.
Surge is built with eight-sensor technology to help you enjoy a seamless transition from work to workouts while displaying your stats as you live your life on the move. Thanks to its touch screen monochrome LCD and backlight for low light visibility, reading your progress has never been so easy. Furthermore, it syncs your stats to your smartphone and computer and interprets it into a detailed and easy to understand charts to make the data more helpful to you.
To make things easier and more comfortable for you, Fitbit Surge includes text and call alerts to keep you notified throughout the day while being on the move. You can also control your playlist to be in the mood all day.
However, one factor that may reduce its being a superwatch is its being water resistant but not swim proof. It can withstand sweat, rain and splash but should not be submerged under the water for long. Its notifications are also limited to text message and call only. Heart rate data is inaccurate at times since the device fluctuates by around 20 to 30 beats per minute. Furthermore, its design is quite bulky compared to other Fitbit watches.
Despite its set of flaws, when we take the time to explore the wristband, its outstanding performance still surpasses its weaknesses. Surge is one of the best wearables from Fitbit, that’s why it is dubbed as the super watch.
9. Garmin Vivofit 2
If you are impressed with the first evolution of Vivofit, you will be impressed with Vivofit 2. This device includes the features that you wish was present in the first generation that’s why it makes in our list.
Garmin Vivofit 2 includes an always-on display with 1-year battery life. Yes, this means that for a year, you won’t be bothering yourself as to when you will charge your fitness band.
It is also water-resistant, so you can wear it in the shower or while swimming. If you are forgetful and you always missed to remove your fitness band in the shower that will no longer be an issue with this device. Most Fitbit devices are splash and sweatproof but not wearable under the water. Thus, this feature is a point for Vivofit 2.
- Year-long battery life
- Accurate step counting
- Waterproof up to 5 meters
- Always-on display
- Time to move feature
- Not very comfortable to wear
- NO GPS
- No text/call notifications
- No vibration
- No automatic syncing of data
- Does not offer smart coaching insights
IMG source: imore
We understand that you are reading this to find how efficient a fitness tracker Vivofit 2 is and we can guarantee that this product deserves its position in our list.
Garmin Vivofit 2 is a great activity tracker with move bars and alerts. You will never find yourself sitting for hours as this fitness band will remind you to stay active with its red move bar and a gentle audible alert.
Did you know that prolonged hours of inactivity like sitting on your desk can decrease your metabolism? So Vivofit 2’s “Time to Move” feature will be a great reminder to keep you moving as you can only reset it by taking a few steps for a couple of minutes.
Just like the rest of the other fitness tracker, this device can also track your steps, calories, distance and quality of sleep. It also displays the time of the day. For an easier tracking of your workout, this device includes a stopwatch mode.
Garmin Vivofit 2 comes in a great size but it is bulkier when compared to Jawbone Up2 and Fitbit Charge. However, when worn, it feels comfortable and light on the wrist.
Meanwhile, its always-on display feature is very helpful especially when you are under direct sunlight as reading is easier and convenient because you do not have to press a button.
As for its designs and colors, you can just pop out the tracker and swap it in a new band. Garmin has a variety of designs to choose from to cater your requirements.
However, while Garmin Vivofit 2 is a promising device, it also comes with its own set of flaws. For instance, it has no vibration which a number of fitness bands use to silently wake up the user and does not include basic notifications like incoming calls and texts alerts.
It does not sync your data automatically too unless you reach your goal. In addition, it does not provide smart coaching insights which is another means to keep you informed and motivated.
Despite this, Vivotfit 2 remains a good device especially if you just want a pedometer band with display and long battery life. However, this is not for those who want a more high-tech device as this is just a plain fitness tracker and does not include any notifications for your smartphone similar to smartwatches like Apple Watch, Moto 360 and Fitbit trackers.
10. Polar Loop 2
Polar has decided to take a plunge on fitness tracking devices and created Polar Loop. Loop 2 is the second generation designed to compete against Fitbit, Jawbone and Misfit and is compatible with iPhones, Android and Windows smartphones.
Loop 2 tracks your steps, distance, active time, calories burned and training. Aside from this, it monitors your sleep and heart rate. It also includes Activity Goal to motivate you to move, Activity Benefit that helps you stay healthy, Running Program to help you train for a running event, Energy Pointer to explain if your training is fat burning or fitness improvement and more. Furthermore, it notifies you when you are idle for 55 minutes.
- Simple and smart design
- Good battery life
- Smart sleep alarm
- Lacks built-in heart-rate monitoring
- No GPS
- Limited display
IMG Source: polar
Aside from that, Polar Loop 2 is waterproof up to 20 meters. Thus, you don’t need to take it off in the shower or during swimming. In addition to this, the band is a smart notification center for iOS and Android phone. A particular text will flash on the screen while emblazoning the LED to alert you of incoming call, messages and calendar events. However, you won’t read the text MESSAGES or CALENDAR as it can only display four to five characters. Nevertheless, this remains helpful if you want to receive notifications.
Loop 2 is one of the stylish activity trackers available on the market. It is lightweight at just 38g and very comfortable to use. In fact, you might forget that you are wearing it 24/7.
As for its battery, it depends on your usage. However, with an hour of training per day, Loop 2 can last up to 8 days but if you are running daily, tracking sleep and uses constant vibration and smart notifications it can still last up to 5 days. Yes, even with heavy use Loop 2 can still survive for a number of days, 5 days the least.
Though, Loop 2 is a great fitness tracking device it lacks some key features that could be a deal-breaker for some users. For instance, it has no built-in GPS. Its display is also very simple that it can’t even display long texts.
Overall, I still find Polar Loop 2 an outstanding device when it comes to tracking my activities, heart rate, and sleep accurately. It offers a stylish device that is ready to monitor my move 24/7 with smart notifications at a very affordable price making it another great starter kit.
11. Misfit Shine 2
Misfit Shine 2 is powerful, smart and effective but compared to the other products in our list, it is the weakest that’s why it’s in the last spot. However, it is more competitive compared to the rest who didn’t make it on the list.
Misfit Shine 2 automatically tracks your steps, distance, calories and light and restful sleep. It can also record your activities like running, swimming, cycling, basketball, soccer and tennis. Aside from this, it can also monitor your dozing hours and works well in tracking your light and deep sleep and present it in easy to read graphs.
- Accurate step and sleeping tracker
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Impressive battery life
- Non-charging, replaceable battery
- Strap and clip is not reliable
- No heart rate tracker
- Lacks built-in GPS
- Limited data
IMG Source: macrumors
As for its design, Misfit Shine features a metal disc and comes with a replaceable battery that can last up to 6 months. It is waterproof and can be worn in the shower or when swimming. It includes 12 vivid LED to show time, activity progress, notifications and more. It also comes with a capacitive touch sensor and vibration alarm to notify you of incoming text and call while you are on the move. Misfit Apps also allows you to set goals, compete with friends and log food and weight.
It also comes with a capacitive touch sensor and vibration alarm to notify you of incoming text and call while you are on the move. Misfit Apps also allows you to set goals, compete with friends and log food and weight.
Shine 2 is equipped with 3-axis accelerometer and magnetometer that works in harmony with most advanced activity and sleep tracking. It also includes an enhanced Bluetooth 4.1 for a fast, reliable wireless data transfer. It is compatible with iOS, Android and Window mobile devices. This fitness tracking device is versatile. You can wear it on your wrist or on your clothes.
Unfortunately, there’s no built-in heart rate monitor and GPS. There are also times when the ”shine” falls off from the band, which increases the chances of losing it. Furthermore, the LED light only shows your daily progress and the time but can’t show other data. Its smartphone notification is also limited. It will only alert you (through light and vibration) of incoming text or message but has no way of telling from whom it is, so you can’t decide if it’s from someone important or not.
Despite Shine 2’s weaknesses, it remains one of the best activity trackers because it yields accurate sleep and activity data. It also provides decent analysis. Overall, Misfit Shine 2 is worth trying and I still believe it is worth recommending that’s why it was able to make it in our list.
Pedometer watches are very helpful in your health and fitness goals. When choosing the best one, you should recognize the fact that these devices come in different designs, prices and capabilities. One device may excel in performance but is not impressive in design. So, you have to compromise and consider the factors that are more important to you like budget and features to name a few.
We hope that the list above will be helpful to you in finding the best fitness tracker that suits your requirements. If you think we missed a great pedometer that should be on the list, feel free to contact us and we will consider your suggestions.
How to Choose the Right Fitness Tracker
Count More Than Steps
There’s never been a better selection of fitness trackers, but with choice comes confusion. Which tracker has the features that are right for you and the activities you do? Here are some tips and recommendations for choosing the best tracker for your needs.
Where to Start
If you want to give fitness tracking a try (but without a wearable), start by using a mobile app that counts your steps. This method requires the least commitment, and could be of interest if you’re a beginner. Some apps we like are Argus, Fitbit, and Moves.
If you run or bicycle, we recommend tracking your runs or rides with an app before going whole-hog and splurging on a tracker. Why? With some trackers, you still need to carry your phone to get accurate pacing, distance, and mapping, so you’ll want to know before you make a purchase if you’re okay with carrying your phone, or if you’d prefer a tracker with built-in GPS so you don’t have to. A few apps we recommend are Runtastic PRO (for running), Cyclemeter (for bicycling), and Strava (for both running and cycling).
The Coros SafeSound Helmet is another interesting solution for cyclists that integrates your phone’s GPS to track your rides and uses bone-conduction audio to let you hear directions, music, and phone calls without blocking your ears.
How Much Should You Spend on a Fitness Tracker?
In general, most fitness trackers cost between $50 and $250. If you pay less than $50, you’ll probably get a subpar product with mediocre accuracy. In addition, less expensive trackers usually don’t have a display, so you can’t see how many steps you’ve taken unless you look at your smartphone.
More expensive trackers usually include built-in optical heart rate monitors and GPS, and often, these features are tailored toward athletes and exercise enthusiasts. Don’t get suckered into buying a tracker with a heart rate monitor if your primary activity is walking; it’s an unnecessary expense. If you walk and don’t do much else, there are great options in the $49 to $149 range.
If you do work out often, we highly recommend spending at least $99, as that’s the price point where you’ll start to see the features that are useful to very active users.
Choose Your Style
A very important question to ask yourself before choosing a fitness tracker is the type of form factor you want. Fitness trackers are usually bracelets, watches, or clip-ons. Most clip-on devices these days can also be worn on the wrist, but not vice versa. Bracelets and watches are hard to lose. Clip-ons can fall off or get thrown into the wash.
See How We Test Fitness Trackers
That said, bracelets and watches can get in the way when typing on a computer or washing dishes, for example. And wrist-worn devices aren’t always eye-catching accessories to your outfit. If you’re bothered by having something on your wrist 24/7, you’re probably better off with a clip-on, although this style isn’t nearly as popular as it used to be a few years ago.
Clip-on devices are smaller and more discreet when worn on a waistband or the front of a bra. Most don’t have displays, meaning you have to rely on a smartphone to see your tracked activity.
The Motiv Ring, meanwhile, brings fitness tracking to your fingers. It tracks many of the same metrics as wrist-worn models in a discreet form factor that looks like jewelry.
There are also trackers for children, like the Fitbit Ace 2. And don’t forget about Fido. That’s right, there are even trackers out there specifically for pets.
Do You Want Heart Rate Monitoring?
Heart rate monitoring sounds like the best feature ever, but there are different kinds of heart rate monitors, and frankly, some people don’t need it at all. A built-in heart rate monitor drives up the price.
Optical heart rate monitors are the ones built into the device itself. Some very good fitness trackers don’t have a heart rate monitor built in, but can pair with a chest strap. Most every device from Garmin and Polar supports a chest strap (like the excellent Polar H10), and you can usually bundle one in when purchasing a tracker for an extra $40 or $50.
Finally, if you’re interested in knowing your resting heart rate, you don’t need to buy a tracker with an optical heart rate monitor to find it. Many smartphone apps let you take your heart rate in about 15 seconds using the phone’s camera. Check your pulse once or twice a day, and you’re good to go.
For more, see The Best Heart Rate Monitors.
Will You Track Sleep?
Many fitness trackers record your sleep. When they do, they generally watch for movement using a three-axis accelerometer to a more sensitive degree than they do during the day. Some devices report graphs showing the times when you were in light sleep and deep sleep based on motion.
There are also dedicated sleep trackers out there that attach to your mattress, but we haven’t found them to offer an appreciable advantage over wrist-based trackers. And wearable trackers have the ability of doing a lot more than simply tracking your rest. If you don’t like the idea of wearing something on your wrist to bed and need a new mattress, you can always spring for the Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed.
Swimmers will want a waterproof tracker, but keep in mind that not all water-safe trackers actually track swimming. Runners will probably want a watch that shows time, distance, pace, and lap time, at the very least. If you want good accuracy for those metrics without having to carry a smartphone, you need a runner’s watch with built-in GPS—see our picks for The Best Fitness Trackers for Running.
Also consider the display. If you want to see your stats at all times, or simply use your tracker as a wristwatch, look for one with an always-on display. How you control the tracker is also important. If you like to run in the cold while wearing gloves, you may want to steer clear of devices that only have touch-enabled displays.
Cyclists have even more considerations. There’s a difference between tracking how many miles you pedal and calories you burn versus monitoring your power and cadence. If all you want is the former, you can find a few fitness trackers that support bicycling as an activity. More serious cyclists will want a device that can pair with additional bike equipment, like a cadence sensor, and should look at devices from sport-specific companies, like Garmin and Polar.
The App Experience
A fitness tracker’s app matters. Whether on your phone or on the web, the app is absolutely vital because it is where you make sense of the information the tracker collects. Fitbit has one of the best apps and websites we’ve tested. It lets you record all kinds of data that many other companies don’t, such as calories consumed, allergy severity, and stress level.
If you want total body analysis, look for a system that incorporates a smart bathroom scale. Fitbit, Polar, and Withings and do. Check out the Fitbit Aria 2, the Polar Balance, and the Withings Body Cardio. These send your weight directly to your account, so you can’t cheat the system by entering a lower number. The QardioBase 2 is another top choice, especially for pregnant women.
Smartwatch vs. Fitness Tracker
Several fitness trackers have some smartwatch functionality, and some smartwatches have fitness features, too. The Fitbit Versa 2 comes close to blending both worlds, but at the moment it still lags far behind the Apple Watch in terms of third-party app support.
The Apple Watch Series 5 places more of an emphasis on health and fitness tracking than any other smartwatch we’ve seen. It even has an FDA-approved electrocardiogram (ECG) function that generates a PDF of your heart rhythm you can share with your doctor, which is a feature you won’t find on any of trackers listed here. But as its name implies, it’s first and foremost a smartwatch. See our list of The Best Smartwatches for recommendations in that category.
With so many good fitness trackers on the market right now, and promising ones on the horizon, it’s hard to contain them all in just one list. We’ve limited our picks here to trackers that have scored four stars or higher, but there are lots of other very good options out there that might be right for you. We update this article often, so make sure to check back for our latest recommendations. And for the very latest reviews, see our Fitness Trackers product guide.
If you’re after the best fitness tracker as we enter a fresh new year, then you’re in luck: we’ve got all the best fitness wearables rounded up here, all of them able to help you get the data you need to stick to your resolutions.
Think of these options like an electronic watchdog for your health, putting a finger on your pulse, constantly measuring your vitals, checking your quality of sleep, counting your steps and (most of the time) even more.
Some folks even call them smart bracelets, mostly because activity bands now look as good as traditional jewelry, but they’re also so light you’ll barely notice them on your wrist.
Before you go any further, know that we aren’t evaluating all the highest-end tech wristwear in this list. For that you’ll want our best smartwatch guide, which includes top-end products like the Apple Watch 5, Fossil Sport and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2.
You also won’t find the Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit Versa or Fitbit Versa Lite here either, which, despite their brand name, are all smartwatches and are priced accordingly – although they do feature on our best Fitbit guide.
Right now this guide is designed to show you the best of the best that your money will get you. We’ll show you how each ranks in terms of stand-out features, specs, price, design, the quality of the software you’ll be using on your phone and much more.
- Take the plunge: our best waterproof fitness tracker guide
- Check out the best running headphones
- Specifically want to run? Try best running watches
(Image credit: Fitbit)
1. Fitbit Charge 3
Take charge of your fitness with the best tracker
Light design Big screen No onboard GPS Not a color screen
More refined than the Fitbit Charge 2, the Charge 3 is one of the company’s most accomplished devices. It has a more lightweight design than the last-gen, and it looks better on your wrist. It’s our number one all-round fitness tracker since the price has dropped slightly recently, and it offers a lot of insight into your overall health.
The display is bigger and clearer than a lot of other fitness trackers on this list, but it’s still a black and white screen.
There’s no onboard GPS, like some other trackers on this list have, but it’s waterproof and offers a full fitness suite including a heart rate tracker. You can track GPS by pairing your phone with the tracker too.
You have to spend a bit extra on this than other fitness trackers you can buy in this same list, but if you enjoy the whole Fitbit app and experience and would also like access to notifications and Fitbit’s fantastic sleep tracking, you’ll want to opt for this as it’s one of the company’s best trackers ever.
Read our Fitbit Charge 3 review
(Image credit: Garmin)
2. Garmin Vivosmart 4
It tells you how much energy you do (or don’t) have
Slim design Long-lasting battery Small screen No GPS
Our highest ranked Garmin product in the best fitness tracker list is also one of the most accomplished in its range of health bands.
This device isn’t made for serious athletes like a variety of other products from the Garmin brand, but instead this is for those who want to be able to track the odd bit of exercise and have an attractive band to do it.
The screen is bigger on this version than other Garmin products, and it has a battery that should last you around a week depending on how much exercise you’ll be doing.
There’s also an innovative feature called body battery that helps you learn when exactly is the best time to exercise depending on how much energy you have. This is great for those who are just as interested in their recovery and general wellbeing as they are clocking up the miles.
Read the full Garmin Vivosmart 4 review
(Image credit: Huawei)
3. Huawei Band 3 Pro
Both style and substance on a budget
Great battery life Good looking color screen GPS can be slow to lock No ‘breathing’ feature
Taking over from the Huawei Band 2 Pro is the Huawei Band 3 Pro. This is one of the best fitness trackers you can buy if you’re on a strict budget, and it has some amazing features considering how much it costs.
The Band 3 Pro comes with GPS onboard, it has a water resistant design (which means you can take it swimming) and there’s a 0.95-inch color screen to display all of your stats on your wrist.
We’ve found the heart rate monitor to be accurate, and while the GPS could be quicker at locking on we also found it to be precise. If you’re looking for an affordable entry-level device for your first foray into the world of fitness tracking, this is a great place to start.
Read our Huawei Band 3 Pro review
(Image credit: Fitbit)
4. Fitbit Inspire HR
Inspiration to get off the sofa
Premium design Lots of tracked metrics Lacks swim tracking No contactless payments
This isn’t the most capable fitness tracker in our best of list, but it does a lot considering its price and you’ll get access to all of Fitbit’s top-end services.
The Fitbit Inspire HR unsurprisingly offers a heart rate tracker alongside a variety of other fitness tracking capabilities.
It isn’t as capable as the Fitbit Charge 3 as it lacks swim tracking or Fitbit Pay integration, but that’s understandable as this is much cheaper.
It features a slimmer and more comfortable design than a lot of other trackers you can buy, so if you’re after a Fitbit that won’t be heavy on your wrist you may want to consider the Inspire HR as your next fitness band.
Read the full Fitbit Inspire HR review
(Image credit: Garmin)
5. Garmin Vivosport
The sportier Garmin
Small for GPS tracker Good battery life Bland design No swim modes
It’s not as stylish as most of the Fitbit products, but there’s a reason the Garmin Vivosport appears in this list before products from the latter company.
This is cheaper than most Fitbit products and it comes with GPS built-in too. We found the Vivosport offers a solid seven days battery life from a single charge, even when using the GPS features.
Although it’s waterproof, it won’t track your swimming easily but the Vivosport excels for other kinds of workouts and is great for tracking your jogging and cycling. Plus we found the heart rate tracker to be accurate too.
Read our full Garmin Vivosport review
(Image credit: Honor)
6. Honor Band 5
Honor’s latest wearable
Decent sleep tracking Affordable price Notifications temperamental Screen sometimes unresponsive
The Honor Band 5 was a serious step up from the Band 4, with improved fitness features in many areas, as well as a color touchscreen to view all your information on.
One of the most useful features is the sleep tracking, that gives you advice to maximise your sleep time, as well as simply monitoring it like many other fitness trackers do.
The Honor Band 5 is also one of the most affordable fitness trackers on the market, so if you want an exercise monitor or sleep counter that isn’t also a bank-breaker, this is where to look.
Read our full Honor Band 5 review
(Image credit: Xiaomi)
7. Xiaomi Mi Band 4
Xiaomi’s budget fitness tracker
Very cheap Slimline design Doesn’t auto-stop tracking Only connected GPS
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is run-of-the-mill affordable fitness tracker, in that it has a slimline design, a smallish color screen with a capacitive button, and a selection of workouts to track.
It has a few great perks for fitness buffs though, like its 20-day battery life, useful heart rate monitor and easy-to-view screen, so if you’re looking for a new heart rate monitor there are far worse devices you can buy.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi Band 4 review
(Image credit: Amazfit)
8. Amazfit Bip
Looks like a smartwatch, but it’s more fitness tracker
Stylish design Excellent companion app Auto-pause feature doesn’t work Finicky UI
This may look more like a smartwatch than any of the other devices on this list, but as it runs its own software and has a very big focus on fitness we’ve decided to include it in our list of the best fitness trackers.
The Amazfit Bip design has been influenced by the Apple Watch (there’s no denying that) and it comes packed with tons of features including GPS, an accurate heart rate tracker, multi-sport tracking, sleep tracking and VO2 Max features too.
If you’re looking for a more watch-like design than everything else on this list, the Bip will be up your street. It’s lightweight too and other highlights include the always-on display and strong battery life that should last around a month depending on your usage.
Read the full Amazfit Bip review
(Image credit: Garmin)
9. Garmin Vivofit 4
One of Garmin’s cheapest
Super-long battery life Small but color display No GPS or heart rate No phone notifications
The Garmin Vivofit 4 is one of the best fitness trackers the company has ever created, and that now means it sits in this prestigious list alongside some other fantastic tracking products.
We particularly like the super-long battery life of the Vivofit 4, which means you won’t need to recharge your device for a whole year. That means you can wear it all day, then all night for sleep tracking and not have to worry about recharging it.
You’ll miss out on phone notifications by buying this tracker, but you do get the benefit of an always-on color display, accurate fitness tracking features – just note these are more limited than some other trackers on this list – as well as access to an in-depth app to break down your stats on your smartphone.
Read the full Garmin Vivofit 4 review
(Image credit: Moov)
10. Moov Now
Previously our number one
Great battery life Cheap price Limited features No screen
Although it may be a few years old, the Moov Now is still one of our favorite fitness bands. It’s cheap, offers everything you’ll want in an everyday tracker and there’s a phenomenal six month long battery life.
The Moov Now isn’t just designed for step tracking though – it comes with boxing and rep-based training, as well as a swimming mode on top of run coaching and sleep monitoring features. That’s a lot to get stuck in with.
You won’t get GPS or some of the more complex fitness tracking features that others on this list offer, but if you’re looking for a great everyday tracker that doesn’t cost a lot of money the Moov Now will suit you perfectly.
Read the full Moov Now review
Best fitness tracker at a glance
- Fitbit Charge
- Garmin Vivosmart 4
- Huawei Band 4 Pro
- Fitbit Inspire HR
- Garmin Vivosport
- Honor Band 5
- Xiaomi Mi Band 4
- Amazfit Bip
- Garmin Vivofit 4
- Moov Now
- Looking for a more affordable fitness band? Read our guide on the best cheap fitness trackers of 2020
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Calorie counter watches are selling like hotcakes in the expanding market for wearable technology. Exciting technological advances have facilitated athletes’ and weekend warriors’ ability to learn their actual activity levels, get motivated, and thereby make more progress on key fitness or weight loss goals.
For 2015, here are some of the best calories counter watch products available to active-lifestyle consumers:
1. FitBit Flex
The Fitbit Flex the #1 best selling calorie counter watch on Amazon. It is a classic calorie counter popular among users who are trying to lose weight in a more systematic manner. On top of your live data, it provides a custom estimate of calories burned based on personal traits like gender and weight.
The Fitbit Flex has attractive features like sleep monitoring and goal assessment, but nothing too fancy. In addition to making a great calorie counter watch, Fitbit has a reputation for standing behind their product. We think the Flex watch is an ideal choice for folks new to the world of wearable fitness tracking.
2. Polar RS300X Running Heart Rate Monitor and Computer
If you are looking for a calorie burn watch with all the core rate and timing measurement features, you’ll likely appreciate a Polar ticker like the RS300X. Few other devices offer a neater combination of functionality and user-friendliness.
The Polar RS300X monitors heart rate, speed, and distance with olympic precision. Your last 16 practice sessions are storable for easy progress tracking. And you can designate “personal sport zones” to guide you toward stable exercise at the perfect intensity. Not too expensive or too cheap, the RS300X is a satisfactory mid-market pick for many runners.
3. Garmin vívofit 2
The vívofit 2 is made by the well-known maker of GPS products, Garmin. True to form, the vívofit draws on the power of GPS. The technology enables tracking of distance, calories or time, your choice. Personal goals scale up over time to keep you challenged.
For motivation, the vívofit offers an audible alert that reminds you to get off your butt and move, as needed. This function is useful for those with desk jobs who need a subtle reminder to stop and stretch or walk about every so often. The vívofit calorie burn watch boasts an impressive full year of battery life, better than nearly every other calorie burn watch. It’s a step above garden-variety calorie burner watch models, offering a rich feature set for the money.
4. Nike+ FuelBand SE
Like Nike? The brand’s FuelBand SE won’t disappoint, with classically Nike styling and a desirable level of functionality for a decent price. The Fuelband uses pace, distance and laps to calculate your calorie burn rate. The data produced by the device is partly measured in “NikeFuel,” a tracking unit that is, as the makers say, “a universal way to measure movement for all kinds of activities.”
This is where we have to trust Nike on the accuracy of the data produced, as no one knows what goes into a NikeFuel calculation. On the whole, buyers seem pleased. The user-friendly Nike+ FuelBand is a good bet for active folks who want something nice, but not too nice.
5. Misfit Shine
Made for the up-market, the minimalist Misfit Shine is not nearly as deviant as its name suggests. Made of aircraft-grade aluminum, the Shine has multiple tracking functions that collectively offer a more complete picture of your health, including a unique “daily photo food journal” linking your diet and exercise goals.
Misfit keeps goal evaluation simple, with an elegant halo of LED pinlights encircling the watch face that are lit up to the extent that you have achieved your activity goal each day: “motivation at a glance.”
The Shine offers are many beautiful color choices, like the opulent “wine” and deep blue “storm.” It uses a battery that lasts for at least six months, longer than most. It’s a premium pick for those who want a well-balanced calorie counting watch that does all the right things, and does them well.
6. Timex Men’s Ironman Road Trainer
The Timex Ironman Road Trainer can help you zero in on that perfect level of calorie consumption. With the Ironman, you can measure your recovery and peak heart rate, and of course the calories burned during your workout. Also onboard is a countdown timer and not one, but two daily alarms with auto-backup. Oh, and it tells time, too.
Many calorie counters suffer from inaccuracy, but not this one. In an effort to improve its precision, the watch is engineered to eliminate “cross talk” and other potential ambient sources of electronic interference. The Ironman is like the Swiss Army Knife of fitness trackers.
7. Jawbone UP24
San Francisco-based Jawbone is a leader in wearable fitness widgets. Its secret sauce is the proprietary “UP” technology, premised on a collection of complex sensors that capture data about your daily activities and use it to drive real-world progress, as seen in the slim UP24 watch.
Your UP24 device contains a “Smart Coach” whose main purpose is to motivate you to make at least one healthy choice a day. Design-wise, the Jawbone tracker is sleek and unobtrusive. With real-time data syncing, deep and light sleep metrics, idle alerts, and compatibility with tons of third-party apps, Jawbone is an extremely good value for the money.
8. Basis Peak
This is one of the most pricey trackers on our list, but it may also be the best calorie counter watch of them all. The Basis Peak health tracker is a state-of-the-art wristpiece that, as you might imagine, does a lot more than just count calories.
The Basis includes a cutting-edge heart rate monitor that doesn’t require a chest strap for use. It automatically detects different activities like walking, running, and biking. There’s also customized “habit” assessments, and automatic sleep quality scoring. The highly automated Basis can give you the in-depth analysis you need to fully quantify and optimize your activity levels. The price may be worth it for the most serious fitness geeks.
9. X-Doria KidFit
This one is for the kids. Young people who build healthy habits early on are more likely to be healthier throughout their lives. The X-Doria KidFit can help. A calorie counting watch made for tykes aged 5 to 13, this slap-on, wireless activity and sleep tracker lets young users set their own goals and have fun trying to achieve them. USB- and smartphone-compatible, X-Doria does parents and kids a service by bringing this affordable calorie counter to market.
10. Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor
The Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor is far more than just a heart rate monitor! It’s a calorie counter as well, and you can even hook it up to compatible gym equipment with the help of GymLink technology. Additional features include a heart-rate chest strap made from soft, comfortable fabric that conforms to the shape of your body. The monitor is water-resistant, and includes a replaceable battery.
This is one of the most popular calorie counters you are going to find, with more than 5,000 reviews on Amazon.com as of the time of this post! It’s reasonably priced, stands the test of time, and offers you incredible value.
Sweat stings my eyes as I pound my way up another step. My ass is seriously dragging; it feels like my shoes are sandbags. How long have I been hurling myself up and down these bleachers? I glance at the two watches on my left wrist. Six minutes have gone by. That can’t possibly be right. I check the watch on my right wrist. Damn. Six minutes. I check my iPhone. Six minutes. Time has slowed to a crawl and, according to all of these gadgets, so have I. My heart rate is a mere 165 beats per minute. I adjust one of the three monitors strapped to my chest and pick up the pace.
This grueling 15-minute bleacher run is the final leg of a training circuit I’ve devised to test seven wearable exercise monitors. I want to get a better idea of how they track calories. The devices range from simple fitness trackers () to GPS watches (Motorola MotoACTV, Garmin Forerunner 910XT, Polar RCX3) that communicate wirelessly with sensors pasted all over my body. I’m also testing MapMyFitness on an iPhone 4s linked to a Wahoo Bluetooth heart rate monitor.
All of these gadgets promise to help you get in shape by tracking how much you move and how many calories you expend during a wide range of activities. Motivating couch potatoes and providing everyday athletes with data will be an increasingly lucrative business as so-called “wearable” computing devices like fitness trackers take off. Companies like Nike, Adidas and Motorola are expected to ship 90 million wearables by 2017, according to ABI Research.
Yet as anyone who’s ever used a pedometer, treadmill or heart rate monitor knows, accuracy is relative when it comes to counting calories. This is especially true of wearables, as these gadgets are known. Every device takes a different approach to calculating the mechanics of moving your body a certain distance at a certain speed. For instance, fitness trackers feed step counts and even sweat rate into their equations, while GPS watches lean heavily on heart rate.
To establish a level playing field in benchmarking these gadgets, I need to do each test with every device strapped to my body. I’m wearing three heart monitor chest straps on my torso, a temperature sensor on my arm, three GPS receivers on my wrists and four motion sensors on my arms and legs. I look like I just escaped from a lab.
Before hitting the bleachers I ran 5 kilometers. This followed the 50-minute plyometric workout and 2-mile walk I did the previous day. I endured the same routine three times in two weeks. For each activity, the calorie counts reported by these exercise monitors were all over the map. That’s to be expected, says Dan Heil, an exercise physiology professor at Montana State University.
“Everyone assumes when a device gives a calorie count that it’s accurate, and therein lies the danger,” he says. Just because the watch on your wrist says you burned 1,000 calories, it isn’t necessarily true. “There’s a huge margin of error and the true calorie burn lies somewhere between 600 and 1,500 calories.”
Based on his experience analyzing athletes at the university’s Human Performance Lab, Heil has found calorie counts will be inaccurate unless you’re working in a controlled environment. That’s because calories aren’t so much tracked as estimated using sophisticated (and proprietary) algorithms. These algorithms attempt to discern your rate of caloric expenditure using measureable or self-reported metrics like heart rate, distance, weight and age.
Everyone else declined to reveal their algorithms, citing the usual pending patents and trade secrets. But some shared the metrics they used in the equation, which helps explain the results of my testing (.xlxs).
My running test had by far the most consistent numbers. The only outlier was the MotoACTV watch, which didn’t record more than 298 calories for the same workouts that saw the rest of the trackers report an average of 452 calories. I expected this sort of uniformity from the watches because their calorie equations rely heavily on heart rate, but I didn’t think the accelerometer-based Fitbit, FuelBand, and BodyMedia Link would match up as closely as they did. I mistakenly thought their approach of counting steps and overall movement was geared toward less-intensive activities like walking and yoga. This test shows that casual runners who don’t want to wear heart rate straps can get by with a fitness tracker instead of a GPS watch if they’re only interested in counting calories.
Oddly enough, when it came to the least intense of my four routines, walking, the Fitbit delivered some unusual results. It claimed that I burned almost as many calories walking for 35 minutes as I did running for 25. I thought this might be due to the fact I wore the Fitbit on my waist and the other fitness trackers on my right arm, since each swing is often interpreted as an extra step. I discovered it was due to one of the FitBit’s default values. The Fitbit automatically calculates separate values for running and walking stride lengths based solely on your height. In my case these default values were off by about three inches for my running stride length, and this significantly threw off the caloric calculations.
I asked Heil why it is so hard to build a good algorithm based solely on movement. He cited two reasons. First, if the device doesn’t take into account what’s happening inside your body — heart rate, skin temperature, breathing — then there’s nothing specific to your particular physiology in the calorie burn algorithm. That’s why everyone who enters the same body weight on a treadmill will get roughly the same numbers after a three-mile run, regardless of their level of exertion. The second reason is because these devices, for the most part, have difficulty determining exactly you are doing as you’re doing it.
“A GPS watch for example, records changes in your position in three dimensional space and then calculates your speed,” said Heil. “But it can’t tell if you’re skipping or walking backward, and each action requires a different level of energy expenditure.”
Correctly identifying the activity means knowing how much muscle mass you use — more mass equals more calories. Sports such as cross-country skiing and swimming burn more calories than ping pong. Accelerometer-based devices have the same problem, though some do a better job of recognizing activities than others. The Nike FuelBand, most notably, maps the movement of your wrist across three dimensions and compares those movements to familiar exercise patterns, such as jumping jacks, tennis and handball. The BodyMedia Link, on the other hand, matches overall movement to changes in your skin’s surface temperature, or more appropriately, your body’s reaction to training intensity.
According to Heil, temperature, by its nature, delivers a delayed reaction, so if you go from a slow jog to a fast run to a walk your skin temperature doesn’t adjust quickly with your intensity. This can lead to a lower calorie count for vigorous activities. This explains how the Link’s scores in the bleacher run and polymetric tests fell short of those posted by the Garmin and Polar watches. Of course, the Link awarded more calories for the walk, which may explain why its broad stroke approach works when compiling everything you’ve done into a complete picture of your caloric expenditure throughout the day.
Like all fitness trackers, both the FuelBand and the Link are better suited (and in fact recommended) for getting a bead on how many calories you burn during the day instead of during a specific workout. They serve as an incentive to get off your ass and get moving.
Although the MotoACTV also sports an accelerometer, it isn’t as accurate as that of the FuelBand and doesn’t use it to identify different movements. It’s only there to step in if GPS is out to lunch. For example, if you lose the satellite signal midway through a run, the watch can still track your progress using the accelerometer and even tap an onboard altimeter to determine whether you’re going uphill and therefore burning more calories.
The MotoACTV doesn’t bother trying to figure out what activity you’re doing; it only has you select from among 46 activity modes. (Bleacher running isn’t on the list.) To determine your calorie burn, the watch uses a different multiplier for each of the 46 activities supported by the watch. The multipliers, which Motorola refused to divulge, can’t be too big because the watch wasn’t terribly generous with the calorie counts, even during my toughest workouts. In all but my walking test, the results it offered were much lower than the others. Magno Herran, product manager at Motorola Mobility, says many fitness tracking gadgets are overly generous when it comes to awarding calories. He also recommends using the MotoACTV with a heart rate monitor to ensure the most accurate calorie counts.
He’s got a point. There was a clear divide between movement- and heart-rate-based calorie algorithms in my most physically demanding tests, especially plyometric workout. That’s where the Polar RSX3 and Garmin Forerunner 910XT stood out against the other gadgets.
The two watches rely heavily on heart rate to crunch the numbers. For instance, the Polar factors in maximum heart rate, current heart rate, sitting heartrate and an estimated VO2 max in its algorithm, along with weight, height, age, and gender. This may explain why both watches awarded nearly the same number of calories for every activity despite the fact that the Forerunner logged my movement with GPS and the RCX3 tracked it with an accelerometer attached to my shoe.
This was most apparent during the plyometrics, which are notoriously high-effort drills like jump squats and lunges in which your heart rate spikes with each interval set. The series of explosive movements seriously juiced the calorie count on the two watches, but the rest of the devices spat out more mundane numbers tied to my movement and the limited number of steps I took. The outlier in this case was the MapMyRun app. Since it was linked to a heart rate monitor, the app should have reported the same high numbers as the Garmin and Polar watches, but instead delivered the lowest calorie count of all the devices. This is likely due to how little weight the app’s calorie algorithm puts into the heart rate numbers.
In the final analysis, these exercise monitors provide calorie numbers that are good ballpark figures, but not something you can completely rely on. To get that, you need an indirect calorimeter device, which most commonly comes in the form of a 5-pound backpack-sized contraption that analyzes your oxygen consumption using a face mask or mouthpiece. Heil says indirect calorimeters are the best way to track calorie burn since breathing has a direct relation to the amount of energy you use. Unfortunately, calorimeters cost $30,000 to $50,000 and are rarely seen outside of labs.
Even if they aren’t completely accurate when it comes to calories, fitness gadgets like these still give you a bird’s-eye view of how active you are. The best of them, like the Polar RCX3, Motorola MotoACTV and Garmin Forerunner 910XT, even allow you to drill down into the particular metrics of each workout and track your progress over time to see how you’re improving. This may not make your bleacher runs any less of a grind, but it may help you get fitter faster.
Get the most accurate measurements using your Apple Watch
Many factors can affect the performance of the Apple Watch heart rate sensor. Skin perfusion (or how much blood flows through your skin) is one factor. Skin perfusion varies significantly from person to person and can also be impacted by the environment. If you’re exercising in the cold, for example, the skin perfusion in your wrist might be too low for the heart rate sensor to get a reading.
Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance. The ink, pattern and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings.
Motion is another factor that can affect the heart rate sensor. Rhythmic movements, such as running or cycling, give better results compared to irregular movements, like tennis or boxing.
If you’re not able to get a consistent reading because of any of these factors, you can connect your Apple Watch wirelessly to external heart rate monitors such as Bluetooth chest straps. Learn how to pair Bluetooth accessories.
Heart rate is one of many factors that Apple Watch uses to measure your activity and exercise. Depending on your workout, it selects the most appropriate inputs for that activity. For example, when you’re running indoors, it also uses the accelerometer. Learn more about how your Apple Watch uses GPS and the heart rate sensor when you use the Workout app.
Fitness Trackers That Look Like Watches (Hybrid Smartwatches)
If you’re anything like me you probably can’t walk past a watch shop window without looking longingly at the immaculate time pieces in the window. There is something about their elegant, simplistic look which makes them timeless (no pun intended) and they work so well when worn with your every day work wear or when going out on the town.
Of course, times move on and people now have different priorities and want their watch to provide alarms, notifications and fitness tracking. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a fitness tracker that looked like a watch? Unsurprisingly manufacturers have now caught on to this trend and are starting to produce what are known as hybrid smartwatches. They combine the classic look of a classic analog watch and pair it with bluetooth connected smart watch technology that tracks your daily activity.
The idea is that you should not be able to tell that your device is a fitness tracker. It should give you access to all the latest technology whilst still looking like a traditional analogue watch. There are different ways of achieving this goal including providing discreet screens as part of the watch face or via an app. You have to decide if you would be more comfortable with an all out smart watch or happy to make the compromise between style and technology in a hybrid smartwatch. If it is the latter we have compiled a list of
Fitness trackers that look like watches
1. Garmin vívomove HR
The Garmin vívomove HR is a stylish hybrid watch. It comes with a touch screen but when not in use all you can see is the traditional hands so it looks like your average watch. The touch screen is used to show you messages and text. The hands are displayed all the time and they are set at the right time via the app. If you do need to read some text they helpfully move out of the way. Although some people report that they do struggle to see the screen in certain light due to reflections With the hands and the screen you are typically looking at around a week of battery life before a charge is needed.
As you would expect with a Garmin watch the fitness tracking capabilities are good. Unusually for a hybrid watch it has V02 Max to monitor your stress level. In addition you get notification support, a heart rate monitor, silent alarms, auto activity tracking and the ability to take it swimming
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2. Nokia Steel HR
Not as fully featured as a smart watch the Steel HR is great at what it does. It couples good lucks with good fitness tracking credentials. It tries to do a limited amount and do it well and keeps the functionality tight. You have the ability to monitor heart rate, sleep, calories burnt, steps and calorie burn. The small dial will show you percentage completion to your daily step target In addition you get something known as a smart wake up alarm. The idea being it wakes you up at an optimal time whilst you are in your lightest sleep based on its tracking data. It comes with a very easy read to display, decent battery life and a good app in the shape of Nokia Health Mate which will also allow you to hook up some Nokia Body+ scales. The strap it comes with out of the box probably isn’t too everyone’s taste and can be changed to a more classical magnetic steel one. The other notable downside is the lack of customisation possible to the alarms.
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3. Kate Spade New York Holland Hybrid Smartwatch
Available in numerous watch faces the stylish and good looking New York Holland may look like a watch but is a fitness tracker in disguise. Powered by a CR2142 battery the lack of screen helps to provide 6 months of life before it needs changing. It can track sleep, steps and countdown events with the 0 to 100 scale at the top of the watch face showing progress towards your step target. It lacks a heart rate monitor and is water resistant to 30 metres.
To work at its best you will need to use the watch with the app and that is thought to be confusing but also enables you to hook your watch up to other useful functionality such as the ability to take pictures and control music playback on your phone.
Check the latest price for the New York Holland at Amazon.
4. Withings Activité Pop
Although a bit older than some of the trackers here the Activité Pop is still just about holding its own at the cheaper end of the scale for hybrid smart watches. It is the type of tracker that works with activity throughout the day and not steps. There is a small dial in the bottom right hand corner shows how much you have completed of your daily goal.
The data that feeds this dial is also sent to your phone via a typical sync process. Within the app you can then configure things further. Lacking features like a backlight, multiple alarms and the date on the watch display you will also miss out on some of the functionality available in future trackers.
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5. Timex IQ+ Move
The IQ+ Move has a traditional looking watch face and comes with the ability to change the straps to suit your taste. Lurking behind the analogue design however is a fitness tracker. It will monitor steps, calories burned, distance and sleep metrics such as time awake and deep and light sleep phases.. Water resistant to 50 metres a traditional watch battery provides long battery life should last a few months before needing replacing. The face itself has a secondary dial in the bottom right which shows your progress towards your daily activity goal. This will only get you so far. More advanced features are provided by a Bluetooth connection to the Timex Connected App (works on IOS and Android) which also set the time and date on the watch. As apps go the reputation isn’t great and general reviews seem to state it is prone to error. However, you might get more accurate step tracking by hooking the watch to your phones GPS to increase the accuracy of distance tracking.
The main method of interacting with the watch is by using the 3 buttons on the right hand side of the watch face. The middle button enables the Indiglo feature which illuminates the dial so you can read it in the dark for approximately 5 seconds. If held for longer it also initiates synching from the watch to the app. The other buttons depend on settings in the app but the general premise is they make the hands of the watch move to show the date or the time in another time zone or number of steps taken.
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6. MyKronoz ZeTime
The ZeTime began life as a Kickstarter project and takes a different tack to other watches here by providing a touch screen and overlaying mechanical hands above it. So maybe you get the best of both worlds. You pay the price for this wizardry with a shorter battery life of around 3-5 days for the screen and 30 days for the hands. In keeping with doing things slightly differently this watch also shuns common operating systems and uses its own which probably shows in some of its implementations of common features. However, it seems that every software update is moving it ever closer to where it needs to be. If you’re wondering what happens to the hand if you get a message they cleverly move out of the way which is quite neat.
It is stylish and people are bound to comment on its good looks. The good stuff is that you can get notifications from your favourite apps, it is has a heart rate monitor, sleep tracker and pedometer and you don’t have to wait for the screen to come on every time you lift your wrist due to the mechanical hands. The bad stuff is the custom OS not having had the issues ironed out just yet including how hard it is to get it to play music.
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7. Skagen Jorn Hybrid
Skagen have quite a selection fo hybrid smart watches on their books. The good looking Skagen Jorn Hybrid has quite a slim design and when you look at it you wouldn’t think it had any technological features.This is a testament to the design. This watch comes with all your classic fitness tracking features of activity (steps walked, distance travelled, calories burned) and goal tracking which are then synced back to the app. Other smart watch type features are the ability to control your phone’s music and camera and notification alerts from your apps. Notifications work by configuring the app to set each person or apps as a specific indicator or hour on the watch face. As soon as you receive a notification the indicator you will feel a vibration and the indicator will move to the correct person for you to work out where it came from. Not to everyone’s tase and can be a little confusing. This is compounded by the fact that the numbers on the clock face are quite small and hard to read. Some other downsides are that there is no heart rate monitoring, the vibrating alerts are too weak and there is no timer or stopwatch functionality.
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8. Misfit Command
In common with most watches here the Command lets you set up vibration alerts for calls, texts and app notifications. You configure these in the Link App and the watch will then point to the relevant icon in the sub dial. You also have the ability to perform other smart actions such as controlling the camera or music on your phone or find your phone by ringing it. The watch itself is water resistant to 50 metres and can be used in conjunction with the lap counting upgrade from Speedo which can track how far you swam in both 25 and 50 metre pool. The battery lasts around one year and you can track steps, distance, calories and sleep metrics.
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Fossil have lots of choice in this area and if you visit their website you will be able to see for yourself. That being said if you want some guidance our favourite would be the Fossil Q commuter watch. In common with lots of these watches numbers are quite small to read which may cause a few issues as an actual watch It admittedly looks great and you can control functions on your phone through the 3 buttons on the side. With this watch everything has to be done in the app including setting the alarms and also configuring how notifications work.
Hybrid smart watches are a relatively new category of fitness tracker. As such, some ideas are still finding their feet in how to implement them as well as the current innovative solutions. In our view, a hybrid smart watch would suit somebody who loves traditional watches but still wants to have a good idea of their daily activity.
When it comes to buying a smartwatch, there are many questions to ask yourself. But the first should always be, do you want a fully-fledged smartwatch with a touch screen, like those from Apple and Samsung, or do you want a hybrid smartwatch with a more traditional look?
Take the new Apple Watch Series 5 and Samsung Galaxy Watch for example. They are the best smartwatches the world has ever seen, but they still have a battery life measured in days (or even hours), the Apple Watch doesn’t show the time unless you interact with it, and both force you to adopt the slightly awkward pose of flicking at a one-inch touchscreen on your wrist to read an email, or book an Uber.
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Step forward the hybrid. As the name suggests, these watches are an amalgamation of smartwatches (generally speaking, those with touchscreens) and regular timepieces, with their physical hands and limited functionality.
Hybrid watches usually offer a traditional-looking face, but with an extra dial or two displaying information like steps taken, hours slept, battery life, and notifications from your smartphone, which connects via Bluetooth.
Your walking – plus running, cycling and sometimes even swimming – is tracked and logged by an onboard accelerometer, and some hybrids include a vibration motor so alert you to something on your phone, or wake you up with a silent alarm.
A major bonus of hybrid smartwatches is their battery life, which is measured in weeks, months or even years.
Some hybrids accept regular watch batteries, while others require recharging every few weeks – a world away from the daily top-ups required by an Apple Watch.
Finally, hybrid watches are often cheaper than their flashier cousins. Some start at half what Apple and Samsung charge.
How to buy a hybrid smartwatch
Unlike smartwatches, which often put their technology ahead of their aesthetics, hybrids look more like regular watches. This means there is a huge range of styles and sizes to choose from. You can even opt for a well-known Swiss brand like Mondaine and its Helvetica 1 hybrid, or the Hybrid Manufacturer by Frederique Constant.
At the other end of the price range we have Withings (which recently bought itself back from Nokia), producer of the Steel HR.
Most hybrid watches accept regular straps, so can easily be given a makeover to match your favourite outfits.
Some hybrid have heart rate monitors but some don’t, so if you want your watch to double as a personal trainer then you’ll need to bear this in mind. Similarly, some offer more fitness tracking features than others, some are water resistant to greater depths, and most sold by companies belonging to the Fossil Group have a very similar companion smartphone app. As do several Swiss hybrids and their shared MMT app.
The 10 best hybrid smartwatches
1. Withings Steel HR Sport
After two years at Nokia, Withings is back to doing its own thing
+Well priced+Fully-formed fitness tracker+Part of a health tech ecosystem -Uses your phone’s GPS – does not have its own
Safe to say, Withings has an interesting couple of years. The French health tech company was bought by Nokia and turned into the Finnish firm’s Nokia Health division in 2016. But, almost exactly two years later, Withings founder Eric Carreel bought his company back from Nokia, gave the entire product range its original name back, and launched the new Steel HR Sport.
An updated version of the (still on sale) Steel HR, the new Sport model is the most fitness focused wearable Withings currently sells.
The Withings Steel HR Sport features a heart rate monitor, is water resistant to 50 metres, and has a (rechargeable) battery life of up to 25 days. It also provides an estimate of your VO2 Max, the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilise during exercise, and can track up to 30 different forms of exercise, as well as your sleep.
Connected GPS (where the watch uses your phone’s GPS signal to plot its location) is used to track your runs and bike rides, and the Withings smartphone app can be used to combine data from the watch with data captured by other Withings devices, like smart scales and a sleep tracker.
Phone notifications, plus health data like your heart beat, is shown on the circular digital display, while the second dial keeps track of your daily step count.
(Image credit: Withings)
2. Withings Move ECG
Electrocardiogram on a budget, move aside Apple Watch
+Well priced+ECG function+Part of a broad health tech ecosystem -ECG comes at a large premium over standard Move
If you thought being able to take an electrocardiogram was limited to pricey and fully-fledged smartwatches from Apple and Samsung, then prepare to think again. The latest hybrid watch from Withings, the Move ECG, has the same function – but you could probably have worked that out from the name.
To make this possible, Withings has taken its entry-level Move hybrid smartwatch and added a metal bezel. Touching this with the thumb and index finger of one hand, while the metal caseback rests against the wrist of the other, creates a circuit.
Press the button, touch the bezel for 30 seconds, and the watch measures the electrical activity of your heart. This data is then sent to the Health Mate smartphone app for analysis, or for sending to your doctor is signs of atrial fibrillation are detected.
Available in black or white and with a range of silicon straps, the Withings Move ECG also tracks your walking, running, swimming and sleep, and vibrates to wake you up each morning.
3. Mondaine Helvetica 1
As attractive as the font it’s named after
+Clean and crisp design+Swiss made+Activity and sleep tracking -Smartphone app is fairly basic-No heart rate monitor
Mondaine is most famous for producing watches which resemble its classic Swiss railways clocks, but the Helvetica range is different – and it includes this, the company’s first hybrid smartwatch. The Helvetica 1 has a 44mm stainless steel case, with 20mm leather strap and a quartz movement.
Compatible with iOS and Android, the watch’s smart features include activity and sleep tracking, with data being sent to the companion smartphone app. There is also a second dial on the watch face to show how much of your daily step goal you have completed.
The Mondaine uses the same MMT smartphone app as hybrid watches made by Alpina and Frederique Constant, so there is detailed sleep data, an estimate of calories burned, and advice from the virtual coach. It isn’t a match for the fully-fledged smartwatch apps of Apple, Samsung and Google, but presents a nice set of extra features for buyers of traditional Swiss watches who want to dip their toes into the smartwatch waters.
4. Kronaby Sekel
Like a smartwatch in disguise
+Discrete smartness+IFTTT integration+Two-year battery life -Fairly expensive for a hybrid-Limited smart features-No heart rate monitor
Many hybrids look similar to regular watches, but we thing this Kronaby Steel 41mm is one which really keeps its smarts under wraps, thanks to its traditional face, strap, and buttons which to the untrained eye look like mere chronograph controls.
But scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find the technology. There is a battery which lasts up to two years, a vibration motor for alerting you to notifications on your phone and waking you up silently each morning, and of course a daily step count.
Additional features include a stopwatch and timer, a button which can be configured to control your phone’s camera, and even IFTTT (If This, Then That), so the watch’s location can be set to trigger smart home devices into life. For example, you could have your smart lights and coffee machine automatically switch on when you arrive home wearing this watch.
5. Garmin Vivomove HR Premium
The best of both worlds
+Good range of size and colour options+Constant heart monitoring+Touchscreen display subtly hidden beneath a traditional face -Battery life just five days with everything switched on
The Garmin Vivomove HR is one of the most comprehensive hybrid watches you can buy today, with a wide range of fitness- and health-tracking features, a subtle digital display, and several different colours to pick from.
This hybrid has key features like constant heart rate monitoring, the ability to estimate your VO2 Max and fitness age, and wellness monitoring tools which kick in and suggest you take a moment to breathe when showing signs of stress.
What makes the Vivomove HR stand out from the crowd is how it features a touchscreen display beneath its traditional hour and minute hands, giving you the best of both worlds.
(Image credit: Frederique Constant)
6. Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch
A true Swiss-made hybrid – but with a price tag to match
+Genuine Swiss-made quality+Long battery life+Technology is neatly hidden -Expensive-No GPS-No heart rate monitor
While hybrid watches are usually at the more affordable end of the scale, there are exceptions like this timepiece by Frederique Constant, for example.
Its smarts work in a similar way to other hybrids, in that an accelerometer tracks your steps, movement and sleep, then the data is sent to a smartphone app over Bluetooth. But this particular hybrid comes from a bona fide luxury Swiss watchmaker, with the design and build quality you would expect.
The Horological Smartwatch is powered by an MMT-285 quartz movement, which sits inside a 42mm stainless steel case that is protected by a convex sapphire crystal and water resistant to 5 ATM. Battery life is a claimed two years.
(Image credit: Garmin)
7. Garmin Vivomove 3S
A hybrid with a touch screen
+Range of designs to pick from+Small touch screen+GPS and heart rate monitor -Might be too small for some-Battery life will vary considerably with use
The Vivomove smartwatch range by Garmin includes no fewer than 15 different variants. Case sizes include 39, 42 and 44mm.
Much of the range are fully-fledges smartwatches with colour touch screen displays, but four are hybrids, with traditional hands and a small touch screen display at 6 o’clock for showing extra info and notifications.
Known as the Vivomore 3S, this hybrid is available in four different styles, all with a fairly compact 39mm case, and industry-standard straps. The display only appears when you need it, showing your step count, heart rate, hydration level and sleep score. There’s also integrated GPS, a feature for tracking your stress levels, and a five-day battery life. For a hybrid, that’s a huge range of features.
(Image credit: Skagen)
8. Skagen Holst
A smartwatch in disguise
+Cool Danish design+Technology almost completely hidden+Six-month battery life -Notification system can be confusing-Case thicker than it looks-No GPS
The beauty of most hybrid watches is how they hide their technology, and nowhere is that more apparent than with the Holst, by Danish watchmaker Skagen.
This smart and simple timepiece has a subtle 0-100 scale between the 7 o’clock and 9 o’clock, indicating the percentage of your daily step target you have completed. Just press a button, and the watch points to what you’ve achieved so far.
The Holst, which has a 40mm case diameter and is 13mm thick, also tracks your exercise and sleep, sending data back to your smartphone over a Bluetooth connection. Calls, texts and other notifications are buzzed through to the wearable, which vibrates and points its hands to alert you and say what type of notification it is. The watch runs off a standard CR2032 coin-cell battery, which is claimed to last around six months.
5. Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacturer
One for the Swiss watch aficionados
+Luxury watch made in Switzerland +Beautiful classic design+One for the watch geeks -Expensive for a hybrid-Smartphone app could be better-No heart rate monitor or GPS
The Hybrid Manufacturer by Frederique Constant is what happens when the traditional Swiss watch industry sits up and pays attention to Silicon Valley.
This is a traditional watch with the all-important Swiss-made automatic movement with seven-day power reserve, but with an accelerometer, processor and Bluetooth connection through into the bargain.
The two sides of the watch – Swiss and smart – work independently of each other, so the watch still keeps time even when its (USB-charged) battery runs out. There is step- and sleep-tracking, but also a section in the app for checking up on the accuracy and performance of the watch’s mechanical side, which is unique among the hybrids featured here.
(Image credit: Misfit)
6. Misfit Command
More of a good fit than a missfit, if we’re honest
+Range of colour options+One-year battery life+Step, sleep and fitness tracking -No heart rate monitor-No GPS
A stylish watch available in a range of different colours, the Misfit Command may have a confusing dial at first, but with use it all makes perfect sense. The second dial shows how much of your daily step target you have completed, while buttons can be configured to control a range of functions on your smartphone – like playing/pausing music playback, and take a photo.
As Misfit is owned by the Fossil Group, many of this watch’s functions are similar to those from other members of the group. This includes the smartphone app, and how the watch can be configured to alert you to certain types of notifications by pointing to icons on the face. Throw in water resistance to 50 metres and a year’s battery life, and the Misfit is a very capable – and good-looking – hybrid smartwatch.
7. Fossil Q Commuter
For breadth of choice, Fossil’s Q range is hard to beat
+Three buttons for controlling phone functions+Traditional good looks+One year battery life -Easy to drown in notifications-No heart rate monitor
Another member of the Fossil Group (obviously), the Q Commuter is one of many hybrid which together form the company’s Q range. They all work in very similar ways – and use the same app – so the only real choice to make is which design you prefer.
The 42mm Q Commuter takes a regular watch battery, which only needs replacing once a year, and much like the Misfit above there’s a second dial for tracking your daily step count and alerting you to a range of notifications. It’s also worth noting that Fossil Group hybrid watches work with iPhones and Android handsets.
Regarding this specific model of Q Commuter, we love the blue face and so-called luggage leather strap.
8. Alpina Seastrong Horological Smartwatch
A diving watch, only smarter
+Swiss movement+Classic diving watch design+Activity and sleep tracking -No heart rate monitor or GPS
The Seastrong Horological is another example of a Swiss watchmaker, in this case Alpina, rolling up its sleeves and trying its hand at something with added smarts. On the outside you have a traditional-looking watch with a 44mm fibreglass and stainless steel case, sapphire crystal, and rotating diver’s bezel.
But on the inside you’ll find Bluetooth and accelerometer for sharing activity-tracking data to the a smartphone app. There’s also sleep monitoring, notifications to alerts on your phone, dynamic alarms, and a ‘dynamic coach’ which provides health tips via the app.
As you may have guessed from its name, the Seastrong is water resistant to 100 meters, and the black rubber strap won’t be phased by swimming or diving. This watch also has an impressive four-year battery life.
9. Breitling Exospace B55 Connected
One for the adventurous…and well-heeled
+Quality Swiss brand+Unique set for features for your inner adventurer -Quite large-Limited smart functions
- Buy the Breitling Exospace B55 Connected from Goldsmiths
Yes, we know we said earlier that hybrid watches are generally cheaper than their smarter counterparts, but the hybrid sector is always where traditional watchmakers like to get involved. Hence this £5,000 hybrid from Breitling, which is made from titanium and carbon, measures a chunky 46mm across ans 15mm thick, and generally looks like something Sir Ben Ainslie would use on a yachting adventure.
There’s an electronic tachymeter, functions for recording flight and regatta times (it’s aimed at pilots and skippers, naturally), two LCD screens beneath the hour and minute hands, and Bluetooth for connecting to the companion smartphone app.
This watch – which, by the way, is designed to not interfere with night vision goggles – isn’t particularly smart in the Silicon Valley sense of the word, but instead uses its app for storing flight times and chronograph records, and setting how you’d like the watch to notify you of calls, texts and other phone alerts.
10. Skagen Hagen
+Stylish stainless steel case+Second dial for fitness tracking and notifications+Up to 12 months of battery life -No heart rate monitor-Notification support is limited
Purchased by Fossil in 2012 (yes, another one), Skagen is a Danish watch company which produces a wide range of hybrid timepieces. This model, the Hagen, features the familiar hybrid design of a second dial for step progress and notifications, plus three buttons for control your phone.
The Skagen Hagen uses a regular watch battery, has a 42mm stainless steel case which is 12mm thick, and uses regular 20mm straps which are easy to swop out when you fancy a change of style.
The watch is waterproof to 3 ATM and has a battery life of up to one year – although, as with all hybrids, this will vary depending on how much you use it and how many notifications you route through the watch from your phone.
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