There are a swathe of wrist-based fitness trackers out these days, but which one should you choose? We’ve rounded up the best four smart watches for your fitness needs to help you choose.
The Sony SmartWatch isn’t so much a smart watch, as that tag implies intelligence. No, the SmartWatch is more of a disappointment than anything. It promises to be watch filled to the brim with music, messages, and call data it pulls from your Android phone via Bluetooth, but it winds up being nothing but a convoluted mess.
There are some fitness apps you can load on there, and it works in tandem with your Android handset when you go to listen to music or answer calls via an additional Bluetooth headset, but the SmartWatch is nothing more than a glorified Android remote you wear on your wrist.
Garmin Forerunner 10
The Forerunner is pitched squarely at the beginner. Someone who knows they need to run but need a bit of motivation and encouragement. Someone who might get a bit of a boost about how many calories they burned on that last run or how fast they’re going when running for the bus, that sort of thing.
The Forerunner does provide an analysis of your specs via Garmin Connect by showing you all the fancy numbers you need as well as the routes you’ve taken, and at just over 40 grams, it’s absurdly comfortable to wear. You might end up wearing it all day, every day.
It’s still a beginners device, though, so those looking for something more hardcore — perhaps for a triathlon or even serious training — might want to look elsewhere.
Nike+ SportWatch GPS powered by TomTom
TomTom aren’t mugs at this whole navigation game, and when it comes to fitness, you can’t go past Nike. The SportWatch combines the best of the two and lets fitness junkies track their speed, pace, calories burned and their personal records. All in all, it’s not that different from any other fitness-focussed smart watch currently on the market. The only difference you might enjoy is the connectivity to external heart rate monitors and the ability to connect to an the Nike+ shoe sensor you still don’t know quite what to do with.
Your data can also be synced to Nike+ online via the nifty USB plug concealed underneath the watchband, which means stat junkies can get their numbers on in a suite they probably already use.
Garmin Fēnix GPS Watch
The Fēnix has it all. Not only is it endowed with a frankly enormous LCD screen the size of a 50 cent piece, it features a on-board GPS unit that tells you your position, a compass, altimeter and barometer and wireless connectivity that lets you connect with everything from external heart rate monitors and temperature gauges, right through to an app to share routes and markers with friends. You can mark up to 1000 waypoints to share with friends, and if you get lost, you can backtrack with the help of the Fēnix to find your way back to civilisation. No Hollywood blockbuster for you wannabe Aaron Ralstons. It’s waterproof, hardy, comfortable to wear and the battery won’t let you down when you’re out on the trail.
It’s a little pricey at $449, and because of the Fenix’s slight bulk and the bevy of features you probably won’t use everyday unless you’re Bear Grylls, you probably won’t wear the Fēnix around-the-clock. This makes it somewhat of a luxury accessory for hikers, bikers, campers, hunters and skiiers, but it’s not something I’d want to leave base camp without in future.