Smartwatch and Fitness Tracker Reviews

1

Let's face it, the world of fitness trackers has sort of plateaued. Most people who want a fitness tracker already have one, and more than a few of us have old trackers shoved away in a drawer, useless because the charging cable mysteriously disappeared, or because the company who made it decided it didn't care anymore and killed the software (RIP Nike FuelBand).

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The smartwatch and fitness tracker markets might be in a race to the bottom, but that hasn't stopped Huawei, the Chinese phone maker, from tossing a watch-shaped tracker into the mix. It's an interesting tack for a company known primarily for its phones (and barely known at all in the US). If this thing takes off when it appears in Best Buy today, and other big box retailers later this year, then it's a whole new introduction to America for Huawei. And what a wonderful introduction at that. The Huawei Fit looks like the Pebble Round smartwatch, functions like a Fitbit Charge, and costs less than both.

2

I was very impressed with the Apple Watch Series 2. It added GPS and waterproofing and became a far more effective fitness tracking tool. But there's another new Apple Watch, and this one has even more sporting cred. Nike's take on the Apple Watch adds a fancy lightweight band and two exclusive watch faces, but is that a good enough reason to choose one over the equally priced regular Watch?

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My Apple Watch has taught me a lot of things. It's taught me that I can hit about 40km/h flat out on my cheap fixie bike before I run out of legs. It's taught me that my exercising heart rate is really kinda high and I should probably see a doctor. It's taught me that taking a minute out of each hour to walk around is really quite a good idea, but taking a minute to focus on my breathing just leaves me light-headed. Apple's newest and most fitness-focused wearable is, on paper, a small improvement from the original — but those improvements under the hood translate to a massive increase in usability.

10

After two years in the wilderness — so to speak — Fitbit has a replacement for its now-middle-aged Charge and Charge HR fitness trackers. The new Charge 2 adds GPS tracking for your workouts — although not built into the wristband itself — and a host of other fitness tracking software features, like a new Cardio Fitness Level metric for you to base your overall fitness on. The hardware has evolved, too, with a bigger screen and removable wrist straps. One of the best fitness trackers you could buy is now even better.

17

Samsung's Gear S3 is a small evolution from the Gear S2 announced exactly one year ago. The software is very similar, and the processing hardware hidden away inside the watch's casing is nearly identical as well. But small evolutions can still be significant, and the Gear S3 is the first Samsung smartwatch that I'd consider wearing for more than a couple of weeks at a time.

13

There's never been a better time to utilise technology for health and fitness purposes. Fitness trackers are, by far, the most common piece of wearable tech available, letting you track your movement and activity as you go about your business – and all you have to do is remember to charge it and put it on in the morning.

But the fact that they're so common is somewhat of a downside, since, as a consumer, it can be difficult sorting the good from the bad. How do you know which ones are actually worth going out and buying? That's why we took a look a seven of the latest trackers from big-name companies to work out which ones are worth getting your hands on.

1

Despite the name, smartwatches can be kind of dumb. Sure, they can do cool things, like control your music and put notifications on your wrist. But battery life woes and underwhelming platforms leave you questioning the real IQ of these supposedly "smart" devices. However, there is a road less travelled: an area unexplored by big tech giants, where people can revel in functioning wristputers without being stuck in a technological mire.

2

"For gamers, by gamers" is the kind of motto that sells liquid-cooled spec-obsessed towers, headsets, rumbling lounge chairs, and ergonomic mice with more buttons than a double-breasted suit. Razer, however, has these words stamped into the back of its wearable Nabu, which it'd like to remind us is not a smartwatch, but a watch with smart features.

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I woke up feeling a bit odd. I strapped on my Apple Watch, unlocked the iPhone, and then felt for my pulse on my right wrist. Soon I was in the hospital cardiac unit for observation and treatment.

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Smartwatches are subjected to many metaphors: "Smartphones on your wrist." Mmm, not quite. Maybe in a few more years. "A wearable computer." Depends on your definition of "computer." Better keep looking. "An extension of your smartphone." Now, that's an idea — one that Pebble has perfected with the Pebble Time Round

11

Keeping track of your steps or your heart rate might seem like a small thing, but it can contribute a lot to your overall health. One of the simplest ways to track your fitness — whether it's just by measuring the number of steps you take in a day, or whether it's monitoring your heart rate regularly, or whether it's tracking the distance and time and even the route of your runs or exercise bike journeys — is to buy a smart fitness tracker, one that syncs with your smartphone or tablet. These are the five best wireless trackers we've tested as of November 6, 2015.