Did you know that aside from the obvious fitness trackers and wearables, there are smartwatches that do the same thing just as well?
It’s true, and there’s actually a difference between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker, in case you weren’t aware.
A fitness tracker – like the Fitbit and Jawbone devices – is designed with a single purpose in mind, tracking fitness stats and information.
A smartwatch, on the other hand, can usually perform multiple functions like connect to a smartphone and display notifications, alerts and messages, browse the internet, play music and media and much more. Some of them also include fitness tracking hardware to monitor steps taken, calories burned, and information like that.
For example, the popular Apple Watch can handle basic fitness tracking alongside a whole slew of additional features.
It begs the question, where are some of these health and fitness smartwatches? More importantly, which ones are the best available? That’s exactly what we’re going to explore in this article.
The 5 Best Smartwatches for Health and Fitness
So, you’re ready to join the smartwatch crowd but you want to make sure you pick up something that can also track fitness and health information too? No problem!
We’re going to take a look at some of the best smartwatches for health and fitness that are currently available.
Let’s jump right in!
Please keep in mind, these are not ordered from best to worst.
5. Basis Peak
The Basis Peak is somewhat dated by now, but it’s still a great device. Clearly, it was designed to be more functional as a fitness tracker as opposed to looking great because it’s not the most attractive device.
The Peak made the list because it offers the best of both worlds; it is a fitness tracking device and a smartwatch all-in-one. It tracks data such as calories burned, steps taken, distance traveled, heart rate (without the need for a strap), and more.
What it offers over other fitness trackers is a deep insight into your exercise and sleeping habits. In turn, you can monitor nearly any health element you could imagine. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, and the device is water-resistant up to 3 ATM which means it’s okay to take for a swim.
Basic smartwatch features are also afforded, so you can receive notifications and alerts on a connected device, paired through Bluetooth, of course.
If you want the Peak, it’s about $200 at regular price, but since it’s an older watch you should be able to find it on sites like Amazon for less.
4. Samsung Gear S
Samsung has the most smartwatch models on the market when compared to other manufacturers, ranging from the original Galaxy Gear, to the new round-faced smartwatch that’s on the way.
However, the Samsung Gear S is one of the most health and fitness friendly watches in their arsenal. It’s powered by Samsung’s Tizen OS, which is different from Android Wear and Android, and it includes both 3G mobile connectivity and GPS tracking. The GPS support is relatively uncommon for smartwatches and means you can track your location even without a paired smartphone — that’s a pretty big deal for runners, cyclists, and other fitness enthusiasts.
At launch, the Gear S included a unique version of Nike’s + Running app. One of the prominent features is that you can play music, from the smartwatch without leaving the Nike app.
The device also includes 4GB of internal storage, which can be used to store local music for playback with the native music player. Other features include a compass, heart rate monitor, gyroscope, accelerometer, and a barometer; all of which are used to measure fitness and health data.
The Samsung Gear S sells for $299 retail.
3. Sony SmartWatch 3
The Sony SmartWatch 3 focuses more on the fitness and health tracking stuff, as opposed to the previous iteration which was designed to be a smartwatch first and foremost.
Most importantly, the SmartWatch 3 includes GPS support so you can track your runs without a smartphone connected. It’s even pre-installed with several Sony branded applications out of the box such as Sony’s LifeLog
It is powered by Android Wear, similar to the Moto 360, LG G watches and more. Plus, it has 4GB of internal storage for music and support wireless Bluetooth headphones.
With a waterproof rating of IP68, you can submerge it for up to 1 meter for about 30 minutes or so. It comes in several colors including black, brown, yellow, silver and leather brown.
The Sony SmartWatch 3 is about $249.99 retail and you can purchase it through Sony’s official site or via Google Play.
If that’s a little too much for your wallet, you could also go for the older Sony Smartwatch 2 for about $150 through Amazon.
2. LG G Watch R
Like the Sony SmartWatch 3, the LG G Watch R is also powered by Android Wear, but it packs a much more attractive round display. What earned the G Watch R a spot on the list is the great fitness and health features that you wouldn’t normally expect from a smartwatch. Out of the box, LG offers a few user-friendly health and fitness apps for tracking data and monitoring your stats. There is a ton of watch faces for fitness enthusiasts too, like the hiking face which displays steps that were taken, elevation and direction of travel like a compass.
The G Watch R includes other hardware like an accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, and compass. It can even track heart-rate with the integrated photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor.
Unlike the Samsung Gear S and Sony SmartWatch 3, the G Watch R does not include GPS. That means you’ll need to carry your phone and your watch if you want to track your run, bike or hiking session accurately.
Luckily, it does offer 4GB of internal storage and a native music player, so you can listen to hot beats while you exercise. There’s always the option to pair it up with a smartphone too, in order to access streaming and third-party music apps.
The LG G Watch R is $349.
1. Apple Watch
Appropriately named, the Apple Watch Sport is your best bet for an iOS and Apple flavored health and fitness wearable. The display is protected by Ion-X glass, and there is a great selection of multi-colored wristbands to choose from; meaning you can customize the look and style of the watch.
As for fitness tracking, the Apple Watch can monitor heart rate, movement, and activity — like steps taken, calories burned and more — and then spit out said data into Apple’s popular Health app. Need we mention the Health app is also available on the iPhone and iPad?
Don’t worry, if you prefer a different fitness app you can use those with the device too like Endomondo or Nike+ Running.
If you want to jam out to your favorite playlists, all you need to do is transfer the music from your iPhone and then you can tap in with a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones.
Of course, the Apple Watch is much more expensive than anything else on this list starting at $349 and jumping up higher depending on the features and model you choose. If you need help picking out an Apple Watch model, we have just the guide.
The Best Smartwatches for Health and Fitness That Didn’t Make the List
Not every smartwatch that’s available made the list, because we just don’t have room. That doesn’t mean we can’t offer a shout-out. There are some of the best smartwatches for health and fitness that didn’t make the list, yet deserve a mention:
- Adidas miCoach Smart Run
- Timex Ironman One GPS+
- Garmin Vivoactive
- Pebble, Pebble Steel, Pebble Time
- Microsoft Band
- Tommy WeLoop