Some fitness trackers can even be used to pay for groceries, play music, answer texts, and much more. But with so many devices, choosing one of the best fitness trackers or fitness watches for your needs can be tricky.
If you're looking for a tracker that looks beautiful against your wrist, is easy to read in the bright sunlight and has some impressive features for the price tag, this is a good buy. Also, if you're using a Fitbit Charge 3 or older, the upgrade is worth it for the color screen alone. If you want to save money, the Fitbit Charge 4 was the best fitness tracker before the Charge 5 was released, and is likely to be on sale.
The Fitbit Sense 2 is the company's top-shelf smartwatch that comes with more advanced health and wellness features that the Versa line. During our testing, we found that the Fitbit Sense 2 helped us gain a better overall view of our overall health.
As one of the best fitness trackers, the Sense 2 works with both iOS and Android, and comes with on-board GPS, a native app store, Alexa and more. No longer is Fitbit just a brand with products for tracking our steps: Fitbit devices like the Fitbit Sense 2 make for excellent smartwatches, too.
Garmin makes the best sports watches you can buy, and the Forerunner 265 is one of our favorites. The newly launched mid-range Garmin running watch has a bright, beautiful AMOLED screen, which is easy to see, even in direct sunlight.
The Garmin Venu 2 was already a stellar fitness-tracking smartwatch, but it got a massive improvement this year with the Garmin Venu 2 Plus. With the latest version of the Venu line, Garmin added voice assistants and on-voice calls to keep up with some of it's biggest competitors. The result The smartwatch just got even smarter.
While still having 25 different workout modes and all of the run-tracking features you've come to expect from Garmin, during testing, we found the Venu 2 Plus also gives you the ability to store up to 650 songs on the watch, make and answer calls from your wrist, and summon Siri or Google Assistant.
Whether you've got a Samsung phone or not, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is an impressive piece of kit for anyone looking to keep track of their health from their wrist. There's a 3-in-1 health sensor for measuring heart rate, taking ECGs and reading body composition - in fact, it's the first major smartwatch to offer bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), to help you manage your health goals.
Even if you're not interested in your body composition, the watch has all you need to track your daily activities, as well as automatic workout-tracking for when you forget to press start. During testing, we found the downside with this watch is the battery life, which we found didn't last the full 40 hours Samsung suggests with GPS and activity tracking on, but unless you're heading out for an ultramarathon, you shouldn't let this put you off.
The watch has 14 different quick-start workout modes, which include running, cycling, walking, and strength training, plus you have the option to add new workouts in the Workout app. It added Tai Chi and automatic outdoor cycling tracking this year, meaning it can detect when you've hopped on your bike and enable a workout. The cycling algorithm has also been adjusted to accommodate metrics for the best electric bikes, which are less strenuous to ride than regular bikes.
If, however, you plan to do more outdoor activities, such as running or biking, you may want a fitness tracker with built-in GPS, so you can more accurately see where you're going, and where you went. Dedicated runners and athletes will want to check out our best GPS watches page, too.
Many of the best smartwatches have fitness-tracking capabilities, too, and have additional features such as responding to text messages and paying for purchases. But there are trade-offs. However, smartwatches as a whole tend to be more expensive and have shorter battery life than dedicated fitness trackers.
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The Charge line has consistently reached the top of our rankings, and the Charge 5 (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is no exception. Last year's iteration introduced softer lines, a bright AMOLED screen, and almost every sensor you could want, from stress scans to electrocardiograms. Like the Apple Watch does with iPhones, the Charge 5 fast-pairs to Android phones and has both onboard and connected GPS so you can track outdoor workouts without a hitch. It also now has an FDA-cleared feature to detect atrial fibrillation, via Fitbit's new Heart Rhythm Notifications feature. The major downside is that you do still have to pay $10 per month, or $80 per year, for a Fitbit Premium subscription to access most of Fitbit's best features. Fitbit is also now owned by Google, which might deter you. All in all, the hardware is still less expensive and easier to use than others on this list.
Picking a fitness tracker often means taking the proprietary software into consideration, as well as the hardware. Fitbit's app is really easy to use, but I also like Garmin's Connect, which I have found to be one of the most comprehensive digital health apps. If you discover that you like running, for example, it integrates easily with Strava. Unlike Fitbit, Garmin doesn't paywall most of its best features behind a premium subscription.
That makes Garmin's entry-level smartwatch my top pick for a first fitness tracker, especially since it doesn't look particularly sporty. It comes in a variety of colors and resembles an analog watch. Simply swipe along the bottom half of the touchscreen to log activities and check notifications. Not only can you track workouts, but you can also monitor your sleep and heart rate and check a few other of Garmin's proprietary algorithms, like your Body Battery, or how ready you are for the day. It's worth noting that most people get a Garmin because it is GPS-enabled, and the Vivomove Sport only uses connected GPS from your phone. For more Garmin suggestions, check out our Best Garmin Watches guide.
If all you want is a simple health tracker that will track your steps and your sleep and let you know when someone is calling, the internet's marketplace is awash in knockoffs of this fitness tracker. For $80, you might as well get the original instead. This year, Fitbit released the latest version of its hugely popular Inspire, which thankfully (in my opinion) does not use Wear OS. Instead, it continues to use Fitbit's clear and easy Fitbit app, has a pedometer and tracks SpO2 and sleep, and comes with a wide array of watch faces and accessories.
For years, I was convinced that no running watch would ever beat a Garmin. That changed when I tried the Coros Pace 2 (8/10, WIRED Recommends), which is now my favorite. It's unbelievably light, and the battery lasts for weeks between charges, which is a feature you won't find in any other watch on this list. It also integrates with Strava for mapping your runs and rides, and it uses the same multi-system satellite positioning system as Garmin to trace your route.
Samsung's new Galaxy Watch5 (7/10, WIRED Recommends) is the comfiest Wear OS smartwatch out there. It comes in 40- and 44-mm sizes and runs the latest version of Wear OS 3, meaning you get access to Google Maps' turn-by-turn navigation and Google Assistant, plus the best of Samsung's health features, including SpO2 measurements, auto-workout detection, sleep tracking, and an electrocardiogram. It's great for checking notifications and responding to them, too.
Like the Apple Watch, don't expect to go for days on a single charge. WIRED reviews editor Julian Chokkattu says he usually had to charge it after a day and a half. Unfortunately, this watch only works with Android phones, and ECG tracking is limited to Samsung phones (as is blood pressure monitoring, but that's not available in the US yet anyway). If you want a bigger watch that's just a bit more rugged, try the pricey Galaxy Watch5 Pro ($500), which has better battery life, has GPX support, and is made of more durable materials. Alternatively, if you want to save some cash, you can snag last year's Galaxy Watch4, which is still a great watch.
However, the Pixel is a notably beautiful watch and the heart of the fitness tracking experience is Fitbit's, which means that the data itself is very accurate and empowering (you will still have to pay for a Fitbit Premium subscription). Also, more features will be unrolling through 2023. If you've been waiting with bated breath for a Wear OS watch, this might be it.
This year, Garmin released two high-end adventure watches: the Epix ($1,000) and this year's update to the Fenix series, the Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar (8/10, WIRED Recommends). The Epix has a 47-mm case and a large, brilliant AMOLED screen; the Fenix has a memory-in-pixel (MIP) display. However, the Epix's case is huge, and the display eats up a lot of battery. I'd go with the Fenix instead.
The tracking is as accurate as the Apple Watch Ultra's, but Coros' training plans and metrics in their proprietary training system, EvoLab, are as detailed and helpful as Garmin's. The plans are also clearly aimed at more experienced runners, although there are a few for beginners. I also like the big grooved buttons, the fact that the screen locks, and the startlingly wide variety of watch faces.
This year, Apple introduced a completely new type of Apple Watch: the Ultra (8/10, WIRED Recommends), a rugged sports watch intended for endurance athletes. The 2.5-day battery life seems mediocre, but here is a secret that few runners, cyclists, or skiers will admit: Not all of us are Jenny Graham. Most of us are all too happy to enjoy a day out before coming home to a pork shoulder roast and a shower.
Iif you have an iPhone and have access to an outlet, then the Apple Watch Ultra is the best outdoor watch for you. It's been certified to the MIL-STD-810H standard for military equipment, so it won't die when it gets too hot, cold, or dusty. It's made from aerospace-grade titanium with a flat sapphire crystal display, with a host of specialized navigation features, like a new hybrid analog-digital compass; Backtrack, to find your way back to the trail if you've become disoriented; and Waypoints, to track points of interest. It has a precision dual-frequency GPS system to ensure your running stats are accurate in a crowded city marathon, and three built-in microphones with special wind-reduction algorithms so you can take work calls from the top of the lift. 59ce067264