When smartwatches first came onto the tech scene, many users were excited about the idea of wearing the James Bond-worthy, high-tech devices that could take calls, respond to text messages, organize schedules and browse the web. While those functions are still important, today’s best smartwatches have also morphed into mini health hubs. If you know someone who’s a fitness tracker loyalist, you’ve probably heard the common refrain of "Hold on — I need to get my steps in" or watched someone do laps around the office in order to hit a movement goal.
As an outsider in the world of high-tech fitness pedometers, it might have seemed a bit odd, but with the COVID-19 pandemic keeping us inside and making regular fitness routines more difficult or at least less accessible, you might be starting to finally feel the urge to get in on the trend. After all, health trackers are a great way to hold yourself accountable to your movement goals, monitor your sleeping habits and do so much more. We’ve taken the first step by spotlighting the best of the best so you can find a smartwatch that’s tailored to meet your lifestyle needs.
Fitbit Versa 2
Unlike other Fitbits, the Fitbit Versa 2 is a fitness smartwatch, meaning it could easily replace the Apple Watch-shaped void in your life. On the fitness end, we love the 15+ goal-based exercises (and real-time stats) programmed into the Versa 2 as well as its personalized guided breathing exercises. However, if you’re already attached to your current, non-Fitbit smartwatch, the Versa 2 is definitely a premium health and fitness tracker first and a smartwatch second, so you may want to weigh your options.
In September 2020, the Fitbit Sense replaced the Fitbit Ionic. And it did so in style — just look at that beautiful full-color display! Without a doubt, the Sense can replace whatever smartwatch you’re currently using, and for many of us, minimizing the number of devices we use daily can be a great boon. Unlike other models, this one also gives you some options when it comes to selecting a virtual assistant: Both Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa are ready to help.
Apple Watch Series 3
Without a doubt, Apple’s answer to the smartwatch is kind of the shorthand for all smartwatches in the same way Google and Zoom have become stand-in terms for search engines and video-conferencing platforms, respectively. As a smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 3 is a wonderful, top-of-the-line investment, but it does fall a little short in a few areas that may be most important to folks looking for a fitness tracker.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2
In terms of great smartwatches, it’s hard to top the comments that reviewers made about the Samsung Galaxy series smartwatches. The latest Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 pairs with both Android and iOS phones — some companies can play nicely with others, cough cough — and can last for around five days on a single battery charge. The long-lasting battery isn’t the watch’s only advantage, though. In fact, Samsung is where top-notch quality meets a great price point, and while it isn’t a "budget" watch, it offers the perfect balance for those looking to make an investment.
Fitbit Charge 4
Dubbed Fitbit’s "most advanced" tracker, the Fitbit Charge 4 is probably our favorite option, all things considered. While it may not have all of the bells and whistles that Fitbit’s smartwatches offer (or that smartwatches offer in general), it does have a plethora of features that can help you take your health and fitness goals even further. Unlike so many other Fitbits, the Charge 4 features the ever-elusive built-in GPS, which allows avid runners and cyclists to account for their pace and distance more effectively.
Garmin Forerunner 35
When you hear the name Garmin, you likely associate the brand with the first wave of successful GPS devices. Needless to say, one of the Garmin Forerunner 35 smartwatch’s best features is its easy-to-use GPS, which tracks how far, how fast and where you run. Surprisingly, not every Fitbit model is equipped with a (quality) GPS, so if that’s important to you, Garmin may be the way to go.
Letsfit Smart Watch
Just looking for something that doesn’t break the bank? The Letsfit Smart Watch is one of the best budget smartwatches out there, coming in at under $50. The smartwatch features are somewhat limited, but the essentials, like receiving text and social media notifications, are all there. Plus, with great battery life, a wide range of smartphone compatibility and the brand’s own Letsfit app, this device is certainly worth every penny.