Updated December 30, 2022
A decade ago calculating the distance you rode, ran, or walked required a good old fashioned map, or perhaps, a cycling computer. Now days fitness enthusiasts or data junkies can get most of the information they desire from a device worn on their wrist.
The devices below have all be tested on the trail and have definite strengths and weaknesses. Here are our recommendations for fitness trackers and smart watches
Fitness Tracker – Most Affordable
The Charge is a slim, lightweight option that can track heart rate, sleep, calories burned, distance, steps, and GPS activity for around $100. While the Inspire is not a full blown smartwatch, it does offer notifications for calls, texts, and calendar events so long as your phone is nearby. Fitbit also has one of the best apps in the business which makes ingesting all those health stats a snap!
Fitness Tracker – Most Robust
Garmin has been in the fitness wearable business longer than anybody. They are known for rugged, and recently, handsome designs. The Fenix is a large, powerful device capable of compiling all the data you would expect but with the benefit of a more traditional watch like design and the ability to track your GPS route without your phone. Garmin Connect, while not as user friendly as fitbit, is a highly polished companion app that can track all the stats you desire. Battery life clocks in at 14 days in watch mode, an amazing 28 days in GPS activity mode.
Fitness Watch – Easiest to Use
This device tracks all the metrics your standard fitness tracker will but also adds a full responsive color touchscreen. If you do not have an iPhone, this is one of the prettiest options available. As for fitness tracking, Samsung Health makes a good effort, but falls behind in features and usability when compared to its rivals. Battery life is an acceptable at best, 2 – 3 days.
Fitness Watch – Most Robust
When Apple first launched their watch fitness was a bit of an afterthought. Over the years Apple has improved their offerings to their top tier Ultra. The Apple Health app still lags behind Fitbit and Garmin in many ways, however, is quickly gaining ground and in some areas outperforms. Battery life is improved but lags behind Garmin at 36 hours.
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