Whether you walk, jog, run or swim to keep fit (or all of these), there’s a smartwatch out there for you. Now we know what you’re probably thinking - that your fitness band does a good enough job at tracking your activity – but with a display and in-built apps, the additional functionality a smartwatch offers is well worth the outlay.
So to help you choose the right fitness smartwatch for you, here’s our pick of the top ten health and fitness smartwatches in 2017. So you know you’re not wasting your time, all of the watches on this list have GPS and are rated to, at a minimum, IP67. So without further ado, here’s our list of the best fitness smartwatches:
Apple Watch Nike+
The Apple Watch Nike+ is the latest smartwatch born from a long-running collaboration between Apple and Nike, which has produced some great fitness devices over the years.
The Apple Watch Nike+ is based on the Apple Watch Sport 2, so it has an anodized aluminum case available in Space Grey or Silver, and it stands out from the Sport thanks to a unique Nike Sport Band which is available in seven different colors.
This smartwatch connects you to your fellow runners through Nike+ Run Club, a fitness platform that’s available through the iTunes store. On the Watch Nike+, the Nike+ Run Club is built into the core so this is what you’ll be using to log your runs. As with the Watch Sport, the Watch Nike+ has GPS to track your runs accurately.
LG Watch Sport
If you are after a premium-feeling fitness smartwatch but you don’t want an Apple Watch, then the LG Watch Sport is a fantastic alternative.
With its 1.38” P-OLED round display and stainless-steel case, the LG Watch Sport is stylish and wonderful to use. Like the best Android Wear fitness smartwatches, it has GPS to track your runs and uses Android Fit to display information related to all your activity.
For iPhone users, the LG Watch Sport isn’t as feature-rich as the Apple Watch Nike+ because it doesn’t support iMessage. But for Android users, this device is a better choice since it hooks up to Google Assistant so you can set alarms using your voice. This smartwatch also has NFC and LTE, so you can use Android Pay and online features from anywhere.
The Polar M600 is what you’d imagine a fitness smartwatch to look like. It’s chunky and rugged, and it packs in all the features the best fitness smartwatches have.
For instance, it runs Android Wear, has GPS for tracking your runs and works with both iOS and Android devices. Polar has also gone to great lengths to design their own coaching and tracking software, which goes against what other Android Wear manufactures have done.
The Polar M600’s gym-friendly design consists of a silicone strap and a square watch which has a touchscreen display. There’s a physical button on the side that activates the activity tracking app, so you don’t have to navigate the touchscreen with sweaty hands, and the app itself is intuitive and information-rich, with lots to offer runners and gym-goers.
Garmin Forerunner 735XT
The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is an outstanding fitness smartwatch, and especially so for runners and those of you who like to cycle and swim.
Unlike the Apple Watch Nike+ and Android Wear devices on our list, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT offers up in-depth data as you train and compete. For instance, it measures your heart rate as you compete and records advanced metrics to help you push yourself.
Those advanced metrics include VO2 max estimates, lactate thresholds, race predictors and a recovery advisor based on what you have done. Supported activities include walking, running, cycling, swimming and triathlon. The 735XT isn’t all about fitness though - it also offers smartphone notifications, and you can customize the device with free watch faces.
TomTom Spark 3
The TomTom Spark 3 is a keenly priced, feature-rich fitness smartwatch that’s extremely comfortable to wear and covers the fitness tracking basics well.
A replacement for the original TomTom Spark, the Spark 3 has built-in GPS and maps your runs accurately. Because it’s from TomTom, the Spark also offers the unique ability to guide you back to your starting point should you become lost.
The TomTom Spark 3 has an optical heart rate monitor, and although it doesn’t have a touchscreen, the four-way control pad is easy to use. The monochrome display is also easy to read outdoors and the design is basic but effective. This smartwatch also has a compass, so it’s suitable for explorers, and you can sync and share your routes online through Strava.
If you enjoy action sports where an Apple Watch wouldn’t last five minutes, consider the Casio WSD-F10 with U.S. military certification MIL-STD-810 and GPS. This certification means that the WSD-F10 can withstand extreme temperatures and temperature changes, humidity, vibration and shock at levels way beyond smartwatches with IP67 or IP68 ratings. And the best part is, the Casio WSD-f10 is a damn fine smartwatch overall.
The WSD-10 has a rugged aluminium case and a 1.32-inch TFT LCD display with a resolution of 320 x 300 pixels. Uniquely, that display sits below a semi-transparent monochrome LCD screen. This two-layer setup means you can enjoy smart features without eating into your battery life. Speaking of which, the battery life can stretch to a whole month in Time mode or it will last you two days in Smart mode.
The WSD-F10 also comes preinstalled with a wide range of fitness-inspired Casio-developed apps, including fishing, trekking, running and swimming apps and the watch automatically senses what sport you are partaking in so you get detailed information once synced with a smartphone. In terms of compatibility, the Casio is compatible with Android devices running 4.3 or later and iOS devices running version 8.2 or later and the Android Wear experience is a smooth one. Apps open very quickly and navigating menus is super-smooth.
Moto 360 Sport
The Moto 360 Sport is the unsung hero of the 360 range. Launched this year, this is Motorola’s first fitness smartwatch and it’s a cracker. It has GPS and it boasts an IP67 rating making is dustproof and waterproof. The design itself is a rugged one with the aluminium case covered with a protective layer of silicone. As a result the Sport feels really comfortable on the wrist and like the Casio mentioned above, the Sport has neat screen technology.
Motorola calls the display an ‘AnyLight’ display, which is a fancy name used to describe a display that adapts to lighting conditions. The display automatically switches between full LCD and monochrome so that it’s readable in all conditions. It works extremely well too and it also preserves battery life. The screen measures 1.37-inches and with a 360 x 325 pixel resolution it delivers a crisp user experience.
As you would expect, the Moto 360 Sport has sensors aplenty. There’s an optical heart rate sensor, an accelerometer and gyroscope and GPS crammed into its sleek case. It runs its own fitness apps (or you can download any you like from the Play Store) and it will work with Fitbit, MapMyRun and Under Armour Record apps. The Sport is compatible with iOS and Android devices and it will last you two days on a single charge.
Sony SmartWatch 3 SWR50
With built-in GPS and 4GB of memory, the Sony SmartWatch 3 will track your walks, jogs and runs without the aid of a smartphone and it’ll store all your music and stream it to your wireless headphones through Bluetooth. The best part? It has fallen in price considerably in the last few months and it’s also incredibly well made and stylish.
The Sony SmartWatch 3 has been designed for urban lifestyles so it’s both fitness capable and good looking. It has GPS and an in-built compass for your adventures and an accelerometer and gyroscope which combined automatically sense whether you are walking or running to provide accurate activity data. The SmartWatch 3 also has in-built Wi-Fi so you can interact with apps on your smartwatch rather than on your smartphone or tablet.
To boost its ruggedness, Sony has also launched a range of silicone straps that engulf the sides of the aluminium or stainless steel case. These straps add additional protection to the case which houses a 1.6-inch 320 x 320 transflective display. The display is a good unit with accurate colour reproduction and solid viewing angles. The Sony SmartWatch 3 runs Android Wear and it is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
Think fitness band, think Fitbit. This has been the case for a few years now, and Fitbit are hoping to get the same brand recognition with their first smartwatch, the Blaze. The Fitbit Blaze was launched this year in 2016 and it is definitely one of the best fitness smartwatches on the market thanks to a wide range of useful features.
The Blaze has plenty of sensors including a 3-axis accelerometer, ambient light sensor and vibration motor, optical heart rate monitor and altimeter. It also has GPS built in and you can connect this to your smartphone or tablet computer to get detailed activity information. A stand out feature of this watch is its battery life, which is five days with normal use – and that’s with active alerts on. We think that that’s really rather good.
The Blaze isn’t as stylish or as nice to wear as the Moto 360 Sport, however. It has a chunky octagon-shaped case that doesn’t look particularly fresh and the 1.25” display with 240 x 180 resolution isn’t exactly cutting edge. What the Fitbit does though it does well, and the Fitbit-designed apps for running, biking and other sports are very intuitive and nice to use.
The Garmin Vivoactive is a lesser known smartwatch that offers some really neat features and technologies, including GPS and a 3-week battery life in watch/activity tracking mode – so if you are looking to replace your fitness band with a smartwatch, the Vivoactive is ideal.
The Vivoactive has a range of built-in sports apps including running, biking, swimming, golfing and walking apps and with GPS it will track all your activity. There are two ways to use this watch; you can either open an app to get detailed activity information in real-time or you can set the watch up in watch/activity tracking mode and have it track your steps and calculate your calorie burn. This watch also boasts a built-in accelerometer and cadence trackers. It doesn’t have a heart rate sensor though – but it can be paired with one of Garmin’s heart rate monitors, which is a decent compromise.
The display is a 1.13” 205 x 148 pixel unit. It’s admittedly a very basic display compared to the competition, however you get fantastic battery life in return. In GPS mode, the watch will last 10 hours, but it has the potential to last up to 3-weeks in activity tracking mode. Use the features on an off/on basis, and you will easily get a week from it.