Over the last few years I’ve reviewed several fitness trackers and smartwatches. My first tracker was the Samsung Gear Fit and I became intrigued with the technology knowing that it would only improve in time and it has and continues to.
That Gear Fit helped me lose about 50 pounds and more importantly made me much more aware of my physical health which I had been neglecting for a number of years. I’m still intrigued by the technology and still testing new fitness trackers and below is a list of ones that I would personally recommend. Most of them I have reviewed myself and others I have researched well to feel confident recommending.
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Entry Level / Budget Friendly Fitness Trackers
Lintelek Fitness Tracker – While not a household name, this has been a popular choice for those with basic fitness tracking needs (step counting, sleep tracking, heart rate) and wanting or needing a more affordable option. It packs quite a few features, especially considering the price. It has 14 sports modes, connected GPS through the app, step tracking, heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking. It’s very easy to use and a good entry level tracker. And it’s affordable enough to buy one for yourself and your spouse or kid(s).
Amazfit Bip – This is a popular choice for those wanting to spend less than $100 and still have built-in GPS. The Bip also has a transflective display which means it looks terrific in bright sunlight. It also has a long lasting battery. This is a watch that you won’t have to charge often.
FitVII GPS Smartwatch – New in 2019 is the FitVII GPS Smartwatch that has become a personal favorite of mine. It packs a lot of features for its price, looks great (in my opinion), has an accurate heart rate sensor and like the Amazfit Bip has built-in GPS for less than $100. While I found a few bugs with it I came away with a positive impression.
Mid-Priced Fitness Trackers
Now we’re getting into more of the brand name fitness trackers you’ve probably heard of. Many of these are in the $120-$200 price range and some more sophisticated features and/or just greater compatibility with other apps like MyFitnessPal (a popular calorie counting app that helped me lose the weight along with my fitness tracker), Apple Health, Google Fit, etc. Of course, the most popular fitness trackers are from Fitbit but Garmin and Samsung also have good options.
The Fitbit Charge, and its various editions, is probably still the most popular fitness tracker in America. The Charge 3 tested out very well for me for heart rate accuracy and reliable connected GPS. Connected GPS means that you’ll need to have the tracker connected to your phone with Bluetooth in order to get GPS distance estimates. So, you’ll need to bring your phone with you for your outdoor activities. Built-in GPS, as the name suggests, is built in to the fitness tracker and it doesn’t use the GPS from your smartphone. Fitbit also does sleep tracking better than anyone in my tests. This is a very good option for those that prefer the Fitbit brand and that traditional bracelet style fitness tracker.
The Fitbit Versa is still a personal favorite of mine. Who can resist a watchface like that? Not me! The Versa has received quite a few software updates since its 2018 launch and has improved. This is Fitbit’s answer to the Apple Watch. Apps can be downloaded and added to the Versa. Of course, it doesn’t support nearly as many apps as the Apple Watch but more will surely be added over time.
While I ran into some bugs with the Versa early on, it’s the one watch that I receive the most comments about when I’m wearing it. The heart rate sensor tested well and it probably tested about the best for step tracking of anything I’ve tested. I had problems with the connected GPS and syncing but both of those issues have improved with updates. Hopefully, Fitbit continues to iron out the wrinkles because I’m still rooting for the Versa to be a good Apple Watch alternative in the future.
Garmin Vivoactive 3 | Vivoactive 3 Music
Garmin’s Vivoactive series is their popular multi-sport watch with a more traditional round watch look to it. Featuring built-in GPS, a transflective display for great outdoor viewing, and more activity metrics than Fitbit, Garmin is a popular choice with fitness enthusiasts for both the gym and outdoor sports. There are two version of the Vivoactive 3 – one doesn’t include music storage and the other does, hence the different names. Spotify is supported on the music version which has long been a wish list item for runners and others.
Samsung Galaxy Active
The Samsung Galaxy Active offers more smartwatch features than the previous trackers mentioned so far but has some terrific fitness tracking features as well. It has a classier, more traditional watch look and size, built-in GPS, automatic workout detection, support for Spotify and other apps. If you have a Samsung smartphone you will get the most from it including the ability to respond to text messages. It’s also compatible with iPhones, although you won’t be able to respond to text messages, but you’ll be able to enjoy many of the features it has to offer. The heart rate sensor and GPS tested out very well and it’s definitely one of the better looking watches I’ve reviewed.