11 Best Fitness Watches, Smarwatches and Activity Trackers for 2019 – Men’s health UK

Posted: October 4, 2019 at 9:42 am

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If you're a fan of health and fitness, it's fair to assume that it's only a matter of time before you invest in your first (or next) smartwatch or activity tracker. As you know, however, most watches can come at a bit of pinch...

Brands like Apple, Samsung, Garmin, Fitbit, Suunto, Moov and Huawei have been making waves on the wearable scene for some time now, each offering devices that can transform your health, fitness and sleep, while making day-to-day activities like shopping and travelling significantly easier. They're pretty stylish, too.

Of course, as the price point goes up, so do the features that become available. You can buy basic step counters and activity trackers for around 50, but as you move north of 100 and into triple-digits, things get significantly more interesting. Features like GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, music, customisable workouts and purchasing functionality become unlocked; and everyone from triathletes to powerlifters and yogis to cyclists can reap in the benefits. Use our guide, below, to identify everything you need to know about the features and price points you need.

Every fitness watch or activity worth its salt will come with an in-built step counter as standard. While smartphones come with a pedometer as part of their health offering, a smartwatch with a step counter will offer more reliable results as you don't always carry your phone with you. If you're inactive, devices such as Fitbit and the Apple Watch use incentives and prizes to help you get more active just being upping your step count.

As you'll see in our list below, some smartwatches and activity trackers come with a built-in GPS chips and other, generally cheaper models, won't. The benefits of having a GPS chip in your activity watch include improved location accuracy, alongside distance and elevation it's particularly useful if you're a runner, cyclist or swimmer, but less so if you're sticking to the gym or opting for stationary cardio.

(Related: Which Fitbit will work for my training?)

Some devices, like the Apple Watch, come with an option to use GPS tracking when you carry your smartphone. It's useful, yes, but can quickly become cumbersome if your running or cycling gear lacks a stowaway option for your fit tech. Cheaper devices rely on an accelerometer for measuring, but can quickly become inaccurate, especially if you're running or cycling in built-up urban areas.

Monitoring your heart rate during a workout is one of the most effective ways to make sure you're getting the most from your training. The majority of smartwatches and activity trackers will record your heart rate, however the rate at which it's recorded (outside of workout tracking) can vary from device to device.

(Related: The Ultimate Guide to Gym Wear for Men)

It's not all about your fitness or calorie-burn, though. In 30 seconds and using two fingers, measuring your resting heart rate (RHR) the number of beats every 60 seconds at rest is a reliable way of checking your heart health. Your RHR will also give an indication as to where your VO2 Max (a measure of your fitness) is. The heart rate monitoring won't be as accurate as a chest strap, but it's certainly handy helping you identify your work rate and how hard you're working.

When it comes to your fitness, sleep can be both your best friend and your worst enemy. It can transform your energy, testosterone, mental health and much more. But, when neglected, things can quickly get detrimental. Accompanying smartphone apps, connected and fed through data from your watch, can read your bedtime and sleep routine. Similarly, it can advise going to bed earlier, to take a nap or increase the rate at which you exercise. As you know, there's only so much you can do to get better sleep and unlike dedicating yourself to more workouts in a weekly basis you'll have to rely on sleep schedule reminders and in-app suggestions to start making nocturnal gains.

The cornerstone of any good smartwatch, activity tracker or fitness device, the ability to track workouts can become invaluable. The function isn't just for runners, either. Most watches offer functionalities for weightlifting, functional workouts, yoga, swimming, hiking, treadmill work, HIIT, walking, open water swimming and rowing.

(Related: The Best Apple Watch 5 Deals for 2019)

You'll get metrics on total calorie burn, accompanying heart rate information, workout duration and distance travelled. Plus, many sports watches and smartwatches will help build customisable workouts, keeping you diligent during your rest periods and helping you work towards a certain HR range, distance or pace. These features can be particularly handy if you struggle to stay honest (we all do it) to prescribed rest:work periods.

When it comes to playing and listening to music on your sports watch or activity tracker, things can get a little complicated. To be able to play music without your smartphone, you'll need to have a watch that can connect to 4G on its own using a network on a 4G mobile SIM. For streaming services, functionality varies between watches Fitbit runs Deezer, Apple Watch runs Apple Music and Samsung, Garmin and Android watches will stream Spotify. For each, you'll need a premium account.

The majority of smartwatches will now be water-resistant, meaning that you needn't worry about taking a shower or going out in the rain when wearing one. Avid swimmers and triathletes, however, will need to make their choice more carefully as not all watches offer swim tracking nor are totally waterproof.

Always forgetting your wallet and constantly rummaging around for change? Some smartwatches such as Apple Watch, Samsung and Garmin can support near field communication (NFC) payments from major high street banks, just like your smartphone.

(Related: 6 of Our Favourite Bluetooth Speakers)

With all of this in mind, Men's Health has scoured the annals of the internet to find a handful of smartwatches, sports watches and activity trackers that you'll want to consider if you're in the market for some new tech. Strap in.

1AppleWatch Series4 (GPS+Cellular, 40mm)


If money is no object, then the Apple WatchSeries 4 could be one for you. The fitness functions are incredibly in-depth, syncing with your iPhone and offering workouts from rowing to weightlifting andto American Football to functional fitness. Probably one of the most subtle watches out there, too.

2Samsung Galaxy Watch Active


The direct rival of the Apple Watch, Samsung's Galaxy Watch Active isone of the best at automatically tracking six different exercises, including walking, running and cycling.

3Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch


The GarminVivoactive 3shows notifications from your phone andsuited to those who want a great fitness tracker with a handful of smart features (some of the best tested, in fact). Its tracking is accurate and it can even calculate your VO2 max. The Vivoactive 3 also recognises when you start exercising and can be used for swimming.

4Huawei TalkBand B5-1.13


At a quarter of the price of the Apple Watch, this is a much more entry-level activity tracker.TheHuawei TalkBand B5 lasts for around three-and-a-half days, and uses 'scientific sleep tracking' for you to get a handle on your nocturnal habits, measuringlight sleep, deep sleep, REM stage and 'wakefulness'.

5Fitbit Versa Smart Fitness Watch


Fitbit's Versa smartwatch doesn't come with GPS compatibility, but can connect and track workouts through your smartphone's GPS. It also streams music, displays notifications and can be used for NFC payments. Features over 15 exercise modes andtracks your heart rate all day.

6Fitbit Charge 3 Advanced Fitness Tracker


Stylish and understated, Fitbit's Charge doesn't come with an integrated GPS, but can track distance through your smartphone and use Fitbit pay for NFC payments. Swim-proof and water resistant to 50 metres, it also has a seven day battery life. For your fitness, you can track your workouts, calorie burn, step count and more. If you forget to hit 'go', the Charge 3 will automatically register that you're exercising anyway.

7Huawei Band 2 Pro Fitness Wristband Activity Tracker


The cheapest activity tracker on our list, Huawei'sBand 2 is not to be sniffed at, with 21 days of use in a single charge.It can measure yourheart rate, calories burn, distance, speed, pace, VO2 max, training effect, recovery time and much more, alongside 'Scientific Sleep Tracking' to measure light, deep and REM sleep.

8Apple Watch Series 3


Sure, it's two models behind now, but Apples third iteration of its game-changing smartwatch remains an incredible piece of tech. It features anoptical heart sensor, adual-core processor and awireless chip. With GPS and cellular capability, it can be paired with Apple Airpods and featuresabarometric altimeter to help measure outdoor workouts. It also debuted Apple'snew and enhanced workout watch app.

9Fenix 5S Sapphire Multisport GPS Watch


From skiing and snowboarding to running and paddlesports, the Fenix 5S, while pricey, can track almosteveryworkout. It's waterproof up t0 100m and comes withroute planning and tracking, electronic compass, barometer andaltimeter functions. The Fenix5S also helps identify your current level of fitness, while advising on sleep and rest to help avoid injury.

10Suunto 3 Fitness Watch 3 Fitness Watch


A next-level activity tracker and smartwatch, the Suunto 3 cancreate an 'Adaptive Training Guidance' plan for you, a seven-day training guide that works to your goals and considers yourcurrent fitness levels and training history.The Suunto 3 also tracks your daily steps and calorie burn and gives a sleep summary and insight into your stress and rest patterns.

11Moov Now Multi-Sport Fitness Tracker & Audio Coach


At first, it may look like an ankle tag, but Moov's new fitness tracker is rapidly gaining popularity in fitness circles and not just because of its attractive price tag. The battery life, for example, is six months and the Moov watch comes with an audio coach to help you get the most out of your workouts. It's water, dirt and sweat proof, too.

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11 Best Fitness Watches, Smarwatches and Activity Trackers for 2019 - Men's health UK

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October 4th, 2019 at 9:42 am

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