Best-in-class heart rate tracking let down by a crummy companion app
Back in 1982, a small Finnish start-up called Polar Electro released the first consumer-grade, wireless heart rate tracker. It was one of the earliest wearable fitness devices on the market. By the 1990s, it had created not just software to analyze the data its heart rate monitors were producing, but software that could detect heart rate variability and software to help users target specific heart rate zones.
It might not work with Android, but Apple continues to place its claim on my wrist
Allow me to let you in on a little secret. Despite the fact that my position as the Phones Editor of an Android-focused website means I'm almost always carrying an Android phone (or two, or three) in my pockets, my wrist is usually adorned with an Apple Watch. After more than half a decade across three different Android wearables — dating back to the first-gen Moto 360 — I first picked up the Apple Watch Series 5 in 2020, finally giving in after Google seem bored with its own platform.
The second-gen Epix Pro brings some welcomed changes
Garmin is one of the most respected names in the fitness tracking space, and that's a reputation that the company has earned through years of creating some of the best smartwatches out there for tracking your progress and achieving your goals. There's no shortage of options when it comes to the best Garmin smartwatches, but picking the right one for your personal goals can sometimes be as simple as which one you happen to like the most.
A bit on the pricey side for an entry-level tracker, but it's got all the goods to get you started
Fitbit has been with us since 2009, when it brought the world of fitness tracking to the general public for the reasonable price of $100. Since then (and particularly since the Apple Watch in 2015), the market for smartwatches and fitness trackers has exploded bringing a staggering diversity of choices to the public. Despite this abundance, Fitbit’s current $100 offering, the Inspire 3, is still one of the better fitness trackers you can buy today.
Call it boring, but it’s still the best Android smartwatch, hands down
The tech industry’s 2023 can be sufficiently summed up in one word: iterative. Refining what’s already good, adding small tweaks, but no total overhauls or revolutionary changes — with the possible exception of the Moto Razr+. Samsung has been leading this charge, with the biggest product changes we’ve seen this year being a bigger Galaxy Z Flip 5 cover screen, and one small but so significant change to the Galaxy Watch 6 series. And no, it’s not the return of the fancy rotating bezel on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic.
Mostly minor improvements from the Watch 5, but a fan-favorite feature returns
Back in 2021, after years of stagnation, Samsung and Google jointly kicked off a sort of relaunch of Wear OS with the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. The watches were both Samsung's first to run on Wear OS and the first watches from any manufacturer to feature the redesigned Wear OS 3. With great performance and exciting new software, the wearables were a hit.
The TicWatch Pro 5 offers great performance and battery life, but it's not without its flaws
The past couple of years have been equal parts exciting and frustrating for Wear OS fans. While Samsung’s Wear OS-based Galaxy Watches and Google’s Pixel Watch have breathed new life into the platform, options from other players have stagnated, offering late and incomplete updates to the modern Wear OS 3.
The third-gen Oura Ring is good at what it does, but it starts at $300
In the decade or so they've existed, smart rings haven't experienced the same explosion in popularity as other wearable tech — size constraints make developing good smart rings to sell at reasonable prices a tall order. Oura's been making smart rings since 2015, and the Oura Ring, now in its third iteration, is one of the most refined and popular options today.
The Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition favors style over substance, which leads to shortcomings as a smartwatch
When I think about the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition, I remember an old Top Gear episode. Jeremy Clarkson was reviewing the first all-electric Mercedes SLS supercar. It was an absolute monster, capable of producing 739HP and a top speed of 155MPH. There was only one catch: battery life. The Mercedes could only sustain that performance for less than 10 miles before needing to charge.
Classic design with modern features
The best smartwatches tend to share some common traits, such as a large display, software customization, fitness tracking, and various apps. To carve out a niche, Withings has chosen to go in an entirely different direction with the ScanWatch. Withings designed a striking and classically designed timepiece offering a wide range of health-tracking features.
A classic watch design with modern smartwatch features
Hybrid smartwatches are a wonderful fusion of an analog watch design blended with current technology, giving them a unique feel. Fossil's latest smartwatch, the Gen 6 Wellness Edition Hybrid, attempts to marry old and new to carve out a piece of the smartwatch world dominated by watches like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.
Whoop is great for runners and swimmers, but if your workout regimen includes weightlifting, it's not worth the price
It doesn't need to be the start of January for you to work on new fitness goals. Although your local gym is currently raking in the profits, getting out of the house and pushing yourself harder than ever before doesn't require a New Year's Resolution. All it takes is a plan and a little bit of drive — and thankfully, modern fitness trackers are more than capable of delivering both.
Solid hardware, but this just isn't worth $200
The Amazfit GTS 4 is a strange device. At a retail price of $200, the tracker is positioned as an upper midrange option, competing not only against scores of trackers from market leaders like Fitbit, but also fully-fledged smartwatches. I really like some things about the GTS 4: it’s got an attractive (if familiar) design, and its display is lovely and vibrant. But in the ever more crowded fitness wearable space, that’s probably not enough to justify the GTS 4’s existence, let alone its price.
The Garmin Forerunner 255S Music is a smartwatch focused more on getting you fit and ready for whatever exercise goals you want to achieve
Garmin makes smartwatches for the most active crowd, and goal-oriented runners might find that the Forerunner 255S Music is the right tool to stay on track. This isn’t the kind of wearable you strap on for leisure or the most basic movements — it's built for training, and Garmin thinks demanding runners will feel empowered with every step.
This small and mighty fitness tracker nearly does it all
I love having endless stats about the mundane and fitness-filled moments of my daily life. Sometimes, they're just interesting; other times, they help me improve my fitness — or, at the very least, give me a data-driven way to feel better about the progress that I might not actually see, but what the little device anchored on my wrist has deduced. The Fitbit Luxe is the company's smallest wrist-anchored fitness tracker.
You don't have to be a marathon runner to benefit from Apple's chunky, flagship watch
It shouldn't come as a shock that most of us here at Android Police are using Android smartphones and rocking Wear OS watches. Even so, we like to keep an eye on what's happening across the industry — including in Apple country. To that end, we wanted to give Apple's newest, flashiest wearable a spin.
Cheap fitness bands have come a long way
These days, fitness trackers come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. All Android smartwatches support some fitness tracking features, but many dedicated fitness trackers are best paired with health and fitness apps. One of the most successful lineups is the Xiaomi Mi Band series, and this year the Smart Band 6 earned the crown of best affordable fitness tracker.
High-end styling with a price to match
I've never been entirely sure what I should expect out of the Pixel Watch. On the one hand, it's a first-generation product from a company that's never made a smartwatch before. Growing pains can be expected. But at the same time, that company is Google, the zillion-dollar behemoth behind Wear OS and Android on the whole, that's been building some of our favorite phones and smart speakers for years now.
This fitness tracker has no business costing $300 in 2022
Fitbit’s more feature-rich fitness trackers are in a weird spot right now. With Google’s Pixel Watch sporting Fitbit integration, the prospect of a high-end Fitbit wearable with more limited software is starting to feel a little dubious.
The Halo View is a budget fitness tracker that feels lightweight and performs like it until you tap into the resources waiting in the Halo app
With the Halo View, it seems Amazon literally wanted to show you what its fitness tracking can do. Considering the company's previous tracker, the Halo Band — a device without a screen like the Fitbit-style View — it's likely that the goal here was a more traditional tracker with a more affordable price.