Tossing up between a smartwatch or fitness tracker? Depending on your individual needs and goals, both devices have their advantages, with differences in features, size and battery life. Regardless of whether you’re trying to be more active, or are trying to improve specific metrics, there’s a device for you.
Smartwatches combine both lifestyle and fitness elements into one device, making them great for both activity tracking and staying connected. Some smartwatches act as an extension of your phone, with the ability to text, answer calls and control your phone when in proximity to your phone. Cellular options are also being released that operate independently of a phone like the Apple Watch Series 5 & 6 and the Samsung LTE.
When it comes to activity functions, most smartwatches are built with practical features like reminders to be active throughout the day, sleep and heart-rate tracking, workout tracking and are swim or showerproof. Both contactless payment and varying forms of stress management are now common – the Fitbit Sense and Garmin vivoactive 3 both feature stress tracking/management while the Fitbit Versa 3 and Apple Watches offer guided breathing advice.
GPS watches can also be very useful, essentially more specialised smartwatches with an emphasis on activity and offer greater accuracy for distance and pace. You can buy a GPS watch for a specific purpose or activity or you can now purchase smartwatches that have a GPS mode.
Smartwatches are the larger option as they feature a clock face, but you can choose between a range of sizes depending on the device. The Fitbit Versa 2 and Garmin Lily are both good options for a slimmer option, with the Garmin Lily measuring 34.5mm, in contrast, the Garmin Fenix 6x Pro measures 51mm.
The battery life of a smartwatch can vary greatly depending on use and settings, with some lasting up to 7 days in smartwatch mode, but up to 14 hours in GPS mode. While others, like the Apple Watch, will need daily top-ups.
Fitness trackers are less focused on connectivity features. For example, you won’t be able to take a phone call with an activity tracker but will be notified when you receive a text. Fitness tracker baseline features include step, distance, sleep and heart-rate tracking as well as calories burned. They also include motivational reminders, call and text notifications and they are waterproof.
Despite this, more devices are incorporating additional features, the Fitbit Luxe has daily stress management while the Fitbit Charge 4 has contactless payment.
Fitness trackers are more slimline, making them the better option for those that don’t like watches or find them uncomfortable while working out.
Activity trackers on average have better battery life, ranging anywhere between 5-10 days. However, some options, like the Garmin vivofit 4, can last up to a year on a single charge.
Depending on your needs, both smartwatches and fitness trackers have their advantages, check out our range online!