Are you ready for a fitness tracker or smartwatch? As with purchasing a new technology gadget, you should carefully consider your options when purchasing a fitness tracker or smartwatch. If you’re in the market for a wearable device, you’ll find many options from different companies with a variety of features and trade-offs. Here are the most important factors to consider when buying a fitness tracker or smartwatch.
1. Form factor
Unlike smartwatches, which tend to follow a few basic design conventions, fitness trackers come in a variety of shapes and forms. You can wear some on your wrist, while others are clip-on devices or even rings that you can wear on a finger. Still, most fitness trackers on the market are worn on the wrist.
You can choose one form factor over the other just based on your preferences, but each has its pros and cons. A clip-on or ring might be a good alternative if you don’t like wearing a device on your wrist, but it might be easier to lose than a watch that’s strapped on.
On the other hand, wearables in the form of bracelets or watches are practical and difficult to lose, but they can feel uncomfortable or even interfere with your other activities when worn for a long period of time. If you prefer to wear the device on your wrist, a smartwatch is usually more stylish and can complement your outfit.
At first glance, fitness trackers can be a lot cheaper than smartwatches. This is usually due to the different functions and priorities. First of all, a smartwatch is a wearable device with a similar form factor as a regular wristwatch. Connectivity, sensors and computer intelligence are just some of the aspects that set them apart from regular wristwatches.
Smartwatches can measure various fitness and health factors and on top of that they offer you a convenient interface to interact with your smartphone. Aside from the robust functionality, they are also generally aesthetically pleasing.
Fitness trackers are typically more limited, but that’s a feature, not a problem. Fitness trackers are designed to be simple, robust, and good at collecting data. Fitness trackers have their pros and cons, but their focus on practicality makes many of them cheaper than smartwatches. If you are on a tight budget, you should consider a fitness tracker.
3. Tracking Capabilities
Companies equip these wearable devices with a variety of different sensors. In general, the more sensors a device has, the better, as you can measure different factors. Wearables can track your heart rate, body temperature, walking steps, movement speed, blood oxygen, sleep, and more. Therefore, you need to know your needs before you can determine which device is your best option.
Why buy a tracking device? Maybe you want help with your weight loss or a device to promote effective exercise. Maybe you want to take a set of steps each day or track your hydration. Depending on your goal, you need to prioritize certain tracking skills over others. The skills included should be those that align with your goals.
For example, if you want to track your steps, you don’t need to buy an all-round device like the Apple Watch Series 7 or Fitbit Charge 5. It’s probably not worth the high price. In fact, you might not want to buy a fitness tracker or smartwatch because your phone is likely already capable of what you need.
Because you depend on your tracking device to inform different areas of your life, it should be able to provide accurate readings. Unfortunately, smartwatches and fitness trackers are not medically certified devices, so don’t expect 100 percent accuracy.
Fitbit’s safety information states, “Unless otherwise noted, Fitbit products and services are not medical devices and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” The company adds that the accuracy of its Products are not designed to match those of medical devices or scientific measurements.
The same applies to other tracking devices. However, you can try looking for scientific reviews of different tracking devices to see how accurate they are compared to medical devices. Sometimes companies also provide this information, although it is often found deep in user manuals or online documentation.
5. Battery life
A tracking device should be your daily companion. For that, it should have excellent battery life, and luckily most of them do. In general, smartwatches tend to have lower battery life compared to dedicated fitness trackers.
The main reason for this is often the brighter displays with better display technology. Many fitness trackers can last up to two weeks, while smartwatches trade longer battery life for expanded features and better displays.
A good smartwatch should last a few more days before it runs out of juice. But the more features you use (including apps, notifications, sensors, and complications), the more your battery will drain. Before you afford a tracking device, check online reviews for actual battery life.
6. Water resistance
Water resistance is just as important when buying a smartwatch or fitness tracker. The good news is that many are increasingly out-of-the-box with this feature. For example, Fitbit Charge 5 and Xiaomi Mi Band 6 offer water resistance to a depth of 50 m (about 164 feet). Levels of water resistance vary by model, so check the specs for each device you’re considering.
And don’t confuse splash protection with water resistance. Splashproof devices should not be submerged in water. For safety, make sure it can withstand water for a long period of time without damage. The dust resistance available on the Apple Watch Series 7 is also a plus.
7. Comfortable fit
One of the ways to get the most out of your fitness tracker is to make sure it fits you well. A tight fit can also ensure your tracker provides more accurate readings. An all-day activity tracker should be comfortable since you will be wearing your device most of the time. In addition, it should be comfortable to wear while sleeping.
How to choose a fitness tracker or smartwatch that suits your needs
In order to find a suitable device, you must first of all consider your needs. What exactly do you want to achieve with your purchase? Once you know your goal, the next question is whether you need a smartwatch or a fitness tracker. As mentioned earlier, smartwatches are generally more expensive but sturdier than most fitness trackers.
If you don’t care about the many additional functions of a smartwatch, it’s better to use a fitness tracker. If you want all the bells and whistles and are willing to treat yourself, then go for a smartwatch.