Skip to main content
  • Fitbit Charge 4

  • Garmin Vívosmart 4

  • Fitbit Versa 3

  • How We Tested Fitness Trackers

  • Why We Didn’t Test for Data "Accuracy"

  • What’s Important in a Good Fitness Tracker

  • Other Fitness Trackers We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Enjoy

Our Favorite Fitness Trackers of 2021

  1. Product image of Fitbit Charge 4
    Best Overall

    Fitbit Charge 4

    Pros

    • Comprehensive activity tracking

    • Easy-to-use companion app

    • Comfortable to wear

    Cons

    • Unreliable heart rate monitoring

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Product image of Garmin Vívosmart 4
    Best Value

    Garmin Vívosmart 4

    Pros

    • Reliable fitness tracking

    • Very slim profile

    • A good value

    Cons

    • Sleep detail lacking

    • Less active community

    Skip to the full review below
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Fitbit Charge 4 is our favorite fitness tracker for getting a detailed look at your current habits and informing new ones.

Best Overall
Fitbit Charge 4

The Charge 4 is our hands-down favorite fitness tracker for its mix of good looks, easy-to-navigate device menus and companion app, long battery life, and plethora of activity- and sleep-tracking info.

The setup is a cinch for getting the device and app up and running. Once in use, the Charge 4 makes itself known, with hourly reminders to move and a 250-step countdown to hit before you sit back down. The Charge 4, like the other Fitbits and Garmins we tested, also automatically detects sustained activity, based on the movement patterns and heart-rate data the watch records, giving you credit for it in the app. Walks, runs, and bike rides especially are chronicled pretty accurately on the Fitbit app within a minute, plus or minus. (Though it’s not foolproof: a vigorous laundry folding session could give you credit for “sport.”) It's also water resistant up to 50 meters and provides swim tracking, so it's a great option if you want to record water workouts.

If you prefer not to rely on the device to automatically recognize your workouts, you can turn on an exercise mode, selecting from seven on the watch that you pre-set from about 15 options on the app. The Charge 4 has built-in GPS, as opposed to its predecessor’s “connected GPS,” which requires you to bring your connected smartphone along if you want mapping and more accurate paces for your walks, runs, and bike rides. The Charge 4’s GPS worked well on test runs and bike rides, recording distance measurements on par with the Garmin Forerunner 245 running watch against which we tested it. However, the Charge 4 has a small screen that’s hard to read in the sunlight and takes a split-second to wake up (and turns off almost as quickly), making it difficult, if not frustrating, to scope your stats mid-workout. For that reason, runners who want to eyeball their pace, distance, or duration as they run may want to consider a dedicated running watch instead.

Fitbit offers an extensive and active community centered around step-focused challenges, something that no other fitness-tracker company has had the same success replicating. Having a social aspect to help you set and meet goals can be a driving factor for sticking to your wellness plans, and the community is a selling point for Fitbit fans. In January 2021, Google completed its acquisition of Fitbit, raising privacy concerns regarding how the tech giant might use all health data accumulated from its vast network. On Fitbit's blog, CEO James Park wrote that Google made commitments with global regulators to confirm health and wellness data won’t be used for Google ads and this data will be kept separate from other Google ad data.

The Charge 4’s sleep tracking seems to record accurately and captured middle-of-night restlessness better than some other devices. It also allows you to peruse deeper data on resting heart rate (which seems accurate), and time spent in deep and REM sleep (without a sleep lab analysis, we can’t speak to that accuracy). It also records a Pulse Ox measurement during sleep, which could flag a dip in blood-oxygen level to bring to your doctor’s attention if you suspect you may suffer from sleep apnea.

Which brings up another point about accuracy—namely, that of the Charge 4’s optical heart rate monitor. As a rule, wrist-taken heart rate will never be as accurate to the second as data measured by a chest heart-rate strap by virtue of its distance from the heart. It is fine for tracking trends (such as keeping a record of average resting heart rate), but I’ve never had much success using it for measuring changes in exertion while training, and especially Fitbit’s technology. With the Charge 4, Fitbit unveiled heart rate zone training alerts, which can only be as useful as the data is accurate. Unfortunately, in our experience, it’s just not.

The Charge 4 offers some additional user-friendly health features, including a breathing activity for stress reduction, menstrual cycle tracking, a hydration log, and a food log with a searchable database of common foods. You can also access pay-to-play workout, meditation, and other wellness programs through the Premium app upgrade, at a cost of $9.99 per month.

Among the Charge 4’s smartphone features are notifications, which you can customize or turn off entirely if all that buzzing gets on your nerves. You may reply to texts from the watch using preset canned replies and emojis, but if you want voice-to-text to reply in your own words, you should consider a smartwatch. You can also use Fitbit Pay, which allows you to upload credit card information and make payments when you're on the go.

Unless you strongly desire a larger screen for its looks or readability, we think most people will prefer the smaller overall size of the Charge 4, particularly for sleeping, despite the compromise to the display. (But if you want fitness tracking in a larger-screened smartwatch, read on.)

Pros

  • Comprehensive activity tracking

  • Easy-to-use companion app

  • Comfortable to wear

Cons

  • Unreliable heart rate monitoring

Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Who'd have thought this tiny tracker could measure your every move?

Best Value
Garmin Vívosmart 4

We recommend the Garmin Vivosmart 4 for those who are just getting into fitness tracking, who prefer an even smaller band, or who want to spend a little less for a device.

This ultra-tiny tracker has a whole lot under the hood, including many of the goodies in the Fitbit Charge 4. These include hourly reminders to move, automatic activity and sleep tracking, and some smartphone notifications. What’s more, the Vivosmart 4’s automatic activity detection triggers an actual workout mode to begin once a preset number of minutes of walking or running is detected, which provides great feedback and is something Fitbits don’t do. As with Fitbit, the details of what is auto-recorded are pretty well buried in the Garmin Connect app, but the Vivosmart 4 also offers dedicated exercise modes—up to 11 that you preset in the device from the app—that you may turn on and off to deliberately record your workouts for greater detail and ‘credit’ in the Activity section of the app. The Vivosmart 4 has connected GPS for mapping and pace recording during walking, running, and biking activities, as long as you bring along your phone (this is a boon in the value category, as Fitbit’s Inspire 2 lacks any GPS at all).

Another feature that’s front-and-center for Vivosmart 4 is stress monitoring, for which the device uses heart rate variability (HRV) as physiological indication of increased agitation. HRV is the variation in the time between each heartbeat, and when it’s irregular, it’s a sign your body may be undergoing stress. Garmin takes measurements over the course of a day so you can see what activities may elevate your stress levels at a glance. Fitbit devices also measure HRV, but the Charge 4 doesn’t present the info front and center. (Instead, it’s included with a paid Fitbit Premium membership.)

On the downside, the Garmin sleep tracking overall isn’t as fine-tuned as Fitbit’s: In testing, the Vivosmart 4 would sometimes identify quiet resting or reading in bed as dozing, therefore inflating the sleep records. Garmins in general are also not designed to record naps as separate sleep events, which Fitbits do. The Vivosmart 4, like the Charge 4, takes a Pulse Ox measurement during sleep, as an indication of potential sleep problems you may want to bring to the attention of your doctor.

Other quibbles: Vivosmart 4 also estimates a “body battery” reading, which is supposed to give you an idea of your energy level, though we find it no more useful than a simple self-assessment of how you’re feeling. The Vivosmart 4’s smartphone notifications can be annoying, especially for iPhone users who cannot limit which apps send notifications from the phone to the wrist—it’s all or none. (Android notifications, however, may be customized in the app.) Finally, you also can’t reply to texts on the device itself, not even with canned replies.

The Garmin app, like Fitbit’s, includes menstrual tracking and hydration tracking and a partnership with MyFitnessPal for food tracking (which we think is better than Fitbit’s food logging, for what it’s worth). It also connects users in a community for challenges and social support, but Garmin’s community is nowhere near as robust as Fitbit’s in terms of general activity tracking. (It provides much better support for runners and other endurance athletes, who are Garmin’s bread and butter anyway.) Therefore, if you really want a budget-minded Fitbit, the Inspire 2 (more below) offers barebones activity tracking features and an entry key to the Fitbit universe.

Pros

  • Reliable fitness tracking

  • Very slim profile

  • A good value

Cons

  • Sleep detail lacking

  • Less active community

Related content

Credit: Reviewed / Amy Roberts

Among the Versa 3's great fitness tracking features: built-in GPS for recording runs.

Best Upgrade
Fitbit Versa 3

The Fitbit Versa 3 is not the most advanced smartwatch out there (that mantle falls to Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Active 2. Nor does it offer the most advanced health and fitness features (Apple Watch and Fitbit’s own Sense has it beat there). But for most people who want detailed, actionable activity tracking and who want handy smartwatch features in one reasonably priced package, we recommend you consider the Versa 3 over the others.

The Versa 3 is an upgraded version of the Versa 2, which we reviewed positively on its own merits when it first launched. Versa 3 bests its predecessor—and many competitors—all the way around.

For activity tracking, Versa 3 has all the great fitness and sleep features of our favorite tracker Charge 4, including built-in GPS for recording outdoor walks, runs, and bike rides. It also has an updated heart rate sensor (the first time in years Fitbit has improved this, also for the Sense watch), which supposedly is more accurate. (Wrist-based heart rate monitoring should never be taken as gospel, but the numbers it recorded seemed fine for general workout-exertion guidance, and better than Charge 4 tests. Either way, Fitbit’s three-zone heart rate scale leaves a lot o be desired. Versa 3 has a blood-oxygen sensor (like several other devices) and a skin-temperature sensor (less common), which it uses to inform sleep tracking. (Your skin temp naturally fluctuates overnight.)

Unfortunately, the advanced analysis in Fitbit’s “Health Metrics Dashboard” is kept behind a paywall in its Premium app. While six months of Premium access is currently included with the purchase of a new Versa 3, you have to pay $9.99 per month to keep it up—frankly, we don’t love Fitbit’s decision to make users spend more money for details about their health, tracked by the device they already paid for. (Sense has even more, er, sensors—and more data behind the paywall—which are among the reasons we recommend Versa 3 above it. Read more about Sense below.)

Still, what you get for free with Versa 3 is more than adequate to help inform changes and improve habits for better fitness and/or sleep quality. For example, you get the average temperature of your skin while you sleep (in relation to your average waking temp), but you can’t see a chart of how your temp fluctuated, or receive insights into why this matters, without the app upgrade. Premium users also get access to workout programs, guided meditations, and more, which could be worth the additional cost for you, independent of that “advanced” health data.

Something that may be worth an additional cost is upgrading the band. The one it comes with it is stiff, hot, and tough to close, but you can buy a much more comfortable woven fabric strap for $40.

Smartwatch-wise, Versa 3 has bothbuilt-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls and audible responses, and the ability to answer phone calls over Bluetooth. (Android users also get voice-to-text replies, which is a nice bonus.) Versa 3 also stores and plays music via Bluetooth to your own wireless headphones (like many other smart watches) (which you don’t get with Charge 4). Fitbit has “Fitbit Pay”, its version of Apple Pay) and an ever-expanding catalog of smartwatch apps, including Spotify, Strava, Starbucks … and that’s just ones that start with S. It’s not as expansive as what you’d get with Apple and watches built on Android, but plenty if you’re looking to dip your toes in using your watch in place of your phone.

The bottom line: If you want a smartwatch-featured, well-equipped activity tracker, Versa 3 offers a great option that’s not too pricey. If you must have a top-of-the-line smartwatch that also provides solid fitness tracking, Apple and Samsung are your better bets.

Pros

  • Reliable fitness tracking

  • Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant integration

  • Motivational community

Cons

  • Data access behind paywall

How We Tested Fitness Trackers

Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

All of the fitness trackers record bike riding. We pedaled around to see how well.

The Testers

I’m Sara Hendricks, the health and fitness editor at Reviewed. Before me, Amy Roberts, a managing editor at Reviewed who is also a multi-certified fitness pro, tested the trackers. I’m an all-around exercise enthusiast with a passion for moving around as much as I can (luckily, I have a job that often lets me run and bike on the clock). Both of us have a vested interest in providing product recommendations that actually get people moving and making better lifestyle choices, rather than encouraging them to buy into the latest faddish equipment that will end up collecting dust or shoved in the back of a drawer.

A fitness tracker can be that sort of good-idea purchase, provided it’s actually worn and the wearer gets on board with the idea that “step count” as a measure of activity level is a valuable motivator to get off their duffs and move more. (It’d be nice to turn the world into gym rats or marathoners, but committing to just moving more is the best gateway into fitness—the U.S. government agrees.

The Tests

We reviewed the trackers by wearing them and going about everyday life, much like you would when you first buy your own. We wore each 24 hours a day for several days, walking, sleeping, working out, and interacting with our wrists (and, often, smartphones by proxy). Along the way, we completed an extensive survey, rating everything from the setup to the comfort of the watches themselves to the ease of finding health data in the companion apps. If the watch had “smart” features like text notifications or built-in Amazon Alexa, we played around with those, too. We based our rankings on how easy and enjoyable the device was to use, wear, and integrate the information captured into improving one’s activity and sleep habits.

Why We Didn’t Test for Data "Accuracy"

In our years of covering the fitness tracker category, we’ve learned that data accuracy is not the most important attribute in evaluating these products. No matter how advanced the technology, the step count in a device worn on the wrist is simply not going to match the movements of the legs. (And vice versa—something like folding laundry could invariably max out your “steps.”) And that’s OK: As long as you make a concerted effort to improve your “step count” over time, the product is serving its purpose of getting you to move more. Well, unless you’re, say, a piano player (lots of hand movements) or someone who often pushes a stroller (minimal hand movements—in that case, your best bet is to move the tracker to your belt or pants pocket while you walk).

Further, while all of the devices we tested include heart rate monitoring, that data when accumulated from an extremity won’t be as good as what is captured by chest heart-rate strap. If you need to monitor your exertion by heart rate, you need a device that’s compatible with one of those.

What’s Important in a Good Fitness Tracker

Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Regardless of how much these devices cost (and the associated techie bells and whistles you may get by spending more), there are a few core attributes that are essential for worthwhile activity tracking. Namely:

  • Ease of use, both in navigating the device menus and finding your data on the app
  • A battery that doesn't need constant recharging and lasts long enough to track 24/7 for at least several days
  • Data that seems in sync with how much you walked, worked out, and slept—and that is consistent day to day and week to week in how it records that data
  • Adequate motivation, in the forms of: reminders to move and get ready for bed; workout modes that enhance recordings of exercise sessions; and opt-in challenges and/or an online community to keep you on track toward your goals

Other Fitness Trackers We Tested

Product image of Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (44mm)
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (44mm)

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is our pick for the best smartwatch for Android users. If you’re one of the tribe, likely co-sign. (Full disclosure, our tester’s Samsung phone ownership is likely why this watch ranked so well.)

As far as its fitness tracking goes, the Galaxy Active 2 offers much of the same functionality as you’d expect from an “advanced” device. This includes automatic sleep monitoring and activity detection, built-in GPS and heart rate monitoring, timed workout modes, and even some on-device coaching for specific workouts (with visual cueing on, say, how to perform a squat) and rep counting. That said, not all of the data records perfectly: On an easy run, it logged a max effort based on the heart rate detected, and one time the automatic cycling detection began a workout while driving a car. Still, as with most of these, what you get is good enough for providing a holistic look at your activity and homing in on areas where you could improve. The watch itself stores much more of the information than other similar devices, which is a boon because the ho-hum Samsung Health app leaves a lot to be desired.

As an Android smartwatch, the touchscreen display is beautiful to look at and easy to navigate, the UX is intuitive and customizable with many, many apps to choose from, and it worked seamlessly with a Samsung Galaxy S10e. It also stores and streams music, like most of its brethren. What’s more, the smartwatch capabilities are somewhat compatible with iOS, meaning that iPhone owners could also use this watch, but the Health data doesn’t sync (a huge negative if your aim is to track your fitness). Another major downside: crappy battery life. The watch required charges at least once a day during testing.

In September 2020, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 received FDA approval for its electrocardiogram (ECG) app. Most ECG machines—like the ones you’d see in a doctor’s office—attach to the body with nodes to record the electrical signals of the heart and detect arrhythmia or other irregularities. Samsung’s ECG app collects similar data when you take a seat, rest your arm on a flat surface, and put your fingertip on the top button. The app will then record an ECG and classify it as either Sinus Rhythm (regular heartbeat) or AFib (irregular heartbeat).

Using an app is not the same as using a medical device, so if you have a pre-existing heart condition or other concerns, check with your doctor. Still, if this aspect of the smartwatch interests you, you can think of it like most of its other metrics—not conclusive, but a good way to increase general awareness about your health.

Pros

  • Large display

  • Good battery life

  • In-depth fitness tracking

  • Advanced sensors

Cons

  • Limited third-party apps

  • Setup is tricky

Product image of Fitbit Luxe
Fitbit Luxe

The Luxe, Fitbit’s latest entry into its robust fitness tracker oeuvre, wraps a sleeker look around Fitbit’s admirable tracking, aiming to look like a piece of jewelry, with a slim design and a wide range of wristbands (sold separately) that you can switch in and out.

Still, it’s no slouch in the health and fitness department. The Luxe detected exercise within about a minute of starting out and displayed information on the watch one might want to see during exercise: heart rate, workout time, a calorie burn estimate, heart rate “zone,” and pace for walks and runs. Each one is displayed individually on the screen; you move to the next by tapping it.

It’s easy to start workouts on the wearable, too, by swiping over to the workout section on the watch, selecting the workout you want to do, and pressing play. There’s a limit to how many workouts you can start from the watch—Luxe lets you pick five exercise “shortcuts,” from a general “workout” option to more specific activities like tennis and Pilates—but the “workout” option felt suitable for almost any exercise.

The tracker promises five days of battery life and delivered six and a half—nothing to sneeze at, if not as good as the Charge 4’s seven days and less impressive than the Inspire’s 14 days. It looks sleek, too. We had the plain black version, which didn’t look quite like a piece of jewelry, but wasn’t an eyesore, either.

But the Luxe isn’t perfect. First, there’s the screen—like the rest of the device, it’s small, which usually didn’t mean compromising visibility or responsiveness for its size. However, that went out the window during high-intensity workouts. Then, heavy breathing and sweating meant that tapping through posed more of a challenge—it was too easy to swipe past the desired stat and have to cycle through each one to go back, or accidentally end the whole workout.

The sleep tracking felt accurate most of the time, but not always. It neglected to record at all some nights, and a few times, it detected super-early wakeup times that never happened.

Overall, the Luxe is a great tracker for someone who wants to keep tabs on their health without having a massive cuff on their wrist—if not for a more serious fitness buff who wants to see everything at once.

Pros

  • Sleek and lightweight

  • Great mix of health and wellness features

  • Easy to change wristband

Cons

  • Small screen

  • Sleep tracking isn’t always accurate

Product image of Fitbit Inspire 2
Fitbit Inspire 2

It may surprise you that the budget-minded, bare-bones Fitbit Inspire 2 (an upgraded version of the Inspire HR) landed so high on this list, but hear us out. If all you want is a simple, unobtrusive device as an entree into Fitbit’s world of counting steps, tracking sleep and improving habits, this is a $100 well spent. Once you look past its bland plasticky looks and monochrome display, you’ll find that the Inspire 2 offers an exceptional battery life—it claims “up to 10 days” but it lasted at least two weeks in tests—plus most of the tracking highlights of the Charge 4. This includes automatic activity and sleep recording, timed workout modes, basic heart rate data and, most importantly, access to Fitbit’s motivational community and well-designed app. What you won’t find: Any GPS functionality for recording outside activities. Curiously, Inspire 2 purchasers get a full year of access to Fitbit Premium’s deeper health insights and programming, double that of what you get with Fitbit’s smartwatches, and four times more than the paltry three months that comes with Charge 4. Still, looking at that with a positive spin, it makes Inspire 2 an even greater value.

Pros

  • All-day activity tracking

  • Detailed sleep data

  • Heart rate monitoring

Cons

  • Cheap, plasticky looks

  • No GPS

  • Useless smart features

Product image of Fitbit Sense
Fitbit Sense

Fitbit’s introduction of the Sense, touted as “its most advanced health smartwatch,” is admirable if only for the serious technology that went into it. The aim of Sense is to capture an even more holistic look at the wearer’s health and wellbeing, with a major emphasis on tracking stress in order to determine ways to better manage it. For this, the Sense includes an EDA (electrodermal activity) sensor—the first-ever on a wearable device (yes, even before Apple). The EDA on the Sense works from the touchscreen. When you place your opposite palm over it, it measures “small electrical changes in your sweat response” to ascertain your stress level. You can either take a 2-minute measurement to see where you are (during which time your stress level will likely quiet from when it begins) or you can use the EDA during a guided meditation. Fitbit offers 15 sessions on the app for free and the rest are (you guessed it) available with Premium. That said, if mindfulness and stress relief are big concerns of yours, this feature alone may be reason to shell out the bigger bucks for the Sense.

The other big addition to the Sense is an ECG app, which measures the electrical activity of the heart to detect irregular rhythms and recently received FDA approval. (Samsung Galaxy Active 2 and Apple Watch also have ECG apps.) Otherwise, its activity tracking and smartwatch features mirror those of Versa 3, as do the limitations on access to some of the data it collects, which Fitbit cordoned off with its Premium paywall. The good news here, though, is that Sense buyers who haven’t tried Premium in the past can get a six-month trial to see if all the extras make a difference to them.

Pros

  • Advanced activity tracking

  • Stress monitoring and meditation

  • FDA-approved ECG app

Cons

  • Some health data behind paywall

Product image of Apple Watch Series 6
Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch is the industry leader and our favorite smartwatch of them all, a distinction it earns for its plethora of apps and seamless integration with the iPhone. With each subsequent “series,” Apple has added more and more health and fitness features, and the Series 6 is the most feature-packed yet. In addition to automatic activity and sleep tracking, on-board GPS, wrist-based heart rate monitoring, and FDA-cleared ECG app, the Series 6 is the first Apple Watch with blood-oxygen tracking, all which put it on par with the other advanced fitness trackers in terms of what activity it tracks and how. (The exception is an EDA sensor for tracking stress, for which Fitbit beat ‘em to the punch with the Sense.)

One big reason to get an Apple Watch is the ability to use Apple Fitness+, Apple’s fitness app that requires Apple Watch ownership to use. It’s free for three months with purchase of a new Watch, free for a month for people who already have one, and $9.99 a month after that. When we tested Apple Fitness+, we loved the classes that range from HIIT to yoga to outdoor walks, how it integrates the stats the Watch records into each workout, and affordable cost of the app compared to others (well, once you get over the initial sticker shock of the Apple Watch itself).

A big issue with it—and what could be a challenge for a person whose primary interest is in activity tracking is the relatively steep learning curve of the device itself. There are three iPhone apps needed to make the most of Apple Watch (the Watch app for programming its settings, the Workout app for exercise data, and the Health app for all the other wellness-related data). There are also a lot of apps on the watch itself, and more than a dozen tiny icon tiles for accessing all its “smart” functions. New Apple users will find it most difficult, but anyone could feel lost in a sea of possibilities just trying to view your calendar or start a workout.

For someone dedicated to making the most of their shiny new purchase, the Apple Watch delivers in spades. But if you just want a capable fitness tracker with advanced health data acquisition, you simply don’t need to buy an Apple Watch.

Pros

  • Bright, always-on display

  • Great fitness tracking and sensors

  • Smooth, intuitive performance

Cons

  • Battery still average

  • No Android support

Product image of Samsung Galaxy Fit
Samsung Galaxy Fit

The premise of the Galaxy Fit should excite Samsung phone owners, especially because it touts “you won’t have to worry about disruptive battery discharge when tracking your activity”—a real problem with Samsung watches. All told, it did a fine job as a fitness tracker, but lacked in its “smart” features, such as the ability to reply to text messages, which (ironically) were responsible for the battery drain in the older models. And while the Galaxy Fit works with iOS, it’s a pain, requiring two apps—one, Galaxy Wearable, for pairing the device to the phone, and a second, Samsung Health, for parsing the activity data—and can be buggy at that.

Pros

  • Good basic fitness tracking

  • Slim profile

Cons

  • Requires two apps

  • Hard to set up

Product image of Garmin Vívoactive 4
Garmin Vívoactive 4

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is more a multisport watch than a fitness tracker. Its top attributes are the seemingly endless menu of fitness activity modes, its built-in GPS, and the access to free race-training programs via the Garmin app. It could make a good running watch, as long as you don’t mind navigating via its touchscreen, though a lot of runners hate those as a matter of course, as they can be too easily accidentally triggered. That said, its smartwatch features are limited (moreso for iPhone users than Android)—a shame, considering it has the nice looks and big screen you’d want from a smartwatch.

Pros

  • Unlimited sports workout modes

  • Comprehensive activity tracking

Cons

  • Touchscreen isn't ideal

  • Hard to navigate

  • Limited smartwatch features

Product image of Garmin Venu Sq
Garmin Venu Sq

The Garmin Venu Sq isn’t a terrible product—it’s just not as good as others on this list. It’s stocked with fitness features, like Garmin’s better-than-most GPS, and some smartwatch features, all of which together seem like a value for its lower-than-the-competition price. It had two big issues, however. It seemed to disconnect from a Samsung Galaxy S10e phone frequently, rendering moot its smart features (in particular, notifications). The touchscreen also occasionally lagged to respond and was hard to see in bright light conditions, say, when running (which kinda defeats the purpose of wearing a watch for said activity).

Pros

  • Packed with fitness features

  • On-board GPS

Cons

  • Finicky touchscreen

  • Unstable Bluetooth connection

Product image of Withings Pulse HR
Withings Pulse HR

Setting up the Withings Pulse HR was a bear on Android in particular: Syncing to the app kept failing on my Samsung Galaxy S10e and required restarting the whole setup process from scratch more than once. The Pulse HR worked well enough as an activity tracker, but just doesn’t measure up to the ease of use of others; it just feels like a low-rent Fitbit. The only major attribute it has going for it is the claimed 20-day battery life, more than double what others claim, though we didn’t do long-term battery tests to compare.

Pros

  • Adequate activity tracking

  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Inferior-seeming to Fitbit

  • Hard to set up

Meet the testers

Sara Hendricks

Sara Hendricks

Editor

@sarajhendricks

Sara Hendricks is an editor with Reviewed covering health and fitness.

See all of Sara Hendricks's reviews
Amy Roberts

Amy Roberts

Managing Editor, Lifestyle

@Amy3Ro

At Reviewed, Amy edits and writes articles on health, beauty, fitness, fashion, sleep, pets, and more.

See all of Amy Roberts's reviews

Checking our work.

Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.

Shoot us an email