Smartwatch vs. fitness tracker – which one should you invest in?

Written by Henry Young. Posted in Gadgets

These days, you don’t have to be a tech wiz or subscribe to dozens of blogs to know that the future of tech is all about wearables. Gadgets that took up an entire room in the 1980s are now so small they can fit in your pocket or substitute for a watch. Futuristic as they may have seemed one decade ago, smartwatches and fitness trackers are here to stay and you can find great options at reasonable prices. Whether you want to be more active, stay connected or simply get your hands on the coolest wearable, both smartwatches and fitness trackers make great investments. But, if you had to choose only one, which would it be? Here are some basic facts you should know about each and what aspects should you keep in mind before making a purchase.

When should you buy a fitness tracker?

New year, new me? If one of your NY resolutions is to step up your fitness game and overall health, fitness trackers are for you:

1.You’re focused on your health only

The features of fitness trackers focus only on your health: counting your steps, telling you your active time, monitoring sleeping patterns, measuring your heart rate and more. Studies have shown that wearing a fitness tracker helps the wearer stay motivated and achieve their goals faster. If the only thing you want from your wearable device is to improve your health and you’re not interested in other features such as reading notifications or replying to calls and emails, then the fitness tracker is the wiser choice.

2.You don’t want to worry about battery life

Smartwatches are a great invention but, just like smartphones, they can have an unreliable battery life. However, most fitness trackers don’t have this issue. For example, the Garmin Vivofit 3, which you can learn more about here, doesn’t need to be charged and has an impressive battery life. You can rely on it to track your physical activity day after day for up to a year, without worrying about extra cords.

3.You have a medical condition that requires monitoring

Fitness trackers aren’t good investments only for fitness buffs, but also for people who aren’t particularly interested in technology, but who have a medical condition and could use a simple way to monitor their health on the go. Fitness trackers measure the heart rate – a useful feature for patients who have tachycardia or another heart condition that speeds up their BPM. They also monitor sleeping patterns and assess sleep quality, so if you’re having trouble resting, the best fitness trackers could provide some useful input.

When should you buy a smartwatch?

Those want to stay connected 24/7 and enjoy the features of a smartphone on a smaller screen will find that smartwatches are getting better and better.

1.You love notifications

The biggest benefit of smartwatches is that they help you stay connected all the time and see live notifications on your wrist. Whether you receive a call, text, email or a friend tags you in a Facebook comment, you’ll know the moment when that happens. As long as your smartwatch is powered on, it’s virtually impossible to miss a phone call or text. This is the must-have gadget for busy executives and people who don’t like staying off the grid for more than a couple of minutes. You can reply to messages easily and make voice searches without getting up and looking for your phone!

2.You want an elegant high-tech wearable

There’s no denying that fitness trackers have seen a huge improvement in the design department, but still, even the best models compromise on looks to provide practicality and durability. Smartwatches, on the other hand, might not be the most resilient gadgets out there, but they look absolutely stunning. If you look at the best smartwatches in 2017, you’ll see that it’s almost impossible to tell a smartwatch apart from a vintage timepiece. From classy leather belts to watch faces that mimic the analog look, smartwatches can fool a watch connoisseur and you can style them with black tie attire if you want to. Since the Apple Watch came out, many more companies have released equally sophisticated designs at reasonable prices, so if you’re crazy about looks, now is the best time to get a smartwatch.

3.You want an intuitive navigation system

These days, we’ve all come to rely on phones to arrive to a destination we don’t know. However, there’s an easier way to navigate: by looking at your wrist. The maps are just as accurate as on your phone, but when you walk, you can check you’re going in the right direction much faster. Also, when you drive, looking at your wrist to check the route is intuitive and safe.

Which one is cheaper: smartwatch or fitness tracker?

If price is the most important factor for you, then the clear winner is definitely the fitness tracker. You can find some decent models starting as low as $30 if you’re not too demanding in terms of features and design and the most expensive products reach the $700 mark. A good smartwatch, however, costs at least $200 and the pricier models can be $700 or more. In general, you get what you pay for, but if you really want a good wearable on a budget, you’re more likely to find a decent but cheap fitness tracker than a decent but cheap smartwatch.

What if I want both fitness tracking and connectivity?

If you’re not sure that you’ll need the features of a fitness tracker everyday or you are tempted by smartwatches too, you can get the best of both worlds. Most smartwatches have pedometers and heart rate monitors too and you can take them with you on your daily run as long as you remember to charge them. As for fitness trackers, they rarely double up as smartwatches, but some manufacturers are starting to include call and text notifications too. However, you will have to get used to the small screen size.