Best overall

Samsung Gear Sport

Samsung Gear Sport

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The best smartwatch to pull double duty for daily use and activity tracking is the Samsung Gear Sport. It's built to take a beating or a plunge with 5ATM waterproofing, and has all of the necessary sensors and radios to make sure you can track everything. Samsung Health has gotten surprisingly good for following each workout but also long-term goals, and partnerships with bigger names like Under Armour and MapMyFitness mean you can also send all of your data to a different system if you need.

One of the best features of the Gear Sport is that it doesn't look that sporty. It can easily be worn every day with a variety of clothing and not stand out, which you can't really say about most smartwatches that are aimed at fitness. The rotating bezel is fantastic, the screen is great and while the software is a tad clunky it's super powerful. Battery life is surprisingly good as well, about 2-3 days depending on usage.

Bottom line: The Gear Sport gets all of the typical smartwatch stuff handled, and is also a super-capable fitness tracker.

One more thing: For the sportiest look and robust design, stick with one of the rubber bands rather than a nylon or leather one.

Best Android Wear

LG Watch Sport

LG Watch Sport

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Throughout 2017 Android Wear went further away from "fitness" models and instead focused on fashion, but the LG Watch Sport is one of the few that leans toward the active crowd. It has a robust case, waterproofing and rubber bands that will feel at home in the gym or out on a run. It also has the benefit of a rotating crown, that like the Gear Sport gives you an option to quickly move through menus and apps without touching or swiping on the screen.

If you're an Android purist, you'll be interested in the Android Wear operating system because of its seamless integration into your Android phone when it comes to companion apps, notifications and data sync. But when it comes to dedicated fitness tracking, Android Wear comes up short of the Gear Sport and Fitbit Ionic. The LG Watch Sport straddles the middle ground between "general purpose" and "fitness focused" smartwatches in many ways, but the software is the best indication.

Bottom line: If you need to have Android Wear, the LG Watch Sport is your best choice for fitness.

One more thing: Keep an eye out for discounted, refurbished or open-box units, as the LG Watch Sport is several months old at this point.

Best alternate

Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit Ionic

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Fitbit comes at smartwatches from the direction of its successful fitness band lineup. This makes the Ionic a perfect smartwatch for someone who really wants to focus on activity tracking first, and the other "smartwatch" stuff secondarily. Though it may be a bit big and blocky, the Fitbit Ionic has a bright display, GPS tracking, optical heart rate sensor, SpO2 sensor, 50-meter waterproofing and all of the other cool stuff like NFC and 2.5GB of storage space. It's also rated at four days of battery life, which goes beyond the competition.

Tons of people have trusted Fitbit with their fitness tracking of all kinds for years, and that's really what you're getting in the ~$300 Ionic. The smartwatch side of things isn't as deeply integrated to your Android phone as an Android Wear or even Samsung watch is, but you can't argue it's just as good or better for fitness.

Bottom line: If fitness is your primary goal, and you've had previous Fitbits, the Ionic should be at the top of your list.

One more thing: Don't expect deep smartwatch integration to your phone on the same level as Android Wear.

Best for less

Samsung Gear S2

Samsung Gear S2

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Take almost everything that makes the Gear Sport great, and knock about $100 off of it — now you have the Gear S2. This previous-generation model has all of the basic fitness tracking capabilities as the new Gear Sport, minus the swim tracking, but for less money. That means it actually has a chance to compete with "fitness bands" that have no smartwatch capabilities at all, which the Gear S2 does have.

Bottom line: For a similar experience to the Gear Sport at a lower price, the Gear S2 is a good choice.

One more thing: If you're focused on fitness, make sure to get the regular Gear S2 and not the "Classic" version.

Conclusion

For a smartwatch that pulls double duty as a daily watch but also a capable fitness tracker, the Gear Sport is a fantastic decision. Anyone who's tied to Android Wear should use the LG Watch Sport, and those who just want fitness in a smartwatch form factor should consider the Fitbit Ionic.

Best overall

Samsung Gear Sport

Samsung Gear Sport

See at Amazon See at Best Buy

The best smartwatch to pull double duty for daily use and activity tracking is the Samsung Gear Sport. It's built to take a beating or a plunge with 5ATM waterproofing, and has all of the necessary sensors and radios to make sure you can track everything. Samsung Health has gotten surprisingly good for following each workout but also long-term goals, and partnerships with bigger names like Under Armour and MapMyFitness mean you can also send all of your data to a different system if you need.

One of the best features of the Gear Sport is that it doesn't look that sporty. It can easily be worn every day with a variety of clothing and not stand out, which you can't really say about most smartwatches that are aimed at fitness. The rotating bezel is fantastic, the screen is great and while the software is a tad clunky it's super powerful. Battery life is surprisingly good as well, about 2-3 days depending on usage.

Bottom line: The Gear Sport gets all of the typical smartwatch stuff handled, and is also a super-capable fitness tracker.

One more thing: For the sportiest look and robust design, stick with one of the rubber bands rather than a nylon or leather one.