Best Smartwatches for Fitness Android Central 2020
If you're active and looking for a smartwatch that delivers powerful fitness tools, a great design, and won't hurt the wallet too much, look no further than the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. It has a stunning OLED display, built-in GPS, full waterproofing, and even NFC for mobile payments with Samsung Pay. It's as fully-featured of a smartwatch and fitness tracker that you'll find, plus it comes in at a price most people will be quite happy with.
- Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
- Best Fitbit: Fitbit Versa 2
- Best With Wear OS: Fossil Gen 5
- Best Battery: Withings Move
- Best Upgrade Pick: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
- Best Premium Option: Apple Watch Series 5
- Best Oversized Option: Samsung Galaxy Watch
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
Announced in February alongside the Galaxy S10, Samsung's Galaxy Watch Active is the company's latest smartwatch on the market. It's a decidedly less capable version of the regular Galaxy Watch (more on that in a bit), but the few compromises that were made for the affordable price tag result in this being the very best fitness smartwatch you can buy.
The Galaxy Watch Active is one of the more compact smartwatches around, meaning it fits just fine on small wrists unlike a lot of its competitors. Samsung also built the Active incredibly well and outfitted it with a stunning 1.2-inch OLED display.
On the fitness side of things, you've got access to all-day activity and sleep tracking, a 24/7 heart rate monitor, and a variety of exercise modes. The built-in GPS allows you to map outdoor runs without bringing your phone, the watch is waterproof up to 50M, and local music storage means you can locally save all of your favourite tunes (even ones from Spotify).
Add that together with an NFC chip for Samsung Pay, a good app selection, and a price tag that's fairly easy on the wallet, and it's easy to see why this is our top pick. That is, of course, until we get our hands on the new Galaxy Watch Active 2.
- Stunning OLED display
- Fits well on small wrists
- All-day activity and sleep tracking
- 24/7 heart-rate monitoring
- Built-in GPS
- 50M waterproofing
- NFC for Samsung Pay
- Good selection of apps
- Might be too small for some wrists
- No rotating bezel like past versions
The best fitness smartwatch for most people
We think most folks will be quite happy with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. It's got a built-in GPS, 50M waterproofing, and activity/sleep tracking.
Best Fitbit: Fitbit Versa 2
There's a lot to say about the new Fitbit Versa 2. It's a fabulous device that successfully pairs the company's best fitness features with some outstanding smartwatch perks. This model offers 5+ days of battery life and Fitbit Pay is now standard. It also boasts a slim new design, a noticeably faster processor, a microphone so Android users can easily reply to notifications, and built-in Alexa support.
As far as fitness goes, the Versa 2 gives you 24/7 heart rate monitoring along with tracking for activity, sleep stages, and female health. You'll also enjoy the benefit of on-screen workouts that are designed to coach you through each move and 5 ATM water resistance with swim tracking.
While it's certainly disappointing that the Versa 2 lacks built-in GPS, it more than compensates for it by gathering copious amounts of useful data. Plus, it's hard not to love those on-screen workouts on a beautiful AMOLED display.
- Sleek, slim design
- 5+ days of battery life
- On-screen workouts
- Built-in Alexa support
- Fitbit Pay
- No built-in GPS
- Proprietary bands aren't great
- Small app selection
Fitbit's most complete smartwatch to-date
Outfitted with a slim design, fantastic battery life, and plenty of fitness features to go around, the Fitbit Versa 2 brings a lot to the table.
Best With Wear OS: Fossil Gen 5
Google's Wear OS platform has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years, but if it's your smartwatch OS of choice, we highly recommend checking out the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatches. You'll receive a breadth of features that make it a worthy competitor, like a built-in speaker for taking calls when your phone is connected, an improved battery that promises three days of moderate usage, and a whopping 1GB of RAM for the most impressive performance in the Wear OS ecosystem yet.
While this generation of Fossil smartwatches doesn't have 'Sport' in the name, this bad boy can handle your activity tracking needs like a champ with Google Fit. It's waterproof, offers 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, and it even has GPS that allows you to track your runs without having to bring your phone with you. It offers other bonuses as well, like Google Pay and Google Assistant.
It might lack sleep tracking and a more robust activity tracking suite like some of the others on the list have, but you still get a lot for your money. It's hard to argue with the updates that have made for some great improvements this time around. You can choose between the stylish Carlyle or the more feminine Julianna model. Either way, it's not a bad choice at all.
- Stylish and functional
- Top-notch performance
- Built-in GPS
- Heart rate sensor
- NFC for Google Pay
- Lacks sleep tracking
- Display could be better
- Expensive price tag
Best With Wear OS
The best fitness watch powered by Wear OS
When it comes to Wear OS, the best watch you can currently buy is the Fossil Sport. It has activity tracking, GPS, the Google Assistant, and more.
Best Battery: Withings Move
Not ready quite yet for a full-fledged smartwatch? The Withings Move might be the perfect fit. Rather than having a touchscreen display and on-device operating system, the Move takes the form of a traditional watch with physical hands. Despite the discrete look, the Move is actually a well-rounded fitness companion.
With the Withings Move, you get 24/7 activity tracking, sleep tracking, automatic workout detection, and waterproofing up to 50M for use in the pool if you want to track your swimming. The lack of built-in GPS is a bummer, but you can still map outdoor bikes/runs as long as you bring your phone with you. All of your data is synced to Withings' Health Mate app, which can then sync with Google Fit, Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, and Apple Health.
All of that brings us to the real star of the show — battery life. The Withings Move can last up to 18 months with no charging required, meaning it handily beats out every other watch in these regards by a long shot.
- Battery lasts for 18 months
- Doesn't need to be charged
- Looks like a normal watch
- Activity/sleep tracking
- Automatic workout detection
- Doesn't have built-in GPS
- No heart-rate sensor
- No apps or phone notifications
The fitness watch with the best battery life
The Withings Move has a battery that lasts for 18 months with no need to be charged at all during that time, meaning you can use it however you like.
Best Upgrade Pick — Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
The Galaxy Watch Active 2 provides users with a compact and lightweight design that's as stylish as ever. You'll have a stunning AMOLED touchscreen with easy navigation, courtesy of the new capacitive bezel. Tizen OS is smooth but might take some getting used to if you're new to the software.
Depending on whether you choose the 40mm or 44mm model, you'll get 2–3 of days of battery life. The LTE model will likely drain faster, especially when using GPS. Given that this is a true smartwatch packed with features, you can expect to charge it every couple of days.
Like its predecessor, the Active 2 offers an array of health and fitness tracking features. It comes with built-in GPS, automatic activity tracking, heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking, plus water, food, and caffeine consumption tracking. The new-and-improved Running Coach feature now provides you with real-time pace metrics along with a breakdown of what to expect from your session before you begin. It's complete with audio cues that can be heard through the watch speaker or Bluetooth headphones.
Of course, there are plenty of smartwatch features to go around. You'll have support for smartphone notifications, Samsung Pay, Wi-Fi connectivity, and music storage. Having an LTE model is a marvellous upgrade, especially if you're seeking a well-rounded smartwatch. Keep in mind that it will cost you more than the Bluetooth-only model.
- Compact, lightweight design
- 2–3 days of battery life
- Automatic activity tracking
- Water-resistant up to 5ATM
- Built-in GPS, NFC
- Optional LTE
- Mediocre third-party app support
- Tizen OS learning curve
Best Upgrade Pick
Upgrade to the next best thing
The Active 2 is available in two sizes and offers a digital rotating bezel, GPS, ECG, 5 ATM water resistance, and more.
Best Premium Option: Apple Watch Series 5
While it might seem odd to address an always-on display as the most notable feature, it's been a long time coming for the Apple Watch. With each release, users continued to express discontent at the lack of such a simple feature: an always-on display for telling time. It still goes to sleep when not in use, but the display stays on in low power mode. If you're not a fan of this long-awaited improvement for some reason, you can always disable it.
Another new feature is the digital compass that allows you to record and show heading, incline, latitude, longitude, and elevation. This could be helpful from time to time, especially when you're looking at your map. Other than that, it's a fairly basic feature that's nice to have.
Thew new Apple Watch also offers international emergency calling. It works in over 150 countries, according to Apple. The best part? You don't even need to have your phone nearby to use the feature. As long as you have a cellular-capable model, you'll be good to go.
When it comes to tracking and other smartwatch features, the Apple Watch Series 5 is mostly the same as its predecessor. You'll enjoy detailed health and fitness tracking, built-in GPS, Apple Pay, smartphone notifications, 5 ATM water resistance, and more.
- Always-on display
- Built-in ECG
- Emergency calling
- All-day battery life
- Optional LTE
- Apple Pay
- Lacks sleep tracking
Best Premium Option
Tell time and more
Among the new improvements, the Apple Watch Series 5 tells time. No more shaking your wrist thanks to the always-on display.
Best Oversized Option: Samsung Galaxy Watch
For our last pick, we wanted to highlight a smartwatch that really goes all out on just about every front. It's big, packed with every feature you could ask for, and costs a pretty penny. It's the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Where the Galaxy Watch Active is a small, affordable watch made for everyone, the regular Galaxy Watch is for those with deeper pockets that don't want to sacrifice a single thing.
You've got access to the same fitness features as the Galaxy Watch Active, including activity and sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, automatic workout detection, and reminders to move and breathe. Your data is readily visible on the Galaxy Watch, in addition to the Samsung Health companion app.
The Galaxy Watch has a pretty big, bulky design, but because of this, you gain a military-grade durability rating in addition to waterproofing up to 50M. The bezel around the screen also rotates as a fun way to navigate menus rather than touching the screen, and with Samsung Pay, you can use NFC and MST for payments — allowing you to pay for things with the Galaxy Watch at virtually any store you go to.
- Available in two sizes
- Rotating bezel
- Big, colourful OLED screen
- Military-grade durability + waterproof
- Activity and sleep tracking
- Heart rate monitor
- NFC and MST for Samsung Pay
- It's H U G E
Best Oversized Option
Every feature you could imagine, and then some
The Galaxy Watch is big, bulky, and expensive, but for people that want the most feature-rich fitness watch out there, it's the way to go.
Any of the smartwatches on this list will serve you well, but at the end of the day, we think the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is the best all-around choice. We've already given a lot of praise for it here, but let's reiterate why it's our current favourite.
On the fitness side of things, there's something here for everyone. You'll get activity/sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, reminders to move throughout the day, guided breathing sessions, and automatic workout detection. All of your fitness stats are readily available on the watch, and the Samsung Health app that it syncs to gives you even more details.
However, fitness is just one side of the smartwatch equation. When you aren't breaking a sweat, the Galaxy Watch Active is just a really good smartwatch, too. Its OLED display is a joy to look at, battery life is pretty good, and Samsung's Tizen operating system is easy to use with plenty of apps to choose from.
Add all of that together with an accessible price tag, and it's the fitness watch we happily recommend to just about everyone.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Joe Maring Joe is Android Central's News Editor. He loves talking about all things tech, but smart wearables are what get him really excited (just ask the drawer of smartwatches in his office). He also likes coffee and goes to Starbucks far too often. Have a tip? Send an email to email@example.com or hit him up on Twitter @JoeMaring1
Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She's obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.
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