The Garmin Venu 2 Plus smartwatch is an impressive connected wearable that provides heart rate monitoring, stress tracking and blood-oxygen levels monitoring capabilities, along with workout features. While some smartphone connectivity may be missing and Garmin Pay may be absent from its selection of features for payments is still offered at an excellent value price point.
1. Garmin Fenix 7
Garmin’s flagship Fenix 7 offers unparalleled multisport tracking features in an outdoor adventure watch, adding even more profiles than its predecessor while adding touch support and improving its user interface.
Visual race predictors have also been introduced for both cycling and running, which use your training data to estimate your PB potential over time. Other updates include real-time stamina protection which limits how long you can continue running for, ClimbPro feature for tracking progress on ascents, new gyroscope for accurate movement tracking with storage for music (Sapphire editions offer more), improved sleep monitoring with automatic smartphone notifications as well as improvements to sleep monitoring itself.
2. Polar X30
Polar’s entry level GPS watch features daily health tracking and basic sports monitoring functions, making it very user friendly with its clean interface and simple settings.
Polar Flow can track your VO2 max with a fitness test featuring six LED’s positioned to capture wrist-based heart rate data, and also provides access to structured workouts via Polar Flow on your computer, which appear directly on your watch.
Waterproof to a depth of 100 meters and built to MIL-STD-810G standards, its battery has an impressive battery life that lasts five days in smartwatch mode, 14 days on standby, and eight when running GPS navigation.
3. Garmin Vivoactive
Garmin’s vivoactive line does not directly compete with smartwatches like Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy; rather, it provides a host of fitness and health tracking features in an attractive package.
Running, cycling, swimming and other sports are covered by GPS chips and accelerometers that also support ANT+ connectivity for advanced analytics such as cadence and wheel speed sensors.
Connected wirelessly via Bluetooth Smart, this watch can receive call, text and email notifications as well as display a personal calendar and weather forecast. In addition, workout animations and intuitive week-by-week performance monitoring capabilities can also be taken advantage of.
4. Fitbit Versa 4
Fitbit has done a fine job incorporating additional features into its flagship Versa 4 without rendering it unusable as a smartwatch, though its lack of Google Assistant and Wi-Fi support makes it less useful than expected.
The Versa 4 still features a crowd-pleasing physical button and boasts an impressive suite of fitness tracking metrics, such as resting heart rate, HRV (heart rate variability), skin temperature variation and oxygen saturation levels. In addition, 40 activity modes exist – though many of them (‘Bootcamp’ for instance) depend on using fitness apps to estimate calories burned.
5. Wahoo Fitness
Wahoo Fitness SYSTM app was developed specifically to work with Wahoo’s smart trainers and bikes, but most Bluetooth or ANT+ compatible measurement devices should work too. You can even link fitness test sessions for better understanding your training zones, 4DP points and other essential data.
Wahoo products make GPS bike computers like the BOLT easy and user-friendly; its functionality – such as setup and customization, pairing with ANT+/Bluetooth Smart sensors, third-party integrations etc.- is managed through its companion ELEMNT app on smartphones.
6. Apple Watch Series 8
Apple Watch Series 8 marks its debut into multisport and running, providing more structured workouts that account for warmups, cooldowns, drills, repeats and weather conditions. When combined with built-in heart rate/blood oxygen monitoring/advanced exercise metrics the watch makes an attractive proposition as an endurance sports watch.
Other notable features include Crash Detection sensors and temperature sensors which help women track cycle tracking by providing retrospective ovulation estimates and improving period predictions. Together with its gyroscope and accelerometer capabilities, Apple Watch makes for an impressive smartwatch experience even if not upgrading from an older model.
7. Apple Watch SE
Apple’s entry-level wearable is an ideal solution for anyone not needing advanced health sensors such as blood oxygen monitoring and EKG monitoring. Featuring a smaller 40 mm case and nylon back design, this device makes an affordable and attractive statement about health.
Contrary to earlier Apple Watches, the second-generation SE is compatible with more than just silicone bands; it also supports Apple’s premium leather straps and boasts a more robust case, making it suitable for workouts.
S8 silicon-on-chip is faster than its Series 3 predecessor and includes vehicle crash detection thanks to an upgraded accelerometer and gyroscope. Other upgrades come through software updates, such as medication reminders or a revamped compass app with backtrack capability.