10 Best Activity Trackers Tested & Analyzed

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In a period when it seems that technology is constantly changing from day to day, it might be a bit overwhelming to some who want to purchase something which will cost them a bit more money. GPS watches for running and even activity trackers have now evolved in a very short amount of time inside the past decade. Though there is a difference between fitness trackers and smart watches, over a short period of time those differences have become somewhat blurred. The products that fall under the category  of activity trackers now have the ability to log data used to track critical fitness improving metrics like sleep quality, step counts, burned calories, pace, distance, and even the wearer’s heart rate. There are some models out there that will also give real-time updates and manage your workout soundtrack

Garmin Forerunner 735XT
  • Garmin Forerunner 735XT
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 24/7 Heart Rate Monitoring
  • Price: See Here
Suunto Ambit 3 Peak
  • Suunto Ambit 3 Peak
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 200 Hours Battery Charge
  • Price: See Here
Timex Ironman Sleek 50
  • Timex Ironman Sleek 50
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Water Resistant to 100m
  • Price: See Here

Fortunately, there are so many products out there which you can choose from that finding the one which best fits your personal requirements is certainly possible. The intention of this article is to compare the top models in 2017’s latest and greatest products to help you meet your desired goals, from those who tend to do their work from their home, wanting to increase their daily motion, the occasional visitor to the gym, to those hardcore runners or athletes.

10 Best Activity Trackers

 

1. Garmin Forerunner 735XT

1. Garmin Forerunner 735XT
This watch is consistently in the industry top 3 across all categories for 2017’s latest and greatest fitness tracking devices. Marketed as the “most lightweight most multi-sport watch ever” from Garmin, this watch will be quick to impress the avid athlete and fitness expert.
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Best Features

Built-in software is designed to track running, swimming, cycling, cross country skiing, weight lifting, hiking, paddle sports, and cardio workouts. Elevate Heart Rate wrist technology is utilized to follow your pulse, where users also have the option to use a chest strap if they want more detailed heart rate data. Music controls, social media sharing, smart notifications and many more advanced features come with this versatile and detail-oriented package. Compared to prior models, the Garmin 735XT provides all of the standard features you love, plus a recovery advisor, advanced running dynamics, race predictor, virtual pacer, stress score, and Strava suffer score.

Battery Life
Good battery life in reviews, with some users averaging 10-11 days between charges when not using with longer training sessions.

Value
Expect to pay quite a bit more for this top of the line Garmin product. However, you won’t find another watch with all of the same features in one package.
Pros
  • Multi-sport capabilities

  • “stress” and “suffer” scores popular with elite athletes

  • Lightweight and attractive design

  • Wrist-based heart rate technology

  • Easy phone feature access on watch

Cons
  • Some found the app too complex/detailed

  • Expensive

2. Suunto Ambit 3 Peak

2. Suunto Ambit 3 Peak
Trail runners and mountaineers are drawn to Suunto’s line of watches for their cutting-edge map and elevation features. The Suunto Ambit 3 Peak watch is well known for its compass, altitude monitor and route navigation feature. It’s also popular among other types of athletes for its multi-sport capabilities.
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Best Features
The watch has the ability to track back for route-finding, and when connected to the Movescount App also provides new route discovery with heatmaps and training programs. The Suunto Ambit 3 Peak monitors heart rate while swimming, has Bluetooth features while cycling, and can log multiple sports in one session, making it a crowd-pleaser for triathletes. Smartphone notifications and a variety of language options are available. It also has 5-second GPS accuracy and weather information, and the app allows you to take photos with GPS/workout information that you can combine into a movie.

Battery Life
The manufacturer reports a 30 hour battery life.

Value
The Ambit 3 Peak is not the most expensive Suunto watch, but it certainly carries a higher price tag when compared with watches that don’t track altitude or offer advanced map functions. If you find yourself outdoors and gaining elevation in your workouts, this watch should give you a good bang for your buck.
Pros
  • Great for multi-sport or triathlon training

  • Altitude and route-finding features for backcountry adventures

  • Plethora of tracking, mapping and condition features at your fingertips

  • Good software with Suunto’s connected App

Cons
  • Some find the size bulky

  • Some have had issues with wireless storm notifications

3. Garmin Forerunner 230

3. Garmin Forerunner 230
This watch was rated as one of the top middle-level GPS watches at the end of 2016, and for good reasons. Garmin's 230 is a double duty watch with activity tracking and GPS abilities.It does an excellent job keeping track of essential data such as sleep data, distance, as well as other performance stats.
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Best Features
This watch features a 44% larger screen than the popular Garmin 220. It’s been tested and approved by females with smaller wrists and it is one of the lightest GPS watches in its class. The Forerunner 230 also has a useful “Find My Phone” feature and is compatible with android and IOS, with the ability to deliver Bluetooth smart phone notifications. It does not feature a wrist-based heart rate tracker, but does have the option to purchase a chest strap for monitoring your heart rate. Available in three attractive color options: Purple Strike, Force Yellow, and Black & White.

Battery Life
The battery life is excellent (5 weeks battery life in watch mode and 16 hours in training mode).

Value
Given all of the features of this product, most agree it’s a great deal for a reliable middle-level GPS watch.
Pros
  • Lightweight,  comfortable design

  • Bluetooth compatibility

  • Long battery life

  • Excellent water resistance

  • Reliable GPS tracking

Cons
  • Must be connected to the internet to track elevation changes

  • No virtual trainer

4. Polar V800

4. Polar V800
This watch was designed for serious sports enthusiasts and professional athletes in mind. The Polar V800 offers a rugged, solid-feeling design with quick GPS activation and device-pairing. It’s one of the first watches to offer heart rate data while swimming without use of a chest strap and also measures altitude data.
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Best Features
Multi-sport activity tracking, high performance with swimming, running cadence detection, route finding, high speed GPS, and training load and recovery status functions are part of what make this watch hugely popular. It also features a 5-minute fitness test and an orthostatic fitness test, other unique features that are applauded by elite athletes. Polar offers its own series of apps and smartphone compatibility, along with the traditional activity tracking options like calories burned, sleep tracking and a reliable GPS system.

Battery Life
The manufacturer reports the battery life to be 14 hours when the watch is fully utilized. Some reviewers stated that they charged the watch about once a week.

Value
In the same price class as the Garmin 735XT and offering a number of unique features, it’s somewhat easy to sell this based on its advanced level of functions. It may not be the best option for the amateur athlete or those who are looking for their first activity tracker.
Pros
  • Scratch-resistant Gorilla glass lens

  • Wrist heart rate monitor that works while swimming

  • Excellent test options

  • “Computer-like” capabilities

Cons
  • Many features must be must be set up on web first

  • Steps and sleep only viewable via app

5. Apple Watch Series 2

5.  Apple Watch Series 2
The second generation watch from Apple features updates in screen brightness, GPS capabilities, improved waterproofing, and a more comprehensive fitness app. Many runners are attracted to this activity tracker for its stylish, less sporty design and the ability to sync it with their other Apple products.
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Best Features
At the high end of smartphone-friendly features, this watch can do everything from activating Siri and using Apple Pay to controlling music and sending text messages from voice dictation. Users claim that it helps them to use their phone less while still staying connected for important messages or notifications. The watch tracks steps, distance traveled, calories burned, and has a built-in heart rate monitor. It connects to your phone via blue tooth and has its own WiFi connection capabilities and wireless ear buds. The fitness software has programs for a wide range of sports and offers workouts for wheelchair use.

Battery Life
Manufacturer claims it has an 18 hour battery life, which is on the low end when compared to most other watches. When considering that this watch is essentially a mini-phone, and thinking of how often we charge our phones, once a day charging is not terribly inconvenient.

Value
The newest version is on the more expensive end of fitness trackers. Depending on your goals for use, you may find the cost easily justified since it can help you function with a variety of outside tasks beyond the fitness realm.
Pros
  • Great quality and durability

  • Excellent display

  • Easy pairing to iphone

  • Attractive and stylish

Cons
  • Reports of poor battery life

  • Expensive

6. Suunto Spartan Ultra

6. Suunto Spartan Ultra
This product is pre-programmed with 80 different sport options for tracking your training, intervals and competition. It features high-end capabilities, including barometric altitude, with a gorgeous colored touch-screen.
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Best Features
In addition to supporting a huge number of different types of sports, the watch features smartphone interchanges, customizable watch faces, 100m water resistance, Suunto Movescount access for a large area of training data including recovery progress, and unique features to compare and tap you’re your community of athletes.

Battery Life
Battery life is reported to range from 26 hours in training mode to 15 days when in watch mode.

Value
The watch is top-notch in its class, but many still consider it too expensive. Expect to pay about twice as much for this watch as the Suunto Ambit 3, but you will have more high-end features.
Pros
  • Fun customizable watch face screen

  • Better touch screen and buttons when compared to lower end Suunto watches

  • Great multi-sport use

  • Easy to see screen in direct sunlight

Cons
  • Very Expensive

  • Advanced features can be tricky to set up

7. TomTom Spark 3: Cardio + Music

7. TomTom Spark 3: Cardio + Music
For the athlete that likes to rock out to some good tunes while they workout, the TomTom Spark 3 may be their new favorite sidekick. This watch has the ability to play up to 500 songs from the watch using wireless headphones. Leave your phone at home for a more hands-free music experience to focus on your workout.
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Best Features
The TomTom Spark 3 boasts multi-sport capabilities, plus the traditional activity tracker features like steps, active minutes and calories burned. Monitor your heart rate on the watch screen without the use of a chest strap. Use the GPS in real-time and find your way back to the start if you get lost with route-finding functions. Enjoy all of these features while having access to your music library without having to mess with your phone.

Battery Life
The manufacturer reports that the battery life is up to 3 weeks when not in GPS mode, and 5 hours when all of features are being used simultaneously (music, heart rate and GPS).

Value
Expect to pay more for the heart rate monitor and music headphone bundle version, but the features of this phone exceed the norms for this price class.
Pros
  • Exercise with music without another device

  • Good GPS performance

  • Easy to skip over music tracks

  • Syncs easily to your music library

Cons
  • Heart rate works better for cardio than for weight lifting

  • No phone notifications

8. FitBit Flex 2

8. FitBit Flex 2
This basic FitBit model has more features than meets the eye. It’s the thinnest, most lightweight FitBit on the market at a surprisingly economical price given all of its capabilities. The most unique aspect of this device is that the ultra-thin removable tracker can be worn as jewelry instead of a watch.
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Best Features
The FitBit Flex 2 includes all-day activity tracking including heart rate monitoring without a chest strap, automatic sleep tracking, distance and steps, calories burned, and is waterproof and swimming-approved. LED color-coded lights and vibration settings notify you when you’ve received a call or a text message and “move” reminders can be set. The removable tracker can be inserted into a stylist bangle or pendant, or users can wear the traditional slim wristband. Sync wirelessly to the app for additional features.

Battery Life
The manufacturer reports that the battery life is good for up to 5 days. Some users reported needing to charge it every 2-3 days, depending on activities and use.

Value
Excellent value given all of the product features. Most reviewers were pleased with what they got out of this device for the cost.
Pros
  • Jewelry options for those who don’t like watches

  • Waterproof for swimming laps

  • Wristband has good fit, can be worn loose or snug

  • Minimalistic yet informative

  • Strong, effective vibrations

Cons
  • Unable to view real-time data on wrist band

9. Soleus GPS Pulse + HRM

9. Soleus GPS Pulse + HRM
If you’re looking for a simple watch that has the ability to measure wrist heart rate without a chest strap, look into the Soleus GPS Pulse and Heart Rate watch. This no-frills activity tracker is not smartphone compatible, but gets the job done when it comes to training monitoring.
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Best Features
This device measures the basic metrics we look for in a running workout (distance, speed, intervals, calories, heart rate, and water resistant to 30m). The technology in the wrist heart rate sensor is one of the most popular features of this watch.

Battery Life
Several sources report 8 hours of battery life with continuous GPS use.

Value
The best value for a watch that measures heart rate via wrist sensor. However, don’t expect it to perform like the fancier upper end activity trackers.
Pros
  • GPS accuracy

  • Heart rate monitoring via wrist

  • Materials/quality of design

Cons
  • GPS connectivity can be slow to start up

  • Difficult to customize settings with use of 4 buttons

  • Not as many options with apps and data viewing

10. Timex Ironman Sleek 50

10. Timex Ironman Sleek 50
Are you looking for a basic, durable and reliable watch without all of the bells and whistles? Check out the Timex Ironman Sleek 50. Available in over a dozen colors, including the new attractive metallic line, this stop watch is a split-taking machine for your exercising lifestyle.
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Best Features
This watch is lightweight and durable, and features an Indiglo night light button and a countdown timer and alarm. The stopwatch has memory capabilities for 50 laps/splits, and can also be set as an interval training timer. Swim with the watch on as it’s waterproof up to 100m.

Battery Life
Unlike the other watches, this one does not have a rechargeable battery, so you may have to change it out every few years.

Value
This is the most budget-friendly option in our comparison. Customer reviews continue to rate this product high. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a comparable product that is more affordable in this watch class.
Pros
  • Great weekly alarm feature

  • Durable product

  • Performs basic functions very well

  • Waterproof

Cons
  • Watch band may deteriorate over several years of use

  • Some report a dark background display and difficulty reading in sunlight

 

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