Happy new year! It’s time to start living up to those carefully crafted new year’s resolutions. Let technology help you get fit, lose weight, gain muscle or whatever it is you’ve promised for yourself.
I’ll be adding more deals as attractive bargains appear, so please bookmark this page.
Apple Watch Series 5
From $399 from apple.com
Buy the 40mm aluminum Watch with GPS, $399, here
Buy the 44mm aluminum Watch with GPS. $429, here
Buy the 40mm aluminum Watch with GPS + cellular, $499, here
Buy the 44mm aluminum Watch with GPS + cellular, $529, here
Buy the 40mm stainless-steel Watch with GPS + cellular, $699, here
Buy the 44mm stainless-steel Watch with GPS + cellular, $749, here
Buy the 40mm titanium Watch with GPS + cellular, $799, here
Buy the 44mm titanium Watch with GPS + cellular, $849, here
Buy the 40mm ceramic Watch with GPS + cellular, $1,299, here
Buy the 44mm ceramic Watch with GPS + cellular, $1,349, here
All prices are for the least expensive band, Sport Band or Sport Loop, but other straps are available on the Apple website.
Since the first Apple Watch arrived, it’s been the wearable to beat. From day one, fitness and health have been central, with the familiar design of three concentric rings which you are encouraged to complete each day. These are to reach your chosen goal of calories burnt, standing for one minute every hour and taking brisk exercise for 30 minutes a day.
This latest model looks and feels great, with four different metal cases to choose from: aluminum, stainless steel, titanium and ceramic – aluminum is the most affordable. The screen is bright and colorful and, on Series 5 only, has an always-on display. You do need to charge it every night, though. You can choose models which have a wi-fi connection only so they need your iPhone to be nearby to work fully or opt for one with a cellular connection so that it can make phone calls and receive texts, for instance, almost anywhere.
Heart monitoring is an important fitness consideration and Series 5 has some of the most advanced features available. You can set it so that it warns you if it spots your heart rate going too high unexpectedly. You can also take an ECG (also known as EKG) reading on your wrist with this Watch. It can tell if you have a hard fall. If you then don’t get up for the next minute, it can call specified contacts and emergency services. There are lots of other useful features, like dictating notes to ask your Watch to remind you to do something when you get home (and your wrist will then buzz, prompting you about that task, as you get through the door). Directions using Apple Maps are very useful and the Watch can monitor scores of exercise types from running to cycling to yoga to swimming (it’s waterproof). It comes in two different sizes: 40mm and 44mm and scores of different straps, bands and bracelets.
Fitbit Versa 2
Buy it from fitbit.com here
Fitbit, which has recently been acquired by Google, is known for the great accuracy of its tracking. Its operating software is straightforward and superbly easy to use. Features include advanced sleep tracking which helps you understand how you’re sleeping thanks to a nightly sleep rating and can wake you at the optimum moment in your sleep cycle. The battery life is enough to last up to five days. This new Versa has Alexa built in: press and hold the side button to ask it questions, set a timer or start a workout. This is a very effective tracker, especially for the monitoring . However, if you have an iPhone, then the Apple Watch Series 3 below offers more for the same money. If you have an Android phone, the Versa 2 is just great.
Apple Watch Series 3
Buy the 38mm aluminum Watch with GPS, $199, here
Buy the 42mm aluminum Watch with GPS. $229, here
Buy the 38mm aluminum Watch with GPS + cellular, $299, here
Buy the 42mm aluminum Watch with GPS + cellular, $329, here
Although it was first released in September 2017, the Apple Watch Series 3 is still an excellent choice and has dropped in price so much it is now outstanding value. It is fractionally smaller than the Series 5 though the display is noticeably smaller. It doesn’t have the always-on display or some of the advanced heart metrics as Series 5 (though it will still warn you if your heart rate is irregular). Otherwise, this is a superbly capable watch that looks great and works brilliantly. Like Series 5, you can choose between wi-fi or wi-fi and cellular models, though it’s only available in one metal finish: aluminum.
Withings Steel HR Sport
Buy from withings.com here
Withings smartwatches are different from the rest of the pack because instead of a smart screen, they have analogue faces with, you know, real hands. The Steel HR is but comfy and has a monochrome OLED circle for displaying heart rates and other measurements. And it has an extra sensor, to measure VO2 Max, which helps work out exactly how much oxygen you use during exercise. This is not common on smartwatches and contributes to the watch’s assessment of the wearer’s fitness level. It’s especially useful for committed athletes.
Your step count is shown as a secondary dial that spins round to show how close to your target you are, shown as a percentage so others don’t know whether your target is 10,000 steps or rather less.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2
Buy 40mm size, Bluetooth and wi-fi, $279.99, here
Buy 44mm size, Bluetooth and wi-fi, $299.99, here
Buy 40mm size, Bluetooth and wi-fi, plus 4G LTE $429.99, here
Buy 44mm size, Bluetooth and wi-fi, plus 4G LTE $299.99, here
The latest Samsung has a lot going for it, including heart monitoring with notifications if it spots your heart rate going unusually high or low. Some previous Galaxy watches had a rotating bezel which was a neat way to interact with it. This has something which is arguably even better: the bezel doesn’t move but digitally recognises your touch and responds accordingly, to move between menus, for example. Although it works with an iPhone, there are extra features when pairing it with an Android phone. For instance, you can take a picture of what you’re wearing with your phone and the watch can generate a face with complementary colours. Features include sleep tracking and advanced exercise monitoring.
Fitbit Charge 3
Buy it from fitbit.com here
The new Charge 3 looks completely different from the Charge 2, not least because the new screen is high-resolution and touch-sensitive. The Charge 2 had a screen which seemed to respond to your every touch but was cunningly using the accelerometer to create this effect – technically it was tap-responsive rather than actually a touchscreen.
Anyone who ever used the pressure-sensitive touchscreens which preceded the capacitive screen on the iPhone will know that a proper touchscreen is what you want.
And now, the latest Charge has one. It’s not a color screen but it has an improved look to it, with grayscale instead of just white LEDs on a pitch black background, which looks smoother and is more detailed.
And where the previous display was plastic, this is Gorilla Glass 3. Since the whole point of a tracker is to encourage you to be active, this extra resistance to scratches and damage will be welcomed.
There’s also an inductive button, that is, a button which doesn’t move but feels like it does thanks to haptic feedback. Neat.
Huawei Watch GT 2: $299.99
Buy it from amazon.com here
Huawei’s latest is a big upgrade from the previous model with improved styling and extra features, such as stress tracking. It also has sleep monitoring, though it’s not as advanced as the Samsung and Fitbit. There’s a wide range of watch faces, but you can’t download apps to the Watch GT 2. Battery life is strong at easily a week or as much as two if you don’t use it for fitness tracking solidly. In some ways this is a fitness tracker dressed as a smartwatch, which at least means it’s great for tracking your workouts – more than a dozen different kinds of exercise are monitored.