Our latest series of test of wearables has uncovered an excellent Best Buy fitness watch that outperforms others costing more than twice the price. But it also found a malfunctioning device with a fleeting battery life and unresponsive controls, which is expensive to boot.
The batch included five of the latest feature-packed fitness watches, ranging in price from £120 up to £325. It also included three fitness trackers which have traditional analogue watch faces and hidden activity tracking features, making them ideal for the style conscious who want to be able to discreetly record their steps.
If you’re buying a new wearable device, you want to make sure it’s money well spent. At Which? we fully test every facet of a fitness watch or fitness tracker.
We leave no stone unturned when it comes to examining just how accurately a wearable can measure your heart rate, how precisely the built-in GPS measures distance and whether the battery will barely muster a day or if it will keep going for a month. Scroll down to find out more about the latest wearables we’ve tested and whether they are worth investing in.
New 2017 fitness watches on test
TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music
Unlike most fitness watches, TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music has 3GB of memory, which equates to roughly 500 songs. This means you can listen to music as you exercise without having to lug your smartphone about with you, too. It also has a slew of features for tracking running, cycling and swimming, including a wrist-based heart-rate monitor, in-built GPS and an accelerometer.
To find out just how accurately it takes each reading, and how consistent it is in taking measurements, we repeated a number of different scenarios including a 5km woodland run. See if it managed to nail our tests by heading over to our TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music review.
TomTom Runner 3 Cardio + Music
Despite its name, TomTom Runner 3 Cardio + Music doesn’t just track running, but cycling, swimming and cardio sessions in the gym. Although it has a different strap to TomTom’s Spark 3 Cardio + Music and a slightly different name, it looks to be essentially the same watch and it uses the same TomTom Sports companion app.
But if you want to know whether it performed identically to the Spark 3 in our tests, and if it’s a fitness watch that will push you to break your personal best, read our comprehensive TomTom Runner 3 Cardio + Music review.
Garmin Forerunner 35
The Forerunner 35 is a surprisingly compact fitness watch and it weighs just 38g, which is 49g lighter than the Garmin Fenix 3 HR. It’s at the cheaper end of Garmin’s popular Forerunner range, but it still includes advanced fitness features such as a wrist-based heart-rate monitor and built-in GPS. It also has a water rating of 5ATM, which means you can wear it swimming and to a maximum depth of 50 metres.
But is it a suitable fitness watch for keen swimmers and triathlon enthusiasts, and how long will the battery last before needing a charge? Read our Garmin Forerunner 35 review to find out what you need to know about this affordable fitness watch.
The NewBalance RunIQ is a collaboration between sports-fashion brand New Balance and tech giant Intel. It boasts the latest Android Wear and Strava app compatibility, which is good news if you’re one of the millions who enjoys using Strava to track your exercise and compare your stats to other sportspeople who have taken the same route.
Although it certainly looks good on paper, will the RunIQ blow fitness watches from established brands like Garmin and TomTom out of the water? Discover precisely what we loved about this wearable, and what we hated, by reading our NewBalance RunIQ review.
Some fitness watches cost upwards of £300, but Polar’s M200 is priced at a very reasonable £120. Although it’s primarily intended for runners, you can add more than 100 activity profiles to the watch, and Polar has an exhaustive list including specific exercise classes, swimming, table tennis and golf.
Similar to other fitness watches, it has a heart-rate monitor and built-in GPS, but how will it stack up against its much more expensive competitors such as Garmin’s Forerunner 735XT? Check out the test results and tech specs, and find out how our test participants got on with it in our Polar M200 review.
New 2017 fitness trackers on test
Some fitness trackers can be ugly, bulky or both, but the sleek Garmin Vivomove looks like a traditional analogue watch rather than a fitness device. The activity tracker comes in three designs; the ‘sport’ which is sold with a rubber strap and plastic bezel, the ‘classic’ which comes with a leather strap, and the ‘premium’ version which has an elegant silver or gold-coloured stainless-steel bezel.
But does the way it looks affect how well it records your steps? And what else can it do in terms of activity tracking? See if this tracker sailed through our meticulous tests by heading over to our Garmin Vivomove review.
The Misfit Phase is a combination of conventional analogue watch, fitness tracker and smartwatch. The brand itself has called it a hybrid smartwatch, because as well as tracking your steps, distance travelled, calories burnt and sleep, it also gives colour-coded alerts for calls, texts, emails and some social media platforms.
But do the features of the Misfit Phase add up to a fitness tracker or a smartwatch? And is it any good as either? We assessed it in our test lab to find out and you can see how we got on in our Misfit Phase review.
Withings Steel HR
The unassuming Withings Steel HR looks like an analogue watch, but it has an OLED screen, a built-in heart-rate monitor, and can track steps taken, distance travelled, calories burnt and your sleep. It’s also waterproof to 50 metres so you can wear it in the pool, but that’s only advisable with the standard silicone strap as opposed to the separately bought leather strap.
If that’s not enough, Withings claims that it has the longest battery life of any heart-rate tracker on the market. How will it compare to the other 40 fitness trackers we’ve tested? Head to our full Withings Steel HR review to discover whether it’s worthy of a place on your wrist.