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First Look reviews: activity trackers from Garmin, Samsung and Fitbit

Our expert first impressions of the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch, Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro and Garmin Vivoactive 3 and Vivosport

There’s been a flurry of new wearable launches in the last few months, including fitness watches and activity trackers from Garmin and Samsung and a smartwatch launch from Fitbit. We’ve spent some time with these new devices to bring you expert first look reviews.

The Fitbit Ionic, Garmin Vivoactive 3, Garmin Vivosport and Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro are all being put through their paces at our test lab, and we’ll have results for all of these devices before Christmas. In the mean time, read on for our initial impressions and links to find out more.

Best Buy fitness watches and activity trackers – find out which devices topped the podium in our testing

Fitbit Ionic

The Ionic is the first self-titled smartwatch from activity tracker brand Fitbit. On top of regular activity tracking metrics such as steps, sleep and calories, it has built-in GPS and GLONASS for tracking your route without your smartphone, and it has a heart-rate monitor. It’s water-resistant up to 50 metres and tracks specific swim metrics such as laps and stroke style, and can be set to track outdoor or indoor running, outdoor cycling, or gym workouts such as strength training.

We know Fitbit does a good job when it comes to fitness, but what are our first impressions of the smart functionality on offer and can it compete with other smartwatches? Read our full Fitbit Ionic first look review to find out.

Garmin Vivoactive 3


The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is an advanced fitness watch that comes with 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming, cycling, plus the option to add others. It has a built-in GPS and a heart-rate monitor, and is swim-proof. There’s also the new Side Swipe feature, which lets you control the watch by swiping on the bezel, and it’s Garmin Pay ready. It has a round screen, which is new to the Vivoactive range, and we hoped this would make it sleeker and more comfortable than the Vivoactive HR.

So did it succeed, and did it impress our first look reviewer? Click through to our full Garmin Vivoactive 3 first look review to find out.

Garmin Vivosport


It may look similar to the Garmin Vivosmart 3, but there are at least a couple of features this slimline Garmin Vivosport activity tracker packs that the Vivosmart doesn’t: built-in GPS and a colour display. It has all the regular tracking features too, including step tracking, calories burned and sleep. Like the Vivosmart, it can calculate your VO2 max (maximum volume of oxygen consumption) and stress, and it’s swimproof. It also has music playback controls that let you skip through and pause or play music on your chosen streaming service on your smartphone.

At £170, it’s one of the more expensive activity trackers on the market. We tried it out on a half marathon – find out if it was ahead of the pack by reading our Garmin Vivosport first look review.

Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro

We’ve found some impressive Samsung wearable devices in our tough testing, but we’ve also found a few that left a lot to be desired when it came to comfort and accuracy.

The Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro is packed to the brim with features, including built-in exercise tracking for a multitude of activities (including cycling or running outside or in the gym, doing squats or crunches, rowing and yoga – among others). It’s also water resistant in fresh water up to 50 metres, and comes preloaded with the Speedo On app for tracking your swimming stats. You can link up to other apps, such as MyFitnessPal or MapMyRun.

So is the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro an expert or an amateur? We tried it out – you can read our initial impressions of the features, comfort and ease of use via our Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro first look review.

Still not sure which to go for? Read our guide to Should I buy a fitness tracker or a smartwatch?

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