The companion app calculates your daily recovery score and the amount of sleep you got the night prior to estimate your performance today—this helps promote better sleep hygiene and awareness of your preparedness for a high-intensity cardio workout. The app also compares the amount of sleep you actually got versus the amount of sleep your body really needed (which, to be fair, is something other trackers and smartwatches can do, too). So why all the hoopla around what is basically a glorified sleep tracker? It’s the genius design that allows you to keep it on, *always—*you charge the things with a removable charging pod, so you never miss any data whatsoever. If that seems like overkill to you, you’re not in the target market. But there are loads of data nuts out there, and if you’re willing to shell out the $30 per month for the Whoop membership (the actual hardware itself is free), the whoop is the most comprehensive look at your daily rhythms of sleep and recovery available anywhere.
The Best Fitness Watch for Guys Who Want All the Bells and Whistles
Think of the Garmin Fenix 7 as the big daddy of all wearables. If you’re wearing this, you want people to know. Best suited with a guy that’s got some wrist room, the Fenix 7 is large, in-charge, and for the most adventurous of them all. Built to withstand all of the elements (think crashing waves or blusterous snow), users can track everything from a triathlon to a day on the slopes. The metrics and price are probably going to be overkill for the casual athlete, but you’re really investing in a top-of-the-line experience completely with pretty much everything you could want from a sports smartwatch: enhanced GPS systems and topo maps for plotting out routes, call and text notifications, every kind of sensor from an altimeter to a pulse oximeter, endless customization, and music storage. Plus, the battery life is mega (up to 18 days in smartwatch mode and 57 hours in GPS mode) compared to your standard Apple Watch—a big plus if you’re too lazy to charge it up everyday.
5 More Fitness Watches We Like
Beyond our top picks for Fitbits and Garmins and Apple Watches, there are also a couple other off-the-beaten path options that you might want to consider if you’re on a budget or have specific brand loyalties.
Though Garmins are kind of the standard for fitness watches, if you’re looking for something to pair with your Samsung phone, the Galaxy 4 is your best bet. It offers much of what you’d expect from a fitness-oriented smartwatch (call/text notifications, GPS, music storage, and sensors like heart monitors and sleep trackers), but adds in something else that’s a little more rare: a new three-in-one sensor that draws up a body composition model if you’re looking to shed some pounds or bulk up.
Another solid option for the endurance junkie that’s in the same ballpark as the Fenix 7, the Suunto 9 Baro boasts 120 hours of active GPS battery life as well as a color display that displays tons of data points, from a VO2 max estimate (or your aerobic capacity) to your pulse, pacing, and route traveled. On sale, it’s available for $300 less than the Fenix 7, which won’t get you as long of a battery life—the 9 Baro lasts up to 40 hours in endurance mode—but will get you many of the same features in a lightweight, durable package.
If all you want is a dirt cheap smartwatch that you can wear for the one or two days a week you step onto the trails or hop on the bike, there’s also the Amazfit Bip S. Think of this as the Payless version of an Apple watch, with a ton of stuff you love (GPS, touch-screen, wireless connection to both iPhone/Android, 10 sport modes, call/text/email notifications) minus the brand-name price tag. The user experience doesn’t come close to a smartwatch like the Apple Watch, but it’s still not a bad choice for such a cheap wearable. The fact that it gets up to a 40-day battery life off of a single charge makes it a no-brainer for anyone who just doesn’t have the mental capacity to remember to do that sort of thing.
If you know you like the look of an Apple Watch, but want to spend slightly less than the Series 7, there’s also the Apple Watch SE. It offers many of the same features (an 18-hour battery life, always-on altimeter, GPS, compass, etc.), but doesn’t offer the blood oxygen sensor or ECG heart sensor, which makes it slightly less comprehensive for workouts.
Fitbit Versa 3 smartwatch
Unlike other Fitbit watches that function as purely fitness trackers, the Versa 3 is a smartwatch through and through. The watch can last up to six days in between charges, and includes many of the desirable features you’d want, like activity tracking, call and text capabilities, GPS for outdoor workouts, and Fitbit Pay (the brand’s version of Apple Pay). For significantly less than the Apple Watch SE and Garmin Forerunner 245, it also offers a bunch of sensors for things like your pulse and skin temperature. To sweeten the deal, it syncs with your Spotify via Bluetooth to queue up one of your running playlists, and is fully submersible for swimming.
And if all you’re looking for is a stripped-down fitness tracker, without any of the fancy smartwatch features, there’s also the Fitbit Inspire 2. It’s an affordable, entry-level model that clocks in at $100, works with Android and iOS systems, plus can be submerged up to 164 feet if you swim. Since it lacks the GPS features of the Charge 5, it also boasts a better battery life. Other highlights include 24/7 heart rate monitoring, real-time pace and distance for runners, and for the Andy Puddicombe-wannabe, guided breathing sessions. For the price, yes, it’s missing some of the smart features of its peers like the Amazfit. But it’s thin and discreet, and does a good job with the basics, which is maybe exactly what you need for an hour in the gym.