Best 2018 smartwatches and fitness trackers for the hol…

Best 2018 smartwatches and fitness trackers for the hol...
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If you’re ready to trade in your analogue watch for something smarter, fitness trackers and smartwatches will help keep you connected and kick your workout routine into overdrive just in time for the new year.

We’ve rounded up five of our favorites to fit just about every need and budget. 

Disclaimer: CNET may receive a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

Fitbit Charge 3: A fitness tracker that does it all

Fitbit’s newest tracker packs a lot of features into a smaller frame.


Josh Miller/CNET

Price: $150

If this is your first wearable device, or you just can’t make up your mind between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge 3 is a happy medium. It checks the activity tracking box whether your at the gym or at the pool, it tracks your sleep, menstrual cycle (for women), and has a built-in heart rate sensor for improved accuracy when it comes to counting calories. Plus it has some of the same features you’d find on a smartwatch like a touchscreen, and phone notifications and swappable straps to customize your look. It doesn’t have a built-in GPS or music storage, but it lasts almost a week on a charge and costs less than most smartwatches at $150.

Fitbit Charge 3 available on Amazon


The Apple Watch Series 4 doubles down on health

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The Apple Watch Series 4 takes health tracking to the next level with its built-in EKG feature.


John Kim/CNET

Price: $399 (GPS, 40mm); $499 (LTE, 40mm)

If you’re an iPhone ($1,152 at Amazon Marketplace) user, it doesn’t get much better than the Apple Watch Series 4. It’s undergone a sleek redesign with a larger, brighter screen (in two sizes), powerful processor and added health features to help you reach your fitness goals and potentially save your life. The Series 4 is the first direct-to-consumer wearable with an EKG feature that can help doctors diagnose heart-related conditions like atrial fibrillation along with a fall detection feature which notifies your emergency contacts, and calls 911 when you’ve had a bad fall. And add cellular connectivity to the Watch to send messages, make calls or request a car service phone free. The downside: a shorter battery life (it lasts about two days on a charge) and its $499 price tag (for the LTE version). But if you’re looking to spend less, there’s always last year’s Series 3 Watch which shares a lot of the same great features for a lot less.

Apple Watch Series 4 available at Apple


The Samsung Galaxy Watch is a stunner 

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The rotating bezel on the Galaxy Watch makes it easy to navigate through its many features.  


James Martin/CNET

Price: $300 (WiFi, 42mm) or $380 (LTE, 42mm)

If you have a Samsung device, or you’re just looking for an Apple Watch alternative, the Galaxy Watch works with both iOS and Android devices. With its round watch face and rotating bezel, it’s one of the best-looking smartwatches we’ve seen this year. It comes in two different screen sizes, three metal finishes and has swappable bands that you can customize for work or workout. It’s a great fitness companion with automatic workout detection, built-in GPS, continuous heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. It also comes with an LTE version that works independently of the phone, and Samsung Pay, but you’ll only be able to use it at NFC enabled terminals (no MST). The Samsung Galaxy Watch starts at $300 or $380 for the LTE version.

Samsung Galaxy Watch available at Samsung


The Amazfit Bip is a steal 

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The Amazfit Bip has a battery that can run for weeks on a charge and a price that’s hard to beat.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Price: Starts at $79

If you’re looking for bang for your buck, it’s hard to beat the $80 price tag on Xiaomi’s Amazfit Bip. It does all the basics you’d expect from a smartwatch and can outlast basically every other device on this list. You can get anywhere from one to four weeks on a charge depending on use. Don’t expect a fancy OLED screen on this watch, and the frame ($2,198 at Amazon) is plastic instead of metal, but it’s slimmer and a lot lighter on the wrist. You can set up alerts and notifications, activity tracking, GPS, heart rate monitoring and water resistance, but you can’t reply to messages, store music or set up mobile payments.

Amazfit Bip available on Amazon


The Garmin Forerunner 645 Music is fit for an athlete 

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The Forerunner 645 music can store your entire playlist for those long training sessions.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The Garmin Forerunner 645 Music is great training companion for serious runners and triathletes looking to step up their game. Sure, $440 dollars may seem like a lot to pay for a workout buddy, but it gives you a lot more insight into your runs, bike rides and swims than any other device on this list. This includes things like ground contact time balance, stride length, vertical ratio, route and elevation. And it helps you transform this data into results. The Forerunner 645 Music can also handle mobile payments and stores up to 500 songs to keep you company on those long training runs, now connectable to Spotify. If you’re just interested in the fitness features, check out some of the previous Forerunner models from Garmin which can cost you a lot less.

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music available at Garmin

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