When working out, whether it be at home or at the gym, it is great to be able to record workout data. This data allows us to monitor our progress, which in turn lets us analyse areas that we need to improve. When I was growing up (there I go again, sounding like an old man!), I did not have access to this data. Yes, I could record it on a piece of paper but even mobile phones were like bricks, and didn’t have the data capacity to store such information.
However, all that is in the past now. We are in the digital age. We have our mobile phones to hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I’m not sure about you, but given the choice, I would rather leave my mobile phone on the side for the whole workout. I don’t want to be constantly pulling it out of my pocket to record data.
Lucky for us, we don’t have to! We are in the age of smart watches. They have got to be one of the best inventions of the century. All our workout data can now be sent straight to the watch, and from there, uploaded onto your phone. Result, or what!! When they first came out, they were expensive. Fitbit are the pioneer of smart watches, however their watches are very expensive too. You do get a quality product, but are there better and more affordable products on the market?
That’s what I am here to find out. I have been the owner of a few smart watches in my time, so I can definitely tell the bad from the good. I have carefully researched the best smart watches for all occasions. Whether it be for high intensity fitness, or to help you monitor sleep patterns, there is something for everybody.
Fitbit Inspire Series
The Inspire Series is the entry level Fitbit smart watch. They have recently released the Fitbit Inspire 2, which is a great little smart watch. It is a really good-looking watch with a small face. If subtlety is something you are after, then this could be the watch for you. It really all depends on how much you want to spend. Most of them do same thing, so in essence you are paying for the brand, not the actual watch.
- Great battery life (up to 10 days)
- Most features are compatible with both Android and iOS.
- Sleep monitoring
- ‘Active zone minutes’ – shows you if you are working out in your required zone
- Monitors heart rate.
- Price is questionnable
- Some features are only compatible with Android
- Straps could be a little more durable.
My Rating: Lovely little watch but you can get the same features with other ‘less mainstream’, but reputable brands.
Fitbit Charge Series
The Charge series is the progression to the Inspire series. There is not much difference between the 2, however these differences can make a significant difference to which one you choose. The upgrades include:
- An in-built GPS (Inspire series uses the phones GPS)
- An Exstimated Oxygen Variation (SPo2) sensor – can highlight sleep conditions
- Floor climbing tracker
- A ‘change to track Active Zone Minutes’ programme (Inspire just tracks active minutes).
For all these upgrades, you will be paying approximately £40 more.
- Good battery life (7 days)
- Compatible with both Android and iOS
- In-built GPS
- Sleep monitoring – SPo2 sensor
- Floor climbing tracker
- Change to track Active Zone Minutes
- Monitors heart rate.
- Big jump in price, from the Inspire Series
- Watch strap a little bulky.
My Rating: If you are an active runner, then the Charge is for you. This is due to the addition of the tracking active zone minutes. The Inspire 2 will allow you to measure VO2 max. However, the additions of the upgrades are not really needed for those that want a ‘basic’ smart watch. You can save yourself some money by sticking to the Inspire.
Willful Smart Watch
This smart watch nails the brief, and more! When I first received this watch, I fell for it right away. The gorgeous packaging, revealing a very aesthetically pleasing watch. The instructions were very simple to follow, and the strap was not as bulky, when compared to the Fitbit.
As soon as I put it on, I knew it was a ‘keeper’. The usability is very straight forward. It offers all that I need in a smart watch. Baring in mind, I am a fitness professional and I train intensely, it gives me accurate real time heart rate, as well as uploading to my phone within seconds.
One of the issues I had with other smart watches was how uncomfortable they felt whilst sleeping. What I want from a watch, especially whilst sleeping, is to forget it is there, and that is exactly what I got from the Willful smart watch.
- Accurate Heart rate
- Speedy and instant upload to your phone
- Very easy to set up
- Awesome customer service
- Great sports mode
- Accurate training parameters
- Amazing price.
My Rating: Great smart watch, with great features. Very affordable, with it being more than £50 less than the Fitbit Inspire. Syncs to your phone without any issue, and app works brilliantly.
Life Watch by Ecomerzpro
I saw an advert for this watch on a news page. It looked amazing so I clicked on it. Was a very professional advert, and the smart watch seemed to have all I needed. The price was very affordable, so there was no reason for me not to go ahead with the purchase.
Everything went through great, and I received the watch in around 10 days, as promised. However, once I received the watch, I wasn’t that impressed. The watch was a great fit, however, I believed that it would connect to my phone and that I would receive notifications. Unfortunately, this was not a feature of this watch. They advertised that changing the face was possible, however, this was not the case.
I then proceeded to find out how to return the watch. It was sent from Madrid, so I guessed it wouldn’t be straight forward. I filled out the online form but it took an age to get a reply. When I finally did, I packed the phone and sent it. To be fair, the refund was in my account within 10 days.
- Nice looking watch
- Excellent strap
- Great price
- Nice fit.
- Did not sync with phone
- Instructions not clear
- Customer service was difficult to get hold of.
My Rating: I would tend to stay clear of this watch. One of the main features I look for in a smart watch is the capability to receive phone notifications. Unfortunately this watch does not have that feature. There are many better watches on the market, for the same price.
The Ones I Haven’t Reviewed
You may have noticed that I haven’t reviewed any Samsung or Apple watches. The reason behind this is that I think that they are way too expensive. Even paying monthly is the same as having a phone. For me, I need a smart watch to be simple but effective, and I don’t want to pay a ridiculous price for it.
I mean, each to their own. Some people love their gadgets, and prefer to stick to a particular brand. They are very good watches but I truly believe the budget watches can do the same job. There are many budget brands out there, but once I tried the Willful watch, I knew it was the one for me.
The Willful watch I currently have does everything I need it to do. It shows my heart rate, how many calories I have burned, steps taken, distance traveled. It also has a few great little touches, like do not disturb mode. This is great when you are sleeping, as none of your phone notifications will come through whilst you are in bed, however your sleep will still be monitored. It also offers a ‘lift wrist screen’ option. This is so that when you lift your wrist, the display will automatically appear. This can also be turned off, so it doesn’t disturb you whilst sleeping. So, for a fraction of the price of an Apple or Samsung watch, you can have everything you need with this amazing Willful watch.
However, I will not write off Fitbit. Their watches are of fantastic quality and although the price can creep up, they do offer a lot for your money. The question you have to ask yourself is “what do I want out of a smart watch?”. If you are an athlete and you need to measure your VO2 max levels and monitor your active training zones, then it may be worthwhile investing in the Fitbit Charge series. However, if you are just after a practical and quality smart watch, then the Willful watch is for you.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and it has steered you in the right dirrection. If you have any feedback, comments and/or questions, please do not hesitate in leaving them below. As always, it has been a pleasure having you visit my site.