Best Smartwatches

Written by Maria

For the holiday season many people will be investing in fitness trackers, and wearable technology to help them achieve their New Year fitness goals. With so many trackers on the market it’s hard to know which one will be the best fit for you. A number of exciting new trackers have hit, or are scheduled to hit the market including the new Nike Apple Watch Series 2 (but Nike Run Club has also enraged user in the past), the Motorola Moto360 Sport, Sony’s SWR50 Smartwatch 3 and the SamsungGear S3. These smartwatch trackers are different from your standard trackers like Fitbit (check out our accuracy comparison between Fitbit, Google Fit, and Apple Health). In addition to tracking activity like steps, and biking, they also can do things like let you respond to text messages and accept calls. They provide many of the benefits of a smartphone, with all the core functionality of a fitness tracker.

Here at IncentFit we’ve looked at the options for you, provide an overview on features, and give our official smartwatch recommendations for Winter 2016.

Platform Comparison

Let’s start with software. There are essentially 3 software platforms:

  1. Apple watchOS
  2. Android Wear
  3. Samsung Tizen

If you’re an Apple user already, then you’ll be fine using the Apple Watch; however, if you’re an Android or Samsung user, you won’t be able to sync your Apple Watch. Apple only works with iPhones, so keep this in mind when making your purchase.

Android Wear on the other hand has the strong benefit of being cross-compatible: it works with both Android and iOS. Additionally Android Wear 2.0–the next generation for Android operating systems– is coming out in Q1 of 2017 and it promises a lot of improvements.

Finally, Samsung Tizen works with most Android phones (but not all) and is promising iOS support in the coming months (although that remains to be seen).

Fitness Tracking

Now, let’s compare their fitness capabilities. If you want to track your exercise then GPS is going to be a necessity. One thing to keep in mind though, is that buying a fitness tracker alone won’t be enough to create a sustainable fitness routine. Without GPS your smartwatch wouldn’t be able to give very accurate readings of outdoor fitness activities. For this reason, we only looked at smartwatches with GPS for our analysis. Also, keep in mind that there are lots of smartwatches that focus on specific sports. If you’re an avid mountaineer, rock climber, swimmer, etc. it’s worth considering buying a watch tailored to your favorite sport. For our comparison, we looked at general purpose devices that handle accurate step tracking, GPS run and bike tracking, and other basic features like text message notifications, music control, calendar integration, etc.

You might also be interested in our comparison of fitness trackers by activity:

The Comparison

The contenders:

  • Apple Watch Series 2
  • Motorola Moto360 Sport
  • Sony SWR50 Smartwatch 3
  • Samsung Gear S3
Apple Watch Series 2 Motorola Moto360 Sport Sony SWR50 Smartwatch 3 SamsungGear S3
GPS Yes Yes Yes Yes
Heart Rate Sensor Yes Yes No Yes
Swim Tracking Yes No No No
Cellular Connectivity No No No Yes (LTE version only)
Operating System (OS) Apple watchOS Android Wear Android Wear Samsung Tizen
Battery 273 mAh (18 hours) 300 mAh (1 day) 420 mAh (2 days) 380 mAh (3 days)
Screen Resolution 272×340 (38mm)

312×390 (42mm)

360×325 320×320 360×360
Water Resistance 50 meters IP67 (1 meter) IP68 (1.5 meters) IP68 (1.5 meters)
NFC Yes No Yes Yes
Processor Dual-core Apple S2 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 1.2 GHz quad-core Cortex A-7 1.0 GHz dual-core Exynos 7270
RAM 1 GB 512 MB 512 MB 768 MB
Storage 2 GB 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB
Other Features: Force Touch TFT display looks great in daylight Samsung Pay with MST
Price $269-$299 $199.99 $149.99 $349.99

Our Final Recommendations

If you’re an iPhone user, you can’t beat the Apple Watch Series 2. Besides the fact that it will work seamlessly with your iPhone, it is fully waterproof and can accurately track swimming. Additionally, it features great performance and is right in the middle for cost. One downside is battery life, which doesn’t compete with other smartwatches we considered.

If you’re an Android user, we recommend the Samsung Gear S3. While it’s more pricey than its competitors, it features go far beyond. It has very long battery life, more RAM, and excellent screen resolution. It even has the added benefit of working with Samsung Pay. This great feature will allow users to make purchases with just the tap of the watch at any vendor that accepts credit card swipes. Looking for a way to reward employees for the activtiies they take on these devices? Need to run a fitness challenge for tech-saavy employees? Contact us to get started!

Corporate Wellness Benefit Managers having a discussion while looking at an electronic tablet.

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