10 Versatile Smartwatches, Fitness Trackers Worth a Closer Look

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-08-05
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Versatile Smartwatches, Fitness Trackers Worth a Closer Look
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    10 Versatile Smartwatches, Fitness Trackers Worth a Closer Look

    Depending on what you are looking for in a wearable, there's a current-generation device out there for you. Here's a look at 10 wearables that deliver high-quality features.
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    The Polar M600 Is a New Wearable Market Entry
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    The Polar M600 Is a New Wearable Market Entry

    The Polar M600 is one of the newer devices in this roundup. The wearable, which also doubles as a "GPS sports watch," is powered by Android Wear and allows users to simultaneously check the time, get their heart rate on a run and keep track of where they are with an integrated navigation system. The M600, which is currently available for preorder for $330, also provides users with feedback on their physical activity and tells them how many calories they've burned.
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    Pebble Core Is Much Different
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    Pebble Core Is Much Different

    Unlike so many other devices in this roundup, the Pebble Core doesn't come with a screen or attach to a user's wrist. Instead, the tiny clip-on wearable pairs with Pebble Time watches and gives users access to Spotify streaming, run-tracking and even Amazon Alexa, without even requiring users to have their phones with them. The Pebble Core is set to ship in January for $99.
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    Huawei Watch Combines Old and New
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    Huawei Watch Combines Old and New

    The Huawei Watch is a device that attempts to make Android Wear look like it belongs in a standard watch. The device, which starts at $399, comes with the customer's choice of a band as well as access to a wide array of Google Android applications and watch faces. In addition to its time-telling, the smartwatch features a built-in speaker to take and make calls, along with a fitness feature that tracks user movements throughout the day.
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    Garmin's Not Just a Mapping Company
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    Garmin's Not Just a Mapping Company

    Garmin is perhaps best known for its mapping technology, but the company's making great strides in wearables. That's on full display with its $220 Vivosmart HR+. The wearable has GPS tracking to keep track of users while they run or walk, and can be used while swimming. Users will also find heart rate monitoring, calorie tracking and a range of smart notifications that will tell them when they receive a call, text or email. The HR+ pairs with compatible devices via Bluetooth.
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    The Samsung Gear S2 Combines Function, Good Looks
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    The Samsung Gear S2 Combines Function, Good Looks

    Like the Huawei Watch, the $450 Samsung Gear S2 Classic Platinum is designed to bridge the gap between smartwatches and traditional watches. To achieve that goal, the device comes with a circular screen and support for several different wristbands. On the technical side, users will find support for Bluetooth so the device can connect to an Android handset, as well as WiFi support for accessing notifications and other data on the go. On the fitness side, the wearable comes bundled with the S Health app to track steps and check heart rates, and also offers access to many third-party fitness apps.
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    The Jawbone Up Move Is a Cheap Option
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    The Jawbone Up Move Is a Cheap Option

    The Jawbone Up Move is similar to the Pebble Core in that it doesn't necessarily need to be worn around the wrist. Instead, the device can be clipped on to a pocket or on your pants' waistband to track all kinds of activity, including distance traveled, traveling speeds and calories burned. It doesn't have a screen, though, so data will have to be accessed from a connected mobile device. The Up Move costs just $50.
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    Fitbit Blaze Is All About Style
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    Fitbit Blaze Is All About Style

    Fitbit finds its way into this roundup with help from the Blaze, one of its most popular smartwatches. The wearable, which has a starting price of $200, comes with a color touch screen that displays time, notifications, workout metrics and more. It's designed for active people who want to track their exercise routines.
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    LG Watch Urbane Connects to LTE
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    LG Watch Urbane Connects to LTE

    The LG Watch Urbane Second Edition is fully capable of connecting to LTE networks. That means the device can be worn without requiring users to carry around a connected smartphone and still get messages, track their fitness and even make calls from the watch, thanks to its built-in microphone. The Watch Urbane runs on Android Wear, providing it access to a slew of apps and watch faces. The device, which connects to both AT&T and Verizon networks, starts at $200.
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    Samsung's Gear Fit 2 Has Proved Popular
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    Samsung's Gear Fit 2 Has Proved Popular

    Samsung makes a second appearance in this roundup, thanks to its popular Gear Fit2. The wearable, which is slimmer than many other similar models, comes with a rectangular screen and is designed to fit snugly around a user's wrist. It tracks fitness levels, monitors heart rates and can even handle dunks in water. For a limited time, Samsung has priced this model at $150, which is $30 off its usual retail price.
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    One Cannot Forget About Apple Watch
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    One Cannot Forget About Apple Watch

    The Apple Watch is the world's most popular smartwatch, so it deserves a spot in the list of appealing wearables. The device, which launched last year, comes with a heart-rate sensor, the ability for users to change watch faces with ease and access to a multitude of third-party apps ranging from games to health. It also comes in three models, the Apple Sport, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition, and connects to an iPhone. It can display notifications, make calls and more. The cheapest Apple Watch Sport starts at $299. But be aware that several reports suggest a new version of the device could launch in the next several months.
 

Intel has sustained a major setback in the wearables market after revealing that its subsidiary Basis is recalling all of the Peak smartwatches that have been sold due to overheating risks that could cause blisters or burns. While the issue reportedly only affects a small number of Peaks, Intel says it will shut down all Basis Peak services by Dec. 31, at which time users will not be able to access their data. However, Basis isn't the first wearables company to issue a recall. In 2014, for instance, Fitbit issued a voluntary recall of its Force wearable after users complained of rashes. But these recalls shouldn't discourage people for checking out some of the current generation of wearables. Fitbit is in a class of more prominent wearable makers that also includes Pebble, Samsung, Jawbone and, yes, Apple that deliver high-quality products. This slide show covers some of the fitness trackers, smartwatches and other wearable types that are worth checking out, whether you are among some of the more intrepid Basis Peak owners looking to replace your recalled unit or you are just looking to buy your first wearable. Not all wearables are equally appealing, but each of the following devices has features that make it a useful device. Read on to learn more.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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