Should I buy a smartwatch or a fitness tracker?

When you're looking for a fitness tracker or a smartwatch, the first thing you'll notice is that there are a lot of choices. When you choose a standard watch that only shows the time, your choice is largely based on style, but when you have to choose between a smartwatch or a fitness tracker, your choice is based on the features you're interested in.

If you're wondering whether you prefer a smartwatch or a fitness tracker, here's a brief overview of the differences, what each has to offer, and what you should consider before making your choice. If you're a serious fitness enthusiast, you might be interested in a GPS watch, so we'll take a look at those as well.

Should I buy a smartwatch or a fitness tracker?


What's the difference between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker?

Fitness trackers are designed to track your health and workouts. A smartwatch also tracks your health, but it also keeps you connected by sending notifications and updates on your wrist.

There's a lot of overlap between the two. You can find fitness trackers that display text and app notifications on your wrist like a smartwatch, but the intended purpose of a fitness tracker is to focus on your health and daily activity monitoring.

Like fitness trackers, smartwatches keep you informed about the number of steps you've taken, the distance you've traveled, the calories you've burned, and some will give you a 24/7 heart rate. People choose smartwatches over fitness trackers so they can stay in touch with their text messages, phone calls, emails and other social media updates.


GPS and GPS watches

When you start searching for a fitness tracker or smartwatch, one of the features you will see is GPS. GPS (Global Positioning System) can locate you anywhere in the world through a process called triangulation. Triangulation is determined by satellites and in order to accurately track you, the signal bounces back and forth as you run, walk, bike or hike. gps can be very accurate, which is a great feature if you want to see a map of where you're running or want to get a more accurate idea of your speed or distance you're running.

If you are interested in GPS, one thing to keep in mind is that it is available as a built-in GPS, connected GPS, or GPS watch. The built-in GPS allows you to accurately track distances and plot your route on your watch, so you don't have to carry your phone with you to run. With a connected GPS, your fitness tracker or smartwatch will use your phone's GPS to track you, so you'll always need to have your phone with you if you want to plan your workouts.

A GPS watch is a watch with an on-board GPS. While it can have simple style and tracking features like a fitness tracker, a GPS watch may provide you with smartwatch features such as a touch screen, on-screen workouts, music storage, and text or call notifications. GPS watches are a favorite of runners trying to improve endurance and speed, and cyclists love them because they can identify speed, pinpoint where they might be on a ride difficulties, and map out where they've been.


Why choose a smartwatch

If you want an all-in-one watch that keeps you up to date just like your phone, then a smartwatch can 

be your choice. Wearing a smartwatch is like having your phone on your wrist, you can answer and take calls, respond to texts and emails, get directions or view maps, and get updates on all your favorite apps.

At the same time, smartwatches can track your health, and some models offer you an onboard workout program you can follow.


Smartwatches have a watch-like style

If you like the style of a standard watch and don't want to wear a fitness bracelet, then you'll love a smartwatch. Many different types resemble a standard watch, with interchangeable bands, round faces and attractive bezels. Some have black and white or color touchscreens, while others use buttons to scroll through your options.

With a smartwatch, you should be able to view all your data directly on the watch screen. While you can sync your watch with your phone or computer, you can access the same information right on your wrist.


Smartwatches let you stay connected through your favorite operating system

Just as you choose an Android or Apple phone, you can choose a smartwatch that runs either the Android or Apple operating system. Apple Watch is the only smartwatch that runs the watchOS operating system, but there are many different types of Android smartwatches that run Google's Wear OS.

While you don't have to stick with the same type of OS your phone runs, you may find that some smartwatches have features that are only available when paired with a compatible phone. For example, some smartwatches will only let you answer calls if your phone has a similar operating system.

If you choose a Wear OS watch, you should be able to load apps on it that run independently of your phone. This means you can still track your health, but you can leave your phone at home.


Smartwatches can also track your health

As I've already mentioned, some smartwatches can give you step-by-step workouts right on your wrist. You can also find smartwatches with multiple workout options to customize the way you track your fitness, and they will also track everything the fitness tracker does, including distance, steps, calories burned, and in some cases, elevation.

Like fitness watches, smartwatches have companion apps that can be used to track even more data. One of the biggest differences between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch is that you can add apps to your smartwatch. If you use Strava or Runkeeper to monitor your runs, you can use that app on your wrist.


Smartwatches offer heart rate monitoring and GPS

There are many different smartwatches with 24/7 heart rate monitoring and a touch screen on your wrist that allows you to see your heart rate in real time. Some smartwatches provide accurate heart rate monitoring and over time you will learn your resting heart rate and how you are doing in different heart rate zones. apple Watch has a built-in ECG to detect irregular heartbeats.

While some smartwatches offer GPS connectivity to monitor your health, you'll find smartwatches with built-in GPS. They can accurately track your running speed and monitor your route while providing guidance to improve your speed or endurance.


Why choose a fitness tracker

With a fitness tracker on your wrist, you can track every step, run and workout. If your main goal is to have a very detailed overview of your health and fitness data, then a fitness tracker may be a perfect choice.


Fitness trackers are easy to use and easy to wear

Most fitness trackers are designed to look like bracelets. They are usually thin, lightweight and made of waterproof and sweat-proof materials so they stand up to all-day workouts. Some fitness trackers have small touch screens, while others are designed as watches with buttons that you can press to scroll through your data.


Fitness trackers track all your daily activities

Did you walk back to the house from the garden? Your fitness tracker will count those steps. Climbed 10 flights of stairs to work? Fitness Tracker will track your activity throughout the day, which means your steps, distance, elevation, and the calories you burned during that activity.

When you have a fitness tracker with advanced features, you will be able to select and track custom workout profiles such as hiking, HIIT training and weight training. Depending on the fitness tracker you choose, you may also be able to track swimming, and some trackers will offer multi-sport tracking if you perform different exercises during your workout routine. Many different types of fitness trackers will also track your sleep, so you can wear it all night to see how many hours of rapid eye movement and light sleep you're getting.


Fitness tracker apps offer additional tracking

With a fitness tracker, you should be able to look down at your wrist and see if you're meeting your fitness goals. By syncing the tracker with the companion app, you'll be able to track even more. Some companion apps will provide you with food tracking, water intake tracking, and weight loss or gain.

You can view all the data for days, weeks, months, or even years if you wear it long enough. This data is useful if you want to see how you're improving or what you need to improve.


Fitness trackers with heart tracking and GPS

While fitness trackers tend to be simpler devices than smartwatches, you can find models with 24/7 heart rate monitoring and built-in GPS.


Should you choose a GPS watch, a smartwatch or a fitness tracker?

There are benefits to choosing each of these devices. In general, a fitness tracker is great for someone who wants basic or advanced fitness tracking. Someone who will wear something to keep them active and give them the motivation to exercise every day.

Someone who chooses a smartwatch wants all the features of a smartwatch on their wrist, and they like the option to take a call or answer a text without picking up their phone. Smartwatches can also track fitness, and you can add your favorite fitness apps to your watch so you can track your workouts.

GPS watches are the perfect accessory for the serious fitness enthusiast. With built-in GPS and real-time fitness tracking, you'll be able to use the features on your watch to improve your endurance, speed, and more.


Choose the right health device for your own needs.


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