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What is the Distinction Between Smartwatches and Health Trackers? – Evaluate Geek

Fitbit, Apple

Wearable gadgets are extra frequent than ever earlier than. However satirically, the phrases “health tracker” and “smartwatch” have solely grown extra complicated. Individuals have a tough time understanding how these product classes are completely different—an issue that results in dissatisfied clients and wasted cash.

Each health trackers and smartwatches have a spot on this world. However we’ll attempt to discover which product belongs in your wrist.

Health Trackers Prioritize Well being and Train

An illustration of the Fitbit Charge 5 fitness tracker.

Practically each element of a health tracker revolves round well being and train. Health trackers use distinctive sensors to log your coronary heart fee, sleep, exercises, stress degree, and extra. They comprise easy-to-use software program that encourages wholesome habits, they’re often swim-resistant, they usually usually final for a number of days on a cost.

Health trackers should join together with your telephone to supply detailed well being and health readings. The display screen of a health tracker can present your coronary heart fee and step depend, nevertheless it’s too small for graphs or charts.

Additionally, most health trackers depend on the person’s smartphone for GPS performance. Some folks will not want GPS monitoring, nevertheless it’s helpful for cyclists or runners who wish to look again at their route and see the place they slowed down, sped up, or hit an attention-grabbing coronary heart fee. (Some health trackers include GPS built-in, which saves you from taking a telephone in your run.)

However lately, health trackers have turn out to be extra “smartwatch-like.” It is not unusual for a health tracker to indicate notifications for textual content or calls, for instance, and NFC contactless cost assist is often included in high-end health trackers.

And a few health trackers appear like smartwatches! The Fitbit Sense, for instance, has a big full-color touchscreen show. However as you may be taught in a minute, there’s extra to a smartwatch than an enormous display screen.

Smartwatches Broaden Your Smartphone’s Capabilities

Apple Watch Series 8 in multiple colors.

A smartwatch makes use of cutting-edge options to develop the capabilities of your telephone. Smartwatches place a singular emphasis on communication, sensible residence management, and work-related duties. They usually assist a ton of apps, together with issues like Spotify or Google Maps, which you’ll be able to management out of your wrist.

Your common smartwatch makes use of a big shade touchscreen show. And for those who pay further, it might even assist mobile connectivity. This lets you go for a stroll with out your smartphone and nonetheless stream music, obtain calls or texts, or carry out most different duties.

Well being and health is a big a part of this equation, by the way in which. Smartwatches can monitor your train, sleep, and coronary heart fee. Costly items just like the Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch have a tendency to supply the identical fitness-focused options as a correct health tracker. Plus, they’re often waterproof for swimming and provide guided workout routines for a small month-to-month charge.

However well being and health are not often a smartwatch’s essential promoting level. And in reality, health trackers have an enormous leg up on this space—they have a tendency to final a number of days on a cost, and naturally, they usually promote for underneath $100. Evaluate that to the typical smartwatch, which must cost every single day and should value a number of hundred {dollars}.

The Distinction Is not All the time Clear

The Galaxy Watch 5 in a maze.

Years in the past, the distinction between a health tracker and a smartwatch was fairly clear-cut. A health tracker was a glorified pedometer, whereas a smartwatch was an extension of your smartphone.

However we have reached some extent the place health trackers and smartwatches fulfill comparable duties. You possibly can obtain texts or carry out contactless funds on a Fitbit, for instance, and each self-respecting smartwatch comprises superior sensors for well being and health.

The rising demand for large-screened health trackers has additionally muddied the waters. We now have merchandise just like the Fitbit Sense, which has an enormous display screen and affords a really restricted number of “smartwatch options.” I am inclined to name the Fitbit Sense a health tracker, however I would not bat an eye fixed if a journalist or reviewer referred to as it a smartwatch—the excellence is not at all times clear.

That mentioned, do not get too hung up on phrases like “health tracker” or “smartwatch.” These phrases are useful when making an attempt to explain a tool’s performance, however they by no means paint a full image.

Which Ought to You Purchase?

The Garmin Venu 2S on my wrist
Cameron Summerson/Evaluate Geek

For some folks, selecting a smartwatch or health tracker is a straightforward job. In case you solely care about well being and health, a Fitbit Cost is simple to advocate. And for those who’re large on taking calls or controlling Spotify out of your wrist, there’s at all times the Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch, which virtually double as health trackers.

However possibly your wants aren’t so easy. Perhaps you need the very best health expertise with a number of smartwatch options—that is the place merchandise just like the Fitbit Sense or the Garmin Venu come into play. These gadgets toe the road between “health tracker” and “smartwatch.”

Heck, you can even ditch this two-party system for a 3rd possibility; the hybrid smartwatch. In easy phrases, a hybrid smartwatch is simply an analog watch with fundamental “sensible” options. I am an enormous fan of the Withings ScanWatch, because it tracks issues like train and coronary heart fee with out turning into an enormous distraction.

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