As national closures and a resurgence of interest in health have seen the world participate in more physical activity, sales of sports-oriented smartwatches have exploded. Throughout 2020 there have been over 1.1 billion activities downloaded to the social sports app Strava, while the platform gained 2 million new users every month throughout the year.
Despite a light appearing at the end of the long pandemic-filled tunnel emerging, it is likely that many of these new hobbies and, in some cases, lifestyles will stick around long after COVID-19 has been left behind. With that comes the desire / need to upgrade the technology you use while engaging in such activities – and this is where we come in.
Fitness watches are now more than just stopwatches. While GPS navigation and heart rate monitoring have become a staple in most watches these days, some of your digital fitness buddies will even double as a debit card on your wrist.
From lesser-known labels to world names in the watch industry, HYPEBEAST lists five of the best brands of fitness watches that you should consider the next time you’re in the market for an upgrade.
Finnish brand Suunto is known for its longevity, thanks to its long battery life and sophisticated construction. Founded by explorer Tuomas Vohlonen 85 years ago, the brand makes multifunctional electronic fitness watches designed for running and cycling, as well as for sailing, golf, hiking, mountaineering and even downhill skiing. . Models like Core, Ambit, Vector, X-Lander and X10 are some of its most popular watches, although more recently the Suunto 7 has become increasingly sought after as it is the first Suunto watch to be released. use Google’s new Wear OS technology.
Probably the most recognized name in the world of fitness watches, Garmin is an American label that produces GPS technology for the automotive, marine and aircraft industries, as well as for the fitness world. Founded in 1989, its watches are primarily intended for running, water sports, golf and cycling, with some of its more recent models also featuring Bluetooth music playback and pulse oximetry. Its Vivofit, Vivosmart, and Forerunner are some of its most popular watches, while its Fenix line – initially launched in 2019 – features a solar charging model and also integrates with Spotify.
Famous for creating the world’s first fully wireless heart rate monitor, Finnish label Polar has since developed its own range of high-end connected watches. With a particular emphasis on heart rate monitoring, Polar’s innovative technology can be found often in university research departments across Europe, as its precision and reliability are essential. Founded by the late Seppo Säynäjäkangas in 1977, Polar was originally intended to measure the heart rate of cross-country skiers, but such was its popularity, the brand deployed it in other high-intensity sports. Its Vantage V2 is currently the brand’s most innovative watch and even comes with a heart rate sensor.
After launching its first GPS watch in May 2018, the rise of COROS in just three years is pretty phenomenal. With a particular emphasis on trail and ultrarunning, COROS products are renowned for their long battery life – with its APEX watch capable of running for 35 hours. After becoming the GPS watch partner of the NN Running Team – which includes marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge – the world of road running quickly started to gain attention at the end of last year. Its APEX Pro model – arguably its flagship – features a titanium frame, sapphire crystal display and weighs just 59g, while its PACE 2 has a wrist-based heart rate monitor, the first native and full integration of Stryd and the extension of the COROS Training Platform to also include full daily / weekly / monthly training plans.
Fossil is a name you’ve probably heard of in the watch business, but not necessarily in the fitness tracker business. Such is the competitive world of wrist wear, the American company has been looking into a new market in recent years – and it has proven to be successful. Drawing on its know-how in making traditional watches for everyday wear, the brand has designed a handful of hybrid smartwatches that are suitable for a 100 km run, as well as a trip to stores. The Gen 5E is Fossil’s latest product launched last week and has all the tech you could want. Available in a variety of colors, the Gen 5E’s battery lasts over 24 hours when fully charged, features an accelerometer, gyroscope, out-of-body IR and rate monitor heart – and she also looks great.