If you’re looking for a wearable that’s fitness-focused, Best Buy is currently offering three fitness-tracking smartwatches on the cheap. The Apple Watch Series 5, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, and Fitbit Versa 2 are here to help you achieve all your fitness goals during this stay-at-home season. Get them for as little as $150 today.
– $150, was $200
Just like the Fitbit Versa and Versa Lite, the Fitbit Versa 2 looks suspiciously like an Apple Watch. You might even accuse it of being a cheap knock-off, although it isn’t by any means. Despite having almost the same design language as Apple’s bestselling wearable, the Fitbit Versa 2 is a solid and well-crafted smartwatch on its own. However, we do have to mention that its wellness insights come at a cost via a paid Fitbit Premium subscription. This might prove to be a serious impediment to some people, especially data-hungry athletes.
The most notable improvement to the Versa 2 is its AMOLED display. The Versa Lite and Versa’s LCD screens work fine, but an AMOLED display offers deeper blacks and helps mask the Versa 2’s massive bezels. And just like the Apple Watch 5, this smartwatch features an always-on display. Other refinements include a slightly better battery life (three to four days with normal usage), an upgraded processor, and NFC for Fitbit Pay, but we’ll get to that later.
Navigating this smartwatch’s interface is pretty straightforward. Swipe right from the home screen to access apps like exercise, alarm, clock, and third-party apps like Spotify, and pull down from the top for notifications and quick settings. While having Spotify integrated is great, you need to have a premium subscription to be able to use it. Fortunately, the Versa 2 offers onboard music storage of about 300 songs that you can transfer via the desktop Fitbit app.
Alexa debuts on the Versa 2, but it’s not something worth getting excited about. Sure, you can ask Alexa to give you the weather forecast, but asking who the first American president is will only provide you with the correct answer, without any additional information. She also had difficulty understanding our queries so we recommend not using her at all to avoid getting a brain aneurysm.
The Versa 2’s fitness tracking is quite extensive and is wonderfully simple and easy to use. With it you can track steps, calories, heart rate, sleep, and activity minutes, and initiate workouts from seven different exercise modes: Running, cycling, swimming, treadmill running, and weight training, as well as a general exercise tracking option and an interval training mode. There’s a vibration prompt at each interval for activity and for rest. Now for the bad part: Some of the insights are quite lacking. For example, if you use it in bed to track your sleep, you’ll be provided with a number from zero to 100 together with a one-word description, like “76: Fair.” There’s no context, no explanation. The only way to get actionable health insights is through the soon-to-be-launched Fitbit Premium membership which costs $10 a month or $80 annually. Bummer.
The Fitbit Versa 2 usually retails for $200, but right now you can get it at Best Buy for just $150.
– $250, was $300
This time around, the latest smartwatch from the already impressive Galaxy Watch lineup flaunts a digital rotating bezel (the Gear Sport and Galaxy Watch are conspicuously analog, but they’re still great). Looking like a rounded cousin of the Apple Watch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 boasts comprehensive fitness tracking, a gorgeous display, a wonderfully fluid interface, and two-day battery life. Simply put, it’s one of the best smartwatches that you can buy right now. Get the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 for just $250 instead of $300 at Best Buy today.
This smartwatch is primarily a fitness wearable, but it looks more versatile. It’s pleasantly minimalist, with a black aluminum body that will look good in the gym and at the office. The Active 2’s 1.4-inch screen has a pixel resolution of 360 x 360, and it is stunning and exceptionally bright. The blacks are deep, colors pop, and text is plenty sharp. And even if you set the screen brightness to just 3 (on a scale from 1 to 10), it’s still bright enough to be seen outdoors even in direct sunlight. There are a couple of buttons found on the right edge for further navigation, and with an IP68 rating, this smartwatch can be submerged in meter-deep water for about half an hour.
The main highlight of the Active 2 is its digital rotating bezel. It’s not as satisfying as the “clicking” mechanical rotating bezels of the Gear Sport and Galaxy Watch, and it makes the watch a fingerprint magnet, but it’s fun and easy to use nonetheless. The Tizen interface also remains fluid and well-organized. Apps and notifications are presented in an orderly fashion (we still prefer the Wear OS’s single-file list view), but we hated the fact that you can’t connect the Active 2 to your computer to transfer music files. Everything must be done over Wi-Fi via a web app interface, and that can get tedious, especially if you don’t have a fast internet connection. Twitter, YouTube, and Google Translate are all onboard, although we have no idea who would want to watch a video on a super tiny screen.
All the basics in fitness and wellness tracking are present in the Active 2, plus plenty more. Walking, running, swimming, cycling, rowing, elliptical training, and dynamic workouts are automatically tracked, and you can measure your stress levels with heart rate data and choose to receive reminders to stand, stretch, or go for a quick stroll. The Samsung Health can give you weekly summaries of your wellness trends, including your sleep patterns, activity levels, and heart rate information. We have to mention though that this device lacks a functional electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor. It’s there, but it hasn’t been cleared by the FDA yet, making it useless as of now.
Finally, with light usage, you can extend this watch’s battery life up to two days, making it possible to do sleep tracking, unlike with the Apple Watch Series 5.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 ranks alongside the Galaxy Watch as the best smartwatch that you can buy for Android. Get the 44mm version of it at Best Buy for a cool $50 less.
Apple Watch Series 5 – from $384
Visually, there’s nothing that sets the Apple Watch Series 5 apart from its predecessor the Series 4. It still sports the same square design and digital crown control system. Its case is made of 100% recycled aluminum (perfect for the environmentally conscious), although it also comes in titanium, stainless steel, and ceramic if you have the money to splurge, with a case size of either 44mm or 40mm. Curvy and ergonomic, it’s small and light enough to let you feel like you’re not wearing it, and it won’t get caught on your shirt cuff.
The biggest difference between the Series 5 and the previous Apple Watch iterations is its always-on display. It will always show the time and you no longer need to raise your wrist in order to wake the screen up. This might sound a tad silly and inconsequential, but having to raise your hands quite unsubtly isn’t appropriate at all times, so we appreciate the slight upgrade. Workout stats are also immediately shown as soon as you start exercising. For example, do some push-ups and the Watch will automatically display the corresponding metrics. There are plenty of watch faces to choose from, with designs that range from the elegant to the quirky. And if you’re thinking that the always-on display will take a serious toll on the battery life, don’t fret. It’s possible to get a full day and a half out of a single charge. Recharging takes about an hour.
The Series 5 also has an internal compass, an even more powerful S5 processor, and a much larger storage capacity. The interface is fun and simple to use. Using the digital crown to zoom in and out of the app screen is great, and the haptic feedback provides an impressively tactile experience. All your basic fitness-tracking needs are covered, plus a few more. It takes care of steps, calories, hourly movement, relaxation, VO2 Max data, hours spent standing, and workout tracking for a range of sports including swimming and biking, and it even handles more unusual activities like yoga and elliptical training.
Probably the most important health feature of the Series 5 is its electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor, which was introduced first on the Series 4. It’s not exactly a heart rate monitor — which is useful for fitness tracking as well as for medical purposes — but instead is designed for use when you feel an irregularity in your heart rate. Having it there will provide peace of mind to anyone with concerns over an irregular heartbeat, as it will send a notification if one is detected.
The Apple Watch Series 5 is nearly perfect and is the best smartwatch that you can buy right now. Get it at Best Buy starting at $384.
Apple Watch Series 5 (40mm) with Black Sport Band — $384, was $399:
Apple Watch Series 5 (44mm) with Black Sport Band — $414, was $429:
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