The Best Fitness Trackers: Black Friday Deals On Garmin, Fitbit, Huawei And Others
Whether you’re considering buying your first fitness tracker or planning to upgrade your current one, it’s worth doing your research before you take the plunge. Fitness trackers used to be glorified pedometers, but now have the ability to record and estimate all kinds of metrics across almost every sport. This means you should be able to find a tracker that ticks practically every box you could hope for. If you’re new to this fitness tracking malarky, it’s worth asking yourself the following questions to help you work out what’s important to you. Or if you already have a budget in mind, jump to our top picks in three different categories:
Best Black Friday Fitness Tracker Deals
Garmin Fenix 5 – 30% Off
Garmin recently updated the Fenix 5 range with new devices that added colour maps and music, but the original is still a top-notch GPS tracker, and the lack of those fancy new features does mean it has a more impressive battery life than its successor (two weeks watch mode, 24 hours of GPS). The waterproof Fenix 5 offers in-depth tracking for all your indoor and outdoor activities and will keep an eye on your training load for you to ensure you’re being productive and not overdoing it.
Buy from Amazon | £309.99 (was 439.99)
Garmin Vivomove HR – 24% Off
One of the more elegant trackers out there, the Vivomove HR is a hybrid watch that has a small display on the face to show off your fitness stats when you tap the touchscreen. Those stats can be swiped through and include your heart rate, step count and active minutes, and the Vivomove HR will also measure your stress level using your heart rate. For Black Friday Amazon has knocked £40 off the RRP of the watch.
Buy from Amazon | £129.99 (was £169.99)
Fitbit Charge 2 – 46% Off
The Charge 2 is a fantastic tracker with connected GPS and a heart-rate monitor. It’s been superseded by the Charge 3 but if you’re not fussed about your fitness band being swimproof and are more focused on price than getting the most refined package this Black Friday discount is just right for you.
Buy on Amazon | £79.99 (was £139.99) | Fitbit Charge 2 review
Huawei Band 2 Pro – 55% Off
This is getting silly now. Given that it is waterproof, has a built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor the Huawei Band 2 Pro is a grand bargain at its full RRP of £79.99 and now the price is less than half that, with Amazon’s Black Friday sale reducing it to £35.99. Don’t miss out.
Buy on Amazon | £35.99 (was £79.99) | Huawei Band 2 Pro review
Nokia/Withings Steel HR – 33% Off
This hybrid tracker has an analogue face containing a small circular screen that displays fitness tracking stats including your heart rate and step counts. The Steel HR also tracks sports like running and swimming automatically, and the battery lasts up to 25 days on one charge. Originally called the Withings Steel HR, then briefly the Nokia Steel HR, and now back to the Withings Steel HR, it’s anyone’s guess what the branding will be on the device when you order it, but it will be the same excellent tracker regardless, and Withings will offer continue to support it. For Black Friday 2018, Amazon has slashed the price of the Steel HR from £169.95 to £113.20.
Buy on Amazon | £113.20 (was £169.95)
Garmin Forerunner 935 Tri Bundle – 29% Off
The Garmin Forerunner 935 is an extremely impressive running and triathlon watch that boasts a massive 24 hours of GPS battery life along with a vast array of features designed to satisfy the stat-obsessed. All that comes at a hefty price, however, so it’s worth snapping up this excellent Black Friday deal from Wiggle, which knocks 29% off the Forerunner 935 Tri Bundle. This includes the watch itself plus two chest-strap heart rate monitors, one of which is designed for swimming.
Buy from Wiggle | £399.99 (was £569.99) | Garmin Forerunner 935 review
Fitness Trackers 101
Do you even need a fitness tracker?
The most important question of all. If you have a smartphone there are plenty of apps that will record your activities, often for free. Check out our list of the best fitness apps for running, cycling and workouts in case all your needs can be fulfilled without spending a penny.
How much do you want to spend?
Basic trackers now cost less than £50 but, to get features that improve on what any smartphone offers, it’s worth spending up to £100 for a good entry-level option. If you can stretch a little further you’ll find trackers with all sorts of premium features like heart rate tracking, built-in GPS and touchscreens for between £100 and £250. Go above that mark and you’ll find the best smartwatches and more in-depth sports trackers. Keen runners and triathletes will probably need the latter to satisfy their urge for stats.
How much importance do you place on looks?
Some fitness trackers, like the Withings Steel, look just like watches; some place great value on style so you can wear them everywhere, like the Apple Watch or Fitbit Versa; and others make no attempt to hide their sporty credentials. If you don’t mind the last option then the fitness tracker world is your oyster, but if you want to look smart then your options are slightly more limited.
Do you want to track everyday activities or just sport?
An everyday tracker will need to be stylish, comfortable to wear and will record steps, sleep and calories burned. However, it might fall short when it comes to dedicated sport tracking. If you’re only planning on wearing your tracker for sports then you can opt for something more garish but more feature-rich.
What will you be doing?
If you enjoy a particular sport it’s vital to check your tracker is able to record it properly. Running, walking, and cycling are well covered by plenty of trackers, but if you’re into, swimming, HIIT sessions, Pilates or tennis, dig into the reviews to see if your chosen tracker will record that activity properly.
Do you need built-in GPS?
The addition of GPS tracking means your tracker will record speed, distance and elevation during outdoor activities like running and cycling accurately without forcing you to carry your phone – but it comes at a price. Cheaper trackers will use an accelerometer to estimate distance covered, with mixed results. If you do take your smartphone running then you might get by with something like the Fitbit Charge 3, which uses your smartphone’s GPS to offer accurate distance tracking.
Do you need it to be waterproof?
If you swim regularly this is clearly a must. Many trackers offer some degree of water resistance, which means you can run in the rain or take a shower with them, but only a select few have the waterproofing required for swimming.
RECOMMENDED: The Best Waterproof Fitness Trackers For Swimmers
Do you want to track your sleep?
Sleep is just as important as exercise and diet when it comes to your overall health. Many trackers now record how long you spend asleep and break that down into periods of deep, light and REM sleep, allowing you to gauge your sleep quality. This is a feature more likely to be found on everyday fitness trackers rather than dedicated sports watches. A good battery life is key to actually being able to use sleep tracking.
RECOMMENDED: The Best Sleep Trackers
How often are you prepared to charge it?
There is a wide variation in battery life on fitness trackers. Companies like Misfit and Withings use watch-style batteries that last as long as eight months before they need replacing, while others use rechargeable options that need to be plugged in every night. Features like a fancy screen, GPS and heart rate monitoring will suck the life out of trackers rapidly, so if the convenience of not having to charge your device often is a priority, you’ll have to scale back your demands in other areas.
Have you checked out the app?
As important as the tracker itself is its app, because that’s mostly how you’ll interact with all the data it collects. Major players like Fitbit and Garmin have very in-depth features in their apps so you can spend hours analysing your data or connecting with friends.
Do you need a tracker with a screen?
The quality of the screen on fitness trackers is very closely related to the price, so if you want a full colour touchscreen you can expect to have to cough up top dollar. It’s great to view all your stats on the go, especially during activities, but if you plan to have your phone with you to look at the app anyway you may view the screen as less important. Also, if you opt for a device without a screen you can get a more discreet, stylish model.
Do you want coaching?
Some trackers go beyond passive tracking of your activity and will actively coach you during your activities as well as planning out a training schedule. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend more: Moov, for example, has trackers for less than £100 that will coach you through activities like runs, bike rides and HIIT workouts.
Does it play nice with your favourite apps?
If you get really into your fitness tracking you may very well start to favour certain smartphone apps like Strava, Runkeeper or Nike+ Run Club and build up a history of all your activities on them. Naturally, when you then get a new fitness tracker, you need it to link with these apps so you can continue logging your activities on them. Most of the time the link will be automatic and easy, but it’s worth checking that your shiny new tracker will actually communicate with the Strava profile you’ve built up over years of running and cycling.
Are you a triathlete?
If you’re all about multi-sport activities then you’ll need quite a niche product that not only offers run, cycle and open-water swim tracking, but allows you to track a combination of them as one activity seamlessly. This means you’ll be heading for the top of the top-end market.
Entry-Level Fitness Trackers (Less Than £100)
A modest budget is no barrier to picking up an excellent fitness tracker, as these four entry-level options show. Whichever feature you value most, be it heart rate monitoring, a long battery life or a waterproof design, you can find an effective tracker for under £100.
Huawei Band 2 Pro
Given the array of features it offers – including heart rate monitoring and GPS tracking – you might think the Huawei Band 2 Pro falls into the suspiciously cheap category at £50. We certainly had our doubts but when we tried it, we found that it delivered. This makes it an astonishing bargain, because any other tracker matching its feature set will set you back at least £100 as a minimum and more likely £130.
The built-in GPS makes the Huawei Band Pro 2 especially attractive to those who want to track runs and cycles accurately, and the sleep tracking adds new and useful metrics like deep sleep continuity.
Buy from Amazon | £49.99 | Huawei Band Pro 2 review
Fitbit Flex 2
The Flex 2 is Fitbit’s most basic wrist-worn tracker and covers the basics well, tracking your steps, distance travelled, calories burned and sleep, plus it has an array of LEDs which will tell you how close you are to your daily step goal at a glance. It’s also waterproof, offering the same swim features as the Fitbit Charge 3. The Flex 2 also has a healthy five-day battery life and you can remove the tracker from the band and wear it as a pendant or in a bracelet if you prefer.
Buy from Fitbit | £69.99
It’s the cheapest tracker on this list, but the Moov Now has some features that even the most expensive devices can’t match. It can be worn on the ankle or the wrist and will provide live feedback during your training session to help you improve or coach you through a workout. It can analyse your running form and provide pointers that can reduce the risk of injury. If you wear it for a circuit training session it will count your reps, and if you try one of Moov’s boxing workouts it will tell you exactly what punches to throw and when. It’s also a brilliant swim tracker, providing detailed stroke analysis and tips for improving your technique, and because you can wear it on the ankle you get smarter cycle tracking too. All this comes in a package that costs less than £50, though if you really get into the boxing you might want to buy one for each wrist.
Buy from Moov | £46.06
The Bip is by no means a perfect device, but you can certainly forgive the accuracy issues it sometimes suffers from when you consider the following: it’s a GPS tracker with a one-month battery life, a big screen and a heart rate monitor, and it costs well under £100. It doesn’t look half bad on the wrist either. One important thing to note is that the Bip only tracks running, cycling and walking, so if you get your fitness kicks in some other way, you’ll find it limited.
Buy from Amazon | £67.90 | Amazfit Bip review
Mid-Range To High-End Fitness Trackers
As you’ve seen, there are useful trackers available for less than £100, but step above that mark and you open up a new world of exciting features like heart-rate monitors as standard, smartwatch-style notifications and even basic screens. Get excited, people.
Fitbit Charge 3
The latest version of Fitbit’s wildly-popular Charge is more stylish than its predecessors, with a variety of attractive interchangeable bands and a bigger screen, and it’s waterproof to boot. The Charge 3 doesn’t have its own GPS, but will use Fitbit’s Connected GPS feature to use your phone for more accurate distance tracking on outdoor runs and rides. The Charge 3 also has Fitbit Pay, so you can make NFC payments if you’re with a compatible bank (Santander is the only high street bank that’s signed up at the moment). All in all the Charge 3 offers the package you get from the array of smartwatches that have cropped up around the £200 mark but is much cheaper and, crucially, is not a watch, which will appeal to people who don’t want a fitness tracker that steals their traditional timepiece’s thunder.
Buy from Fitbit | £129.99
Garmin Vivosmart 4
One of the best things about Garmin is that once a new feature has appeared on its high-end trackers, it usually trickles down to the brand’s cheaper wearables. The Vivosmart 4 is laden with impressive features, including automatic rep counting, estimates of VO2 max and fitness age, all-day stress tracking and automatic activity tracking, as well as being waterproof so you can take it swimming.
It also has a built-in heart rate monitor for 24/7 tracking and a resting heart rate measurement, and it will even estimate your energy levels with the new Body Battery feature.
Buy from Garmin | £119.99
The Versa sits in Fitbit’s line-up between fitness trackers like the Charge 3 and the top-end Ionic smartwatch, offering the activity tracking of the former and the smarts of the latter. It doesn’t have a built-in GPS, but will connect to your phone’s GPS to record outdoor activities, and the Versa can store and stream music, display notifications from your phone (some of which you can reply to from the watch if you have an Android phone) and, crucially, looks the business too. As with all Fitbits you get stellar everyday activity tracking and if you subscribe to Fitbit Coach, you can follow guided workouts and runs on the Versa’s screen.
Buy from Fitbit | £199.99 | Fitbit Versa review
Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro
Another smartwatch that comes in under £200, the Gear Fit2 Pro packs a whole lot of features into its slimline design, with the headline attractions being built-in GPS, excellent swim tracking and a Spotify app so Premium users can store and update your playlists on the device. We were less impressed by the short battery life – 24 hours or less even if you don’t fire up the GPS – and it’s a device that doesn’t play that well with iPhones (although it does make an effort, unlike the Apple Watch with Android devices). However, given that the Fit2 Pro can often be found nearer £150 (or even £100) than £200, it’s one of the best-value trackers out there.
Buy from Amazon | £155.97 | Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro review
It can be tricky for newcomers to match the evolved offerings of fitness tracker behemoths like Garmin and Fitbit, but Coros pretty much nailed it with its first GPS watch. The Pace offers a compelling package for triathletes in particular.
The Pace tracks only running, cycling and swimming, with a customisable multisport mode to flit between them for races or brick sessions, but it does that tracking very well indeed with accurate, in-depth data on your training. It also boasts a 30-day battery life (25 hours of GPS) and perhaps the most accurate optical heart rate monitor we’ve tested. The design is probably too plasticky for most people to wear everywhere, but as a pure sports tracker, the Pace is a terrific option for those who don’t want to splash out £350 plus on a high-end Garmin or Suunto.
Buy from Amazon | £249.98 | Coros Pace review
Garmin Forerunner 35
An excellent entry-level GPS running watch that provides all the key stats you need and the ability to create customisable interval workouts to follow without getting bogged down in the obsessive detail available on higher-end Forerunner devices. The Forerunner 35 has a heart rate monitor and a battery that lasts a decent 13 hours using GPS (nine days in watch mode). It also does a good job of tracking your everyday activity, though the boxy design might put you off wearing it 24/7. It’s seriously easy to use and most runners will be more than satisfied by the features available, especially given that the Forerunner 35 is usually available for around £130 if you keep your eyes peeled (or let us keep them peeled for you).
Buy from Amazon | £126.05 | Garmin Forerunner 35 review
The wearable formerly known as the Nokia Steel remains the best hybrid watch/fitness tracker available even after the name change. The Withings Steel is stylish, has a massive eight-month battery life, and tracks activity (including swimming) and sleep automatically. Aside from doing some exercise, you don’t have to make any effort at all – the watch will quietly track your every move and sync all the info to the partner app.
Buy from Withings | £119.95
Smartwatches And Sports Trackers
The crème de la crème. These top-end trackers are the smartest you can get, with flashy screens, built-in GPS and the ability to provide in-depth stats on all your sporting pursuits. If you’ve fallen down a fitness rabbit-hole and have the moolah, these are your go-to options.
Apple Watch Series 4
When it comes to smartwatch functionality the Apple Watch Series 4 is streets ahead of the competition, with a well-stocked app store, an easy-to-use wallet (a conduit for your bank cards, trains tickets, boarding passes, Tesco Clubcard and much more), storage for music and the capability to stream Apple Music and store podcasts. If you opt for the cellular version of the watch you can also make and take calls, send emails and stream music – all without your phone.
The everyday fitness tracking is also done brilliantly with the three activity rings system, which you will quickly become addicted to. When it comes to sports tracking, you can use the native app for everything, including swimming, or pick one of the many third-party apps. Unless you’re on Android or require very detailed sports tracking, the Apple Watch 4 is hands down the best fitness tracking smartwatch available.
Buy from Apple | £399 | Apple Watch Series 4 review
Garmin Forerunner 645 Music
The Forerunner 645 is one of our favourite running watches, and the Music version of the watch edges out other music-storing wearables by being one of the few that connects to Spotify so you can sync over your playlists. You can also store your own music, podcasts and audiobooks on the 645 Music, which has a battery life of five hours with the GPS running and music playing (14 hours just GPS), meaning it should comfortably last you for any running efforts short of a marathon.
Buy from Garmin | £399.99 | Garmin Forerunner 645 Music review
The new Ionic offers perhaps the best user experience of any smartwatch, with a stunningly clear screen, automatic activity tracking including the new Run Detect – which even fires up the built-in GPS when you start pounding the pavements – space for music and four days of battery life. You can also take the Ionic swimming, (eventually) pay for things with Fitbit Pay, and get personal coaching from your wrist with a subscription to the Fitbit Coach app.
It’s not quite as sporty as the 645 or quite as smart as the Apple Watch 4, but it fits nicely between the two as an all-rounder that offers Fitbit’s excellent everyday active tracking and easy-to-use app.
Buy from Fitbit | £279.99 | Fitbit Ionic review
Samsung Galaxy Watch
It only takes one look to fall in love with the Galaxy Watch, which has a gorgeous display that you can set to be always-on (something you still can’t do on the Apple Watch). The chunky design and analogue-style face will appeal to those who don’t want anything too sporty on their wrist, but the fitness tracking chops of the Galaxy Watch are up to par, with over 40 different activities in the native workout app.
Buy from Samsung | £279
Garmin Fenix 5 Plus
The Fenix 5 Plus does everything – absolutely everything. It’s billed as a watch for exploring the great outdoors, with colour maps preloaded on the device and exceptional navigation features, but it’s also good-looking and useful enough to be an everyday smartwatch and fitness tracker. You can load music and stream Spotify, pay for things with Garmin Pay (if you’re with Santander or one of the challenger banks that support the feature), and track absolutely every move you make in great detail. For £600 you should expect a truly sensational bit of kit, and the Fenix 5 Plus delivers.
Buy from Garmin | £599.99 | Garmin Fenix 5 Plus review