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Fitness trackers: £30 Nuband and £470 Garmin reviewed – should you spend more?

The latest set of wearables to hit our test labs includes models from Huawei, Garmin and Misfit, and spans a range of prices. The cheapest model on test costs just GBP30, while the most expensive is nearly GBP500. How do they compare?

We know you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get an accurate activity tracker, and our cheapest ever Best Buy will set you back around GBP30. But what will you get if you spend more? Here we take a look at the latest models on test – read on to find out what they can do.

Fitness watch and activity tracker Best Buys[1] – see which models impressed in our tests

Garmin Forerunner 935

At the top of the Forerunner range is the Garmin Forerunner 935. At GBP470, it’s one of the most expensive fitness watches we’ve tested. It’s advertised as a running and triathlon watch, but it can also track such diverse pursuits as trail running, skiing and more.

There’s a heart-rate monitor for tracking your heart-training zones, and it will even give you recommendations for your recovery after exercise. So does money buy you accuracy? You can find out by reading our full Garmin Forerunner 935 review[2].

Garmin Vivomove HR

It looks like a traditional watch, but the Garmin Vivomove HR has a few extra features hiding under the stylish round bezel that make it a hybrid smartwatch.

The small OLED touchscreen lets you view activity-tracking metrics and a smattering of smart notifications. Cleverly, the clock hands move out of the way of the screen when you use it. At GBP170, does it have the smarts?

Head over to the Garmin Vivomove HR review[3] to find out if it’s a case of style over substance.

Huawei Band 2 Pro

For GBP80, this tracker has an impressive list of features. Built-in GPS will let you track your run without needing to lug your smartphone along for the journey, and the heart-rate monitor could help you track improvements in your health and fitness over time. Huawei claims you’ll get 21 days of battery life per charge, too.

Could this be the mid-price activity tracker for you? Read our full Huawei Band 2 Pro review[4] to find out.

Misfit Vapor

Misfit claims the Vapor combines smart features with fitness tracking, including a heart-rate monitor. But does it deliver, or is it just blowing smoke?

You can find out more about this smartwatch by reading our full Misfit Vapor review[5].

Nuband Active+

The Nuband Active+ activity tracker costs just GBP30, and you can often find it on offer for even less. It doesn’t have any advanced fitness features, such as built-in GPS or a heart-rate monitor, but it can track steps, distance and calories burned. We know this basic activity tracker is cheap, but is it cheerful?

Click the link to see how the Nuband Active+[6] fared in our tough accuracy testing.

Suunto Spartan Wrist Trainer HR

The Spartan Trainer Wrist HR fitness watch has activity tracking, built-in GPS and a heart-rate monitor. It’s competitively price for a fitness watch, particularly when compared with high-end Garmin devices, but is it any good? We put it through our rigorous fitness testing, which includes swimming and a woodland run.

Dive in to our full Suunto Spartan Wrist Trainer HR review[7] to find out if this is your new fitness watch.

What do you get if you spend more?

Our tests have proved that price is no indicator of accuracy, and we’ve found some great cheap Best Buy devices as well as expensive Don’t Buy duds. Spending a little more generally means you’ll get a greater number of features, such as built-in GPS or a heart-rate monitor, plus a smattering of smart functionality. Spend a lot more, and you should get an advanced device that’s packed with sensors and able to track a multitude of exercise and sports.

Some high-end models will let you create training plans, and even suggest ways to improve your performance or get the most from your recovery.

A high price and impressive specifications are no guarantee of quality, though, so make sure you read our reviews before shelling out.

If you want to find out more about how much to spend, read our guide on how to buy the best fitness watch or activity tracker.[8]


  1. ^ Fitness watch and activity tracker Best Buys (
  2. ^ Garmin Forerunner 935 review (
  3. ^ Garmin Vivomove HR review (
  4. ^ Huawei Band 2 Pro review (
  5. ^ Misfit Vapor review (
  6. ^ Nuband Active+ (
  7. ^ Suunto Spartan Wrist Trainer HR review (
  8. ^ how to buy the best fitness watch or activity tracker. (

Wearables in 2017: the year in review

2017 was a year of ups and downs for wearables manufacturers. New products arrived in quick succession – alongside lawsuits and liquidations. Most recently Adidas announced the somewhat surprising news that it is cutting the Digital Sports part of its business, and it’s not the only brand to reassess its place in the wearables market in 2017.

Here we take a trip down memory lane, and look forward to 2018. You can find out who the wearable washouts were in 2017, and what we’re hoping to see from the big names, such as Apple and Fitbit, this year. Best Buy fitness watches and activity trackers[1] – find out which models have impressed us.

Wearable washouts

AdidasAccording to a report in Women’s Wear Daily, Adidas has closed its Digital Sports division, the part of the business responsible for activity trackers and other wearable products.

Earlier in 2017, it looked as though Adidas was firming up plans to launch the Chameleon tracker, which was going to focus on women who want to get fit. While it looks as though there will be no Adidas-made fitness watches or activity trackers, that doesn’t rule out further advancements into software. The popular Runtastic app is produced by Adidas, for example.

There are also rumours of partnerships with other manufacturers, including an Adidas version of the Fitbit Ionic. JawboneIn July, we reported on the liquidation of activity tracker brand Jawbone[2]. The company was reportedly planning to shift focus from consumer services to clinical and health care options, which looks likely given that Jawbone co-founder and CEO Hosain Rahman has founded a new company called Jawbone Health Hub.

Since the summer, there have been very few details surrounding the new Health Hub, aside from some job adverts for the new platform. Jawbone was also going through legal proceedings against Fitbit, which were brought in 2016. Jawbone accused Fitbit of stealing trade secrets from former Jawbone employees.

In December 2017, the two parties finally reached an agreement. Perhaps this means that Jawbone will now focus on the Health Hub, but that’s little comfort for current Jawbone product owners, who have experienced a lack of technical support since the beginning of 2017. TomTomIn October 2017, TomTom revealed that it was officially taking a step back from wearables after disappointing sales.

A statement was issued confirming that it would reorganise parts of its Consumer Sports business – the division responsible for wearables development – and make 136 roles redundant. According to the statement, a new strategy would focus on building on its position in the navigation technologies market – for example, with TomTom sat navs[3]. The latest TomTom wearable products, including the Spark 3 Cardio + Music[4] and Runner 3 Cardio + Music[5], are still available, and customer support is ongoing.

There will be no new TomTom fitness watches or activity trackers for the time being, though.

2018 wearable predictions

AppleThe latest Apple Watch, the Series 3[6], was released in September 2017 and almost immediately people began speculating over when the next version would arrive and what it would bring. The last two years have seen Apple Watch launches landing in September, so if another device comes along then it looks likely it will be in September 2018. The Series 3 GPS + Cellular was the first Apple Watch with 4G or mobile connectivity, meaning you don’t need your smartphone nearby to make and receive calls or text messages.

But even before launch, the Series 3 was beleaguered by issues with connectivity and battery life[7]. In an unprecedented move, Apple even released a statement to address the problems. We suspect that during 2018 Apple will concentrate on refining the cellular connectivity feature for the Series 3, as well as cementing its health and fitness focus.

With the next Apple Watch, we’d like to see a design overhaul, alongside sleep-tracking capabilities being included, and longer battery life. FitbitIn 2017, Fitbit launched its first smartwatch, the Fitbit Ionic[8]. While the Ionic launched to much fanfare, reports suggest that they haven’t been flying off the shelves.

On Wall Street in December, Fitbit’s stock was switched from ‘hold’ to ‘sell’, which is a relatively rare occurrence. This may not mean an end to Fitbit’s smartwatch ambitions, and the Ionic is being regularly updated with new features. We hope to see Fitbit focus on core fitness features and release updated versions of some existing activity trackers during 2018.

Find out how popular devices like the Fitbit Alta HR[9] and Fitbit Charge 2[10] performed in our full reviews. FossilThe last two years have been big for Fossil, after it promised to release 300 new products in 2017. We haven’t counted them all, but Fossil did add a slew of new models to its portfolio across brands within the group, including Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches from Michael Kors, Diesel and Armani.

It looks as though Fossil will be making more announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2018, and we’ll be on the front line to bring you all the latest launches and news. GoogleGoogle is gearing up to launch new wearables, according to tech news site The Information. Google has been busily recruiting engineers in Shanghai, increasing the team from 20 to 150 employees.

It is also reportedly working on a variety of products, including Google Pixel phones, Home speakers, as well as wearable devices.

For our pick of the very best products from 2017, head over to our best fitness watches and activity trackers[11] pages.


  1. ^ Best Buy fitness watches and activity trackers (
  2. ^ liquidation of activity tracker brand Jawbone (
  3. ^ TomTom sat navs (
  4. ^ Spark 3 Cardio + Music (
  5. ^ Runner 3 Cardio + Music (
  6. ^ Series 3 (
  7. ^ issues with connectivity and battery life (
  8. ^ Fitbit Ionic (
  9. ^ Fitbit Alta HR (
  10. ^ Fitbit Charge 2 (
  11. ^ best fitness watches and activity trackers (

Four new Best Buy wearables reviewed

Eight of the latest wearables devices to be released, including activity trackers and smartwatches, have been put through their paces in our tough tests. Four impressed us so much that we’ve made them Best Buys. Models from Asus, Garmin, Misfit, Polar and Samsung were subjected to our gruelling fitness-tracking accuracy trials, as well as our in-depth battery and durability testing.

Also given the test lab treatment was the GBP50 Goji Go activity tracker. Below we look at some of the models on test, and what features they have. Could one of these be the perfect device to help you with a healthy start to 2018?

Best Buy fitness watches and activity trackers[1] – see which four impressed us, as well as the other models to ace our tests.

Apple Watch Series 1

We originally tested the Apple Watch Series 1 in December 2016, when it was running on Apple’s watchOS 3 operating system. In September 2017, watchOS 4 was released. To ensure we reflect the changes in performance and features based on OS updates, we re-tested the Series 1 running watchOS 4.

You can find out the differences, and what impact the update had on accuracy and battery life, by reading our full Apple Watch Series 1 review[2].

Asus Zenwatch 3

The Zenwatch 3 is an Android Wear smartwatch that receives notifications of texts, calls, emails and social media messages from a paired smartphone. Asus has made no claim around the length of battery life, so was the reality a pleasant surprise, or a dreadful disappointment? Head on over to our full Asus Zenwatch 3 review[3] to find out how long it lasts per charge, along with all its other performance results.

Garmin Vivoactive 3

The Vivoactive 3 is a GPS smartwatch with built-in ‘Sports Apps’, GPS and a wrist-based heart-rate monitor.

We were impressed by the original Vivoactive HR, but found the screen a little bulky and uncomfortable. The Vivoactive 3 is the first in the range to have a round screen – does this improve comfort? We reveal all, including the results of our fitness tracking testing, in our full Garmin Vivoactive 3 review[4].

Garmin Vivosport

This activity tracker monitors steps, heart rate, sleep and calories burned.

It also tracks your route thanks to its in-built GPS, meaning you can leave your mobile phone at home while out walking or running. It’s a slimline device, but is it comfortable, accurate, and easy to use? Read all about the latest activity tracker from Garmin in our full Vivosport review[5].

Goji Go

This lightweight activity tracker costs less than GBP50, and is often on offer for even less.

It tracks steps, calories and distance travelled – so could this simple device be the one for you? Find out if this is a brilliant bargain, or in fact just a waste of money, in our full Goji Go review[6]. If you’re looking for a great tracker for less than GBP50, you can see our pick of the bunch in our best cheap fitness trackers[7].

Other recently tested wearables

If you can’t see the device for you above, then take a look at some of the other fitness watches, activity trackers and smartwatches that we’ve tested.

Prices correct as of 20 December 2017.


  1. ^ Best Buy fitness watches and activity trackers (
  2. ^ Apple Watch Series 1 review (
  3. ^ Asus Zenwatch 3 review (
  4. ^ Garmin Vivoactive 3 review (
  5. ^ Vivosport review (
  6. ^ Goji Go review (
  7. ^ best cheap fitness trackers (

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