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Wearable technology

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. (

Best fitness watches and activity trackers for winter sports

Have you been inspired by the Winter Olympics 2018, or are you simply looking to improve your ice skating, skiing or snowboarding skills? We’ve tested wearable devices that could help. The Games, which officially commenced in Pyeongchang on Friday 9 February, see athletes brave snow, ice and often sub-zero temperatures to compete for gold in events such as bobsleigh, curling, figure skating, ice hockey, ski jumping and snowboarding.

While we don’t know of any devices that will help you with a more accurate curl or getting faster on the luge, we’ve tested fitness watches and activity trackers that have dedicated metrics and useful sensors for the ice rink or hitting the slopes. Will any of these devices help you win gold, or are they snow good? Best Buy fitness watches and activity trackers[1] the coolest devices from our tough testing.

Garmin Fenix 5

The Garmin Fenix 5 is built with outdoor activities in mind and is one of Garmin’s most expensive devices.

It certainly packs a punch when it comes to the number of sports it can track. It makes use of both GPS and GLONASS (a variant of GPS) for distance and location tracking, meaning it should have you covered even at the top of a mountain. It has a multitude of preloaded sports profiles – including hiking, skiing and snowboarding – in addition to the already advanced gym, running and training metrics.

You’ll receive weather and storm alerts on your wrist, and the ‘back to start’ feature is designed to help you find your way even if the weather does close in. It all sounds very fancy, but it still needs to get the basics right and be durable, too. Read the full Garmin Fenix 5 review[2] to find out more.

Garmin Forerunner 935

The Forerunner 935 is slimmer than the Fenix 5 and is advertised as a running and triathlon watch, but does it have winter sport fans covered too?

If the specs are anything to go by, then it’s a pretty cool customer. It has all the same sensors as the Fenix 5, meaning it will have skiers and snowboarders covered whether they’re looking for tracking, weather updates or help with their location. How does it compare when it comes to battery life and activity tracking accuracy?

To see for yourself, read the full Garmin Forerunner 935 review[3].

Polar M600

Our test labs didn’t list the full suite of tracking options for the Polar M600 – there are simply too many – instead stating that it can track almost any sport you can think of. Given the number of sensors, this is unsurprising. It makes use of GPS and GLONASS for distance and location tracking, and uses the GPS to calculate altitude.

Sports profiles, including skiing and snowboarding, can be added to the watch via the companion app for instant tracking, and over 100 other sports can also be tracked. It’s waterproof up to 10 metres but doesn’t have any specific swim metrics. Is this device good for everyday use, and is it accurate?

Read the Polar M600 review[4] for all the information.

Suunto Spartan Wrist Trainer HR

Suunto specialises in making precision navigation instruments. In the 1930s, its founder produced a compact, lightweight military compass for the wrist, and it now uses this technology in a range of wearable devices. The Suunto Spartan Wrist Trainer HR can track ice skating, skiing (both alpine and cross country), snowboarding and even snow shoeing.

We put it to the test in our labs to find out if this fitness watch shows promise. Click through to the full Suunto Spartan Wrist Trainer HR review[5] to see if it delivers on its claims.

What should you look for in a winter sports wearable?

While we don’t specifically test wearables for the quality of their winter-sport tracking, we do know which features will come in handy for those sub-zero sports. Altitude or atmospheric pressure sensor: If you want detailed information about your ascent or descent, or the atmosphere conditions at a particular altitude, then this is the feature for you.

Built-in GPS or GLONASS: For any fans of outdoor sports, whatever the time of year, GPS is an important feature. GLONASS is the Russian equivalent, using separate satellites and covering additional ground to GPS. These will let you track your route without your phone, and even view maps on your wearable device – great if you find yourself half way up a mountain with a dead phone battery.

Durability: We put the screen durability of every device to the test, so we know which models will survive a tumble on the ice and which will end up scratched and unusable. If you plan to put your fitness watch or activity tracker through the ringer, no matter the season, make sure you check out its score in our durability testing first. Waterproofing: You’ll want to ensure the wearable on your wrist is hardy enough to cope if you spend a lot of time on the ice or slopes.

Weather: It’s not just winter sports that are impacted by the weather, but if you are planning a day on the side of a mountain then the weather conditions are an important consideration.

If winter sports aren’t for you, then we’ve rounded up our pick of the best fitness watches and activity trackers for everything from step tracking to swimming in our top 5 activity trackers guide[6].


  1. ^ Best Buy fitness watches and activity trackers (
  2. ^ Garmin Fenix 5 review (
  3. ^ Garmin Forerunner 935 review (
  4. ^ Polar M600 review (
  5. ^ Suunto Spartan Wrist Trainer HR review (
  6. ^ top 5 activity trackers guide (

New wearables brands impress with smartwatches and activity trackers

We’ve been busy roaming the floors of the 2018 CES tech conference to bring you all the latest wearables, and we’ve found some interesting new products, including a modular smartwatch, a hybrid device and a new fitness watch from Suunto. It’s been a good year so far for new and innovative wearables brands at CES 2018, and they’ve far outshone the slim pickings from established brands such as Fossil and Samsung. Here we round up what we’ve seen so far, and our initial impressions of these new products.

Read on to find out which new brands are worth taking notice of, as well as what the regular players are up to. Best Buy fitness watches and activity trackers[1] – find out which devices aced our testing.

New kids on the block


Self-titled as the world’s first modular smartwatch, Blocks is one of the more unusual wearable products to be unveiled at CES 2018. Having raised £1.6 million via KickStarter, the Blocks modular smartwatch is now available to buy starting at £259.

This is no regular smartwatch though. Users will start with the Blocks Core module, which is available in black or stainless steel casing. This is just the watch part of the device, which can then be customised using clip-on modules.

The Core smartwatch module runs on Android Oreo 8.0 operating systems, and is compatible with Android smartphones and iPhones. It has a 1.4-inch AMOLED display, and has 512MB of internal storage for apps and music. It has smart and fitness functions, plus Amazon Alexa voice control.

The modules are then clipped on to the Core, to personalise the watch with the features you want. These are currently organised into three ‘Phases’, each of which have a different combination of features. Only Phase 1 is available at the moment, which will add heart-rate monitoring, built-in GPS and extra battery charging, but future modules include the Phase 2 for adding air-quality analysis, a fingerprint sensor for extra security, gesture control and body temperature and stress monitoring.

We’ll be getting hands on with the Blocks UK modular smartwatch on the show floor – look out for our initial impressions.


MyKronoz is a Swiss company that has been picking up a lot of attention through its crowdfunding campaigns on KickStarter and Indiegogo. Ahead of CES it announced the release of the ZeTime Petite hybrid smartwatch, which is priced at £199 and available to buy from the MyKronoz website. It’s available in two different sizes, 39mm and 44m, and has a 1.05-inch colour touchscreen.

Unlike some hybrid smartwatches, which include a small smart display on just part of the analogue watch face, the display covers the whole face. The watch hands are mechanical, just like a regular watch, and the device can be used as a smartwatch or as an analogue watch. MyKronoz claims you’ll get three days of battery life when using it as a smartwatch, or 30 days running it as a regular analogue watch.

We haven’t tested any MyKronoz products yet, so we can’t comment on the accuracy of the devices. We’ll get hands on with the MyKronoz ZeTime Petite as soon as we can. In the meantime, find out if a hybrid smartwatch is for you by heading over to our What is a hybrid smartwatch?[2] guide.

Suunto 3 Fitness

The little-known Finnish brand Suunto has found a following among serious athletes.

But the high price of its watches – including the Suunto Spartan Trainer HR[3] – has seen them limited to this community. Now they have announced a product to appeal to the masses – the Suunto 3 Fitness activity tracker. It has a built-in heart-rate monitor alongside all the usual features we would expect, including step and calories-burned tracking.

It will also create seven-day training plans, using your fitness level and overall exercise history as a base. These training plans can be automatically adapted too – great if you feel a little sluggish one day and full of beans the next. The main compromise between this and advanced trackers from Suunto is the lack of built-in GPS, so if you like to leave your phone at home while out for a run this wouldn’t be the device for you.

We got hands on with the Suunto 3 Fitness on the show floor, which will cost EUR199, and were surprised by just how lightweight this watch-style tracker is. We asked about battery life too, but this product is so new that this hasn’t been established yet. We’ll put it to the test when it launches in the spring, so look out for our full Suunto 3 Fitness review later this year.

What about the big wearables brands?


Fossil announced an ambition in 2017 to release 300 wearables in a year across its range of brands.

We haven’t counted them, but given this steep target it’s pretty unsurprising that it brought new wearables to CES 2018. The Kate Spade New York Scallop is the latest device from a Fossil-owned brand, and is available for pre-order priced from £295. It’s the first touchscreen smartwatch from the fashion brand, and runs on the Android Wear operating system.

It features a scallop-edged bezel, which is synonymous with Kate Spade fitness trackers, and a round 1.19-inch AMOLED display with a 390 x 390 resolution. For the fashion conscious, the Choose Your Look app will customise the watch face to your outfit, whether it’s day or night, the colour of your accessories and the clothes you’re wearing. An interesting feature, but not the most useful.

Another launch from Fossil is the Misfit Path hyrbid smartwatch, which is an update to the Misfit Phase[4] that launched in 2017. Find out how products from other Fossil brands performed by checking out our Misfit activity tracker reviews[5] and Skagen Hagen Connected hyrbid smartwatch first look[6].

Garmin Forerunner 645

One of the more interesting developments from a big brand comes in the form of the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music. The clue is in the name with this one, as it features integrated music – a first for the company.

Garmin claims there’s enough storage for 500 songs, or you can download playlists from streaming services. This is currently limited to iHeartRadio, but hopefully there will be additional services added. You can pair the watch to Bluetooth headphones and it has built-in GPS, meaning you can listen to your favourite tunes and track your route while out on a run without the need for your smartphone.

It will be available in the first quarter 2018, and costs GBP399. We’ll get our hands on it soon, so look out for our intial impressions. You can find out how previous Forerunner devices have performed in our tough testing by heading over to our Garmin fitness watch reviews[7].


There were no new wearables from Nokia at CES this year, but there was a new design option for the Steel HR.

It’s now available to buy in rose gold from April this year, in case that’s the wearable you’ve been waiting for. We took a look at an interesting new product from Nokia on the show floor though – the Nokia Sleep. Look out for our connected health tech round-up to find out more about this product.


We didn’t expect any new wearables from Samsung at CES this year, given the Gear Sport launched at the tail end of 2017.

It did announce an upcoming update to the Gear range of devices though, which will add SmartThings functionality to your wrist. This will allow users of the SmartThings hub to control other smart devices, such as thermostats, lights and security sensors, from their wearable device. There’s no timeline for this update currently, but we’ll be sure to let you know when it arrives.

In the meantime, find out more about Samsung’s smart platform by heading over to our full review of the SmartThings Hub[8].


  1. ^ Best Buy fitness watches and activity trackers (
  2. ^ What is a hybrid smartwatch? (
  3. ^ Suunto Spartan Trainer HR (
  4. ^ Misfit Phase (
  5. ^ Misfit activity tracker reviews (
  6. ^ Skagen Hagen Connected hyrbid smartwatch first look (
  7. ^ Garmin fitness watch reviews (
  8. ^ SmartThings Hub (

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