By Matt Evans
This list is all about the best in fitness technology that enhances your health and fitness regime. From sleep and activity tracking wearables to the best wireless workout earbuds, these are the products that have been keeping us connected over the last year, with metrics and data galore.
As always, we carefully considered various factors when it came to choosing our winners, including how users feel after getting hands-on with the product, value for money (which doesn't necessarily correlate with price) and ease of use.
However our main guiding principle was, as it always is, "does this product help people achieve our mission statement of 'healthier, happier living'?"
All the below hit this goal and then some, with the brands in question reinventing the wheel over and over with great new features we wonder how we've ever lived without. And so, without further ado, allow us to introduce the winners of our Top Fitness Tech category!
Best fitness watch
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
The best fitness watches don't just have the most features: in our style-conscious times, t's increasingly important that it looks good on your wrist, too. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 does this with aplomb - we particularly love the digital bezel incorporated into the outer ring. But it's not a case of all style and no substance; those good looks are backed up by a host of downloadable apps, all the notification functionality you might expect from a top-tier smartwatch, and a wealth of great and all-important fitness features. With activity tracking, ECG capability and a fantastic health app to boot, this is the perfect all-rounder.
Best workout earbuds
Winner: Jaybird Vista
Jaybird takes the title for best workout earbuds with their Vista earbuds - and for good reason. These powerful buds deliver ultimate true wireless freedom without sacrificing audio quality. Part of their beauty lies in their design; these buds will not budge during even the most energetic of workouts and, with an IPX7 rating, there's no need to worry about sweat or rain when exercising outdoors. They're a joy to wear, too; in our Jaybird Vista review, our tester dubbed them "some of the most comfortable I’ve ever tried". Plus, with around 16 hours of charge with the case, these will go the distance during long runs and rides with ease.
Best heart rate monitor
Winner: Polar H10
If you’re a multisport athlete or fitness enthusiast who wants to use heart rate data to take their performance to the next level, there’s no better option than the Polar H10, our pick for best heart rate monitor - and the most impressive chest strap heart rate monitor we’ve come across. It’s more durable and water-resistant than its competitors and crucially, it has that pièce de résistance – a standalone mode where you can use it without an external device. It's also reliable and competent, with support for both ANT+ and Bluetooth networks, but you can also just store data on the device itself and downloaded it later - no phone or watch needed. As our reviewer summed up: "This one-size-fits-all option is perfect for anyone who wants precision data".
Best fitness tracker
Winner: Huawei Band Pro 4
When it comes to the best fitness trackers, there are many models vying for the crown - but in our opinion, the Huawei Band Pro 4 takes the top spot. Why? Price is a key factor - the Band Pro 4 represents brilliant value for money, considering the features you get in return. They include Full GPS, meaning you can map your runs and walks whether you take your phone or not. Sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, 11 activity modes and smartphone notifications are all included too. There's also a bold and colourful OLED screen with a customizable display, all encased in a nice aluminium surround which gives the Huawei Band Pro 4 a premium feel. The strap is better than most at this price-point too, available in black, red or pink (the latter in a lovely rose gold screen surround). All in all, it's a great pocket-money buy.
Best running watch
Winner: Garmin Enduro
Running watches are a bit of a different beast to standard fitness watches: more specialised, with advanced GPS and better tracked metrics. The really good ones dive into detail such as hydration and recovery levels, and this is what makes the Garmin Enduro stand out from the pack. As the name suggests, it's squarely aimed at endurance athletes who love to spend hours in their running shoes, on bikes or in the sea, but its advanced suite of features can be just as useful to weekend warriors. The battery life also takes this watch beyond all others: it can record for up to 80 hours of activity thanks to a solar-powered battery boost. With additional features including Trail Run VO2 Max and Garmin Pay, this running watch does it all and more.
Best running headphones
Winner: Beats by Dr Dre Powerbeats Pro
Where to start? There are so many factors that make the Powerbeats Pro the best running headphones around. Their thumping bass has been the driving force behind many a personal best, and the ear hook's snug fit gives runners the security that the Powerbeats Pros aren't going anywhere when out on the roads or the trails. In testing, we found that they didn't budge an inch, even when wearing glasses. We also like the fact that the buds pair individually with your device rather than coming as a matched set, which means you can use each earbud independently if you want more situational awareness or to run with a friend. Plus there are music/call controls and volume controls on both buds. And with the charging case providing 24 hours of combined listening time, battery life is a null-and-void issue for even the most enthusiastic of runners.
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