Fitness Smartwatch Gadgets to Watch Out for in 2017
It should come as no surprise, but fitness has changed in some pretty fundamental ways over the last decade. Whereas once computerised tracking and analysis technology was a niche only exploited by those involved in professional fitness, recent years have seen the mass democratisation of these technologies. Today you’ll find that run, heart rate, blood oxygen level, movement and other types of tracking can all be found on smartwatches available from major manufacturers like Microsoft, Apple and Fitbit.
No technology stands still though, and 2017 is poised to be another huge step forward. Lower prices, innovative new form factors and more accurate tracking are all in the pipeline, but what are the upcoming fitness smartwatch gadgets we’re most excited about? Here’s a selection:
New Balance RunIQ Smartwatch – £325, out now.
It seems like every tech company has a smartwatch these days, but it’s rare that a pure fitness company launches their own smartwatch. Enter the New Balance RunIQ, which was created in partnership with Intel, Google and Strava, who handled the hardware, software and tracking respectively.
That partnership resulted in a chunky, sports watch running Google’s Android Wear 2.0 platform with built in super-accurate GPS for course, pace and distance tracking. You’ll also enjoy a heart rate sensor, Bluetooth for streaming music to wireless headphones and 24 hour battery life (5 hours with continuous GPS tracking).
Those are solid specs and early reviews praise the automatic run uploading and social aspects of the RunIQs fitness tracking. GPS tracking is also highly praised, making the RunIQ an appealing proposition.
Casio WSD-F20 – Around £340, out April 2017.
For serious outdoors types, you need something a little more rugged, and that’s where the WSD-F20 from Casio excels. Carved from a solid block of aluminium and augmented with toughened plastics, the F20 brings Android Wear and offline mapping to your wrist with a couple of neat twists.
The first of which is physical buttons along the face of the dial for easy switching between vital functions like Pro Trek, GPS and more whilst out in the wild, knowing that many customers will be wearing thick gloves on hikes.
The other is a low-power LCD screen behind their primary full colour touchscreen which displays the time and other basic functions. It’s activated by covering the screen with your hand for a second, and can dramatically increase battery life when you’re stuck out in the wilderness.
Garmin Fenix 5 Series – From £550, out Q1 2017.
Garmin is a name best known for its GPS tracking products, so you won’t be surprised to hear that’s the focus of their Fenix 5 Series smartwatches, announced at CES 2017. Compromising of three models; the Fenix 5, 5S and 5X, each boasts a different sized casing. The Fenix 5 has a 47mm casing, the Fenix 5S has a 42mm and is designed for females, and the Fenix 5X has a 51mm case, making it the biggest of the bunch.
Each are made of a blend of metal and plastic, and each pack in GPS and the more advanced GLONASS tracking for superior, accurate location tracking. Offline maps featuring TOPO mapping, routable cycling maps, guidance cues, points of interest, data overlays, GroupTrack and more come as standard on the 5X, and you can even add an optional HRM-Tri chest strap for additional heart rate and performance data.