For my last birthday, my friends gave me my first fitness watch. They knew that I was planning to get fitter again this year and thought a fitness tracker was the right gift. But unfortunately the joy about my newest tech gadget didn’t last long. The watch was stolen the same day (yes … I should probably have been more careful about it). I have rarely felt this bad. But what the heck, I was hooked and really wanted a fitness watch.
When I started looking for the best model on the internet, I was stunned by the huge selection. So I started researching and reading everything I could get my hands on about fitness trackers. I talked and wrote to many experts and read dozens of reviews and customer ratings. This guide is the condensed knowledge of weeks of research and should help you to buy the best fitness watch for you.
- 1 What you will learn in the Fitness Watch Test 2020
- 2 The top 10 fitness trackers of the Fitness Watch Test 2020
- 2.1 1. Fitbit Versa Best fitness watch overall Best Fitbit watch
- 2.2 2. Xiaomi Mi Band 4 Best affordable fitness tracker Best fitness watch under € 5
- 2.3 3. Garmin Forerunner 235 Best fitness watch for runners in the fitness watch testBest fitness watch with GPS
- 2.4 _
- 2.5 4. Withings Steel HR Best analog watch in the fitness watch test Best fitness watch to wear
- 2.6 5. Fitbit Charge 3 Bestselling fitness watch on Amazon
- 2.7 6. Amazfit Bip Best battery life of a fitness watch Best fitness watch under € 100
What you will learn in the Fitness Watch Test 2020
In the following there is a lot of interesting information about the fitness tracker waiting for you. Among other things, you will learn:
- What are the top 10 fitness tracker models in the 2020 fitness watch test.
- What are the novelties in terms of fitness trackers this year.
- What functions a fitness tracker has and what these functions bring you.
- Whether a fitness tracker really counts your steps.
- How to find the right fitness tracker for your needs.
- Which fitness tracker models are suitable for your wrist.
- Whether there are also elegant fitness watches.
- How you can achieve and realize your sporting goals and dreams with the help of a fitness watch.
If you’re in a hurry, you can use the table of contents to jump to the areas that are relevant to you.
The top 10 fitness trackers of the Fitness Watch Test 2020
Below you will find the fitness bracelets and fitness trackers tested in the Fitness Watch Test 2020.
The selected order does not necessarily indicate a ranking within the rating. Rather, each individual model has its own advantages and disadvantages.
After the overview table shown, you will find the detailed descriptions of the individual fitness trackers.
1. Fitbit Versa Best fitness watch overall Best Fitbit watch
The smartwatch among fitness trackers
In terms of functionality, the Fitbit Versa is a mixture of smartwatch and fitness tracker and is also marketed by Fitbit as a smartwatch. In fact, it looks similar to the Apple Watch at first glance.
The watch is the spiritual successor to the Fitbit Ionic and looks a bit friendlier and more chic with its rounder corners. The case of the watch is super slim and made of aluminum. The angled shape of the housing offers a very good wearing comfort for both narrow and wider wrists.
The watch is operated via the touch screen and three other physical buttons that are attached to the right and left of the watch case. This means that the watch can be operated easily at any time, even during a workout.
The bracelet is closed with a pin buckle. This means that the watch sits firmly on your wrist at all times. And you have the option of varying the width of the bracelet at any time by choosing the locking holes.
In addition, it offers many different options for customization. On the one hand, you can change the look of the watch with different interchangeable bracelets. However, changing the bracelets is more difficult than with other Fitbit models. And on the other hand, you can choose from hundreds of different watch faces. And you’re not limited to designs straight from Fitbit.
The large display and the long battery life compared to other smartwatches are convincing
The clock faces appear super sharp on a bright 300 × 300 pixel LCD color display. This is particularly useful for fitness tracking. The larger display gives you more key figures at a glance.
However, the plus in functionality and display also costs a bit in terms of battery power. The Fitbit Versa has a battery life of around 4 days. What seems rather small compared to other fitness trackers is a clear plus compared to other smartwatches. For example, the Apple Watch 4 has a battery life of around 2 days.
The Fitbit Versa leaves almost nothing to be desired in terms of fitness tracking functions
The Fitbit Versa leaves almost nothing to be desired in terms of functionality as a fitness tracker. One drawback, however, is the lack of GPS. Therefore, you have to have your mobile phone with you when running so that the watch can record the distance covered via the “connected GPS”.
There are different programs in the clock for the individual activities. For example, you will find programs for cycling, running, swimming or weight training. Depending on which option you choose, various relevant data will be shown on the display during the workout.
After the workout, you will receive a summary from the Fitbit Versa. After a run you can find out, for example, your distance covered, your time, your average speed, your maximum and your average heart rate. All evaluations can of course also be called up using the free Fitbit smartphone app.
If you are a water lover, the Fitbit Versa is a great choice for you. Because it is not only splash-proof, but also completely waterproof. That means, whether in the swimming pool, in the lake or in the sea, you can always have the fitness watch with you. And thanks to the bright and clear display, it is very easy to read even under water.
Our opinion on the Fitbit Versa
The Fitbit Versa narrowly won the race for the title of “best overall fitness tracker” against the Fitbit Charge 3.
Its functions (smartwatch and fitness tracking) are convincing and visually it offers a pleasant change from other typical fitness trackers. With its slim case and large display, it looks very similar to the Apple Watch, but focuses much more on the fitness tracker functions.
Since it is also suitable for swimmers, the watch is a true universal talent that you will certainly not regret buying.
2. Xiaomi Mi Band 4 Best affordable fitness tracker Best fitness watch under € 5
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 does a lot of things right. If you are unfamiliar with the fitness tracker market, you will likely think that this is a cheap Chinese device.
But far from it! Here you get a decent device for just under 40 € that covers all the basic functions and has a battery life of up to 3 weeks. So a solid overall package that you can hardly find in this price range. The previous Xiaomi models were also a success story in themselves.
The Mi Band 4 offers many improvements over the previous model
In contrast to its predecessor, the Xiaomi Mi Band 3, the current model has a colored OLED touch display. The control via touch and the menu navigation are well done. It’s just a shame that the display deactivates after around 5 seconds. Unfortunately, this time cannot be varied and an “always-on” setting for the display is also in vain.
In addition, the fitness bracelet also offers the option of controlling the music player on your smartphone. Due to the small display and the lack of physical buttons on the device, operation during the workout turns out to be quite fiddly and complicated.
The fourth generation of this tape is now also waterproof
Another improvement compared to its predecessor is the waterproof case of the fitness bracelet. Thus the fourth generation of this model is in principle also interesting for swimmers. However, the tracking results for swimming are not 100% accurate. The touch screen cannot be operated properly as soon as it gets wet. If you are looking for a fitness watch especially for swimming, I would use another model for you.
Another nice gimmick is the “Find Device” function. With this you can locate your smartphone with the help of the Mi Band. When you activate the function, the phone emits a beep. If you are one of those people who like to misplace their equipment, this function can be useful for you.
The affordable fitness bracelet offers all the basic fitness tracking functions
The Mi Band offers you different programs for the different workout activities. These programs are running, running on the treadmill, walking, cycling, swimming, and gym training.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is supported on your smartphone by the associated Mi Fit app. All important data can be viewed and evaluated in this. The only annoying thing is that the Mi Fit app has recently started displaying advertising. If that bothers you, it is currently not easy to switch to a third-party fitness app. Many apps do not yet offer support for the Mi Band 4.
Problems with the language settings of the fitness tracker
The fitness bracelet is currently available in 2 versions. The American model and the Chinese model. When buying, make sure to check which of the two you are currently ordering! The reason is as follows:
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 supports the two languages English and Chinese. In the Chinese model, Chinese is the default language. With the American model it is the other way around. What does that mean? The Mi Band basically tries to display the language that the smartphone it is paired with is using. If the language set on the mobile phone is not English or Chinese, the corresponding standard language is displayed.
This means that if you have set your smartphone to German, the display language of the Mi Band 4 is Chinese! The only remedy here is currently to switch your smartphone to English. However, manufacturers say that a solution to this problem is currently being worked on.
Our opinion on the Xiaomi Mi Band 4
It is impressive what a fitness watch can do in this price segment.
If you have decided to get a little fitter and want to be supported by a fitness tracker without having to invest a lot of money, the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is a good choice for you.
And even if you stay true to the sport, you won’t regret choosing the Mi Band anytime soon. It offers all the essential functions and an extremely good battery life. Only the aspect of the display language is a minor downer.
3. Garmin Forerunner 235 Best fitness watch for runners in the fitness watch testBest fitness watch with GPS
The Garmin Forerunner 235 is the first Garmin model in our fitness watch test 2020 and definitely convinces.
Compared to other fitness trackers, this model is a little more expensive, but it offers many features that other models cannot offer. For example, the FR 235 has a built-in GPS.
The design and the display clearly distinguish the Forerunner from the competition
Like the previous model, the FR 235 has a large, round 215 × 180 pixel LCD color display that is easy to read even in bright sunlight.
However, since the display is very large, the watch can appear bulky on narrow wrists. Therefore, this watch is probably not an everyday watch for petite people.
The clock is operated via five physical buttons. There are three on the left and two on the right side of the display.
The bracelet is made of silicone and is comfortable to wear. With a weight of around 42 grams, the fitness watch is also pleasantly light and does not bother you when you wear it on your arm all day.
The tracker’s battery life is less than that of the previous model
According to the manufacturer, the battery life is around 7 days. However, the practical test shows that the watch’s battery can handle a new charge after approx. 4 days of normal use.
The reason for the higher power consumption of the Garmin Forerunner 235 is the pulse sensor, which is active 24/7.
The data transfer from the fitness tracker takes place via Bluetooth on your smartphone or via USB on your PC or Mac. In the Garmin app you can then analyze your steps, sleep, calorie consumption and much more.
The fitness tracking functions of the Forerunner make runners’ hearts beat faster
The Forerunner 235 has all the important functions a runner needs such as Pedometer, pulse measurement, distance measurement and sleep monitoring. For the most part, it fulfills these functions very well, only the optical pulse measurement often leads to falsified results. If you prefer a consistently better heart rate result, you should use a model with a chest strap at this point.
Another plus point is definitely the built-in GPS. In this way, you do not have to rely on your smartphone to record your distance traveled. In addition, it also saves the altitude profile covered.
In addition, you can choose between indoor and outdoor when choosing the running and cycling training modes.
In addition, the Forerunner has a VO2 Max function (details can be found here), with which you can test the development of your physical fitness.
Our opinion on the Garmin Forerunner 235
Thanks to the large display, easy operation, detailed analysis and the fast GPS integrated into the watch, the Garmin Forerunner offers the best price-performance ratio for a fitness watch for runners.
4. Withings Steel HR Best analog watch in the fitness watch test Best fitness watch to wear
The Withings Steel HR impresses at first glance with its elegant design. It looks confusingly similar to a classic wristwatch and therefore works well with any outfit.
The housing is kept relatively thin. There are two different variants of the size of the dial. One with a diameter of 36 millimeters and one with a diameter of 40 millimeters. Personally, I like the slimmer design (as shown in the picture).
The classic dial looks tidy and chic
The focus of the classic dial of the Withings Steel HR is the analog watch. In the lower half there is another analog display that shows you the achievement of your personal daily step goal. So you always have a clear view of whether you should move a little more today.
There is a small OLED display in the upper half of the display of the fitness tracker. Smartphone notifications (e.g. calls, calendar entries, etc.) but also your pulse, the distance you have covered or your calories burned are displayed on this.
Since this small, round display only extends over the upper half of the dial, there is not much space left to show more detailed information. Received text messages cannot be read via the watch either.
The soft silicone wristband is very comfortable to wear both in everyday life and during training.
The fitness watch convinces with a long battery life
Withings itself specifies a battery life of up to 25 days. Everyone knows that manufacturers usually give these values very sporty, but the Withings Steel HR actually convinces with an excellent battery life. 2-3 weeks without charging can easily be achieved with daily use.
First and foremost, the Steel HR is more of a watch than a fitness tracker
The fitness watch has all the essential functions, such as Pedometer, pulse monitor and sleep monitoring. It fulfills these functions quite well so far, although some customers complain about an inaccurate pedometer and an inaccurate calorie consumption.
One shortcoming, however, is the app, which, in contrast to competing products, offers significantly fewer evaluation options. Even those who want to link the watch to a third-party fitness app are faced with a challenge that cannot always be solved. Therefore, the watch leaves some points behind at this point.
It feels like this stylish fitness watch is designed more as a companion for everyday life than as a fitness tracker for ambitious athletes.
The Withings Steel HR is actually waterproof
According to the manufacturer, the fitness watch is waterproof to a depth of 50 meters and should therefore also be suitable for recording your swimming training. However, customers are increasingly reporting that water is collecting between the glass and the dial. As long as you still have the guarantee on your watch, the watch will naturally be replaced. However, of course, the process takes time and nerves. So if you are looking for a watch to specifically track your swimming training, I would recommend another model.
Our opinion on the Withings Steel HR
The Withings Steel HR is a really good fitness watch, with the emphasis on the word watch.
If you need detailed evaluations of your workouts, or are looking for a fitness tracker for swimming training, I would advise you to use another model.
But if you need a way to keep track of your everyday movements and activities and are looking for a fitness tracker that you can easily wear with your evening wear, then the Withings Steel HR is the perfect fitness watch for you! It has all the basic functions, looks elegant and impresses with its extremely long battery life.
5. Fitbit Charge 3 Bestselling fitness watch on Amazon
The Fitbit Charge 3 has a simple, high-quality unisex design. Compared to the previous model, the Charge 2, it is a bit more angular with a slightly larger display.
The display is still not colored, but instead of just showing black and white, it now has all shades of gray.
Intelligent operation of Charge 3 using a touch display
Charge 3 is completely controlled via the display. You won’t find the physical button that Charge 2 still had.
You navigate through the menus of the fitness tracker using the touchscreen sensors on the side of the housing. This control can be really difficult during a workout. But the Fitbit developers have thought too. Swype is deactivated while the watch is in training mode. Then you switch through the menus with a simple tap on the screen.
As with the Charge 2, the bracelet on this model can be changed. If you already have a Charge 2, please note that the wristbands are not compatible with Charge 3.
In addition to the wristbands, what is also new and unique is the charging cable. Since it was specially developed for this model, you have to think of another charging cable when you go on a trip. Even the Charge 2 cable cannot be used.
The Fitbit Charge 3 is now waterproof and has a better battery life
In addition to the display, the other major developments in contrast to the predecessor are the improved battery life and the waterproof housing.
According to Fitbit, a battery charge lasts up to 7 days. Experience has shown that 6 full days are definitely feasible. Of course, it always depends a little on how intensively you want to use the fitness tracker.
Charge 3 is also suitable for swimmers. In addition to the waterproof housing, it now also offers the ability to track swimmers. However, the optical heart rate measurement underwater is unfortunately flawed. Therefore, the measured values for your calorie consumption while swimming are sometimes very strange.
The fitness tracker motivates you to achieve your goals
In addition to the usual functions such as a step counter, sleep analysis, distance meter, calorie consumption, etc., this fitness watch offers many other functions. So it keeps you on your toes and supports you in achieving your athletic goals.
In addition to daily goals (e.g. number of steps or calorie consumption), the Fitbit Charge 3 also sets hourly activity goals. This way you will be able to walk at least 250 steps every hour.
When you start your workout, you have the option of defining your activity yourself or having Fitbit determine it automatically. I advise you to do the former. This will prevent mistakes and avoid frustration.
Unfortunately, the Charge 3 does not have a built-in GPS. As a runner or cyclist, you have to have your smartphone with you in addition to the fitness tracker in order to record the route via “connected GPS”.
In addition, the Fitbit app offers the option of setting up a nutrition plan and documenting your diet. So you have a comprehensive helper who e.g. supported in realizing your weight loss goals.
However, compatibility with other fitness apps is not always guaranteed. For example, the Charge 3 can only be connected to the Runtastic app by taking a detour via the Myfitnesspal app.
A note for allergy sufferers
Nickel is used in the buckle and case of the Charge 3. If you’re allergic to it, you’d better get another model.
Our opinion on the Fitbit Charge 3
The smaller shortcomings that this fitness watch brings with it can definitely be forgiven. This fitness tracker is definitely interesting for fans of the Fitbit Charge models, as it is now also suitable for swimmers.
All in all, this fitness bracelet has a wide range of functions and offers everything a hobby athlete’s heart desires at a good price-performance ratio.
6. Amazfit Bip Best battery life of a fitness watch Best fitness watch under € 100
The Amazfit Bip is a cheap fitness watch from China. But don’t let that put you off, because this fitness tracker can do more than you might think at first.
It has a light, fairly square case and weighs only about 35 grams, so it is not noticeable or annoying when you wear it all day. The supplied silicone wristband can also be conveniently changed. So you can design the watch according to your individual preferences.
Although the Amazfit Bip is cheap, GPS is built into this fitness tracker
The Amazfit Bip has a small 170 × 170 pixel color display. The display is protected against light impacts by the built-in gorilla glass.
With the other technical equipment, the fitness watch can also convince. It has a heart rate monitor, a barometer, an acceleration sensor and even a GPS module. The latter is rarely found in a fitness tracker in this price segment.
However, you have the feeling that the GPS module already has minor problems with the location as soon as you are no longer in an open field. In built-up areas, the position shown deviates quickly a few meters from the actual location.
In addition, the Amazfit Bip can also track your sleep, which you can then analyze with the associated app.
The battery life of the fitness watch is also completely convincing
Another extremely positive aspect is the watch’s battery life. Although it has a continuous heart rate measurement and an always-on touch screen, the fitness tracker runs for up to 45 days on a single battery charge.
Only permanent use of the GPS function significantly reduces the battery life of the fitness tracker. So you should deactivate the GPS after you have finished running or cycling.
The Amazfit Bip has a good app, but it cannot keep up with the competition from Fitbit or Garmin
The in-house fitness app offers all common evaluations, such as heart rate, number of steps, sleep pattern, etc. The app is relatively easy to use. Essentially, however, it just shows you your current activity level and compares it to the past few days. The fitness apps from Garmin and Fitbit offer a wider range of functions.
For people who just want to keep an overview and don’t need any further technical bells and whistles, it should be sufficient.