7 Best Wearables of 2018

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This year, 2018, was another banner year for smartwatches and wearables, with worldwide sales of individual units nearly doubling last year’s numbers. Driving these figures were the usual suspects—Fitbit, Apple, and Garmin—but there were also some quality devices from companies like Samsung and Suunto. We’ve compiled the very best of these devices into our list of top wearables of 2018.

Fitbit Versa

One of the most welcomed surprises of 2018 was the Fitbit Versa. With stunning looks that include a crisp 1.3-inch touchscreen display and arguably the best fitness-tracking features on the market, the Versa makes a strong case for being this year’s best wearable. Its list of standout features is long and includes highlights such as more than 15 exercise modes, an optical heart-rate monitor, and more than four days of battery life. On top of that, the Versa also allows you to store music locally on the device, so you can stream songs directly from your wrist. The one omission to the Versa’s long list of bona fides is that it doesn’t come with built-in GPS, meaning users must rely on their smartphone for GPS data. Whether this is a deal breaker or not depends on your needs and what you want out of a device, but even without onboard GPS, the Versa is one of the best wearables of 2018.

Fitbit Versa Fitness Watch

Garmin Forerunner 645

Garmin is no stranger to best-of lists. The navigation and fitness giant has been a perennial leader in the wearable game for years, churning out sport watches and fitness trackers that are as sleek as they are sophisticated. 2018 saw this trend continue with the release of yet another outstanding device, the Forerunner 645. Though perhaps not as capable as last year’s Forerunner 935, the latest Forerunner still offers some of the most comprehensive run-tracking features on the planet, including stride metrics, detailed heart-rate data, GPS-backed performance, and real-time physiological measurements—to name a few. It also incorporates some exciting new features, like Garmin’s wireless payment solution: Garmin Pay. The Forerunner 645 is available in two iterations: with or without onboard music playback. However, because of some connectivity inconsistencies with the music playback version, we can only endorse the standard version of the 645 as one of our top wearables. However, when the Forerunner 645 Music works as it should, it’s a darn-near-perfect running watch.

Garmin Forerunner 645 Sport Watch

Apple Watch Series 4

Dedicated fitness and sport watches are great, but most lack the processing power and software needed to compete with more sophisticated devices such as smartphones and tablets. Cue the Apple Watch Series 4. If you’re not familiar with the Apple Watch, most likely your fitness routine includes bench-pressing that rock under which you’ve been living. The latest iteration of Apple’s do-everything device debuted with a sleek redesign that includes a smaller, thinner case and a Retina touchscreen display that’s 30 percent larger than the Series 3. On top of that, the Series 4 comes with all the features you’ll need to reach your fitness goals, including comprehensive heart-rate monitoring, smart coaching, and a bevy of wellness applications. There are plenty of new health features, as well. For example, the Watch now houses built-in electrodes that allow users to take an electrocardiogram (ECG). It also has fall-detection capability that will register a fall when it occurs and send an emergency alert, if warranted. Like the Versa, the Series 4 can also store music locally—no more silent workouts or strapping an iPhone to your arm; unlike the Versa, it features built-in GPS and is available with cellular LTE.

Apple Watch Series 4

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Earlier this year, Samsung debuted its latest wearable with an updated look and an all-new name: the Galaxy Watch. Though it follows in the footsteps of the very capable Gear S3, the Galaxy Watch truly is in a league of its own and worthy of its own unique moniker. From its hi-res AMOLED display and objectively gorgeous design to its multi-day battery use and powerful 1.15 GHz dual-core CPU performance, the Watch is the most sophisticated wearable Samsung has ever produced, and one of the top-performing devices on the market. Its wellness features alone are as impressive as they are exhaustive, and include heart rate monitoring, stress-management tools, sleep monitoring, automatic workout detection, and sport tracking for up to 40 different exercises. Add in 4GB of onboard storage, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, GPS, and an operating system that rivals the Apple Watch’s OS, and you get a smartwatch that is as impressive as any wearable on the market.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Suunto 3 Fitness

Although its brand recognition isn’t as strong as some of the other names on this list, Suunto is the oldest and most storied of all the companies here. It has been around since 1936 and, among countless other achievements, is credited with manufacturing the world’s first outdoor watch with ABC (i.e., altimeter, barometer, and compass) functionality—way back in 1998, no less. 20 years later, the company is still making waves, thanks to the release of the best-in-class Suunto 3 Fitness. The Suunto 3 Fitness offers some of the best wellness-support features on the market, including 70 built-in sport modes and a unique adaptive training program that creates a customized 7-day training program based on your fitness level, activity levels, and personal goals. The rest of the Suunto 3 Fitness’s highlights read like a must-have feature list for any serious sports watch, including heart-rate monitoring, connected GPS, and basic activity tracking. Add in a sleek design with some truly gorgeous color options, and it’s plain to see why the Suunto 3 Fitness is one of the best wearables of the year.

SUUNTO 3 Fitness Sports/Training Watch

Fitbit Charge 3

Like Kleenex, Stairmaster, and even Google, Fitbit has become so popular its name has practically been genericized. How many times have you heard someone refer to an activity tracker as a “Fitbit” regardless of its brand? Not that we can blame them. Fitbit has been at the forefront of the category for so long, it’s easy just to assume that it is the category. One of the reasons the products have been so popular is because of the strength of devices like the Charge 3. Measuring every data point an activity tracker should, including steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned, and topped off with wrist-based heart-rate monitoring, iconic design, and an intuitive touchscreen display, the Charge 3 remains at the zenith of the category. It even manages to improve upon last year’s very popular Charge 2 by tweaking the design to be less bulky and adding two whole days of battery life. Add these improvements to the Charge 3’s robust suite of features and you have one of the best-performing activity trackers of the year.

Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Wristband

Garmin vivosmart 4

Like fellow fitness tracker pioneer Fitbit, Garmin is largely responsible for ushering the activity tracker category into the mainstream. Since the debut of its first vivo device, this manufacturer has continuously released trackers lauded for their looks, performance, and long-lasting battery life. That streak continues, thanks, in part, to this year’s vivosmart 4, which incorporates the best features of previous models into a slim, barely-there design. In addition to the standard activity tracking functions—steps, distance, calories, etc.—the vivosmart 4 also boasts a generous battery life of up to 7 days. Additional widgets for weather and an alarm app help make the vivosmart 4 more capable than the standard activity tracker. Also, its companion app does a great job of tracking health metrics and gamifying fitness goals—for those that find a reward system appealing.

Garmin vivosmart 4 Activity Tracker

Questions about our list or wearables in general? Let us know in the Comments section.

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