Save vs splurge: The best fitness watches and activity trackers to gift

Is your loved one wanting to up their fitness game in the new year? Or maybe it’s you who’s decided that 2019 is the Year of Getting Buff. A fitness watch or activity tracker is just the thing to motivate and track as you smash through your goals.


What to look for in a fitness watch or activity tracker

There are tons of options available, and they all offer something different. Before you buy, it’s worth asking yourself a handful of questions that’ll help you choose the right piece of equipment. Consider the following questions, bearing the person you’re buying it for in mind:

  • What are you/they using it for? Different trackers have different modes depending on the activity. Are you a swimmer or a hiker? Do you want to track sleep habits and calorie intake? Consider your needs before making a purchase.
  • Is it compatible with your/their smartphone? Having a phone and a watch that can talk to each other easily can open up a host of additional features.
  • Does it work for your medical aid lifestyle programme? Are you/they on a medical aid that tracks lifestyle points? Check to see if the fitness tracker you’re considering can sync and log the points you accumulate with your provider.
  • How good is the battery life? Are you happy to recharge every four days, or would you like something that lasts longer?
  • What’s the interface like? Is it user friendly?
  • Does it suit your/their style? Do you like the way the fitness tracker works? Does it work with your/the recipient’s fashion sensibilities?


Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for, check out our recommendations for every budget.


Best value for money

If you’re looking for great value for money, you can’t do better than the Dofit GPS Fitness Watch. This is a great pick for someone starting his or her fitness-tracking journey. Built-in GPS means that your smartphone doesn’t have to be with you while you’re exercising, and the 1.3” colour touch screen makes the device easy to use. The Dofit also features a calorie counter and sleep monitor, and the Dynamic Heart Rate Monitor will keep you informed if you’re in Fat Burn, Cardio or Peak Zone while you’re active. Looking for those little extra luxuries? The call alert feature will let you know when someone’s trying to phone you, and the watch even contains Bluetooth music control.


The next step up

Music is just the thing to get you pumped for a workout, which is why the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music comes with built-in music storage of up to 500 songs. It also features 15 preloaded sport apps (with even more available if you want them), a heart-rate monitor, stress tracking and up to seven days battery life. The cherry on the top? The Garmin Pay contactless payment solution lets you make payments from your watch, and you can customize the interface with your choice of free watch faces, data fields, apps and widgets.


Top of the range

The Suunto 9 Fitness Watch is a serious athlete’s dream machine. This superior unit has been put to the test in the most extreme conditions, and with a battery life of up to 120 hours of continuous exercise tracking, the Suunto has been built to go the distance with you. The watch is water resistant up to 100m, has intelligent battery technology, and an algorithm that combines GPS and motion sensor data for activity tracking precision. Via the Suunto app, you can also easily share progress and achievements.

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