Best Fitness Watches for Men 2017 – Review and Comparison
Men’s watches tend to be bulkier and feature a wider strap to accommodate larger arm sizes. Most also feature dark tones. It is not just traditional analog watches that follow these unspoken men style guidelines. Fitness watches for men are also falling into this fashion trend.
With plenty of fitness watch brands, from Garmin to Withings, fighting for a lion’s share of the fitness tracking market, there are no shortage of top rated fitness watches for men.
We went out and looked for the best picks, comparing aspects like design, size, cost and functionality. Here are the five best fitness watches for men you can buy today. Further below, you will find a brief buying guide to help you get started on finding the right fitness watch for you.
1. Garmin Fenix 5
Garmin has always been focused on ‘outdoorsy’ wearables. Most of their watches feature a large rugged design and the new Fenix 5 series showcased at CES is no exception (though there is a smaller version for women too). This series follows the wildly successful Fenix 3 HR (there is no Fenix 4).
Buyers will have three options to choose from: Fenix 5, 5S and 5X. All of them have a nice sporty look with a few differences among them in terms of size and design.
The 5X is the largest of them all (51mm) and packs the most features. For one, it has one feature that Garmin users are going to love; Maps. The watch comes with full color topographical maps for outdoor navigation, cycling, running, golfing and any other outdoor adventures you have up your sleeve. The maps will even show you points of interest as you move around.
If you do not want something so oversized, try the Fenix 5. At 42mm it is much smaller though it lacks preloaded maps. You can order it with a Sapphire lens, which adds an extra layer of ruggedness to the watch.
The Fenix 5 series comes with a whole load of multi sports tracking features for swimming, skiing, running, cycling, heart rate monitoring and more. The LCD screen looks a bit sharper than in Fenix 3 and works well even in glaring sunlight. The UI is easy to navigate; there are dedicated screens for different metrics and you can customize the watch face using widgets.
Smart alerts keep you connected to your world. You can receive SMS, emails and notifications on your watch.
2. Casio WSD-F20
Casio WSD-F20 was also unveiled at CES 2017 although it is not available for purchase until April. This is the second fitness under Casio’s Android Wear powered Pro Trek lineup.
One of the biggest improvements from its predecessor was the addition of GPS tracking. The low-power GPS functionality combines with maps sourced from Mapbox to help users track various activities including running, cycling and swimming.
The Casio WSD-F20 will come equipped with Android Wear 2.0, which is also set for release later this year. This means a much better and more matured user interface and much more functionality compared to the first wearable OS from Google.
Design wise, the watch has gotten bulkier and now spots a more rugged design. The one-size strap is mad for large male wrists, though they may introduce other sizes when launching. Like the WSD-F10, it will have dual displays. You can switch to monochrome to save battery or enjoy a full color mode. The monochrome mode can provide a full 30 days of battery life.
Other features to expect include multisport tracking, a built-in compass, an altimeter and smart notifications.
3. Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smart
If you want a taste of Swiss luxury on your wrist, the Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smart is the perfect buy. The pricey Swiss-made Smartwatch combines the technology of smartwatches with the classic design of an analog timepiece. It is just as perfect for the running track as it is in an executive boardroom. Thick bezels, large bold numbers and wide hands make for a rugged masculine look.
Below the stunning design, the watch emphasizes on two things; sleep tracking and activity tracking. In sleep tracking, it will tell you how long you have slept and break down your sleep periods into deep, light and awake.
So you not only know your sleep quantity, but also quality. With the smart alarm feature, you can set the watch to nudge you awake during your lightest phase of sleep. During this phase, you will be more aware and fresh. (https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep)
With the activity tracker, the watch will monitor your daily step count, distance and amount of calories burned. You can choose a pre-defined goal for each day (light, moderate or intense) or create your own custom goal. Throughout the day, you can glance at your watch to see how well you are doing towards accomplishing your set goal.
This is not the watch for men who want serious fitness tracking. It lacks GPS and even a basic heart rate monitor. This is most likely why it has a 2-year battery life. If you want a watch to use in the gym or in training, this is not it. It is designed mostly for business people who want to keep an eye on their health and fitness through the day and night.
4. Jawbone UP3
The Jawbone UP3 is a simple but packed fitness band with no watch face or display. It is ideal for those men who want a more minimalist fitness monitoring for multisport tracking with more attention to simplistic design. Inside the simple looking strap, there are several sensors to help you track your health and fitness.
There is a heart rate monitoring LED sensor to help you keep track of your heart rate levels during the day. The sensor measures your heart rate in the morning to establish a baseline (resting heart rate) and throughout the day (passive heart rate). The readings taken can help you see how your heart rate changes through the day and can be an important health indicator.
At night, the band uses a combination of sensors to measure your heart rate, body temperature and respiration rate. Through proprietary algorithms, it is able to measure how much you sleep. Furthermore, it can split your snoozes into either light or deep categories, essentially telling you how well you slept.
Activity tracking comes with all the basics you need including step counts, calories and distance. It can also detect what kind of activity you are doing, though this does not work as well sometimes. There is no GPS so activity is detected and measured using motion sensors. The band is rated as splash-proof meaning it can withstand some rain but you cannot shower or swim with it on.
Overall, the Jawbone UP3 is a great mid-range fitness tracker for the men who don’t mind a simpler design and want a fitness-focused band. You might want to keep an eye on their current stocking issues, though.
5. Apple Watch Nike+
Apple’s second Smartwatch edition got more serious with fitness tracking. But if that’s still not good enough for you, try out the even more fitness-centered Apple Watch Nike+.
The watch comes with a sporty Nike style plastered all over it and you can set some pretty awesome watch faces. This is essentially a running watch, with monitoring and metrics tailored for runners. Though it is still a bit basic for pro athletes, it is good enough for those who want to boost their running.
A built-in GPS is the center of the watch’s fitness tracking. It will track your distance, speed, pace and even draw the route you have taken. If not running, you can take it into the pool for your morning laps. It is resistant up to 50 meters so there is nothing to worry about. There is a heart rate sensor but it does not provide continuous tracking no does it provide you with heart rate zones for your workout.
One of the biggest perks you get by buying the Apple Watch Nike+ is access to the Nike+ Run Club app. Here, you can compare your performance against that of others and inject some healthy competition into your running.
Apple Watch Nike+ is still behind big names like Garmin and Polar when it comes to serious training. It lacks some of the deep metrics provided by these watches. But if you are an Apple fun and want a watch for your daily jogs, the Apple Watch Nike+ is perfect.
Fitness Watch Buying Guide for Men
So you have decided to finally get a fitness watch. However, a cursory look online reveals dozens of brands and models to choose from, some as costing less than $100 or £100 and others in the luxurious $1,000+ zone. Which one do you spend your money on? Here are 5 important tips to guide you.
1. What are your goals?
Before anything else, determine what you want to achieve with a fitness tracker. In other words, why are you buying one? It could be for basic through-the-day activity tracking, to monitor your daily workout sessions, for serious athletic training or for outdoor explorations on foot or bike.
Different fitness watches are optimized for different tasks. Some are great at daily activity monitoring whereas others are made for more serious training. You can find some good ones that combine both strengths into one watch.
2. Do you want a heart rate monitor?
A heart rate monitor has almost become a basic requirement for fitness watches. Even low-budget trackers now have them. Since your heart rate is an essential component of your fitness, it is a good idea to get a fitness watch with a heart rate tracker. Do your research to find the most accurate trackers that will give you an accurate picture of your heart rate fluctuations.
But if heart rate monitoring is not something you need, there are still plenty of fitness watches available. For example, the pricey Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smart does not come with heart rate monitoring.
3. Do you want GPS?
Another feature that is becoming more and more basic is in-built GPS. Almost every fitness watch these days is launching with GPS tracking capability. This provided a lot of advantages of non-GPS watches. For one, it provides more accurate tracking of distance and speed. Non-GPS watches rely on motion sensors which may not always be on point.
Another advantage is the ability to view your running or cycling routes. Some watches like those from Garmin even allow you to plan your route ahead of time.
GPS is best for those who exercise outdoors, whether it is running, triathlons, swimming or cycling. But if your workouts are mostly indoors, consider getting a lower-priced non-GPS fitness watch.
4. How much do you want to spend?
As the competition in the fitness tracking market has thickened, fitness watches are coming down in price. Brands like Samsung and Fitbit have some good offerings between $100 and $200. So even for those with a tight budget, you can still get something good.
In the mid-range ($200-$300 or around £200), you will find fitness watches with more features, better tracking and cooler designs. Here is where you find brands like Garmin, Withings and Polar. These watches are great for serious workouts and some will even double as daily activity trackers.
If you want something more full featured with everything from maps to GPS to heart rate monitoring to multi-sport tracking, be ready to spend well over $300.
At $500 and over, you are entering the luxury zone where you will find brands like Mondaine. In this range, design is often a priority. These watches are ideal for those who want to combine luxury tastes with fitness monitoring.
What kind of fitness watch do you have in mind? Something simple and minimalist, an oversize timepiece that shouts out loud or a Swiss-made fitness watch with an analog style?
There are all kinds of designs you will find online. Some have thick bezels, some are thinner, most feature dark colors and others come in a rainbow of vibrant hues to choose from. Compare among different styles until you find the one that fits your lifestyle and needs.
The fitness tracking industry has seen explosive growth in the last five years. Right now, there is a dizzying array of choices for men who want to keep track of their fitness. The above reviews and guide will hopefully make your search much easier. Which fitness watch appeals to you most and why? Leave your comments below.