Which non-Apple smartwatch or band to get?
April 9, 2021 6:24 PM   Subscribe

My wife likes to go out for walks to get her 10,000 daily steps during these days of our pandemic. She's been using a tracker on her iPhone 7 but I'm thinking of getting her a smart-watch/band.What should I get her?

Main uses: registering her walking, controlling the music on her phone during said walks, viewing email and whatsapp notifications, etc.

We're under lockdown for the foreseeable future, working from home.

A) Is it worth it just to not take your phone out of your pocket?

B) If yes, which medium priced one should we get? She doesn't like Apple Watches (too big and square), so we're looking at the Samsung Galaxy Active, not sure that it'll work well with her iPhone 7+.

Beauty matters.
posted by signal to Shopping (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The fitbit charge 4 is attractive (i think) and both much more affordable and much more minimalist than an apple watch. It does email/text notifications well, and can control spotify at least (so probably other music apps?). I have never tried it with whatsapp. It's great as a fitness tracker.
posted by dis_integration at 9:14 PM on April 9

At home, a smartwatch is even more useful than when you're out and about. My phone is often somewhere in the house but it's not on my person, but it will be connected to my smartwatch. Instead of trying to find out where that ringing is coming from, or completely ignoring the call, I just glance at my wrist to find out if it's a call that I care about, or a robocall.

If you're near other people, it's less distracting when your phone isn't regularly calling out for attention. I've left my phone on silent for years and never missed anything.

I prefer the Garmin range of devices. Their more traditional models have buttons that are ugly but easier to manipulate than touch screens, and their screens stay on all the time instead of requiring a button press or flick of the wrist. Their more modern line has brighter touch screens that turn off like other smartwatches. They'll probably have better battery life than Apple Watches or Android Wear devices.
posted by meowzilla at 10:24 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]

If you want a fitness tracker, not just a smartwatch, then the Garmin or Fitbit is probably better.

I went for the low-end... Wyze Smartwatch... MSRP $25 (Early bird price $20) and I got what it's worth... not that much customization, but just enough. Has heartbeat sensor, oximeter, and exercise sensor (step counter). It has "raise to turn screen on", sleep tracker, and one charge lasts up to 9 days (or more). I haven't tested any sort of accuracy, but I'm pretty impressed by the amount of functions I got for the price. It has no speaker or microphone though, so no answering calls. And pretty sure it won't control podcasts (that's better controlled from the headset any way). It will display notifications from any app I choose on my Android phone via its companion app.

Now I am waiting for the next gen of smartglasses that combines a tiny AR screen with BT5.0. :)
posted by kschang at 12:14 AM on April 10

I went for the low-end... Wyze Smartwatch... MSRP $25 (Early bird price $20)

Thanks so much for name dropping this item!
I was just this morning looking for something to replace my Xiaomi Mi Band 4 and wanted something a bit more watch looking and less fitness tracker.
I've signed up for their email list to be notified when it's back in stock.
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 2:57 AM on April 10

I wanted a smartwatch that didn't look like a smartwatch, and ended up with the TicWatch Pro 3, and have been incredibly happy with it. Mobvoi has other options, too, if the look isn't right for her.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:39 AM on April 10

I have had a Garmin Vivoactive 3 for over three years. It does the fitness tracking great, and the smartwatch ok.

I primarily use it to track my 10k steps (1,185 days!), runs, bike rides, stress, and sleep. I got tired of it constantly bugging me for every notification on my phone, so it only alerts me for text/hangouts/teams messages, weather info, and incoming calls. It can alert for emails but I get way too many emails for that. Other "smart" functions I use are music control, weather, timers, alarms, and saving saving gps locations.

Problems I have encountered: the software was clearly not ready when I bought it and had power drain issues (all fixed years ago), the Garmin app on my phone was not intuitive for me, and if you don't "lock" the screen on the watch while you are asleep or where it can be touched accidentally all your settings get changed and the widgets rearranged.

If you decide to go to Garmin route feel free to mefi mail me if you have questions.

Realized I didn't answer question A: I think the watch has reduced taking my phone out of my pocket which overall was a big plus, but at the cost of being that much more connected to the always in/on demand life that smart phones cause.
posted by token-ring at 6:17 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]

Garmin Venue SQ music. It does everything on your wish list. I like it bc it's not as big as some of the other smart watches, and you can sync up your music playing apps to it.
posted by erattacorrige at 7:01 AM on April 10

A Pebble Round, if you can still get one, might be something she might like?
posted by LoonyLovegood at 10:44 AM on April 10

Garmin have a big range of stuff with lot of variation along all of the axes of style, 'smart'-ness (notifications, music player, ability to respond to things, third-party app support, etc), activity (not just tracking - some have built in personal trainers type apps that will produce custom workouts for you). My wife was in a very similar boat, and went with a white/rose gold vivoActive 4s.
posted by parm at 10:50 AM on April 10

I have that new Wyze watch and I LOVE it. It's a perfect size, shape, price and feature set for anyone needing a low cost step counter, exercise tracker and notifier.
posted by deezil at 7:42 PM on April 10

I very much like my Fitbit Versa 2. The fitness tracking is great, and I really enjoy its smartwatch features. But if your wife does not want an Apple Watch, the Fitbit Versa might be too similar in design.
posted by lysimache at 8:44 PM on April 10

Response by poster: I finally got her a Samsung Active (first version), she loves it and has walked her 10000 steps every day since getting it.
posted by signal at 10:18 AM on June 9

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