Fitness Bands vs. Smartwatches (What’s the Difference and Which Is Best for You?)

Fitness Tracker Bands vs Smartwatches Credit: Samsung / Apple
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Smartwatches and fitness bands have been around for a long time now, and they both have evolved to have many similar features. Because of this, you might be wondering which type is the best option for you.

The truth is, it can be hard to make the right choice. Although you can get both fitness bands and smartwatches for a pretty low cost, you still don’t want to waste your money buying something you’re not going to need.

If you’re still not sure which one to go for, here’s what you’ll need to know before buying a new smartwatch or fitness band.

Price | Which One’s More Expensive?

Smartwatches are packed with more features, faster processors, and better displays, making them more expensive than fitness bands. For instance, the price of the Apple Watch SE is currently $279 at its base price, while Fitbit’s Inspire 2 goes for around $69, which is more than a slight difference.

Subsequently, when contemplating whether to buy a smartwatch or a fitness band, you should compare the features and specifications of each gadget against how much you’re willing to spend. Are the extra features we’ve previously mentioned worth over $200? Maybe. But that depends entirely on your budget and values.

Moreover, whether you’re going for a smartwatch or a fitness band, you need to make sure the wearable you are buying meets your fitness demands and lifestyle. In this case, if you are not that active, you may not need a fitness tracker with advanced features. Sometimes less is more.

Features | What You Need to Think About Before Buying

Smartwatches are designed with a lot of features, especially when compared to fitness bands. In this regard, smartwatches have the essential time and date functions you know and want from any watch, combined with other nifty features meant to improve your everyday life. These modern features include a remote for the camera on your iPhone and even music apps to control your playlists on your wrist.

On the other hand, fitness band features are more limited and mainly suitable for athletes or individuals who are conscious of their health and want to track their exercises accurately. Some of these features are designed to track your steps and the distance covered during walking or running.

Additionally, more advanced fitness bands are designed to track your sleep quality, the calories burnt during workouts and measure your heart rate. That being said, smartwatches also come with these features.

Having More Features Isn’t Necessarily a Good Thing

Sure, having more features might sound great, but sometimes it can get annoying to have haptic vibrations on your wrist, especially when you’re trying to work.

Constant notifications on your smartwatch combined with reminders to stand up, drink water, and breathe may end up distracting you and even stress you out more than before.

Yes, of course, you can turn some notifications off or use Do Not Disturb, but that defeats the main purpose of a smartwatch to some extent. Especially when you’re working, and you need to stay connected to your email or messaging app. Having a feature-packed smartwatch might not only distract you more than you probably could’ve imagined, but it also consumes the smartwatch’s battery faster than a fitness band would, but more on that later.

On top of that, there are many apps and complications on an Apple Watch you’re probably not going to use. Instead, you could go for a fitness band that provides the tools you know you’ll actually utilize.

Think About Durability Too

Despite being cheaper than most smartwatches, fitness bands are often the most durable wearables, at least in my experience. This is mostly because of how they’re built and the materials used (plastic, rubber).

If you’re mostly looking for a durable wearable that both tracks exercises and can take more than a few hits and scratches, a fitness band is a far better choice for you.

That’s not to say that smartwatches will break if you drop them once, but with a bigger screen, they’re easier to crack or scratch. Plus, it’s going to hurt less to break a 60-dollar fitness band than a 300-dollar watch.

You need to consider battery life as well. Fitness bands tend to have much better battery life, which is obviously better than a smartwatch that usually needs to be charged every night.

Which Wearable Has Longer Battery Life?

Fitness tracker bands are designed with much simplicity, including more modest displays, often LED. For this reason, fitness bands have a longer battery life compared to smartwatches and can go for several days without being fully charged.

Of course, you’ll need to consider how much work your fitness band is doing. If you’re a fitness junkie and you’re going all day at the gym, your band’s battery won’t last a week. That said, it’s almost guaranteed to last longer than a smartwatch.

On the other hand, smartwatches have a shorter battery life because of their features, functionality, more powerful processors, and enhanced displays. It’s not that their batteries are bad, but you can’t add a bigger battery into a watch without compromising usability or style.

Still, some smartwatches have a fast charging feature. You can juice up almost half of the battery life with a few minutes’ worth of charge. Fitness bands can often fully charge in just 30-45 minutes.

Smartwatches vs. Fitness Bands | Which Should You Go For?

By now, you probably already made up your mind about which wearable you want to get. If you’re looking for a durable device that you know you can just charge once and forget about it for a few days, or you’re looking for a device that’ll help you keep focused on workouts and your health, then a fitness band should be the right choice for you.

If you’re more of a tech-savvy person, and you still want to track your workouts or your sleep, but you also want to use your wearable almost as a secondary phone, with different apps and shortcuts right on your wrist, you’d be better off with a smartwatch. The best part is that, although it’s true that smartwatches tend to be more expensive, there are many excellent, affordable options.

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