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The best smartwatches, fitness trackers and wearables to gift – Engadget

Posted: November 4, 2020 at 4:58 am

For someone whos never owned a smartwatch, the Watch SE will be an exciting introduction to the category. Plus, with Apples new Family Setup tool, your parents or children dont even have to own an iPhone to be able to use the Watch SE -- just use your own iPhone once to set it up for them. If you have more room in your budget, the Series 6 brings blood oxygen monitoring and ECG , which the health-obsessed will appreciate.

Buy Apple Watch SE at Amazon - $279 Buy Apple Watch SE at Walmart - $279

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For Android fans, there is no better smartwatch than the Galaxy Watch 3. It uses Samsungs intuitive Tizen OS, and features a slimmed-down spinning bezel, which weve found is the best way to interact with a smartwatch. The Watch 3 offers a suite of health-tracking tools like ECG, fall detection, blood oxygen sensing and sleep-tracking that uses your heart rate to figure out what sleep zone youre in. Your giftee can also use it to send and reply to messages, log their food and water intake and track their workouts.

The Watch 3 is a little chunky, though, so if your relative might prefer something smaller, consider the Galaxy Watch Active 2 instead. It offers many of the same features in a thinner, lighter frame, and at a cheaper price too. But note that the convenient rotating bezel has been replaced by a touch-sensitive bezel here, so if easy navigation is a priority, stick with the Watch 3.

Buy Galaxy Watch 3 at Amazon - $339Buy Galaxy Watch 3 at Walmart - $339

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The most useful thing about wearables is their ability to keep tabs on your overall well-being, and the watch with the most robust set of health-tracking tools is the Fitbit Sense. In addition to features like sleep and blood oxygen monitoring, the Sense also senses your skin temperature and electro-dermal activity. It uses this data to understand your bodys response to stress and help detect when you might have a fever.

While Fitbits OS isnt as full-featured as Apple or even Samsung, it has the upper hand when it comes to health-monitoring. If your loved one is less of a techie and more into analyzing their metrics, this wearable will serve up all the physiological data they could want. Just make sure to remind them the device isnt meant for medical purposes and they should still see their doctor when something seems amiss.

Buy Fitbit Sense at Amazon - $330 Buy Fitbit Sense at Walmart - $330

Will Lipman Photography / Garmin

For those who prefer a more traditional aesthetic, a hybrid smartwatch is an excellent option. There are plenty of brands to choose from like Withings, Timex or Fossil, but we recommend the Garmin Vivomove HR for its comprehensive feature set and attractive design. It offers constant heart rate monitoring, stress and sleep tracking, music controls and a subtle touchscreen display on top of a traditional watch face. This panel will show your giftees steps, calories, heart rate and VO2Max, as well as message alerts and more.

Because it does so much, the Vivomove HR will last just five days in smart mode, but itll hang around for an extra two weeks with its hands just telling the time. This is one of the best-looking hybrid watches around with plenty of customization options, too, so itll be easy to find a style the fashionable techie on your list will like.

Buy Vivomove HR at Amazon - $165 Buy Vivomove HR at Walmart - $120


Fashion houses are some of the biggest smartwatch makers, often infusing classic timepieces with Googles limited Wear OS to offer connected versions of customer favorites. If youre shopping for someone who loves labels like Michael Kors, Skagen and Kate Spade loyalist, youll easily find a smartwatch from each brand. Of all the smartwatches parent company Fossil offers in its portfolio of designers, though, the Fossil Gen 5 series offers the best set of features. It combines Googles software with some Fossil-specific tweaks for improved battery life and some extra activity and health-tracking tools.

Fossils watches also tend to be a lot prettier than the competition. Youll be able to pick from two main Gen 5 styles for your loved one and a handful of case finishes and strap options for each. For more style and size options, consider the Gen 5e series, which offer the same features in more colors and cases. While Wear OS isnt the best smartwatch system around, its a good introduction to wearable tech, especially for someone who doesnt need their watch to do much more than tell them what alert they just got on their phone.

Buy Fossil Gen 5 smartwatches starting at $179

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When most people hear the words fitness tracker, they probably imagine a Fitbit band. Its no surprise, since the company pioneered the category and makes some of the best devices available. The Inspire 2 is this years update to the companys popular line of low-profile health-monitoring bands, and it brings a brighter display plus longer 10-day battery life. Plus, it offers a constant heart rate monitor, which allows it to understand what sleep zones your giftee is in when they wear the device to bed.

Theyll also be able to wear this in the pool to track laps and use the Fitbit app to keep an eye on their menstrual cycles. The Inspire 2 doesnt have built-in GPS, so your friend will need to bring their phone with them to map their runs. But for the price, the Inspire 2 is a solid option for someone who prefers the subtle look of a bangle or wristband.

Buy Inspire 2 at Amazon - $100 Buy Inspire 2 at Walmart - $100


None of us have been traveling a lot lately, but a backpack is still a sound investment, especially for students, hikers and cyclists on your list. Samsonites Konnect-i bag has touch-sensitive fibers woven into the left strap to offer Googles Jacquard technology so your loved one can control their music or get alerts without having to whip out their phone. You can customize what the gestures do -- a swipe up could skip a song or pin a location, for example.

The backpack itself offers plenty of pockets and compartments and is sturdy enough to stuff into a locker or under an airplane seat (whenever we get to ride them again) -- without having to worry about breaking your precious cargo. Plus, itll hold laptops as large as 15.6 inches and can keep your belongings dry with the help of water-repellent fabric. And you wont have to worry about whether your giftee uses iOS or Android -- the Konnect-i plays nice with both. All told, the variety of available functions here makes the smart backpack a bit more useful than earbuds.

Buy Konnect-i smart backpack at Samsonite - $200


We all know that person whos always taking videos for Instagram Stories, TikTok or Snapchat. The Snap Spectacles 3 is perfect for the influencer-wannabe on your list, since it makes taking hands-free first-person videos incredibly easy. With one tap on the frames, theyll be able to record a 10-second video clip or snap quick pictures by holding down. While theyll need to use the Snapchat app for setup and downloading their footage, your friend can share their clips to any social media outlet they prefer.

The Spectacles quirky aesthetic might not appeal to everyone, but it certainly makes for eye-catching selfies. And you dont have to worry about your gift being used to record you without your knowledge, either. The glasses have an LED ring above the lenses that light up when its recording so youll be aware if youre being filmed.

Buy Snap Spectacles 3 - $380

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The best smartwatches, fitness trackers and wearables to gift - Engadget

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