Cover Photo: Solen Feyissa / Unsplash

The options can be overwhelming—get to know these five big players before committing to your purchase

Day by day, it feels as if the wearables industry is accelerating faster than ever before. In fact, Mordor Intelligence predicts the fitness tracker industry will flourish with an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.7 per cent, with the Asia-Pacific as its fastest-growing market between 2021 to 2026. As these gadgets integrate more and more into our daily lives, committing to the right brand becomes all the more important. Get to know five of the best-known players in the industry, and find the right fit for your needs below:

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1. Fitbit

Often credited with introducing the fitness tracker craze into the Western mainstream, Fitbit (which first sold strapless step counters that slipped into your pocket), now carries three smartwatches and eight fitness trackers in their broad portfolio. While fitness trackers have become more advanced over the years, the distinction between the two categories remains; while smartwatches are essentially smaller, wearable versions of your phone, the functionalities of fitness trackers focus on health and movement monitoring.

The most advanced tracker of the bunch is the Charge 5, which tracks distance, heart rate, sleep quality, and even stress, with in-depth analytics available with the mobile app. The tracker also links to your smartphone to receive notifications from key applications like email and messaging apps.

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2. Garmin

Founded in 1989 as a GPS specialist in the aviation industry, Garmin now has one of the broadest fitness tracker portfolios on the market. Naturally, accuracy and in-depth analytics are among the brand’s biggest and most compelling selling points, especially for serious and professional athletes.

The Garmin technology utilises incomparably precise heart rate monitors and blood oxygen sensors, while the supplementary mobile app offers unique insights like body battery (your estimated store of physical energy for the day) and fitness age. Get these features, plus daily workout suggestions, personalised coaching, and so much more with the many wearables from Garmin.

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3. Apple

Sleek, user-friendly, and stylish, Apple devices boast inter-device compatibility that is tough to resist. The Apple Watch was designed to integrate naturally into the lives of dedicated Apple users, seamlessly connecting to your iPhone; you can use applications like Spotify, activate Do Not Disturb mode, answer calls, and silence alarms, all with the handy-dandy gadget on your wrist. (Though my favourite part of the Apple watch is that you can ‘ping’ your iPhone when you’ve misplaced it). Of course, these are largely smartwatch categories, since the Apple Watch is primarily a smartwatch.

That said, the built-in health fitness tracker capabilities are up to scratch, too. Beyond tracking the basics, competing with friends, and setting workout goals and reminders, you can also active irregular heart rate notifications, fall detection, sleep tracking, and more.

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4. Xiaomi

Xiaomi has been making waves in the tech industry across a colourful array of departments, from smartphones, televisions, and earphones to vacuum cleaners, scooters, and of course, fitness trackers. Established in 2010, the innovative company is well-loved for its reliable yet affordable products and continues to boast impressive market growth year over year.

One of the most basic fitness trackers from Xiaomi (and arguably, on the market) is the Mi Band, which tracks steps, distance, calories, and sleep, and also allows you to set alarms—all without a screen. On the other hand, the Xiaomi S1 has a large display, a classic look, and far more capabilities, including a whopping 117 workout modes, water resistance, heart rate alerts, and blood oxygen monitoring, plus cashless payment and phone calls.

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5. Huawei

Another tech giant better known for its smartphones, Huawei launched its wearables line in 2015 with the Huawei Watch, which has since evolved into the Huawei Watch GT 3. The newest iteration measures blood oxygen, heart rate, skin temperature, exercise statistics, and sleep, and also boasts a 14-day battery life, AI-empowered running coach functionalities, and Bluetooth calling. However, the most unique offering from the collection is the Huawei Watch Kids 4 Pro, equipped with a night light, sunlight exposure tracking, video calls, and other thoughtful features that parents will love.

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