When Fitbit launched the Charge 5 a few months ago in India, it reopened the smartwatch vs. fitness tracker debate. Fitness bands like the Charge 5 and Mi’s Smart Band 6 have upped the ante with advanced wellness features. So, should you opt for a slim band or the large screen convenience of a smartwatch?
Smartwatch vs Activity band: The primary difference between a smartwatch, at least when these categories went mainstream, was screen size. But there was also another key differentiator – functionality. An evolved smartwatch like the Apple Watch (that is now in its seventh generation) or Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 offer a lot more features. These include music (even from streaming services like Apple Music or Spotify), maps on your wrist and the ability to answer calls (even when you leave your phone at home for a run) if they’re kitted with LTE functionality.ADVERTISEMENT
Unobtrusive appeal: If you’re not ready to give up your heirloom Swiss watch or fashion watch, you could opt for a slim tracker that sits on your right wrist. This band can keep tabs on key wellness metrics and also offers text and call alerts if you choose to leave them on.
Battery life: While many smartwatches have improved battery life, they are still no match for the battery performance of a fitness tracker with a smaller screen. You don’t have to worry about constantly charging your tracker.
Wellness features: Fitness bands now offer extra functionality. The Charge 5, for instance, offers ECG monitoring and tracks stress levels. Mi’s Smart Band 6 offers advanced sleep tracking while multiple bands including OPPO’s Band Style offer SpO2 tracking. Most fitness bands track step counts, calorie burns, offer multiple exercise modes and some bands can also automatically detect when you switch to workout mode.
What you miss out on: A tracker offers a huge price advantage over a smartwatch but there is a trade-off. Wearables like Huawei’s Band 6 offer a large AMOLED display but it still doesn’t present the same large screen experience as the 45mm Apple Watch. Apple’s Watch OS ecosystem offers heaps of apps and functionality while brands like Fitbit and Samsung also come with quite a few apps. Furthermore, larger smartwatches have a choice of watch faces that replicate an old-school watch experience better than the small displays of a fitness band. None of the fitness bands offer LTE/4G functionality that allows you to access data services or make calls even when you’re untethered to your phone.
Fitness bands that get the job done
Fitbit Charge 5incorporates the wellness features on the brand’s flagship Fitbit Sense smartwatch including ECG and a skin temperature sensor. It’s crafted in aluminium with a bright OLED display and features in-built GPS in case you decide to leave your smartphone behind for a run. Fitbit has a bunch of cool optional straps that you can use to customise your appearance. (Rs 14,999)
OnePlus Band Steve Harrington editionadds a cool quotient to fitness bands, thanks to its association with LA-based artist and designer Steve Harrington. This funky band Harrington’s signature stylised graffiti along with artistic caricatures and design. It offers 13 exercise modes, sleep tracking and SpO2 tracking. (Rs 3,299)
Mi Smart Band 6 has refreshed the design with rounded edges and a larger screen. The result? Improved visibility on the 1.56-inch AMOLED display. You can customise the appearance with a choice of bands (available in six colours) and over 60 band displays that have been optimised for this full screen. It comes with Mi’s ‘Personal Activity Intelligence’ that uses your heart rate and other data to give you suggestions to improve your score. (Rs 3,499)
Realme Band 2features a vibrant 1.4-inch display with good visibility even under direct sunlight and still manages to deliver a 12-day battery life. This band offers 90 workout modes, over 50 personalised dial faces, sleep tracking and blood oxygen monitoring. (Rs 2,999)