Best 2018 smartwatches and fitness trackers for the holidays

These wearable devices can help you stay connected and kickstart those new year's fitness resolutions.

Vanessa Hand Orellana CNET Senior Editor
As head of wearables at CNET, Vanessa reviews and writes about the latest smartwatches and fitness trackers. She joined the team seven years ago as an on-camera reporter for CNET's Spanish-language site and then moved on to the English side to host and produce some of CNET's videos and YouTube series. When she's not testing out smartwatches or dropping phones, you can catch her on a hike or trail run with her family.
Vanessa Hand Orellana
4 min read
James Martin/CNET

If you're old analogue watch is starting to feel a bit dated, it may be time to trade it in for one that can do more than just tell the time. The latest fitness trackers and smartwatches can help you stay connected and kick your workout routine into overdrive just in time for the new year. 

We've rounded up 5 of our favorites to fit just about every need and every budget. 

Disclaimer: CNET may receive a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

Watch this: 5 best smartwatches and fitness trackers for your holiday wish list

Fitbit Charge 3: A fitness tracker that does it all


Fitbit's newest tracker packs a lot of features into a smaller frame.

Josh Miller/CNET

Price: $150

If this is your first wearable device, or you just can't make up your mind between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge 3 is a happy medium. It checks the activity tracking box whether your at the gym or at the pool, it tracks your sleep, menstrual cycle (for women), and has a built-in heart rate sensor for improved accuracy when it comes to counting calories. Plus it has some of the same features you'd find on a smartwatch like a touchscreen, and phone notifications and swappable straps to customize your look. It doesn't have a built-in GPS or music storage, but it lasts almost a week on a charge and costs less than most smartwatches at $150.

The Apple Watch Series 4 doubles down on health


The Apple Watch Series 4 takes health tracking to the next level with its built-in EKG feature.

John Kim/CNET

Price: $399 (GPS, 40mm); $499 (LTE, 40mm)

If you're an iPhone user, it doesn't get much better than the Apple Watch Series 4. It's undergone a sleek redesign with a larger, brighter screen (in two sizes), powerful processor and added health features to help you reach your fitness goals and potentially save your life. The Series 4 is the first direct-to-consumer wearable with an EKG feature that can help doctors diagnose heart-related conditions like atrial fibrillation along with a fall detection feature which notifies your emergency contacts, and calls 911 when you've had a bad fall. And add cellular connectivity to the Watch to send messages, make calls or request a car service phone free. The downside: a shorter battery life (it lasts about two days on a charge) and its $499 price tag (for the LTE version). But if you're looking to spend less, there's always last year's Series 3 Watch which shares a lot of the same great features for a lot less.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch is a stunner 

OnePlus 6T

The rotating bezel on the Galaxy Watch makes it easy to navigate through its many features.  

James Martin/CNET

Price: $300 (WiFi, 42mm) or $380 (LTE, 42mm)

If you have a Samsung device, or you're just looking for an Apple Watch alternative, the Galaxy Watch works with both iOS and Android devices. With its round watch face and rotating bezel, it's one of the best-looking smartwatches we've seen this year. It comes in two different screen sizes, three metal finishes and has swappable bands that you can customize for work or workout. It's a great fitness companion with automatic workout detection, built-in GPS, continuous heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. It also comes with an LTE version that works independently of the phone, and Samsung Pay, but you'll only be able to use it at NFC enabled terminals (no MST). The Samsung Galaxy Watch starts at $300 or $380 for the LTE version.

The Amazfit Bip is a steal 


The Amazfit Bip has a battery that can run for weeks on a charge and a price that's hard to beat.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Price: Starts at $79

If you're looking for bang for your buck, it's hard to beat the $80 price tag on Xiaomi's Amazfit Bip. It does all the basics you'd expect from a smartwatch and can outlast basically every other device on this list. You can get anywhere from one to four weeks on a charge depending on use. Don't expect a fancy OLED screen on this watch, and the frame is plastic instead of metal, but it's slimmer and a lot lighter on the wrist. You can set up alerts and notifications, activity tracking, GPS, heart rate monitoring and water resistance, but you can't reply to messages, store music or set up mobile payments.

The Garmin Forerunner 645 Music is fit for an athlete 


The Forerunner 645 music can store your entire playlist for those long training sessions.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Garmin Forerunner 645 Music is great training companion for serious runners and triathletes looking to step up their game. Sure, $440 dollars may seem like a lot to pay for a workout buddy, but it gives you a lot more insight into your runs, bike rides and  swims than any other device on this list. This includes things like ground contact time balance, stride length, vertical ratio, route and elevation. And it helps you transform this data into results. The Forerunner 645 Music can also handle mobile payments and stores up to 500 songs to keep you company on those long training runs, now connectable to Spotify. If you're just interested in the fitness features, check out some of the previous Forerunner models from Garmin which can cost you a lot less.

The holiday's best smartwatches and fitness trackers

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