4 New Wearables We Tested That Will Help Smash Your Goals
My fellow South Africans, it’s getting harder and harder to stay fit. First it was lockdown, then winter showed up and now load shedding as well? Eish(kom). So we’ve rounded up four new wearable fitness devices to suit different budgets and needs. They may not open a secret doorway into your local gym or generate electricity at the touch of a button, but they do come with a Bond-worthy list of other features to help you get back on track.
Fitbit Charge 4
Reviewer: Wanita Nicol, Deputy Editor
Price: R2 999 Best for: General fitness Lockdown superpower: Helps you sleep
You no longer have to fork out a month’s salary on a fitness watch that can navigate you across the desert just for the luxury of leaving your phone behind on your evening walk. This little wearable punches above its price tag with onboard GPS and Fitbit Pay. Yup, you can track your run and buy a coffee, phone free. And no stress if you get caught in the rain – it’s waterproof. You can load six exercise modes to the device from a selection of 20 available on the app, including walking, weights and swimming (non-runners rejoice!). The battery will last five hours in full GPS mode – plenty of time finish a 10-kay or even a 21 – and up to five days mooching around the house.
Lockdown Superpower: Fitbit’s always been a leader in wearable sleep hygiene tech and the Charge 4 is no exception. Set your ideal bedtime and it’ll give you a reminder to start winding down for sleep. Set an alarm and it’ll monitor your sleep patterns and wake you when you’re in a light sleep phase so that your wake-up is less WTF and more rise ‘n’ shine. You can also make the screen dimmer at night and enable sleep mode to inhibit notifications.
Apple Watch Series 5
Price: R9 999 Best for: Improving your work-play lifestyle Lockdown superpower: Helps you meet goals
Reviewer: Kelleigh Korevaar, Managing Editor
Yes, it’s pricey but keep in mind it’s an Apple product after all, with a never-say-die, branded build and user experience. This wearable includes a host of workouts for every way you exercise, and even advanced metrics no matter your level of athlete. Seamlessly check your heart rate and get notifications when it appears to be too high or too low. Along the series’ history of fantastic features like music-syncing, which got me listening to podcasts on-the-go, it has plenty of new standout features, like its built-in compass! The App Store is also now on your wrist, so you can find and download the latest apps in seconds and you can call, text and listen to music without having to reach for your phone. Talk about a life-hack.
For more on the specs, check out this video from The Verge!
Best news? You can get your Apple Watch with Vodacom and enjoy even more benefits. With Vodacom OneNumber you can connect it to your main number so that you can make calls, reply to messages and receive notifications even when you’re away from your phone.
Lockdown Superpower: I got this bad boy the week before we went into lockdown in March and it turned out to be my saving grace. When everything was up in the air, the one thing I could count on was those nasty reminders on my watch-face. I had to get in a pre-set amount of exercise, calories and standing hours (goodbye couch-lounging Netflix binges). And nothing gets you off the couch quite like seeing it’s 4pm and you’ve had just two standing hours – because you decided to binge-watch Peaky Blinders.
Reviewer: Nadim Nyker, Digital Editor
Price: R3 499 Best for: Usability and interface Lockdown superpower: Checks your blood-oxygen levels
When Huawei told me the GT2e would last two weeks on a single charge, I laughed. But turns out they were serious. The watch comes in better and cheaper than its GT2 predecessor, with the brand losing the mic and built in speaker, because who listens to a playlist from their watch anyway? Instead, they included tracking for 100 sports modes and blood oxygen saturation (SPO2) monitoring, which couldn’t be more useful during a pandemic, where respiratory health is vital. Plus, this one boasts almost 200 watch faces. My wearable of the year under five-grand for sure.
Lockdown superpower: Check out how it tests blood-oxygen levels below:
Price: R7 989 Best for: Sport & adventure Lockdown superpower: Google’s Wear OS
For a long time, MH staffers have wished for a watch that has you covered, from sport to lifestyle. Many have tried and come short. Then we tested the SUUNTO 7. It features over 70 sports modes, built-in GPS and a heart-rate sensor, and when most bring a good hand to the table, SUUNTO have brought the royal flush. Partnering with Google, it features their Wear OS, so you have access to Google Assistant, Google Fit and can respond to incoming WhatsApps (together with its draw-to-text feature) all without picking up your phone.
I really enjoyed its Google Play integration, which means you can install your own apps. This allows you to download an app where the SUUNTO 7 would fall short. Anything from Microsoft Outlook to Facebook Messenger and Spotify – you can get it on your watch. This means, no matter what, the SUUNTO 7 remains relevant and up-to-date.
Lockdown superpower: Check out its OS below!