It’s a pretty tough judgment: measurements of fitness trackers and smartwatches are mostly rather rough estimates and “often fantasy values,” she writes Stiftung Warentest in the new edition. The testers had checked eight current smartwatches and fitness trackers and compared 13 models from a test in December. The clear result: Most devices do not measure correctly.
Of the 21 models, only two were able to show a “good” performance in the core discipline of fitness: the Apple Watch Series 5 and the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music. They don’t measure perfectly either. Both are only mediocre when it comes to jogging pulse – and still the best models in this test point. This is because the values of most fitness bands in the area are a simple disaster. The Xiami Mi Smart Band 4, for example, measured a maximum pulse of 104 when jogging for a test jogger. In fact, it was 181. You can also save yourself the measurement.
The Apple Watch is clearly ahead
In fact, the measurement on the wrist is significantly less precise than with a chest strap. The wristbands move, the sensors are often located on the less readable top of the wrist. The fact that you can still expect more, however Apple Watch ahead. Whether walking, jogging, cycling or swimming: The Apple Watch always records the pulse at least moderately, often very well. The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music measures the pulse well when cycling, properly when jogging and walking. But she also fails when swimming.
The fact that the fitness grades of the smartwatches are so much better is also due to the built-in GPS module, explains the Stiftung Warentest. Instead of having to estimate distances covered using wrist movements, they can rely on specific location measurements. This benefits the other two disciplines of the fitness sub-point: the distance covered and the calories consumed are the two smartwatches and the third place winner Garmin Vivoactive 4 each of the tapes completely in your pocket.
Smart functions as a bonus
That the Apple Watch Series 5 with an overall rating of “good” (1.8) but very clearly from the Garmin and their “good” (2.2) rating, is due to the classic smartwatch functions. As far as news, phone calls and navigation are concerned, the Apple Watch does not fool anyone; Warentest sees the Garmin models in front when it comes to playing music.
The biggest disadvantage of smartwatches is the price. While the price-performance tip of the fitness bands, the Honor Band 5 rated “satisfactory” (3.3), is available from just 27 euros, you have to put a lot more on the table for the smart watches. The Apple Watch Series 5 costs at least 390 euros, the LTE version that can be used without a smartphone even from 510 euros. Garmin watches also cost at least 270 euros (Forerunner 245 Music) or 250 euros (Vivoactive 4).
So the hobby athletes have a choice: If you just want to know a tendency whether you have moved more or less this week and are occasionally driven out again by a guilty conscience, a cheap fitness band is enough. But if you also expect heart rate and calorie consumption, you will have to buy an expensive one Smartwatch not around. But then it still offers the nice smart functions on top.
You can find the full test for a fee at test.de