The best fitness trackers: Garmin, Samsung & Fitbit models compared

The best fitness trackers: Garmin, Samsung & Fitbit models compared

Wearng a fitness tracker on your wrist will definitely scare the couch potato out of the house, as it informs you of the number of steps you've taken and helps you check your heart rate whenever you're exercising. But with all of the available options in the market, choosing the right fitness tracker for you definitely isn't easy. This is why we've picked out the right models to cater for every possible type of user.

Table of contents

  1. The best fitness tracker: The Xiaomi Mi Band 5
  2. Fitness trackers for joggers: Huawei Band 4 Pro and Band 4e
  3. Fitness tracker for swimming: Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro or Fitbit Charge 4
  4. Best value for money: The Xiaomi Mi Band 4
  5. Best smartwatch alternative: Fitbit Charge 4
  6. Fitness tracker with good battery life: Amazfit Bip
  7. Fitness tracker with SpO2 sensor: Garmin vìvosmart 4
  8. Things to consider when buying a fitness tracker
  9. Do fitness trackers have an impact on mental health?
  10. Where is the best place to buy your fitness tracker?

Before we begin with our tip for the best fitness tracker, we need to discuss two basic differences in brief. This article is about fitness trackers, which are discreet wristbands that feature sensors to measure heart rate or counting the number of steps taken. Smartwatches, on the other hand, tend to be clunkier, have additional 'smart' functions, can connect to the Internet even without a smartphone, and are covered in our comparison of the best smartwatches.

The best fitness tracker: The Xiaomi Mi Band 5

Xiaomi Mi Band 5
The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 comes with a colour display and a very long battery life / © Xiaomi

Not yet reviewed


  • Very long battery life
  • AMOLED display
  • Very cheap


  • No GPS receiver

If you are looking for a fitness band in 2020, the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 will most likely meet your expectations and needs - and exceed them. This is because this smartband offers a long battery life, measures your heart rate and steps reliably, and is also very easy on the pocket. The whole idea of this device lies in the intention of recording the vital data of the wearer in a complete and reliable manner where possible. In our opinion, it works very well, especially due to the long battery life.

It is interesting to note that the number of times the Mi Band 5 is plugged into your wall socket in a single month would be very low. Also, since the device is very affordable, concern about damage may be far less compared to higher priced alternatives. At the same time, the AMOLED display is readable even when you are under direct sunlight. Being a fifth-generation device, you can also charge the Mi Band via magnetic contact. We have not published a review for the Mi Band 5 yet, but I can recommend the band from my own experience.

However, you will have to make do without an integrated GPS receiver, which is something you should be aware of before buying. In order to track your jogging or cycling route, you have to bring your smartphone with you as it remains connected to the Xiaomi Mi Band 5. Because of this combination, the smartband accesses the GPS receiver of your phone via Bluetooth and is able to keep track of your route. If you don't want to make do without GPS because your phone is too clunky, we have a hard-to-beat combination for all joggers and runners below.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is currently available for purchase at prices starting at just under €30 ($37). An import is not necessary, because Xiaomi sells the smartband officially in Germany - fortunately for us!

Fitness trackers for joggers: Huawei Band 4 Pro and Band 4e

Huawei Band 4 Pro
The Huawei Band 4 Pro and the Huawei Band 4e / © Huawei

Not tested


  • Records combined GPS, heart rate, and running behaviour.
  • Band 4e displays unique running data such as stress zones, ground contact and G-forces


  • Two devices that you have to charge frequently

Because of the Huawei Band 4 Pro and the Huawei Band 4e, you are able to keep track of very unique vital signs each time you pound the pavement. In the past, I was able to test both devices separately and also use them in combination together. As a passionate runner, I noticed an advantage, which I have recommended to every regular runner since then: The Huawei Band 4e can be clipped onto your shoe so that it can measure the stress zones of your feet. It also shows just how well or badly the shape of your shoes are, as well as analyse your running style and figure out whether your shoes can cushion the impact of your own body weight adequately.

Running while striking the ground with your heels in particular will strain your feet in the long term, and as I found out during my review back earlier on that I had a poor running posture. Hence, the Huawei Band 4e is useful in helping you train yourself to end up with a healthy and efficient running posture. Together with the Huawei Band 4 Pro, you can also measure the load on your cardiovascular system and the distance covered. Like a classic fitness tracker, the Huawei Band 4 fits on your wrist and measures your heart rate via a light pulse. The GPS function works automatically, allowing you to leave your smartphone indoors if you so require, while the Band 4 Pro is able to record the oxygen content of your blood to boot.

Together, you can purchase both devices for approximately €70 ($85), where the breakdown would see the Huawei Band 4 Pro going for €50 while the Huawei Band 4e would be €20 or less. You also opt to also purchase these devices individually, and for regular runners, I strongly advise you picking up the Band 4e and giving it a chance.

Fitness tracker while swimming: Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro or Fitbit Charge 4.

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro
The Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro offers a powerful swimming mode / © NextPit


Bewertung Design und Handling


  • Design
  • Very good AMOLED screen
  • Suitable for swimmers


  • Expensive
  • Annoying setup process
  • Inaccurate pulse measurement

Swimming is a whole lot easier on the joints than jogging, and if you do it regularly, it's worth buying either the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro or the Fitbit Charge 4. At this point, I'm listing two fitness trackers for you, as the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro is already a bit older and therefore cheaper. You can find the device on the net for prices starting from €110 ($133), while the Fitbit Charge 4 costs about €40 ($49) more.

Both fitness trackers offer a waterproof rating that makes them suitable for swimming, where the respective manufacturers advertise them being worthy of functioning without missing a beat up to 50 meters deep. While there are many fitness wristbands that you can leave on your wrist when jumping into the water, Fitbit and Samsung offer an important, additional feature.

Because with both fitness trackers, you can manually set the length of the lanes and have them tracked automatically. This means you don't have to count the number of laps yourself and can evaluate the times afterwards. If you also jog in addition to swim, both fitness trackers have a GPS sensor as well as a heart rate monitor.

Best price-performance ratio: The Xiaomi Mi Band 4

Xiaomi Band 4
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is our recommendation if you are looking for an affordable fitness tracker / © NextPit


Bewertung Design und Handling


  • AMOLED colour display
  • Feature rich
  • Waterproof up to 5 ATM
  • Price-performance ratio


  • No integrated GPS

If you just want to get a taste of the world of fitness trackers, we highly recommend the Xiaomi Mi Band 4, which is still available online despite the release of a newer model to succeed it. The price has now dropped to under €20 and is thus in the range of the Realme Band, which is also very affordable. However, the Realme Band did not score particularly well in our review, so we advise you against buying it.

Xiaomi's fourth edition of the Mi Band, however, carries the same battery as the Mi Band 5, but since the display is a bit smaller, you can be sure that the battery life is a bit longer than the newest model according to reviews from some colleagues. However, since we were not able to test the two devices at their release, we will have to rely on statements from other magazines for this information. If you have had conflicting experiences with the Mi Band 4 and its successor, feel free to let us know in the comments. For additional details, I recommend that you check out our review of the Xiaomi Mi Band 4.

Best Smartwatch Alternative: Fitbit Charge 4

Fitbit Charge 4
The Fitbit Charge 4 is a good alternative if smartwatches are too clunky for you / © NextPit


Bewertung Design und Handling


  • Long battery life (almost 7 days)
  • Discreet and lightweight
  • Accurate heart rate sensor
  • GPS and Fitbit Pay on board


  • Full functionality only with a paid subscription
  • GPS not very accurate
  • Music control is exclusive for Spotify
  • Fitbit Pay limited to just credit card in Germany

If you like the look of a fitness tracker and expect the functions of a smartwatch from a wearable, the Fitbit Charge 4 could be just the thing for you. The discreet smartband has a built-in GPS module and supports Fitbit Pay thanks to NFC. If you have a credit card, you can also store your credit card details in the Fitbit app and pay using your wrist at the supermarket checkout counter while looking cool. In addition, the Fitbit Charge 4 supports apps installed on it, while letting you attend to incoming notifications via Quick Reply.

Like our tip for swimmers, the Fitbit Charge 4 is waterproof up to a depth of 50 meters. However, since Fitbit sells its tracker at prices above the $140 mark, it's more suitable for buyers who are willing to spend a little bit more money on a fitness tracker. However, at these prices, there are already smartwatches like the Fitbit Versa, which offers more options with a larger display.

Fitness tracker with good battery life: Amazfit Bip

Amazfit Bip
Fitness tracker with a smartwatch look: the Amazfit Bip / © NextPit

Not yet reviewed


  • Long battery life of up to 45 days as a watch
  • Up to 4 months battery life with sleep tracking
  • Inexpensive
  • GPS on board


  • Design is more of a smartwatch
  • Display is not very bright

The Amazfit Bip is a real gem when it comes to the carefree use of a fitness tracker. According to the manufacturer, the "Bip" has a battery life of up to 45 days if you use the device as a watch and for the occasional recording of your jogging route. Sleep tracking is also included in this runtime, and if you use the watch exclusively for monitoring your sleep rhythm, the manufacturer claims up to 4 months of battery life before requiring a trip to the nearest power outlet.

The design of the Amazfit Bip leans more toward the lines of a smartwatch, though. Although the manufacturer also boasts of this device as a smartwatch, we would place it under the fitness tracker category. That's because without a connected smartphone, the device cannot connect to the internet and thus comes without the battery life that's usually expected of smartwatches. On the other hand, the watch is also significantly cheaper with a current list price of just under €45 ($54.75).

Fitness tracker with SpO2 sensor: Garmin vìvosmart 4

Garmin vivosmart 4
The Garmin vivosmart 4 can measure the oxygen content in your blood / © NextPit

Not yet reviewed


  • Pulse oximeter for measuring the oxygen content in the blood
  • Hardly noticeable on the wrist


  • No GPS
  • Very small display
  • No colour display

With a pulse oximeter, also known as a SpO2 sensor, you can measure the oxygen content in your blood. To be more precise, such a sensor measures the light absorption in the blood, which can then be used to measure the oxygen saturation in the hemoglobin, i.e. the red blood cells. The vìvosmart 4 from Garmin offers such a sensor for just under €90 ($110).

But whether the pulse oximeter is a really important function remains debatable. For healthy people, the oxygen saturation in the blood should not fluctuate too much and people with heart disease should definitely discuss this issue with their doctor rather than relying on a fitness tracker alone. Other scenarios include monitoring sleep apnea, which is one's breathing cessation during sleep, and high altitude sports activities. Again, it is always advisable to discuss values and accuracy of the device used with a doctor.

Things to consider when buying a fitness tracker

If you haven't quite arrived the end of your search for a suitable fitness tracker with this list, we'll tell you a few more basic points when choosing fitness trackers below. You can look for suitable smartbands yourself at Saturn, Media Markt, Amazon, and the like.

Do you need a GPS receiver?

If you always take your smartphone with you when jogging for safety reasons or to listen to music, you don't need a GPS receiver in your fitness tracker. After all, just about every fitness tracker offers the ability to record distance traveled when connected to your phone.

Fitbit Collage
Fitness trackers like the Fitbit Charge 4 can accurately record your jogging route thanks to GPS / NextPit

The GPS receivers in modern smartphones are often even more accurate than the modules in fitness trackers. In my experience, fitness trackers with an integrated GPS module will drop their connection and you end up running through walls and over houses in a split second based on the recording. In such cases, the recording of your jogging route is, of course, rendered unusable and ends up being more annoying than useful. 

Music control or music player?

Another pitfall in choosing the right fitness tracker is the difference between music control and music player. A built-in music player allows you to download songs to built-in memory and lets you listen to them on the go without the need for a smartphone. Bluetooth headphones or true-wireless headphones can usually be connected to the fitness tracker for this purpose.

If a manufacturer sells its fitness tracker with integrated music control, you can assume that you can also control your music via your wrist. You can control the active playback on your smartphone and leave the phone in your pocket. Also, look for Spotify-exclusive music controls on Fitbit, which is what you can find on the Fitbit Charge 4.

Is the SpO2 sensor really useful?

Keeping an eye on your oxygen saturation while on-the-go sounds like a great feature at first. However, my colleague Stefan, who once trained as a fitness trainer, explained to me once again during this comparison test that blood oxygen hardly fluctuates in healthy people. It is therefore more advisable to check it when exercising in mountainous areas or when you are under extreme stress.

If you do not intend to do this, you should rather disregard a corresponding sensor. In any case, it is available in only a few models, so this should not be a compulsory feature in your purchase decision.

Which interface does my fitness tracker use?

The entire range of collected data can only be viewed in the apps that come with fitness trackers. To do this, the information must first be transferred from the tracker to your smartphone or PC. At the very least, your fitness tracker should therefore have a Bluetooth interface so that you can transfer the data to your handset seamlessly.

In this list you will only find models that have Bluetooth at the very least. However, it is also practical if Wi-Fi support is integrated in your fitness tracker. This way, the data will end up in the cloud as soon as you get home after your workout. If you can also download music to the device, where the downloading process via Wi-Fi is even faster. If such functions are indispensable for you, it's almost advisable to go for a smartwatch.

Sleep tracking and mindfulness

A healthy lifestyle isn't just about pumping iron, running, and swimming! You also need to get some rest and fortunately, fitness trackers do help you with that too. The most common and useful feature for this is sleep tracking, which monitors the duration and quality of your sleep. Human sleep consists of different phases: light sleep, deep sleep, and the so-called REM sleep phase.

Each sleep phase is characterised by certain movement patterns, and since you wear the fitness tracker around your wrist during your sleep, it can monitor you. As convenient as this feature is, a fitness tracker can be annoying while you sleep. Besides the device itself gets in the way of a cozy sleeping position, and wearing a fitness tracker at night also ends up as a hygiene issue. A cloth band that has just been completely drowned in sweat is probably not something anyone wants to take to bed with them.

On the topic of mindfulness, by the way, certain fitness trackers also boast of meditation features or breathing exercises. These often rely on your pulse and sees if it changes during the planned rest period.

Compatibility with other hardware

If you want to do more than just run while wearing your fitness tracker, but also want to keep an eye on your pulse during a martial arts session or gymnastics training, you should pick a model from Huawei or Garmin. In the Huawei Health app and Garmin's Forerunner watches, you can use additional devices like chest straps with heart rate monitors. Especially during movements, for example, when you bend your wrist or the fitness tracker slips for other reasons, errors can occur in the measurement. In addition, Garmin's HRM Run models can also record vertical movement and your ground contact time.

Special features like notifications, contactless payment or telephony

As mentioned at the beginning, it's getting harder and harder to distinguish between fitness trackers and smartwatches. That's because with new features introduced all the time, there are also new selling points, and hence features like wireless payments or microphones and speakers for making phone calls have now landed in fitness trackers as well. While these features are still rare, you can access your notifications, set an alarm, or tell the time with almost all commercially available smartbands.

NextPit Fitbit Charge 4 side
If your fitness tracker supports GPS, you can also make contactless payments on your wrist with the right service / © NextPit

In addition, there are models can be personalised with their own watch faces. This is where your taste comes in and an objective argument for a purchase cannot really be derived based on the available designs. Even if manufacturers advertise the insane numbers of available watch faces.

Materials, case and weight

The design of fitness tracker is similarly unique and depends on your taste, although there are also practical matters to take into consideration. When it comes to leather straps, fabric straps or straps made out of plastic, each of them has their own advantage and disadvantage depending on the type of activity that you are heavily involved in. When swimming, for example, a fabric band can quickly become disgusting, and it is obviously not the most comfortable to wear when you are sleeping at night.

However, bands can usually be bought new and easily replaced, the weight and dimensions are set right from the get go. If you have the opportunity to try out a fitness tracker at an electronics store, I would definitely recommend it!

What impact does fitness trackers have on mental health?

Exercise is a healthy recommendation for most people, not too many people will disagree with me on this matter. But is it really advisable to keep a constant eye on your heart rate and vital signs like blood oxygen rate? In my opinion, the psychological consequences of a fitness tracker are not considered to be a deal-breaker in this kind of purchasing advice, and for this reason I would like to share some findings with you for your (running) journey.

Concerning this matter, a study by the University of Copenhagen in August 2020 suggests that fitness trackers definitely led to more motivation in a test group consisting of people with heart disease between the ages of 28 and 74. At the same time, however, concern for their own health increased as the obtained data was interpreted without medical advice.

Patients tend to treat data from the watch as medical advice and did not see that such data needs to be interpreted by a medical professional. Although the subjects were people who already have a pre-existing condition, vital signs such as resting pulse or heart rate zones are not adequately explained on many fitness trackers.

So buying a fitness tracker is not a substitute for going to the doctor if you're an active person who wants to slowly get used to an active lifestyle. Of course, your body image is still the best indicator of your health. If every step hurts, you should ignore your fitness tracker's attempts to motivate you.

Where is the best place to buy a fitness tracker?

Last but not least, I'll give you a few tips on buying a fitness tracker. As already mentioned in the section about size, the devices are often released with just one standard size. It is rather rare to come across fitness trackers with different case sizes, which is far more common on smartwatches. So if you have either a particularly thick or thin wrists, the bands might end up being a poor fit.

It is therefore advisable to try out the desired device before buying it. You have the advantage that fitness trackers are not only sold by electronics retailers, but there are also devices from Fitbit, Garmin and others in sports shops. The staff on duty there can also help you out with accessories or additional products. In addition to the store staff who are trained to attend to your questions, you can also ask your doctor for assistance or recommendations. They may not be able to give you technical advice, but you can ask them to help interpret your vital signs.

Your doctor may be able to share some of his or her own experience and tell you which manufacturer's protocols he or she has worked with.

Finally, we hope that after reading this article, you have either already found a fitness tracker or at least know how to home in on the right model for you. What are your requirements for a fitness tracker and what insider tips should we include in this list for the next update? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

More best lists on NextPit:

This article was completely rewritten and published on December 16, 2020. Previous comments have been retained.

Latest articles


Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing
Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing

  • Sajibuzzaman Nov 6, 2019 Link to comment


  • itprolonden Dec 15, 2017 Link to comment

    I'm happy with my Gear S3.

    • Jauhari Dec 18, 2017 Link to comment

      I'm happy with my Apple Watch 3 Nike Edition

  •   46
    Deactivated Account May 14, 2017 Link to comment

    I have the Garmin Viofit 3 and the Vivoactive HR. I love the Viofit 3 because you never have to charge it Battery has lasted almost a year and still going will replace it soon just so it won't go dead. Vioactive I like because of the GPS feature when you go on a hike it gives you a map of where you have been, but battery life with GPS is not that great. In my opinion Gamine is the best love all their stuff.

  • ANAM AKHLAQ Nov 17, 2016 Link to comment

    When we talk about the technologies then we talk about its compatibility and its features. Fitness tracker comes up with the different features and there are varieties of different trackers which have different features and incompatibilities

    i think Garmin vivosmart hr+ is good according to its features. Because of GPS system and retrieving of notifications , automatic sleep detection , tracks heart rate 24/7 , device features Move Alert , compatible with both iOS and Android.
    Health occupies the main part in our life in all aspects. this is the best thing which tracks each and every thing that we do . heart rate , steps and others.

    Deactivated Account

  • Affan Khan Nov 17, 2016 Link to comment

    In my friends, Fitness trackers gadgets is becoming
    important and most of your friends bought , and
    they gave me some reviews about that gadgets.
    On those reviews i like this gadget.
    Read About these fitness trackers...

  • Fouzia Irfan Aug 8, 2016 Link to comment

    Best Fitness Trackers in 2016: Complete Buying Guide
    You have finally decided to take care of your health and fitness matters and that is why you are looking for the best fitness trackers so you can take care of your daily activities.

    Good Decision!

    In this busy world, you cannot put your health and fitness matters as a second priority in any case.

    But Now that you have decided to buy a fitness tracker or a fitness band which is the best fit for your needs. You are definitely confused and overwhelmed because of the plenty choices.

  • Jianar Saro Jul 12, 2016 Link to comment

    I am using skylet colorful replacment bands for jawbone up move and feel very good. You can find it on amazon.

  •   18
    Deactivated Account Jan 25, 2016 Link to comment

    Motorola, Garmin, Fitbit.

  • Paul Warner Jan 24, 2016 Link to comment

    My wife bought the Garmin Vivofit 2 mainly because it had a 12 month battery, bigger dispaly and was water resistant. The equivalent Fitbit had to be recharged every day or two

  • GT Ohh Dec 2, 2015 Link to comment

    Gee whiz I wonder how the human race even survived before fitness trackers came along.... lmfao

    • Your Friend Jan 24, 2016 Link to comment

      True that! Just like - how did we buy things without Samsung pay, Google pay or apple pay or fill in the blank pay.

  • Gloria Hackler Nov 27, 2015 Link to comment

    I'm using Fitbit change and I would highly recommend it. It shows 100% accurate results.

  • gizaddict Nov 26, 2015 Link to comment

    I would say the Xiaomi Mi band 1s is a better choice than the mi band with the heart rate monitor. Though it is $15 expensive. I grabbed one 2 weeks ago from GeekBuying and it arrived this Monday. You AndroidPit may consider to review it:)

  • Amanda Sep 17, 2015 Link to comment

    This real time fitness tracker and coach is going to be shipped soon, and promotion will end soon, too. Grab and try this risk free. It would be sweet if you could join the promotion using my referral

  • Mark S. Sep 12, 2015 Link to comment

    I have a mi band as well - it's excellent. I can also get 60+ days on a single charge. Accuracy is comparable to the vivofit and fitbit (the only other ones I've tried). I really like the sleep tracking and vibrating alarm.

  • dharr18 Sep 12, 2015 Link to comment

    My personal pick, Mi Band. I have had it since February and I am seeing two months on a charge. I am not overly active, so I do not want to spend smart watch money on a tracker.

    The only other I would consider is the Activité Pop. It looks like a watch and performs that function beyond tracking. Having seeing it in person, it is a very nice size.

    My issue with most trackers I have tried on, I have a 8 inch wrist, most trackers do not fit me. The two I mentioned do. Also the Huawei Talkband 2 fits nicely and does a great job. I use it for the headset function more than anything else.

Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing