As we dig further, we found some Ars-recommended fitness trackers among Prime Day’s many deals. Notably, a whole bunch of our favorite smartwatches from Garmin and Fitbit are on sale.
All of these deals are only valid during Prime Day, so if you’re a Prime member and looking for a fitness tracker or running watch, now’s your time. There are also discounts on the Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 6 if pure smartwatch capabilities are more important to you than fitness tracking.
Our experience with Garmin watches
Garmin watches have taken a few top spots in our recent smartwatch buying guide. We chose the Forerunner 45 as our favorite runner’s watch, while the Vivo series took top honors as the most stylish. Both devices see record discounts for Prime Day. We especially like some of the older models of the Vivomove. Today’s discounts bring the newer versions, the Vivoactive 4 and 4s, to about the same price.
Under $200, the Garmin Forerunner 45 is our go-to watch for casual runners, with GPS and 24/7 heart rate for running and tracking modes for sleep, yoga, elliptical and cardio exercises. It’s not the watch for serious long-distance runners, but rather it’s a great inexpensive option for those who like shorter runs or don’t mind taking their phone with them for music and enhanced safety features.
If smartwatch functionality and broader activity support is your thing, the Venu Sq Music is another sub-$200 device that brings a lot of what the Forerunner 45 lacks, such as a blood oxygen sensor, music storage, wave functions, strength and Pilates workout modes, and touchscreen interaction. It’s a more traditional smartwatch experience with a little more activity tracking as well.
The Vivoactive 4 and 4s build on this with more premium metal materials, more sensors and a round dial. It also adds on-screen training animations along with more training modes.
Last up are the high-end Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire and 6s Pro running, hiking and multisport watches, both for $499, and the rugged Instinct Solar and Tactical watches for $249 and $179, respectively. The Fenix Series is Garmin’s top-of-the-line running watch, supporting a wealth of advanced, patented metrics through Firstbeat technology and providing compatibility with accessories (such as chest-worn heart rate monitors and foot-worn running posture devices). Both features provide highly specific data and useful insights to improve training and recovery for serious athletes. The Fenix 6 also supports the same smartwatch and extensive sports functions, from golf to triathlons, with a two-week battery life, built-in maps and 10 ATM water resistance.
The Instinct Solar and Tactical are a little less feature-rich, lacking the wide range of sports tracking of some of the other Garmin watches we mentioned in favor of things like night vision mode and a claimed 54-day battery using solar. energy. It won’t give you the in-depth training analytics of a Fenix watch, but it’s still capable enough of moderate tracking for running and activities.
Our experience with Fitbit
Fitbit is also no stranger to advanced fitness tracking analytics, though the company’s data isn’t as specced as some of Garmin’s features. Where Fitbit excels is in reliable basic fitness tracking and top specs at competitive prices.
The Fitbit Sense, in particular, took second place in our best smartwatch guide, finishing second only to the Apple Watch as our favorite all-around smartwatch. With a blood oxygen monitor, EKG, GPS, and heart rate sensor for under $200 with this Prime Day sale, it’s a strong value.
The Sense handles notifications from iPhone and Android devices well and can take calls with its built-in microphone and speaker. The vibrant display and glossy metal housing give it a premium look and feel that matches the highest level internals. There’s not a lot of app compatibility beyond Fitbit’s own suite of features and music controls for Spotify, but we found the sleep tracking and activity insights more useful, which only gets more proactive and personalized with Fitbit’s optional Premium subscription.
While Fitbit Premium usually costs $9.99 per month, the simpler and much cheaper Fitbit Inspire 2 tracker comes with a year of this for free, adding even more value to a nice Prime Day discount. At $57, it’s a good price for a casual fitness tracker, especially one with Fitbit’s research, community, and resources backing it up.
The Inspire 2 has a heart rate sensor, an estimated 10-day battery life, and sleep tracking, but it lacks GPS. Fortunately, the Fitbit Charge 4, which does have GPS, also retails for $100. And that device adds NFC and blood oxygen monitoring to the mix.