1 – Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
from R7,000 | samsung.com/za
Samsung and Google got together to make the very best Samsung wearable ever to come out of South Korea. Which, if we’re being totally honest, isn’t the greatest hurdle to clear. But even if the bar was set much higher, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 Classic would clear it. The new Wear OS interface is that much of an improvement.
Samsung’s hardware has always been excellent. 1,000-nit screen brightness, an ambient light sensor, and some serious Wear OS smarts combine to make this Samsung’s best offering to date. There’s one small problem, though — the 42mm version of the Watch 4 Classic doesn’t have the battery life we’d have liked. The 46mm edition, however… that’ll do just fine.
2 – Apple Watch Series 7
from R8,600 | incredible.co.za
There’s no denying that Apple makes some of the best tech on the planet. But the Watch Series 7, despite being the best in the range so far, isn’t so much different from the Series 6 (or even the Series 5) that you should jump at the upgrade. But if you’re using the Series 4 or earlier, you should definitely opt for some new Apple on your wrist. It’ll track most of what you want to track, functioning as an advanced extension of your iPhone thanks to its touchscreen, some very slick software, and interesting navigation tricks. The only reason(s) it’s not right on top are that it’s best used with an iPhone, and that it’s a seriously incremental update. Unless you’re a chronic hiker, you’ll barely notice the changes.
3 – Garmin Fenix 7
from R13,500 | garmin.com/za
Rise of the Fenix is an album by Tenacious D. Rise of the Fenix is what happens every time Garmin updates its lineup of Fenix fitness devices. This is the real deal. If you’re any sort of sports nut, you should have one of these on your arm. Designed to take the worst you can throw at your gear and come out the other side brimming with detailed information for you to hack your body with, the Fenix 7 is the latest in a long line of body-modification devices. It’ll track everything the Fenix 6S (below) will, with a few additions. There are dedicated modes for mountain biking, surfing, skiing, high-intensity interval training, and a bunch of others. It’s got workout suggestions, stamina tracking, and performance metrics. And that’s before you check out the solar-powered version. Like we said: this one is the best there is at what it does.
4 – Garmin Fenix 6S
from R11,000 | garmin.com/za
This is Garmin’s last-generation all-in-one sports tracker. The fact that it’s still on the list is a testament to just how good it is. The price should also be a giveaway, but this smartwatch tracks everything. Sleep, movement, exercise (all of it), blood oxygen, your current position on the planet, elevation, respiration… it’ll keep track of more variables than your puny little mind is capable of handling at one time. Unless you like spreadsheets. If you like spreadsheets, and being active, then you should definitely opt for the Garmin Fenix 6S. Also not to be sneezed at: the battery. It’ll last up to nine days
5 – Fitbit Charge 5
R4,000 | incredible.co.za
If you’re a fan of the fitness band design over the clunkier smartwatch (and there are a few of you out there), then you’re not going to find a better-rounded option than Fitbit’s Charge 5. As an all-in-one device, the Charge 5 is the most accessible, easy-to-use, and versatile strap. Yes, if you’re looking for something specialised, or for all your tracking stats without a subscription fee, you can look elsewhere. But if you’re after accurate tracking of movement and sleep, decent battery life, and on-device software that doesn’t suck, the Charge 5 is the place to be. And, if you’re keen on a deeper dive into your stats, you can always opt for a little Fitbit Premium.