A normal watch on the arm? That is no longer enough for many today. If you look at your own wrist or a friend, in most cases you will discover a fitness tracker, also known as a smartwatch, fitness computer, fitness bracelet or fitness watch. Now Stiftung Warentest has tested fitness trackers again. The result: from “good” to “bad” everything is included …
The fitness tracker test wins 2022 at a glance
In total, Stiftung Warentest has already tested 78 smartwatches and fitness trackers in recent years. In December 2021 and April 2022, 13 new devices were added – ten smartwatches and three fitness trackers. Including Apple Watch 7 and two variants of Samsung’s Galaxy Watch4. In general, smartwatches with a fitness tracker feature performed better. In terms of price, however, they are also significantly higher than pure fitness bracelets.
|Fitness Tracker Mockup||“Watch Series 7 Aluminum 45mm” from Apple||“Galaxy Watch4 44mm” from Samsung||“Volume 6” by Honor|
|Price||€ 409 at Amazon *||€ 179 at Amazon *||€ 39.98 at Amazon *|
|Stiftung Warentest overall rating||2.0||2.4||2.9|
|Battery life with / without activated training mode||9/48 hours||10/53 hours||24/300 hours|
|loading time||1.1 hours||2 hours||1 hour|
|functions||Color display, touch display, GPS, sleep monitoring, music player, altimeter, NFC chip for contactless payment …||Color display, touch display, GPS, sleep monitoring, music player, altimeter, NFC chip for contactless payment …||Sleep monitoring, color display, touch display|
* Prices may vary
How the Stiftung Warentest tested the fitness tracker
Special test criteria this time were the accuracy of the measured values for heart rate, calorie consumption and route length. There were devaluations due to lack of data protection and data security.
This is how the test result is structured: 40% fitness, 15% communication and other functions (if available), 30% handling, 5% stability and 10% data protection and data security. Pollutants were also tested but not included in the overall assessment. With the exception of a few products, all fitness trackers achieved the grade “very good”.
Fitness trackers and smartwatches: The test winners in detail
“Watch Series 7 Aluminum 45mm” from Apple
None of the recently tested fitness trackers and smartwatches were able to achieve a particularly good result. With Overall score 2.0 the best judged and thus the test winner is “Watch Series 7 Aluminum 45mm” from Apple. Like all Apple products, this one also has a high price: the smartwatch costs an average of 460 € online. It is currently available on Amazon in blue for € 409.
Worth mentioning positively: The accuracy of the fitness information (distance, heart rate, calorie consumption) in training mode – grade 1.9. The experts scored “very well” (1.1) in the test criterion “communication and other functions” – these include phone calls, messages, navigation, music playback and clock. Stability (0.8) and pollutant (1.0) also got off to a very good start. The item “data protection and security” led to the devaluation: This criterion was only rated at 3.6 due to clear deficiencies in the data protection declaration.
“Galaxy Watch4 44mm” from Samsung
The smartwatch came in second in the current test “Galaxy Watch4 44mm” from Samsung. It was tested by Stiftung Warentest with Overall grade 2.4 judged. The average online price for this wearable is € 257. The Bluetooth version is already available from Amazon for € 199 – including an extended warranty.
Stability (1.3), pollutants (1.0) and communication (1.3) are the three test criteria that were able to get a “very good” from the tests. On the other hand, the accuracy of the fitness information in training mode is only “satisfactory”. The measurement of the heart rate was assessed particularly poorly. Significant deficiencies in the Samsung Smartwatch data protection statement also led to a downgrade in data protection and security (3.6).
“Volume 6” by Honor
With Overall grade 2.9 is the best rated pure fitness tracker in the current test of the Stiftung Warentest “Volume 6” by Honor. The model is currently available on Amazon for 39,€ 89, the suggested retail price is € 49.99. If the online giant’s customers had their will, the fitness bracelet would probably do much better: It has already been rated almost 10,000 times and has an average of very good 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Experts rate this unit’s pollutants (1.0) and stability (1.1) as “very good”. The accuracy of the fitness information, on the other hand, could only get a “satisfactory” (2.9). Again, clear deficiencies were found in the data protection declaration (devaluation, grade 3.6).
The test results of the fitness tracker test 2020 in an instant
In 2020, Stiftung Warentest also took a closer look at 21 smartphones with fitness tracker function and pure fitness trackers. At the time, only three of the models tested did “Good”, with the three fitness watches all belonging to the Smartwatch category. For the pure fitness trackers, the ratings started only with “satisfactory”.
The test winner, “Apple Watch Series 5”, achieved an overall rating of 1.8 by tracking heart rate, calorie consumption and distances traveled. If you compare at Idealo.de, you can now grab the smartwatch from 381 €.
The second-ranked smartwatch with a fitness tracker feature, the “Forerunner 245 Music by Garmin” model, was rated not much worse than the Apple device in 2020 with an overall rating of 2.2. You can now buy the smartwatch from Amazon for € 243.99.
Third place is also taken by a fitness tracker from Garmin, namely “Vivoactive 4”. This is now available from Amazon for around € 174.
Fitness tracker test: guess rather than measure
The results for most fitness trackers in the test are quite modest and range from “satisfactory” to “adequate” – whether it’s a fitness bracelet or smartwatch. Therefore, you should think twice about what you expect from your fitness tracker before you buy it: If you really value accurate measurement results, spend a little more money and invest in a smartwatch, preferably from Apple, Samsung or Garmin. If you only want to use the fitness bracelet as a little gimmick, a cheap (and inaccurate) fitness bracelet might do the trick.
You can download the complete fitness tracker test from test number 07/2020 here for a fee. You can find more product tests in our tested section, eg ebike test, trampoline test, water bubble test, family tent test, etc.
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Image source: Getty Images / Youngoldman
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