Apple Watch SE:
The Apple Watch SE in particular has seen some quiet behind-the-scenes firmware updates over the last year that have pretty substantially improved GPS & optical heart rate performance. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch Series 7 delivers solid accuracy as well, especially in more recent firmware updates. The key difference between the two (aside from price) is the always-on display of the Series 7, versus the Apple Watch SE, which has a display that only turns on when you raise your wrist.
These days with apps like HealthFit, Athlytic, and others, you can easily use an Apple Watch with 3rd party fitness platforms and advanced sports insight and data. While the core Apple Watch workout recording app is embarrassingly basic, there’s literally a thousand apps you can use instead if you want more advanced data field configurations or more features. Those will come with a cost, albeit usually very small, but the world is literally your oyster. Note that with any Apple Watch you’re basically charging it every night – though you can usually get about 1.5 days of battery life, so an every other day flip-flop can work out too. Oh, and finally, remember that the Apple Watch *ONLY* works if you have an iPhone (not even an iPad).
This one might come as a surprise to some, but the reality is that at Fitbit’s more reasonable pricing as of late, the Fitbit Sense is a pretty good option. And it’s a super well-rounded option, especially if you don’t need super structured training or other more serious features (since it largely lacks those). Instead, it makes up for it with the larger Fitbit ecosystem, including both connectivities to friends as well as more activity-focused data than you can shake a stick at. With the Fitbit Sense, you should buy this watch if you’ve got friends and family on the Fitbit platform, or if you’ve already got a Fitbit. Unlike the other three entrants in this category, you wouldn’t be buying the Fitbit Sense in hopes of 3rd party apps. With Fitbit declaring that Wear OS will be their future for smartwatches, the Fitbit OS has basically been abandoned by developers (not that it was a hotbed before anyway).
Garmin Venu 2/2S:
As one might suspect from this lineup of four watches, the Garmin unit is the most sports-focused one of the bunch. Yet, with the Venu lineage, it means that the AMOLED screen is closer to that of the fancier displays from Samsung, Fitbit, and Apple. In Venu’s case, you can choose whether you want the display in always-on (with less battery life), or in a raise-to-wake configuration (closer to a week of battery life). From a daily monitoring standpoint, the watch has all the activity tracking essentials like steps/distance/calories, plus more advanced features like SpO2, breathing rate, and VO2Max tracking.
Garmin’s main thing in life is all the sport modes, as well as structured training options (be it for yoga or running a marathon). Everything from race training plans to animated step-by-step gym workouts is included (whereas other companies oft charge for this).
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4/Classic:
Some looks are timeless, like the Galaxy Watch4 Classic’s rotating bezel and vivid screen. The refined design brings sophistication to your wrist and its high-end stainless steel materials express its powerful and intuitive functionality. Some radical changes in design would have been in order to mark the beginning of a new era for Google WearOS platform-based Samsung Galaxy smartwatches, but Samsung chose to stick to its classic design language. That said, the Galaxy Watch4 Classic looks identical to its predecessor. The existing Galaxy Watch users might find that boring. First-time users, however, would appreciate the classic design with a rotating ring on the bezel and stainless steel case (46mm review unit). While the watch’s body has not been through any design change, the straps have improved dramatically. They look premium and feel comfortable on the skin.
Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses
Ray-Ban Stories are smart glasses that allow you to capture photos and videos, share your adventures, listen to music, and make phone calls — all while remaining present with friends, family, and the world around you. The smart glasses are available for purchase online and in select retail stores in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, and the United Kingdom and are available in 20 style combinations.
Ray-Ban Stories’ dual integrated 5MP cameras allow you to capture life’s spontaneous moments as they happen from a unique first-person perspective, from daily activities like biking to special milestones like your favorite music festival. You can easily capture the world as you see it by taking photos and up to 30-second videos with the capture button or by using Facebook Assistant voice commands hands-free. When you’re taking a photo or video, a hard-wired capture LED illuminates to alert those nearby. Ray-Ban Stories’ three-microphone audio array provides richer voice and sound transmission for calls and videos, and it includes streamlined, open-ear speakers. Beamforming technology and a background noise suppression algorithm provide an improved calling experience comparable to that of dedicated headphones.
Ray-Ban Stories is compatible with the new Facebook View app, allowing you to seamlessly share your point of view, stories, and memories with friends and social media followers. The Facebook View app for iOS and Android allows you to easily import, edit, and share content captured by the smart glasses to apps on your phones such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, and others. You can also save content to your phone’s camera roll, where you can edit and share it. In addition, new, exclusive post-capture enhancements built into Facebook View allow you to create unique content to add a personal touch to your posts.
BEST OVERALL WIRELESS EARBUDS
Though they come at a hefty price, the best overall wireless earbuds you can buy are Sony’s WF-1000XM4. They offer superb, warm, detailed sound quality and top-tier active noise cancellation. And their impressive battery life can stretch to eight hours of continuous listening with noise cancellation turned on, enough to outlast all of Sony’s top competition.
The WF-1000XM4s have a premium, matte black (or light gray) design with stylish rose gold accents. Most earbuds come with standard silicone ear tips, but Sony includes foam-style tips that expand in your ears to create an excellent seal that, together with the noise cancellation, do an impressive job at hushing the outside world.
On Android phones, the 1000XM4s support Sony’s LDAC codec for higher-quality music playback. But even when used on other platforms, they’re up there with the very best audio-focused premium earbuds like Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 2 — with much better noise cancellation.