Get in your best shape with this blood oxygen-level-monitoring smartwatch

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Gain deep insights into your health with this smartwatch.
This smartwatch monitors your blood-oxygen levels (and costs much less than an Apple Watch).
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

The Letsfit IW2 LCD smartwatch costs just a fraction of an Apple Watch, but it’s an innovative all-in-one solution for your fitness and your health. While your beloved Apple Watch can do it all, fitness trackers like this one earned a reputation for a more singular focus. They can deliver insights specifically related to your health and fitness. And some pack other features Apple Watch doesn’t.

$40 fitness watch offers 15 different health-tracking features

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fitness watch
This robust fitness watch is an affordable Apple Watch alternative.
Photo: Smart Fit

If there’s one thing you should get a handle on, it’s your overall wellness. An Apple Watch works great for that, but you don’t necessarily need to spend the same amount of cash to get a robust fitness tracker. The Smart Fit Multi-Functional Wellness & Fitness Watch offers 15 high-tech features to help you monitor stats that will help you meet your fitness goals.

Why Apple Watch Series 5 is a welcome surprise

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Apple Watch Series 5 adds an always-on display. Just what I always wanted.
Always-on display. Just what I always wanted
Photo: Apple

I wasn’t expecting much from the Apple Watch Series 5 refresh. The rumor mill only predicted new ceramic and titanium finishes, plus maybe sleep tracking. That was all for this year.

But it turns out Apple had three big surprises hidden up its sleeves — new features that look set to make Apple Watch Series 5 the best smartwatch money can buy.

Samsung steps up fitness game with two new wearables

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While Galaxy Watch Active functions more like Apple Watch, Galaxy Fit looks more like a straight-up fitness tracker.
While Galaxy Watch Active functions more like Apple Watch, Galaxy Fit looks more like a straight-up fitness tracker.
Photo: Samsung

Samsung really wants to compete with Apple Watch on the fitness front, as shown by a pair of new wearables the Korean company unveiled Wednesday. The Galaxy Watch Active offers a “full smartwatch experience,” the company said, while the Galaxy Fit works more like a stripped-down fitness tracker.

Framing both new devices as essential for health in the modern world, Samsung ripped a page from Cupertino’s successful health-centric marketing of Apple Watch. But it also dunked on Cupertino with some features that will make Apple Watch owners drool.

New Fitbit Versa takes aim at Apple Watch

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Fitbit Versa
Fitbit Versa is likely to become a top competitor for Apple Watch.
Photo: Fitbit

Fitbit is stepping up to compete better with the Apple Watch with the Versa smartwatch. The new wearable looks similar to Apple’s watch, and offers music playback and other capabilities. Plus, it arrives at a lower price point — just under $200.

The Versa’s unveiling comes just after Apple surpassed Fitbit in the wearables market. Apparently, people want much more from their devices than just counting steps.

Why Apple should make a cheap activity band (and what it might look like)

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A no-frills Apple fitness tracker could get new users hooked on the Activity app.
A no-frills Apple fitness tracker could get new users hooked on the Activity app.
Image: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The Activity app is one of Apple’s most important and powerful products. Its three brightly colored rings are changing people’s lives around the world, inspiring individuals to make healthier choices throughout their day.

The trouble is, if you want to use the Activity app, your only option right now is to buy an Apple Watch — and Apple Watches are expensive.

With this kind of game-changing product, Apple usually wants to reach as big an audience as possible. Take the iPod, for example. It was too expensive for some consumers. so Apple released a no-frills, sub-$99 version called the iPod Shuffle. Could a similar strategy work for the Activity app? An affordable activity band from Apple could be a Fitbit killer.

As fitness trackers converge, everyone’s sprinting toward confusion

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Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker GG
Is it an activity tracker, a sport watch, a smartwatch or all three?
Photo: Fitbit

2016 has been a tough year for fitness trackers, with scientists questioning their effectiveness and headlines boldly proclaiming that “fitness trackers don’t work.”

And yet, sales of fitness trackers are healthier than ever, while struggling smartwatch makers are desperately trying to reposition their gadgets to muscle into the fitness market. So what is going on? If fitness trackers really don’t work, why are consumers still buying them?

Fitbit surges as Apple Watch stumbles

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Simple fitness trackers from Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin outsold Apple Watch during the third quarter.
Simple fitness trackers from Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin outsold Apple Watch during the third quarter.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch may be the most recognizable product in the wearables space, but it isn’t the best-selling.

Sales of Apple Watch are down more than 70 percent, according to IDC Research, which cites third-quarter sales figures of the wearables market.

Are smartwatches doomed?

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swimmer wearing apple watch
Is fitness really all that Apple Watch is fit for?
Photo: Apple

The writing has been on the wall for smartwatches ever since Cupertino chose to focus on sports and fitness features for Apple Watch Series 2. Smartwatch sales are plummeting, and fitness seems to be the only profitable area remaining in the wearables sector.

More evidence of this trend emerged this week, with smartwatch trailblazer Pebble reportedly being acquired by fitness wearables specialist Fitbit. We might very well be witnessing the demise of the smartwatch as we know it.

So how did we get here? Is Apple Watch really only fit for fitness, or could it still one day fulfill its destiny and become a true wrist-based computing platform?