Treat yourself to a brand-new smartwatch as part of the Memorial Day sales, and experience convenience at your leisure with a simple flick of the wrist. For as low as $150, you can take home the Garmin Forerunner 45S, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active and Active2, or the Garmin Fenix 6S smartwatch, and elevate your workouts to a whole new level. Don’t take too much time though because deals are running out fast, so make every second count.
The first on our list is the Garmin Forerunner 45S smartwatch, a great option for budding fitness enthusiasts and entry-level gym-goers with all the essentials you’ll ever need. As the name suggests, the Garmin Forerunner is best suited for cardio like jogging and running, and as such, it should come as no surprise that it has multiple tracking capabilities to keep you in tip-top shape. These include the basics such as your heart rate, speed, and distance, with other welcome additions including your burnt calories, stress, energy, and sleep levels.
While the Garmin Forerunner 45S does have its own GPS, you can also opt to use it only as a smartwatch. Using its active GPS function drains the battery by quite a bit, maxing out at 14 hours, which isn’t bad at all, but disabling the GPS can keep the smartwatch alive for up to one whole week without charging. It also has a number of fitness features for the active user. These include its own exercise plans, which you can either have made for you or make yourself, with some exercise modes already built-in for various activities like yoga, cycling, and running, among others. You can even program your own routes into the watch if you have your own routines. The watch can also handle being submerged in water as deep as 50 meters, so you can take it with you to the beach or pool without worrying about it breaking.
For the non-active features, the Garmin Forerunner 45S can sync to your phone to relay messages, calls, Garmin Connect updates, and song playback. Lastly, it can also be used to set up alarms and a stopwatch function, and if you’re ever in trouble, it can alert your emergency contacts and send out your location through your phone in the event that you ever find yourself in danger. If you want a great entry-level smartwatch with all the essentials and more, then the Garmin Forerunner 45S should definitely be on your radar. You can check it out on REI where it’s currently on sale for $150 from its retail price of $200.
— $150, was $200
Another excellent yet surprisingly affordable option is the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active smartwatch. Because it has the same price as the Garmin Forerunner 45S, it’s easy to compare the two, but both have their own strengths and weaknesses. As with any smartwatch designed for an active lifestyle, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active has both heart rate and exercise tracking capabilities, including a passive/active sensor to send you reminders and keep you on your toes. It also has sleep, blood pressure, and stress level tracking, so you always get the most out of its features for the entire duration of its battery life.
Speaking of battery, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active can last a maximum of 230 milliampere hours, which rounds out to more or less two days and nights (or 45 hours) based on what we’ve seen. This easily trumps the Garmin Forerunner 45S’ own 14-hour lifespan by an enormous margin on a single two-hour charge. When you go exercising, the watch can also keep track of how many calories you’ve burned, how many steps you’ve taken/climbed, what exercises you’ve done (up to 39), and many others, making it a fully competent health tracker and fitness coach, with all the basics, wrapped into one small package. If you’ll be heading to the pool or beach, you can rest easy because this smartwatch is water-resistant up to a depth of 50 meters, so it won’t suffer from damage with regular usage. It’s also shock-resistant up to a height of 1.5 meters, so it’s great if you’re clumsy.
For everyday use, the Samsung Galaxy Watch can sync up to your Android or iOS phone to gain access to even more features such as virtual assistants, mobile notifications, music playback, and even support for Samsung Pay, allowing you to make physical transactions with just your wrist. Some bonus features include a barometer, gyroscope, and light sensor for those times when you find yourself traversing mountain paths. If the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active smartwatch is up your alley, or if you want an alternative to the Garmin Forerunner 45S, then you can check it out on Best Buy where it’s on sale for $150, down from $200.
— $280, was $300
The next up on our list is an upgraded version of the previous entry, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2. It’s a bit of a price jump from the previous two smartwatches, so it’s definitely a good option for adept fitness buffs or dedicated health enthusiasts who want a great midrange smartwatch to invest in that can meet their needs and then some. At a glance, it might appear similar to the Galaxy Watch Active, but the Active2 elevates what its predecessor had and improves it for even more specialized health and fitness tracking tailored to your needs and workout routines.
As soon as you step foot in the gym or get your heart pumping, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 immediately starts keeping track of your activities, no matter the exercise or whether you’re on land or in the water. You can also manually set what exercises you’re doing. This is where the Active2’s main selling point comes in. The smartwatch offers its own personalized insights into your workouts and routines, so you always get pushed to your limit without burning yourself out or staying too relaxed, resulting in a truly optimal exercise session. With the Active2, you can skip out on the personal trainer completely. When you’re through with working out, the smartwatch can also provide valuable insights on your sleeping patterns, stress levels, health data, and blood pressure maintenance, so you can always stay on top of your health 24/7.
The battery lasts marginally longer than the Active, clocking in at two days on a single charge. If you have an iOS or Android device, you can sync up the Active2 to your smartphone to use a number of different applications like social media, messaging apps, fitness trackers, and music streaming apps, so you can just check your watch without needing to pull out your phone if something’s up. The Bixby virtual assistant is also at your beck and call thanks to the built-in mic. Last, Samsung Pay allows you to make transactions with a simple tap of your wrist. If you’re interested, you can check out the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 on Amazon where it’s discounted at $280, down from $300.
Last but not least on our roundup is the Garmin Fenix 6S smartwatch, which, unlike the Forerunner 45S that’s best-suited for running, is a well-rounded personal trainer for nearly every sport and exercise you can think of, with thorough tracking and provided insights. It’s the priciest of the bunch, so it’s a fantastic choice if you live and breathe health and fitness and are looking for a first-rate smartwatch to push you past your limits, whether you’re in the gym or adventuring off the grid.
Like every other smartwatch on our list, the Fenix 6S comes with heart rate and exercise tracking, with reminders to keep you at peak performance throughout your workout. It can keep track of your steps, speed, distance, calories burned, routes, swim strokes and laps, sleeping/rest patterns, and physical stress for a well-balanced exercise routine, with additional tips to keep you on your feet. Now, if there’s any department where the Fenix 6S outshines the rest, it’s in its outdoor utility for activities such as mountain hikes, long treks, and ocean diving. It utilizes three different navigation systems, including GPS, to provide you with your exact coordinates, with a number of different tools to give you all your stats like altitude, blood oxygen, environmental depth, and more, so you’re never caught unprepared and always know the right paths to take. If you’ll be going in the ocean, the Fenix 6S can withstand water pressure as deep as 100 meters, so you can still tell the time underwater where the sun doesn’t shine.
On a casual basis, you can sync the Garmin Fenix 6S to your smartphone (if applicable) to use a number of different apps to your liking, like music streaming or messaging apps. Additionally, you can use Garmin Pay to leave the cash and cards at home and pay straight from your smartwatch. The battery life is also fantastic, capable of lasting up to 25 hours minimum with every setting active, while boasting an extreme 34 days on battery saver watch mode. You can change how much battery the watch uses to fit your needs accordingly. If you want a personal trainer/health coach/adventure companion, all in one, then you definitely want the Garmin Fenix 6S smartwatch. You can find it on REI where it’s discounted at $450 from $600.
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