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Smartwatch, fitness tracker, running watch – what is suitable for whom?

Anyone who likes to do sports or generally wants to track their movements in everyday life will sooner or later come across a wide range of devices. Then the question often arises: Do I really need a smartwatch or is a fitness tracker a better fit? And what’s the difference between a smartwatch and a running watch?

Anyone who wants to strap technology to their wrist for sports, for example, is spoiled for choice these days. Not only are there different manufacturers to choose from, you should also fundamentally ask yourself for which functions you really use a measuring device. In addition to highly functional smartwatches, there are also fitness trackers and running watches.

Smartwatch, fitness tracker or running watch?

Quite apart from the fact that they all attach to the wrist, there are other similarities in the functionality of the devices. For example, all three come with GPS trackers. The position on the wrist is also important because they all measure certain functions, first and foremost the pulse. Only the details of the functions differ between smartwatches, fitness trackers and running watches, so you should carefully consider what you really need. Because there is also a gap between the devices in terms of price.

Running watch for ambitious cardio enthusiasts

If you like to run, hike, swim or jog a lot, you should go for a running watch. This is specifically specialized for these types of locomotion. A good running watch should in any case measure the pulse and also have a GPS function. This means that route information can also be included when jogging, for example. Since running watches are aimed at ambitious athletes with a training goal, they are also usually quite robust and waterproof.

Also interesting: How do smartwatches measure movement and body functions?

Smartwatches are smart everyday companions

In contrast, smartwatches bring more functions that are interesting or practical away from sports. The smart watches work best in combination with a smartphone and complement its functionality. In some cases, current models can even be used to make phone calls if they are equipped with a SIM card. The disadvantage of the many functions: A smartwatch is usually much more expensive than a fitness tracker or running watch, and the battery does not last as long either.

Also interesting: A comparison of high-performance smartwatches

Fitness trackers are suitable for beginners

In contrast to the smartwatch, the fitness tracker is all about recording purely athletic data. Such a tracker records all activities: steps run, sleep phases and heart rate. Due to the – compared to the two previously mentioned – limited functions, the trackers are also less conspicuous. In terms of design, they are rather elongated and plain, but are therefore also well suited for normal everyday use. Accordingly, a fitness tracker is usually also significantly cheaper: good models are already available for under 50 euros.


If you need a reliable step counter and everyday companion that tracks activities to a normal extent, a fitness tracker is a good choice. They are also less expensive and more inconspicuous. One price range higher are the running watches, which are also more reminiscent of traditional watches in terms of design and are aimed specifically at ambitious athletes. Smartwatches are the most expensive option, but they can also do the most away from sports. So if you really want a smart watch that can be paired well with your cell phone and on which you can also use various apps, you shouldn’t be put off by the price.


  • Smartwatches