7 Best Early Black Friday Deals on Fitness Gadgets and Wearables


The galaxy watch 3 on a user's wrist

Corey Gaskin / Ars Technica


It’s the first week of November, which means Black Friday month has started. This year’s holiday shoppers may benefit from these early deals more than in previous years due to disrupted supply chains and delayed shipping times.

As such, the Dealmaster is here to give you the play-by-play at every step to make sure you get what you need, when you need it, at a good price. We put together a more general roundup of the best early Black Friday deals we could find earlier this week, but today, we’re calling out a few recommended fitness smartwatches that are seeing some decent discounts. We also have a couple of tried and true workout earbuds to complement them.

Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

Fitbit Inspire 2 activity tracker for $60 at Amazon, Best Buy, and Target (normally $100)

Fitbit's Inspire 2 activity tracker.
Enlarge / Fitbit’s Inspire 2 activity tracker.

Fitbit

Fitbit’s Inspire 2 is one of the best basic fitness trackers on the market. Its 10-day battery life, 24/7 heart rate monitor, and more than 20 activity tracking modes (including automatic sleep tracking) cover the essentials of a fitness wearable. The device also comes with a one-year subscription to Fitbit Premium, the company’s subscription service for slightly deeper sleep tracking metrics, plus access to a couple hundred pieces of wellness content, including exercise videos, guided meditations, and a handful of recipes.

The biggest missing component here is built-in GPS; you’ll have to take your phone with you if you want to track your runs or cycling with GPS. The device is water-resistant up to 50 meters, though, so you can track swims as well. You won’t find higher-end, more specific features like blood oxygen monitoring or ECG scans, but calls, texts, and calendar alerts add some level of smartwatch functionality to round things out. This deal is $3 off the lowest price we’ve tracked.

Garmin Venu and Venu Sq fitness smartwatches for $199 and $130, respectively, at Amazon (normally $325 and $180)

Garmin smartwatches are an easy choice for those who love fitness data or take part in a more varied or dedicated set of activities. The sensors in the Venu and Venu Sq include 24/7 heart rate and respiration rate tracking, GPS, a compass, and blood-oxygen monitoring. Those are all the main sensors that the Apple Watch offers, though Apple’s device also has an ECG scanner. Considering the price and the deeper, more specified fitness data these Garmin watches turn out, they’re a heck of a value.

The watches also offer menstrual cycle tracking and some Garmin-exclusive metrics, like approximated fitness age, body battery, stress tracking, and, of course, sleep tracking. The Venus even support Garmin’s LiveTrack feature, which monitors for incident detection during activities (hiking, walking, running, swimming, strength training, and more) and can alert emergency services for you. Throw in 5ATM water resistance, five-day battery life, smartphone notifications (including the ability to respond to texts on Android phones), NFC, and music controls, and most moderate athletes and nerds alike will want for little.

Both deals match the lowest prices we’ve tracked. Between the two devices, the Garmin Venu is slightly higher-spec’d and looks more refined, like a traditional watch. Its round, color touchscreen can also display exercise animations for you to follow along with during exercises. Furthermore, it has an altimeter and space to store about 500 songs, which the Venu Sq lacks. If you prefer the style of the Sq but would really like music controls, the Garmin Venu Sq Music is also on sale for $50 more. Note that there is a newer Venu 2 available with most of the same features and an updated UI. We don’t have any qualms with the previous UI, and though the Venu 2 doubles battery life to around 11 days, it also doubles the last gen’s current sale price.

Fitbit Sense fitness smartwatch for $200 at Amazon, Best Buy, and Target (normally $280)

Corey Gaskin / Ars Technica

The Fitbit Sense is one of the most sensor-rich wearables on the market. Marked down to $200, it’s one of the highest value fitness watches you can buy. With 24/7 heart rate, blood-oxygen, and ECG scanning sensors on-board, the device is on par with the Apple Watch in terms of industry-leading sensors. There’s also a skin temperature monitor to track your stress response, something the Apple Watch lacks. The requisites are covered well here, too. A built-in GPS, altimeter, NFC, and microphone for answering calls round out the Sense’s top-tier features, while the six-day battery life rating puts it far above most smartwatches.

Despite its highly spec’d hardware, we wouldn’t say it’s the best smartwatch, nor is it the best fitness tracker on the market. It’s better seen as a very competitive compromise between two of our top picks in those areas, the Apple Watch Series 7 and one of Garmin’s fitness trackers (whichever best suits your needs). The Sense handles notifications and phone calls as best as it can for a platform-agnostic wearable, displaying alerts from all your apps (albeit after a senselessly complicated setup process) and even facilitating phone calls on the watch.

Unfortunately, aside from Spotify, there’s no third-party app support for popular apps on iOS or Android phones. As far as its fitness prowess goes, the device has a number of activity-tracking modes, from swimming and kickboxing to strength training and tennis, as you’ll find on any tracker in this list. But as we noted in our Fitbit Luxe review, exercise data is basic and even somewhat misleading. Not even six free months of Fitbit’s premium subscription make up for the lack of guidance the typically $10-per-month service gives.

Still, at $200, the Sense is a very attractive way to get heart rate, blood oxygen, and ECG readings on your wrist, along with smartphone notifications, GPS, music controls, and a variety of activity-tracking options. Six days of battery life to top things off ain’t bad, either. Once again, this deal matches the best price we’ve tracked.



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