Smartwatch Vs Fitness Tracker: Differences You Need To Know

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Just like turtle and tortoise, weather and climate, and orange and tangerine, you think smartwatches and fitness trackers are also one and the same thing, don’t you?

But this is totally untrue because they both are completely different.

But due to your unawareness, you might end up getting the wrong product delivered at your doorsteps. Or you might suggest your friend a good fitness tacker while they are actually looking for a smartwatch.

So for god sake! Stop yourself from doing such silly mistakes and enlighten yourself with the actual difference between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker.

This article shares the basic difference between both the wearables that you should have known a century ago, but it’s never too late.

Smartwatch Vs Fitness Tracker – What’s The Basic Difference?

We have distributed the common difference between both the wearables under 6 categories. And going through all these 6 factors will make you completely aware of the difference in both the wearables.

These 6 categories and the final verdict are as follows:

1. Difference In Purpose

Purpose Of Smartwatch

smartwatch vs Fitness tracker

If you’re thinking to make a smartwatch purchase just because you want to make your wrist look rich and fashionable, then it’s better to go for a classic wristwatch manufactured by brands like Rolex, Breguet, or Omega.

The purpose of smartwatches is absolutely different.

Smartwatches are mainly focused to provide you with the information that you receive on your smartphone.

We all admit that living without cellphones is not possible these days but living with them all the time is also frustrating.

So smartwatches mostly work in the way so that you don’t need to stick with your phone 24/7 but still you can get all the information directly at your wrist.

This information is related to the notifications on Gmail, SMS, social media platforms, and other useful apps on your device.

Smartwatches are also good at saving time. Suppose you went to the supermarket and forgot your cell phone in your car.

Casually we would have to go back to the parking lot and bring back our phone in this situation. But a guy with a smartwatch would never ever do that as he’s always wearing his smartphone in the form of a smartwatch.

If he does go back and bring his smartphone, what else can make him look dumber?

Imagine you are an employee of a company with a really bossy boss who just looks for the reasons to shout at you.

It becomes quite hard to check the cell phone when you receive a notification as your boss considers it as a rude behavior from your side.

So all you need to do is look at the smartwatch while saving a trip to your pocket and the boss’s office.

Purpose Of Fitness Tracker

fitness tracker

Not monitoring your health is a sin. It’s like you don’t care for the precious body gifted to you by god.

But the fitness trackers are designed to save you from this sin by keeping a track of your health condition and fitness level.

Your training doesn’t take you anywhere unless you monitor your personal performance. But doing so is not at all possible manually.

You need something that keeps a record of your performance stats so that you know how much you have improved in one month or in a few months.

Based on your current fitness level, the smart fitness trackers can easily set a tangible goal that you need to achieve in a certain time.

While manually doing so, you might forget about your goals or you might set the goals that are either too easy to achieve or completely impossible to reach.

Other than a purpose surrounding fitness, I can’t think of a reason why someone would like to purchase a fitness tracker.

2. Difference In Features

Features Of Smartwatch

As told above, the purpose of the smartwatch is to eliminate the use of cell phones. This can only be done if your smartwatch gives the same features that your cell phones provide.

When you sync your smartphone to your smartwatch, all the data, and notifications that you receive on your phone will also appear on your smartwatch as well.

Simply receiving notifications won’t do any good but replying to these notifications will certainly help to eliminate the use of cell phones.

From a normal SMS to the floods of messages on different social media, you can directly reply to the messages from your smartwatch.

Be in touch with your friends and relatives with the Bluetooth calling feature and inbuilt speaker and microphone of the smartwatches.

Listen to your favorite Tunes anytime anywhere with the help of streaming companies like Spotify and Google Play Music.

Every good quality smartwatch nowadays comes with the Google Assistant built-in. So basically Google makes everything possible on the smartwatch that they make possible on your cell phone.

Go shopping without carrying heavy wallets and handbag and make quick NFC payments with your smartwatch.

Keep a track of your location with an inbuilt GPS tracker that never lets you lose the path to your destination.

Some selected smartwatches like Samsung Galaxy watches are built to control the home devices even when you’re not at home.

Extra features of smartwatch include heartrate monitoring, stress monitoring, and calorie tracker. These are the key features of fitness trackers but smartwatches also provide some health-related features for basic monitoring of health.

Features Of Fitness Trackers

Though smartwatches provide some health-related data, fitness trackers go deeper into health and fitness.

And why not? They are specially designed to help you with your training sessions. And if they can’t offer something extra, what’s the point in choosing fitness trackers over smartwatches.

One of the most important and most common features of fitness trackers is the heart rate monitor. The tool provides you with information about your cardiovascular system during physical activity.

It’s like an indication that tells you when you need to pull yourself back and when you have to increase the intensity of your workout.

Just like smartwatches, fitness trackers also have built-in GPS trackers that ensure you are running your marathon on a valid route.

Advanced sleep monitors in fitness trackers analyze your movements in your sleep and it also gives insight to your blood oxygen levels while you were sleeping.

A product designed for sports and fitness needs to be rough and tough. Especially when it’s something like a fitness tracker that you can wear in almost every sports activity.

That’s the reason why fitness trackers are strongly built and they are waterproof in nature.

Fitness enthusiasts, especially runners are always concerned about, how many steps they take daily. Fitness trackers come with the built-in pedometer to fulfill this purpose.

Fitness tracker makes sure your training session is always productive by keeping a record of the calories you burn.

Other important features of fitness trackers include the tracking of active minutes and smart workout recognization.

Difference In Variety

Variety Of Smartwatches

Before reading this article you thought smartwatches and fitness trackers are one and the same thing. And now you think there’s only one variety of smartwatches, right?

No! You’re absolutely wrong again.

You can easily group the smartwatch family into two groups.

One is a hybrid smartwatch and the other one is the digital smartwatch. And the smartwatches under these two groups also differ in features they offer.

Mostly all the hybrid smart watches are packed with basic features of a smartwatch.

hybrid smartwatch

Like you can set up alerts on them and your hybrid smartwatch will vibrate whenever your smartphone receives some notifications.

Some more advanced hybrid watches can also track your sleep, the calories you burn, and the distance you travel.

Coming to digital smartwatches, their working is more advanced. As we discussed above, they are designed to eliminate the frequent use of smartphones by providing all the information right inside the smartwatch.

Variety Of Fitness Trackers

When we say fitness trackers, you make an image of a classy fitness band that is worn on the wrist.

But that’s just a type of fitness tracker. In actuality, there are a wide variety of fitness trackers available in the market.

You can purchase the fitness trackers in the form of Jewelry, fitness bands, clothing, and even in the form of smart glasses.

And some of these varieties can be further broken down into a wide variety of products. Like if we talk about jewelry, fitness trackers are available in the form of rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and more.

Clothing items like socks, shirts, sports bras, jackets, yoga pants, t-shirts, and even suits are becoming smart now by providing you with smart features.

smart clothings


Your favorite brands like Levi’s and Google are working together to serve you with smart jackets. And the smart suit we talked about is developed by Samsung.

Difference In Dimensions

Be it a digital smartwatch, hybrid smartwatch, or a classic watch, if it’s a watch it will come with a big dial. The display inside the dial can be different, but without the dial, I don’t think a wrist wearable should be titled as a watch.

The hybrid smartwatch comes with an analog dial and on the other hand, digital watches have LED displays. But their big dial is what includes them in the category of a smartwatch.

On the other hand fitness trackers will never have a dial included.  They usually come with a display size with length not more than 1.5 inches and display width equal to the width of the band.

If we talk about the weight, smartwatches are quite heavy as compared to the fitness trackers.

If you go through the details of a good smartwatch, it will weigh somewhere around 1.5 ounces to 6 ounces, sometimes even more than that.

And fitness trackers usually weigh somewhere around 0.15 ounces to 3 ounces. Exceptions for both the products can always be there.

The big heavy size of the smartwatches is one of the reasons why fitness freaks choose fitness bands over smartwatches.

Difference In Manufacturers

There are many renowned and reputed manufacturers of smartwatch wearables. And the same manufactures also offer fitness trackers as well.

In fact, almost all the manufacturers of smartwatches also manufacture fitness trackers and there are only a few of them who are into just one wearable.

Let’s see the list of major manufacturers of both the gadgets.

Manufacturers Of Smartwatches

  • Garmin
  • Fitbit
  • Samsung
  • Apple
  • Suunto
  • Amazefit
  • Morepro
  • Withings
  • Fossil

Manufacturers Of Fitness Trackers

  • Samsung
  • Fitbit
  • Xiaomi
  • Garmin
  • Withings
  • Morepro

Difference In Price

If you generally compare the price of a good smartwatch to the price of a good fitness tracker, you will see that smartwatches are generally on the higher side.

Now I’m not saying that smartwatches are overpriced. The reason for their higher price is simply the features they keep under their sleeves.

Smartwatches admirably do all the work of your smartphones and provide some features of fitness trackers as well.

But coming to the fitness trackers, no doubt they do their part flawlessly, but they can’t offer you the features of the smartwatch.

So technically you can say, more the features more you need to splurge.

What Is Best For You – Smartwatch Or Fitness Tracker?

Finally coming the part that matters the most, what’s the perfect choice for you?

I would say if you’re not much into sports and fitness activities, then go for the smartwatch blindfolded.

What’s the point in purchasing a wearable whose most of the features you are not even going to use? Why would you need a pedometer, features like workout recognization, blood oxygen level, and active minutes?

These things are measured by professionals who need to enhance their performance.

And even if you do some basic workout and need some fitness tracking features also, those are provided by smartwatches as well.

So I would like to conclude by saying that go for the smartwatch if you want a wearable that makes your daily life easy.

And go for the fitness tracker if you want a wearable especially to enhance your performance in your respective sports.

Tom Nielson

Tom's love for watches started when his grandfather gifted him his Rolex watch when he turned 18! Being a teenager it was a big deal for him. Later when he got his first job he bought Fossil Palm Pilot back in 2003 which was a smartwatch. Since then smartwatches have come a long way and so is Tom's love for them. His experience with watches inspired him to start Wearholic and share his knowledge of wearables including watches, smartwatches, smart glasses, & smart clothing.

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