Consumer Reports: Smartwatches vs. fitness trackers

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Whether you're racking up steps at the mall or giving your fingers a workout by shopping online, the holiday shopping season is here.

Smart watches and activity trackers are popular gifts this holiday season and if you're on the fence about which one is best for your loved one - here's what you need to know to make the right choice.

Wearable tech gadgets like fitness trackers and smartwatches are all the rage and it's easy to see why.

"It gives me text messages, alerts, things like that. It gives me an alarm too. I don't have to have my phone on me all the time. So it just makes it a little bit more convenient," said one consumer.

You might be thinking about giving - or getting - one this holiday season.

"If you just want something that's going count steps, maybe track your heart rate, a fitness tracker probably covers what you need. If you're going do more reading emails, if you want the latest sports scores, the weather, you might want to look at a smartwatch," suggests Bree Fowler, Consumer Reports Tech Editor.

Some trackers may have text and call notifications as well. CR says you should also think about how tech savvy the person who will be using it is. Lots of bells and whistles won't mean much if you don't know how to use them.

"The good thing about devices that don't do as much, is they're often times a lot easier to use. Fitness trackers are a good example of this. They're easy to pair, they can count steps, they can track your heart rate, they'll even track your sleep patterns. And you really don't have to do a whole lot," said Fowler.

When it comes to charging, fitness trackers will last for days while some smartwatches need to be charged each night. But during the day, smartwatches with cellular service let you leave your phone in your pocket - or even at home.

"Now that comes at a price. Not only does the watch cost more, you're gonna have to pay your carrier more for that privilege," said Fowler.

For a smartwatch, Consumer Reports recommends the Apple Watch Series 4. And for a fitness tracker, CR likes the Fitbit Charge 3.

If you're shopping for a fashionista, consider a smartwatch since interchangeable bands are available.

To read the full story from Consumer Reports, CLICK HERE.

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