A good smartphone can be the perfect training partner. You have music for motivation, video & # 39; s to continue boring cardio sessions, GPS to keep you on track, and even a series of sensors for collecting data about your training. But not all phones are the same when it comes to helping you stay fit.
With that in mind, we wanted to find out which flagship phones would be most suitable for people who lead an active lifestyle, because some phones will naturally be better than others when keeping track of your workouts. So after a detailed review, we present our best five phones for fitness-minded individuals.
Table of contents
- IP ratings for water and dust resistance are now standard rates. Here, a higher number indicates better water resistance.
- Weight and dimensions: A compact frame and low weight ensure that a telephone is as small as possible to minimize obstacles during a training session.
- Front and rear glass: The chance of accidental falling and spilling can increase enormously while jogging or exercising. And with the use of glass for both the screen and the rear panel, the standard with smartphones is now that the use of glass of the highest quality reduces the risk of crushing in the event of a bad leak.
- Texture of back glass: Compared to smoothing glass, textured glass offers more grip and slip resistance to prevent falls. Max. screen brightness: The ability to see your screen clearly outdoors is important for many training sessions. The "nits" shown here show you how bright the screens will actually be, and a larger number is better. This information is from PhoneArena.
- Rear camera cover: In accordance with the theme of durability, this row shows you the type of material that covers the lenses of the phone's rear camera. Sapphire is the best option at the moment thanks to its superior scratch resistance.
- Touch-free controls: If you are completely sweaty, you don't want to mess with your phone – so what does a touch-free control do? Most have hot word detection where the phone always listens to your order. Others even let you operate the phone with touch-free hand gestures thanks to sensors such as the Soli radar chip from Google.
- Internal storage base: Even if you depend on streaming services such as Spotify or Pandora for workout music, this never hurts when you download your favorite songs to your device. The larger the internal storage, the more media files you can save.
- Dual-frequency GPS: Smartphones with this functionality offer more accurate location tracking thanks to the ability to receive satellite signals on two frequencies.
- Battery Life: Being outside for a long time with wasteful processes such as GPS and music streaming, in addition to fitness trackers that all run continuously in the background, a battery can drain quickly. The figures in this graph are from GSMArena and based on their video viewing tests.
- Wireless charging: Tangled wires can be annoying, especially when you are training. Phones with wireless charging make at least part of your fitness routine a bit easier.
- Reverse wireless charging: Until now, only a handful of devices offer reverse wireless charging, which allows you to use accessories such as Bluetooth earbuds and smart watches using the phone itself.
- Warning slider: This seemingly insignificant feature is actually one of the most useful for fitness, as you can switch directly between loud or silent call profiles, in addition to customized media volume presets (if supported) without having to enter your device.
- Secure Unlocking Method: For access codes and fingerprint sensors, you must physically communicate with your device, which is not nice when you drop in sweat. A hands-free way to securely unlock your phone is therefore beneficial.
- Heart rate monitor: Whether the operating system offers a standard way of measuring your heart rate.
- Always-On Display: With this feature, a small portion of your phone's screen stays on while you are not using it, giving you quick access to important health and fitness information without having to physically activate your device.
- SOS function: Injury can occur during exercise, so it is good to have a telephone that allows you to quickly call for help and send an emergency message to designated contacts to inform them about your location and status.
- Apple HealthKit: Apple's native app for fitness tracking. HealthKit not only measures basic information such as steps taken, but also maintains a wide range of data, from sleep patterns to menstrual cycles. A striking feature is Medical ID, with which people know the owner's important medical information, such as possible allergies and heart problems, and whom they should contact in case of an emergency.
- Samsung Health: Although only available natively on Samsung devices, it can be downloaded as a third-party app on virtually any phone. Although not as rich in features as its Apple counterpart, Samsung Health still shines. In addition to the standard pedometer and calorie counter, there are other useful functions such as a sleep tracker and an Exercise mode that follows your route when you are on a flight.
- Google Fit: Google is a very own service for logging fitness data. The app is far from comprehensive and instead focuses on moments when you are active, along with activities that benefit your heart. Apart from that, Google Fit also comes with the usual step count, calories burned and distance traveled.
- LG Health: This is the native health app on high-end LG devices. Like Google Fit, the service – although incredibly easy to understand – is not as complete as the first two. The app acts as a central node for the fitness data collected by your phone and provides you with useful information while on the road.
- Training history logs: The history shows your past performance and specific routes that you have taken, and gives you a clearer picture of any improvements you have made to your training schedule. Some phones give you a more complete history than others.
- Fitness accessories: How many accessories are available for the telephone? The right accessory, such as a bracelet, can significantly reduce your phone's footprint and help you while jogging. We are not talking about portable technology here, but just everyday equipment that fits your phone. you are guaranteed to find an accessory that perfectly matches your taste and needs.
- Apple Watch support: Like a gated community, Apple is known for keeping its products locked up in its own ecosystem. The Apple Watch is only compatible with iOS devices, in contrast to wearOS smartwatches that work on both iOS and Android.
- Operating temperatures: The temperature range of a device should be considered when used in warmer climates such as the desert or in the desert amid freezing cold weather. The numbers listed here are the recommended operating temperature ranges of the manufacturer in Fahrenheit.
To limit the field, we have established some basic rules to separate the more fitness-oriented handsets from the rest of
To begin with, we have only taken into account flagship equipment from the current generation that was for sale in physical stores in the US. This was to ensure that these phones were easy to buy and would be great for fitness for years to come.
If there was more than one flagship of the current generation from the same company, we would only choose the one that did the best in the comparison points above. This excluded phones such as the Pixel 4 XL, Galaxy Note 10, iPhone 11 Pro and LG V50 ThinQ.
We also required that all telephones be less than three centimeters wide and six and a half centimeters long, because larger phablets tend to be larger and therefore less ideal for outdoor activities.
The phones also had to have built-in sensors or downloadable apps for fitness tracking, such as pedometers and heart rate sensors.
Finally, we have eliminated flagships that cost more than $ 900 to ensure that you get the most value for your money without actually breaking your bank account.
The Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL are known for their excellent cameras & clean operating system. However, we also found that the latest Google flagships were ideal for fitness activities due to their excellent build quality and feature-rich software. In the end we could only choose one variant, so we chose the Pixel 4 above its larger counterpart because of the more bag-friendly size of 5.78 x 2.71 inches.
The Pixel 4 is designed with sustainability in mind, with an IP68 water and dust resistance rating and a textured glass rear panel for increased slip resistance, along with sapphire crystal camera lens that is more resistant to scratches. Even small details, such as the orange on / off button, are handy, making it easier to see and use.
The Pixel 4 also shines with hands-free operation via Google Assistant and face recognition that unlocks your device without touching it (unlike the iPhone 11, which swipes you to unlock after authentication). And thanks to the built-in Soli radar chip and Motion Sense functionality, you can silence incoming phone calls, go to another number and perform various other actions without touching your phone with your sweaty hands.
Self training after training is part of the routines of many fitness enthusiasts, and it's easy to see why. This is the perfect way to keep track of your progress and stay motivated, and even inspire others to exercise. You'll be happy to know that the Pixel 4 is easily a top three phone for taking photos thanks to the great camera hardware and software link. The Night Sight function of the Pixel 4 is especially useful when taking photos at night or in poorly lit areas, as it absorbs all available light to brighten up your shots considerably.
The Pixel 4 is pre-installed with Google Fit to ensure health and fitness tracking. It may not be as rich in features as Apple HealthKit or Samsung Health at first sight, but it is chock full of features – especially with third-party fitness apps and hardware support that can be integrated into the service. By default you can easily keep track of the steps, the number of calories burned and the kilometers traveled with Google Fit.
There is a huge selection of compatible smartwatches such as the Skagen Connected Falster 2 and Ticwatch C2, along with fitness trackers such as Fitbit bracelets and Nike + FuelBand ICE that work fully on the Pixel 4 to enhance your training experience. However, as with all non-Apple devices, you cannot use an Apple Watch with it.
The Pixel 4 is not without disadvantages. It does not have a built-in heart rate sensor, although you can download an app for this. It also uses the older Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and rear glass panels. Although sustainable in itself, it is not as break-resistant as the newer Gorilla Glass 6, which can withstand two-meter drops on rough surfaces twice as much as its predecessor.
With a maximum brightness of 445 Nits, the Pixel 4 has the weakest brightness of all the phones on this list, making it less than ideal for outdoor use. And an internal basic storage of 64 GB means less space for files, which is a handicap if you rely on downloaded content instead of streaming services during exercise. Shop Pixel 4 at: Amazon | Best buy Google
Phone 2: Apple iPhone 11
The iPhone 11 may not be Apple's first iPhone in the 2019 line-up, but it is still a flagship through and through. Don't be fooled by the starting price of $ 699, the iPhone 11 features most of the impressive specifications that its more expensive counterparts have, along with an abundance of health and fitness features that made it a serious contender in this list.
HealthKit support is the greatest power of the iPhone 11 in this category. The app is packed with features that no other fitness and health apps developed by OEM can offer on this list. For the basics, the iPhone 11 has a built-in step counter and barometer to accurately follow your steps and log height respectively.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg – HealthKit not only gives you a very detailed history of your workouts, but also a wide range of health-related data, from nutrition to reproductive health. Just like Google Fit, it can be further improved with third-party apps such as Cardiogram, Runkeeper and Period Tracker for a completely personalized experience.
As the only device on this list that offers full support for Apple Watch, the iPhone 11 gets the highest score for smartwatch and portable support. And if you jump for a new Apple Watch 4 or 5, you can log EKG recordings and track sleep more accurately with services such as Beddit.
In addition to Apple Watch support, wearOS devices from Fossil and other manufacturers will work on the iPhone 11, albeit in a more limited capacity, because iOS-specific apps such as iMessage and Apple Maps will not fully synchronize. Dedicated fitness wearables such as Google & # 39; s Fitbit and Nike & # 39; s FuelBand will fully synchronize with it.
The iPhone 11 is designed to keep pace with even the most active lifestyle thanks to the premium build. The device has a water and dust resistance class of IP68, is equipped with ion-reinforced glass for both the display and the rear panels and a sapphire crystal camera lens.
With a length of 5.94 x 2.98 inches, the iPhone 11 falls between the Pixel 4 and G8 ThinQ, so it is still relatively easy to use with a hand. With a maximum of 625 nits, the display is very outdoor friendly. The battery life on the iPhone is the best of all the phones on this list, and the operating temperature ranges are exactly the same as all the other phones here, ranging from 32 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Despite all of its remarkable strengths, there were several negative factors that ultimately prevented the iPhone 11 from claiming first place. First, the iPhone 11 does not show you fitness data from the lock screen, so you must unlock your phone and open HealthKit to follow your progress. It also uses smooth, smooth back glass, so you have to put it in a case.
In addition, the iPhone 11 also has no built-in heart rate sensor, so instead you have to rely on portable devices such as the Apple Watch to record heart data. You can also use third-party apps for this.
Apple is clearly intended for its devices and is used in combination with portable technology such as smartwatches when it comes to fitness and exercise. This need for portable support is a weak point for iOS because it may disable some who prefer to use their smartphone alone and / or cannot justify the additional cost of purchasing an additional device to do such a simple task feed. Buy iPhone 11 on: Amazon | Apple | Best Buy
Phone 3: Samsung Galaxy S10
With its beautiful Infinity-O display and innovative in-display fingerprint sensor, the Galaxy S10 has done an excellent job of keeping Samsung on top in terms of sales and brand recognition. This sleek flagship may be at the top of the price spectrum at $ 899, but it is definitely one of the most versatile handsets currently available thanks to the great design and fitness-specific features it brings to the table.
To begin with, the Galaxy S10 comes with pre-installed Samsung Health to make it one of a handful of Android smartphones with its own native health app. Although not as rich in features as Apple's HealthKit, the app is doing well with its intuitive interface and overall simplicity, which mainly consists of a step counter to record steps and an "Exercise" feature that records workouts.
One of the most useful functions that the S10 has over the other devices in this list is the ability to display fitness data on the lock screen, which is even easier to access when the always-active playback function of the telephone is activated. This allows you to quickly look at your phone to follow your progress and then continue to focus on your training.
The S10 is also the only device in this list with a built-in heart rate sensor that can measure your heart by itself or together with blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) levels via the option Stress in Samsung Health. This ability to provide a detailed overview of your training and heart rate without the need for a smart watch or fitness band gives the S10 a head start.
Although the S10 does not offer Apple Watch support, there is an extremely large selection of wearOS and Tizen smartwatches available. These can vary from Samsung's own Gear series of smartwatches to other brands such as LG and Movado, or even fitness trackers such as Nike + FuelBands.
Although not as bright as the OnePlus 7T, the S10 comes in a good second thanks to its AMOLED 674-nit output from the screen. The S10 also performs reasonably well in the battery department with an average lifespan of 13 hours after full charge. If they weren't impressive enough, the S10 is the only handset in this list that offers reverse wireless charging, so you can supplement supported accessories such as wireless earbuds in no time.
Durable, the S10 uses the latest Gorilla Glass 6 for the display panel when using the older Gorilla Glass 5 for the rear, and has a dirt and water resistance rating of IP68 to ensure that it is protected from the elements . Unfortunately, the S10 uses glass for its reversing camera system, making it more susceptible to scratching compared to sapphire crystal devices on this list.
Cover of the rear-facing glass camera, the flagship also had many disadvantages that prevented it from rising further on the list. No matter how amazing the curved screen is, it also increases the chance of accidental touches while interacting with the device during training sessions, and that's just the beginning. As can be expected with an almost complete edge design of glass, the Galaxy S10 did not perform well in drop tests.
The inherent sensitivity of the S10 to crushing is something that you should pay attention to, especially since the handset has no structure whatsoever. So be careful when handling this smooth device with sweaty hands.
And now that Samsung has abolished unlocking both Face and Iris, there is no hands-free way to unlock your device – instead you must rely on your access code or fingerprint to gain access. This can be problematic if you have to get into your phone while your hands are full or dirty during exercise. Purchase the Galaxy S10 at: Amazon | Best buy Samsung
Phone 4: OnePlus 7T
Despite being a lesser-known brand, OnePlus & # 39; parent company is about to overtake Samsung as the largest telephone manufacturer in the world. BBK Electronics uses the OnePlus brand to push the boundaries of the functions and possibilities of their smartphones. The OnePlus 7T continues this tradition and for a reasonable starting price of $ 599 you get a top class flagship that is not only perfect for tinkering, but also a handy partner to stay fit and active.
Despite being one of the wider and heavier phones in this list (at 6.34 by 2.93 inches with weighing 6.7 ounces), the 7T is ergonomic and easy to operate with one hand, largely thanks to the softly curved edges around the front and rear panels of Gorilla Glass 5. For extra slip resistance, the 7T has a structured rear panel that is noticeably smoother is then the Pixel 4.
Although it lacks an official rating for water and dust resistance, the close tolerances of the OnePlus 7T, excellent build quality and the use of rubber gaskets in key components such as motherboard connectors, speakers and charging port make up for it reasonably resistant to liquid and dirt. That said, you still have to be careful when performing outdoor activities near water.
The battery life is excellent on the OnePlus 7T, with an average uptime of 18 hours fully charged. This places it for all Android devices on this list, and almost on par with the iPhone 11. In addition, the 7T scored the highest in terms of maximum screen brightness with an average maximum output of only 692 Nits, making it easier to get the device outside to watch.
In terms of durability, the OnePlus 7T has performed quite well in various torture tests performed on the device. In the JerryRig durability test, the aluminum frame and display of the 7T were very resistant to bending, although the rear panel did not look so good. The back glass was also the first to break in Gupta Information Systems drop tests, although the display has survived countless drops of different heights intact.
In addition to the fragile rear glass panel, the most notable weakness of the OnePlus 7T is the lack of native health and fitness apps and sensors, although these can be easily remedied by installing apps such as Google Fit or Samsung Health along with countless heart rate sensors available in the Google Play Store.
With these installed apps, the 7T does an excellent job in keeping track of important fitness data such as log steps and heart rate calculations. Not only that, but with these apps and services at hand, you also have quick access to the steps you've captured and other information through the notification panel for instant viewing.
In addition, the OnePlus 7T is fully compatible with a wide range of smartwatches and portable fitness trackers, with the exception of the Apple Watch . But with the extensive selection of wearOS, Tizen, FitbitOS and other available smartwatches, you can be sure that you will find one that fits your individual needs.
Compared to more well-known models such as the S10 and iPhone 11, special accessories such as bracelets and protective covers are not so widely available – especially in physical stores – for the OnePlus 7T. That said, cases and other accessories specific to the 7T are still relatively easy to find online thanks to the cult status and popularity of the brand.
Unfortunately, the OnePlus 7T is the only handset on this list that has no wireless charging options, so be careful when you charge the device while exercising in a gym.
Phone 5: LG G8 ThinQ
Despite being overshadowed by more popular OEMs such as Google and Samsung, LG has continued to offer quality handsets and has even become the favorite brand for music lovers due to innovative flagships such as the G8 ThinQ and its Crystal Sound technology. However, this latest flagship is not only an audio powerhouse, but also an excellent fitness partner thanks to the premium build. ] With a Gorilla Glass 6 rear panel, Gorilla Glass 5 display and an aluminum center frame, and finished with an IP68 rating, the G8 ThinQ looks and feels like a flagship and generally leads to durability. In fact, LG the G8 ThinQ is the only device on this list that has received an official MIL-STD-810G rating, which means it has been tested for falls and has proven that it can survive impacts on hard surfaces such as concrete.
Like all other Androids on this list, the G8 ThinQ offers full support for wearOS smartwatches and other portable technology such as Fitbit and Pebble. These devices are fully synchronized with your handset, but keep in mind that the Apple Watch only works with Apple devices.
While the subject is hands-free experience, the G8 ThinQ is also the only device on this list, apart from the Pixel 4 with contactless gestures for hands-free access via Air Motion. As the name implies, the function uses the G8 ThinQ & # 39; s front camera & # 39; s front camera and sensors to detect hand movements for on-screen controls, such as turning the volume up or down, photos & # 39; s make and more.
The LG G8 ThinQ is also ahead of the rest in the field of hands-free unlocking, and in addition to face recognition, the flagship gives you the additional option to unlock your device via hand ID. Thanks to the forward-facing 3D card sensors, the G8 can detect the unique blood circulation pattern under the skin of your palm and use it as a biometric ID for extra security and at the same time access.
Like Google and Samsung, LG has its own native health app, appropriately named LG Health. Compared to its better-known counterparts, the LG health app is much simpler in terms of functions and serves primarily for timing and logging exercise types such as walking, running, cycling, walking and inline skating. Fitness data is easily accessible and can be tracked, although we have found that the pedometer performed noticeably better when synchronized with Google Fit. Google Fit. Helaas laat LG Health je je maaltijden niet opnemen, wat je moet overwegen als het loggen van voedselinname belangrijk voor je is.
Ondanks zijn verbluffende bouwkwaliteit en functies blijft de LG G8 ThinQ qua populariteit nog steeds achter bij de iPhone 11 en Galaxy S10. Aftermarket-accessoires voor de G8 ThinQ zijn vrij moeilijk te vinden bij het shoppen in fysieke winkellocaties, en laten je vaak geen andere opties over dan online te zoeken naar beschermhoezen, schermbeschermers, armbanden en andere accessoires die ervoor zijn gemaakt.
Naast het ontbreken van aftermarket-ondersteuning, koppelde de G8 ThinQ de Pixel 4 ook bij het scoren van de laagste in termen van levensduur van de batterij, die gemiddeld ongeveer 11 uur bedroeg. Dat gezegd hebbende, de G8 ThinQ deed het beter dan de Pixel 4 in de schermhelderheidstest met een behoorlijke 561 nits. En met een startprijs van $ 899, scoort de LG ThinQ daar met de Galaxy S10 als de duurste handsets in deze lijst.
Winkel LG G8 ThinQ op: Amazon | Best buy LG
Dit artikel is geproduceerd tijdens de jaarlijkse speciale dekking Health & Fitness van Gadget Hacks. Read all Health & Fitness series.