Consumer Reports: Smartwatch for a healthy New Year

It's been called the COVID-19, not referring to the virus, but weight gain during the pandemic. If that's you, you are not alone. A recent nationally representative Consumer Reports survey shows nearly a third of Americans have packed on some pounds since the pandemic started. If it's time to get into shape, Consumer Reports reveals the best smartwatches and fitness trackers that can help.

Lourdes Quintavalli is one of many people whose weight was affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

"I think I gained weight because I let myself go. I let myself get depressed, I didn't want to work out," Quintavalli said.

Consumer Reports tests dozens of smartwatches and fitness trackers each year. And both types of gadgets can help you get fit by counting your steps, checking your heart rate, tracking your sleep, and reminding you to keep moving, even when you're working from home.

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The Apple Watch has long dominated CR's ratings in part, because they're easy to pair with the iPhone and have a very accurate heart rate monitor.

The new Series 6 is no different but it's on the pricey side.

For a less expensive option, consider the Apple Watch SE, which is near the top of CR's ratings.

More of an Android person? The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 is a great option, but also expensive.

"Don't need all those smart features? A fitness tracker might be a good option for things like step count and heart rate," said Bree Fowler, Consumer Reports Tech Editor.

CR's top-rated fitness tracker is this model from Garmin.

Another option high in Consumer Report's ratings, the Fitbit Charge 3, which Consumer Report's tests found was easy to use with both iPhone and Android.

No matter which brand or type of wearable tech you choose, Consumer Reports has some important advice.

"A smartwatch or fitness tracker is a lot like a gym membership, it's only helpful if you actually use it," Fowler said.

That's something Quintavalli is already doing.

"Now, I'm on the journey of getting back on track, and losing this weight, and not looking back," Quintavalli said.

Just in time for the New Year, Apple has launched its new fitness streaming subscription, Apple Fitness Plus. The service is designed for people with an Apple Watch and offers guided workouts on demand that can be streamed across Apple devices.

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