Whether you’re after a smartwatch or a fitness tracker there are lots of wearables around, and we’re expecting to see great deals on some of them on Black Friday.
It’s the biggest shopping day of the year, with many stores putting on major sales to capitalize on the holiday season shopping rush.
Last year we saw lots of deep discounts on various wearables and there’s no reason to think that this year will be any different.
But not all deals are equal, and nor are all wearables. There are plenty of great ones out there, such as those in our best smartwatch list, but there are also lots of not so great ones.
To help you make sure you’re only buying the best, and only at the best prices, we’ve created this Black Friday wearables guide. And don’t worry, we’ll alert you to all the best deals on the day, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
The features to look out for
There are a lot of different specs and features to consider when you’re in the market for a wearable, and some near vital things you really need to look out for.
Equally, there are other aspects that are less essential and may even prove completely irrelevant to you. Here’s a rundown of some of the key things you’ll probably want any wearable to have, and those that could be unnecessarily adding to the cost.
Snapdragon Wear 2100
If you’re shopping for an Android Wear device then ideally you’ll want one with a Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset. This is a chipset built by Qualcomm specifically for wearables. It’s small and efficient, which means devices can be sleeker and their battery can last longer.
At least, in theory. In practice the Snapdragon Wear 2100 doesn’t always seem to deliver superior performance to older or less specialized chips, but nor is it any worse, and many of the newest and best smartwatches use it.
If the Android Wear smartwatch you’re looking at doesn’t have the chip that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy it, but it does mean you should do an extra bit of research to be sure you’re still going to get good performance.
Android Wear 2.0
An even more vital thing to look out for when shopping for an Android smartwatch is that it runs Android Wear 2.0. That’s the latest version of the operating system, but it’s been out a while now, so you really don’t want anything older.
Any watch running an older version of Android Wear likely won’t be updated to version 2.0, let alone the inevitable Android Wear 3.0, so it will be out of date before you even buy it.
Not only that, but Android Wear 2.0 is a big update for the OS, improving everything from the interface to apps, fitness and customization, so you really don’t want to go without it.
Lots of life
The small size of wearables means their batteries often don’t last very long. Less feature-rich fitness trackers are usually fine, with days, weeks or sometimes even months of life, but smartwatches often struggle to last a day.
Whatever category of wearable you’re considering buying though you should look into the battery life, as even with fitness trackers there are some that don’t last long. And don’t just look at the battery size – more important are the life estimates. Better yet, check our reviews for our real-world experience.
You’ll probably want whatever you’re buying to comfortably last at least a day, and even then you might want to consider whether you really want another device you have to charge daily.
Many wearables come with an abundance of sensors and connectivity options, but depending on how you’re planning to use them some of these things might not be necessary for you.
Want to track your runs without bringing your phone? Then GPS can come in handy. But if you’re not interested in running or are happy to use your phone’s GPS then it’s a potentially unnecessary extra that could drive the price up.
If you’re more interested in the smartwatch side of things than health and fitness then you may also be happy to do without a heart rate monitor.
Similarly, if you don’t plan to make contactless payments you may not need NFC, while unless you want to go truly phone-free then 4G connectivity is probably unnecessary.
If you’re not paying any more to get these things then that’s fine, but consider whether there’s a cheaper alternative that doesn’t have these features if you’re looking to save some money.
Our deal predictions
We’re expecting a wide range of wearables to be discounted on Black Friday, but as for exactly which ones? That we can’t be sure of.
We have taken some educated guesses though, and the following four have a good shot at being discounted for one reason or another – be it their age, past discounts or their position in the market. They’re all also worth considering if they are marked down.
Apple Watch Series 1
It’s also a decent smartwatch with a stylish design. Specs and features have been improved in the newer models, but they’re also a lot more expensive.
This being an older version of the Apple Watch it’s a prime candidate for Black Friday discounts, especially as it was discounted by multiple stores last year.
The Moov Now has topped our list of the best fitness trackers, and with good reason. It’s cheap, offers six months of battery life and goes beyond the fitness tracking basics with boxing and rep-based training.
There’s no screen and no heart rate monitor, so a smartwatch this isn’t and it won’t suit all training types. But for the price it’s impressive and it could get even cheaper on Black Friday, especially as it’s not all that new anymore.
Huawei Watch 2
The Huawei Watch 2 isn’t one of our favorite wearables, but that’s in part down its high RRP.
The price has already dropped in some stores, despite it being the latest model, and we wouldn’t be surprised if there are further discounts on Black Friday since – while we don’t know the sales figures – we suspect that thanks to its high price and steep competition from Apple and Samsung it hasn’t done that well.
And with a discount this is a watch that’s well-worth buying. With a Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset, GPS, NFC and optionally 4G packed in it’s a good choice for fitness fans while also doing everything you’d expect a typical smartwatch to do – though consider how many of these features you actually need before hitting the buy button.
It’s also in no danger of becoming outdated any time soon. It’s a 2017 model, running Android Wear 2.0, and as the original Huawei Watch was updated to version 2, there’s a good chance this one will get Android Wear 3.0 when it’s available.
Withings Steel HR
With multiple Withings wearables discounted on Black Friday last year, we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a price cut on the Withings Steel HR this year, and if there is one it could well be worth buying.
It’s a stylish wearable, foregoing a large screen for a more conventional watch design, and with what we found to be an accurate heart rate monitor.
The Steel HR is fairly expensive when full price, which was one of our points against it in our review, but with a Black Friday discount it could be a strong wearable choice.