This year’s gadgets include specialized offerings for triathletes, fashionistas, hikers and those on a quest for the latest in wrist-based command stations.

Writer: Carly Terwilliger

From stripped down to loaded with features, from sleek and technical to showy and blinged out, we checked out this year’s high-tech wrist candy from Garmin, Fitbit, Suunto, Huawei and TomTom.

In March 2017, Garmin unveiled the Forerunner 935, a GPS running and triathlon watch with new performance monitoring tools and Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology. In addition to 24/7 heart rate monitoring, the Forerunner 935 includes new training features, allowing users to fine-tune exercise and recovery to be a better athlete. Paired with the new Running Dynamics Pod2, Forerunner 935 users will now be able to see all six running dynamics without the need for a chest strap. At only 49 grams, every detail in its lightweight, comfortable design was selected with the athlete in mind.

“With similar features to the Fēnix 5 – our popular multisport GPS watch built for fitness, adventure and style – the Forerunner 935 is catered more towards athletes focused on performance and results,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales. “As a top-of-the-line GPS smartwatch, the Forerunner 935 not only provides users with insight into how their body is responding to fitness, but also offers data for every activity, allows them to automatically upload to Garmin Connect, and is customizable with free apps, data fields and more from the Connect IQ store.”

Fitbit, which paired up last October with high street fashion label Public School in a push to expand its accessory bands for the Alta – Fitbit’s most style-driven tracker – continued its fashion experiment with its latest iteration.

The Alta HR was released last month, with Fitbit touting it as “the world’s slimmest fitness wristband with continuous heart rate tracking.” It combines PurePulse technology with automatic exercise recognition, sleep tracking, battery life of up to seven days and smart notifications in a slim, versatile design.

Upgrades to Luxe premium leather accessories, Luxe metal bracelet and Special Edition trackers are available, along with designer collections from Public School, Simply Vera Wang and an upcoming collaboration with Tory Burch.

Suunto’s Spartan Ultra watches earned a 2017 If Design Award in the Product discipline in the Watches and Jewelry category. The Spartan Ultras are designed by Suunto Industrial Designer Tuomas Reivo with Suunto product development team in Vantaa, Finland. The design aimed for a modern, premium sports watch that is comfortable to use, and withstands the toughest conditions.

The Spartan Ultra, a GPS watch for athletic and adventure multisport, boasts a battery life up to 26 hours in training mode and is crafted from titanium 5/steel bezel and sapphire glass. The outdoor-grade color touch screen displays barometric altitude and has 100-meter water resistance.

The watch won over the 58-member jury, made up of independent experts from all over the world, with its robust and elegant design. Over 5,500 entries were submitted from 59 countries.

The Huawei Watch 2 is another more fashion-conscious option, taking the form of a classic wristwatch. The watch went on sale in Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Germany and China in March, with availability in additional countries including the U.S., the U.K., Russia and Australia coming in April.

Huawei Watch 2 uses multiple sensors with advanced algorithms designed to make workouts efficient and effective. Quick-start running modes “fat-burning run” and “cardio run” allow runners to start quickly and the watch will guide speed to stay in the correct heart rate zone. After a run, the watch automatically generates a report that advises on recovery time and training effects.

Other features include a built-in GPS and the ability to add music to workouts through the Google Play Music app. The high-definition display is customizable with multiple face designs.

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, said, “In today’s fragmented information age, the real function of technology is to provide convenience and connectivity without intruding on your daily life. We wanted to make a product that suits those individuals who wish to explore the limits of their own expression, while still being bound by a need to stay connected.”

Finally, there’s the fitness watch that also supports National Parks – the TomTom Spark. TomTom is supporting the National Park Foundation by celebrating National Park Week, and making a $5 donation and a 15 percent discount for every TomTom Spark watch sold on TomTom.com between April 10-23, 2017.

Through its dedicated site TomTom.com/TrailsNearMe, users can search for trails by location and download preferred .gpx files to add to any device that accepts GPS trails, including the TomTom Spark 3. Trails on the site are categorized by geographic location and there is also a dedicated group of influencer trails from top outdoor and fitness aficionados, allowing visitors to travel the same paths as these outdoor enthusiasts.

Photos courtesy Garmin, Fitbit, Suunto, Huawei and TomTom