Waterproof wearables – not water resistant – have been a big deal lately, and it looks like this is the year that big name wearable brands finally figured out how to let you wear your smartwatch or fitness tracker in the water. Or for other wearables, they’ve at least started to dive in.
Of course there are already plenty of capable waterproof trackers out there for the enthusiasts thanks to the likes of Garmin, TomTom, Moov and new devices like Swimsense Live.
Must read: The best waterproof fitness trackers
For the average everyday wearers, hopping in the shower, washing dishes or a day out at the beach means taking off the wearable hoping you won’t lose it or break it. It doesn’t exactly scream convenient or feel like an everyday device if you constantly have to take it off.
There are IP (ingress protection) ratings that you can follow but most, if not all smartwatches and fitness trackers only allow submersion for a certain period of time. That means no prolonged water usage otherwise the ports will flood and damage the device.
But companies have been making strides in properly waterproofing their devices. Hopefully future wearable iterations from other companies (looking at you Motorola, LG, Huawei, et al.,) will take note. Until then, we have these water loving wearables to look forward to, and one that almost made the cut.
WEAR – Apple Watch Series 2
This one was a pretty big surprise considering Apple devices faint at the sight of H2O. You can take the Apple Watch Series 2 for a dip at up to 50 meters depth in both pools and oceans. Since water testing wasn’t in the books during our hands on, we’ll have to wait and see how well it actually does tracking in the water. But at least you’ll be able to wear it as often as you’d like without worrying about damage. For now, with it’s bright new display and abilities to count laps, track average lap pace and auto-detect stroke type, we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
NEARLY THERE – Fitbit Flex 2
The new Apple Watch wasn’t the first to announce waterproofing this year – that honor lies with the Fitbit Flex 2. It can go the same depth as the Series 2 (up to 50 meters) and automatically tracks pool sessions, delivering metrics on laps, duration and calories burned. You can even take the Flex 2 into the ocean. However with its overly simple system of notifications – LED lights and haptics – it’s difficult to give it the top spot since you’ll have to leave the water and head to your phone’s app to check stats. Still, you’re able to wear the Flex 2 all the time making it a huge win all around.
Read this: Fitbit Charge 2 review
SQUARE – Samsung Gear S3
For all the claims that the Gear S3 is Samsung’s most rugged smartwatch yet, the company didn’t seem to think making the Gear S3 completely waterproof would help. Or maybe it did but couldn’t figure out a way to add it in time for this iteration and we’ll see it on the Gear S4. Whatever the case, you’re able to drop, scratch and wear it in extreme temperatures but only keep it underwater up to 30 minutes at a depth of 5 feet with its IP68 rating. Samsung has told us that some water sports are ok, like kayaking or boating, but swimming or diving with it is off limits.