"I have a weakness for watches, I have to stop myself buying more" - Tom Jones
John F. Kennedy once said “Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future” as a way to help people dismiss the fear of tomorrow and accept that if you refuse to ride the tide of circumstance with life and society, then the world will leave you behind.
And change, at least on a personal level, should always start with small things like embracing technology to become the best version of yourself that you can possibly be.
As the digital age seems to gain momentum on a daily basis it isn’t hard to miss the latest leaps and bounds forward that it makes.
After all, if you take your finger off the pulse for the briefest of moments, you might miss all the transitional technological glory that was, and is specifically designed to make your life easier and better.
That’s why it’s entirely possible that the smartwatch revolution might have passed you by, as it seemingly appeared from out of nowhere and took almost every technophile, fitness fanatic, and committed futurist by surprise.
And, given their fairly formidable track record for innovation, it might also surprise you to know that while they might have originally been at the forefront of, and helped to pioneer the smartwatch movement, Apple is no longer seen as being the number one contender in the ever-evolving smartwatch race, as it rapidly gains momentum, they’re just another participant.
What Is A Smartwatch?
In the simplest terms, a smartwatch is a personal computer and chronograph that was created to allow you to connect to the internet and to help you monitor your fitness, health, and any incoming messages and alerts on your smartphone.
In other words, it’s a watch that does far more than just tell the time, as it’ll help you to take the next step on your journey to becoming a better version of yourself.
Right now you’re probably asking yourself how a smartwatch can help you on that journey, and the answer is actually quite simple.
A smartwatch can and will do everything that a fitness tracker can (measure the number of steps you’ve taken in a day, monitor your heart rate, and more), while keeping you permanently connected to your smartphone, and most importantly, it will also monitor your blood oxygen saturation levels so that you’ll know that you’re always at the top of your game, both physically and mentally.
Choosing The Right Oxygen Sensor Enabled Smartwatch
We thought that the last feature, the oxygen sensor (or SpO2 sensor to give it its proper terminology), might be the icing on the smartwatch cake that made you want to sign on the dotted line and throw your fitness tracker in the back of a drawer.
But, SpO2 sensors aren’t a standard smartphone feature, which means that you’ll have to navigate the often choppy and difficult currents of the smartwatch scene if you want to find the right one for you. At least, it would if you had to do it alone, but you’re not.
That’s what we’re here for. Like you, we’re determined to be the fittest, healthiest versions of ourselves that we can possibly be, which is why we decided to do all the SpO2 enabled smartwatch heavy lifting for you.
We’ve found eight of the best, budget-friendly smartwatches with SpO2 sensor technology, so all you need to do is find the right one on our list and then you can embrace a whole new way of thinking about your body and your mind, and can start to improve the way they work together, and function on a day by day basis.
Are you ready to take the first step on that journey?
Then let’s begin…
OUR TOP PICK
It wouldn’t be a smartwatch list without an Apple Watch on it would it?
As Apple has already reached its sixth generation, you can bet your last dollar (which you’d probably have to spend to wear a Series 6 on your wrist) that this watch includes every technological bell and whistle that they could cram in there.
And if you did take that bet, you’d walk away from the table a winner as the Series 6 is THE smartwatch to wear if you’re looking for the perfect fusion of technology and personal wellbeing.
Being an Apple device, the Series 6 is all about the apps, and it uses a combination of them to enable you to understand your physical health in a way that few other smartwatches can.
It uses an ECG (electrocardiogram) to take a reading from your wrist, regardless of where you are, day or night so you can always know exactly what your heart rate is, and if your heart rate drops too low or climbs to a worrying level, the Series 6 will warn you about either immediately.
Then there’s the new sensor that it uses to measure and calculate your blood oxygen level, which will provide all the data you need via, that’s right, the specially designed app that the Series 6 uses.
And to ensure that you’re always in peak condition, and feel ready to take on the world, the sixth generation Apple smartwatch also has a sleep sensor, which measures how long you slept for, so you’ll be able to meet your “sleep targets” - although, how you can meet those goals based solely on a reading is beyond us, but if Apple says it can be done, then we believe them.
The advanced WiFi that the GPS model (which, by the way, is this one - did we forget to mention that the Series 6 also has GPS? We did?
Sorry, there’s just so much to take in with this watch) also allows you to make phone calls and send texts from the watch and tune into and listen to your Apple Music account, without the help of your phone.
And if that wasn’t enough to convert you to the Apple way of thinking, the Always-On Retina display is two and half times brighter than the Series 5 screen was, so you’ll always be able to see exactly what’s happening, no matter how high the sun is in the sky.
Is there anything that this smartwatch can’t do? Probably, but we haven’t found out what it is yet.
- Oxygen Sensor And App - The Series 6 uses a brand new Oxygen Sensor (Apple seems loathe to call it a SpO2 sensor, so we assume that it works differently otherwise why would they avoid using the term?) and an app to let you know what your bloody saturation levels are at times. And the ECG sensor continually tracks your heartbeat regardless of your chosen workout medium.
- Call And Text Without Your Phone - You can use the Series 6 to text and call without your phone, which makes it one of the most technologically advanced and user-friendly smartwatches in the world.
- Built To Last - Housed in an aluminum frame, the Series 6 was made to take all of the punishment that a fit and active lifestyle can, and will, hand out to it.
- GPS - Thanks to the GPS app it uses, you’ll always know where you are if you get sucked into the zone while you’re out for a run. It won’t stop you from getting lost but at least you’ll know where you are, and how to get where you’re going with a Series 6.
- It’s An Apple Thing - The Series 6 suffers from exactly the same problem that every Apple device does. It’s reassuringly, and uncomfortably expensive and is far the most affordable oxygen sensor-enabled smartphone that you can wear on your wrist. But if brand names and being part of the Woz and Jobs club are important to you, then there’s really no other choice is there?
A friend of ours is adamant that when you become serious about smartphones there’s no such thing as Apple and Android people, there are only Samsung and Apple devotees.
And given how user-friendly and easy to navigate and use this watch is (all of its menus are accessed via the rotating watch face bezel), we think he may well have a point.
With eight gigabytes of memory, so you can store as much music or as many audiobooks as you need to listen to during your daily workouts and commute which can be accessed via a pair of Bluetooth compatible headphones, fifty thousand different watch face options which will ensure that your Galaxy 3 is unique to you, and LTE connectivity which makes it possible to text and make phone calls without your phone, directly from your smartwatch, the Samsung is Apple’s most technologically advanced opponent.
The Galaxy 3 is also Samsung’s only smartphone that incorporates a SpO2 sensor in its design, which continually monitors your blood oxygen levels, which can, in turn, be accessed at any time through the “stress” menu, which is designed to help you regulate and get to grips with the everyday issues that might become problematic at some point further down the line.
The crown jewel in Samsung’s smartwatch arsenal is also equipped with heart rate and sleep sensors, which can help you to create a more effective and efficient workout regime and understand your sleep patterns and how they can, and do impact your general wellbeing.
After all, the more you know about them, the more you can adjust and alter them to work for, instead of against you.
And we know what you’re going to ask next, and yes you can.
You can use the Galaxy smartwatch to access your Samsung Pay account, and thanks to its multi-layered security platform, any of your sensitive information and data kept on the Galaxy 3 will always be completely safe and secure.
- SpO2 Sensor - While there’s no available data concerning how reliable and accurate the SpO2 sensor the watch uses actually is, as it’s based on, and uses the same technological platform as Samsung’s top of the line smartphones do, it should meet FDA (Food and Drug Administration) criteria. Which means that you can definitely depend, and rely on it.
- Battery Life - It should only need to be charged once every two days or so, which means that it has twice the battery life of the Series 6. Are you an Apple or a Samsung fan? Maybe the time between charges might just be enough to convince you to swap sides.
- Fifty Thousand Different Faces - With fifty thousand different faces to choose from, you’ll be able to choose your own watch face and ensure that your Galaxy 3 is a reflection of who you are.
- Eight And One - With eight gigabytes of memory and one gigabyte of RAM, the Galaxy 3 has enough room to store all of your favorite songs and enough power to zoom through and use all of the apps and information that it houses.
- It Might Say Samsung But… - It’s compatible with just about any brand of Android phone and will effortlessly pair with yours, regardless of who made it.
- Just Like Apple - The Samsung is also reassuringly expensive and will squeeze your bank balance dry. It might not leave your pocketbook in as much pain as the Series 6 will, but it will leave it with a scar that it will never forget.
If you thought Fitbit’s remit didn’t extend any further than fitness trackers, it’s time to reevaluate everything that you thought you knew and venture down a rabbit hole that you never dared to dream might exist.
There’s more to Fitbit than calculating your daily number of steps or monitoring your heart rate, and their smartwatch proves that they’re ready to take the next step on the journey to creating a better you as long as you are too.
That doesn’t mean that the smartwatch doesn’t do everything that a normal fitness tracker can, it does. It just does them better.
It tracks and monitors your activity and sleeping patterns, has an ECG monitor and an SpO2 sensor, which means that this smartwatch will know as much, if not more, about you in a week as you do.
And everything that you don’t already know about your health and fitness, it’ll teach you as you learn to work in harmony with your new Fitbit.
Granted, you can’t use the Fitbit to talk to or text your friends, but it is Alexa and Google Home enabled, so you control every other smart device in your home via voice commands directed to your watch.
And as it has six days of battery life, it was designed to help you do the thing that you want to do more than anything else in the world, to get out and enjoy life instead of having to continually monitor charge levels and battery percentages.
There’s more to living than surfing the web, and with the Fitbit’s help, you’ll be able you’ll make the internet your servant instead of you being continually subservient to the power of the web.
- Six-Day Battery Life - It’ll last for up to six days between charges, so you can run to your heart’s content (and measure your bpm and oxygen saturation levels during and after your workout) without having to worry about your smartwatch running out of charge.
- Music On The Go - You can store and play, using Bluetooth headphones or speakers, your chosen playlists on the Fitbit which should help you to burn through workouts in next to no time.
- Control Your Life - As it’s Alexa and Google Home compatible, you’ll be able to control your smart devices at home by talking to your watch. It’s the future that we always hoped would exist, but were sure would actually materialize.
- Water-Resistant - The Fitbit is also water-resistant to a depth of fifty meters, so you can swim as far as you want to, for as long as you want to while wearing the Fitbit and it’ll just add the numbers to your workout count.
- The GPS Battery Conundrum - If you do decide to entrust your smartwatch future to Fitbit, you might want to disable the GPS or just use it every now and then, as it drains the battery in record time. The GPS system that Fitbit uses will drain the battery completely in just over twelve hours. Trust us, turn the GPS off if you’re going to be away for a few days.
You don’t need a degree in rocket science to work out that the Pro 3 has built-in GPS, you just need to be able to read. But what else can it do?
Well, that’s where things get incredibly interesting as the TicWatch is actually Google’s own brand of smartwatch, which means that you’ll have the entire power of the internet strapped to your wrist.
Its pulse oximeter continuously monitors blood oxygen saturation levels through the TixOxygen app, while its ECG app records every single beat of your heart while you’re wearing it, so as soon as you choose your workout mode and get started the TicWatch will make all of your physical data available to you.
And it doesn’t stop while you’re sleeping either, as it monitors your downtime patterns and stress levels, and records all of the information that you need to push yourself further, harder, and for longer.
You want to be the best you that you can be, and TicWatch will provide you with all the tools that you’ll ever need to reshape and rebuild yourself.
It doesn’t stop there either.
With TicWatch, you can make and receive calls and use the streaming services that you subscribe to in order to listen to the musical or audio inspiration you need to power through your next workout.
And in low power mode, a single charge can keep the TicWatch, and its energy-saving screen enough juice to last for more than forty days.
So it doesn’t matter how far from home you stray, with a TicWatch on your wrist, you’ll never be alone again.
- Blood Oxygen Saturation - The dedicated TicOxygen app will always let you know your blood oxygen level while closely monitoring your heartbeat, so you’ll know how hard you’ve pushed yourself and how much more work you’ll need to do to be where you need, and want, to be.
- Apps-A-Go-Go - Want to stream your tunes on Spotify? No problem TicWatch has that covered. Want to leave your wallet at home and use Google Pay? As long as you’re wearing your Pro 3, you won’t need your cards, just use your watch (and your Google account) to cover your bills.
- GPS - No matter where you roam, you’ll always be able to find your way home with TcWatch’s built-in GPS navigation system. Distance is no object, in fact, the only thing that will stop you while you’re wearing this watch is you.
- The List Of Don’ts - For a smartwatch that’s supposed to be incredibly versatile, there’s an alarmingly long list of don’ts attached to the TicWatch that you’ll need to learn off by heart if you want to make the most of your new internet-savvy chronometer.
- Waterproof? Sort Of - Google makes a big deal out of saying that you can wear the watch while you swim and that’s true, provided you don’t go past a depth of one and a half meters, or there isn’t too much salt or chlorine in the water. We think what Google really meant was, you can wear it in the shower or the bath, but that’s about it.
We don’t all have the sort of deep pockets that make it possible to wear the big gun brand names in smartwatch design, but thanks to Popglory you don’t need to give your pocketbook a beating to wear one.
It might not have the same sort of all singing and dancing functionality as some of the other smartwatches on our list do, but it does have the one essential component that we highlighted, and singled out when we embarked on our mission to find eight of the best smartwatches that’d fit any budget, no matter how big or small it was.
And that’s an SpO2 sensor.
It isn’t just a glorified pedometer either, as the Popglory will measure and record your resting and active heart rate, monitor your blood pressure and blood oxygen saturation, and has enough memory to store all of your favorite songs so you skip and flip between them while you’re pushing through the boundaries of your workout.
It also has seven different sport modes, so you’ll be able to figure out (with a little practice) which of them comes closest to your workout and record and monitor everything that you’ll need to know to set you on the path to self-improvement.
There is, of course, a certain degree of reassurance that comes with name recognition, and you might be a little concerned that Popglory seems to have, well for want of a better word, “popped” up out of nowhere.
But just because you’re not familiar with the brand it doesn’t mean that it won’t live up to your, admittedly high, expectations.
Sometimes, you need to focus on what’s really important, and in this case, it’s a smartwatch that costs a fraction of the price that its nearest rivals do.
- Price Point - Take another look at that price. It’s almost unbelievable, isn’t it? Music, time, and fitness functionality that’ll make your pocketbook smile and won’t make your bank manager mad, what’s not to like?
- The Fitness Trifecta - It has a built-in heart rate monitor and measures your blood pressure and blood oxygen saturation levels via its SpO2 sensor. What more do you want or need from a smartwatch? Oh, you want interchangeable faces and background skins? Well, it might just be your lucky day as the Popglory smartwatch has those as well. And it also has enough internal memory to store your favorite songs that you can tune into with a little help from a set of Bluetooth headphones.
- Compatibility - As long as your Android phone uses 4.4 or above or your iPhone is running on iOS 9, you’ll be good to go with Popglory’s smartwatch.
- Battery Life - In full operational mode it only has a battery life of just over ten hours, and even in standby mode, you’ll be lucky to get more than thirty hours out of a full charge.
- Functionality - It isn’t the most functional of smartwatches, and apart from monitoring and measuring your heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen saturation, playing music (which you’ll have to load onto it), and telling the time it doesn’t really do anything else. Still, at that price point, it’s a steal.
Whoever said that you get what you pay for didn’t bother telling AmazFit that they needed to stick to that agenda, as their GTS is bursting with the sort of functionality and technology that you’d expect from a smartwatch at a price that most of us would be more than happy to, and would willingly, pay.
With fifty different watch faces to choose from (just hit settings and pick your favorite) and a borderless screen that doesn’t waste a single millimeter of the AmazFit’s one-and-a-half-inch display, the exterior of the GTS follows the same simple rule as the interior.
Pack as much as you possibly can into the room that you have.
So what have AmazFit managed to cram into the GTS?
Well, let’s start with the ninety (yes, that’s right we did say ninety) different sport mode controlled BioTracker 2 that monitors heart rate, stress levels, sleep patterns, and blood oxygen saturation and as well as recording each separately also combines them into a single, easy to understand figure that’ll let you know exactly where you are, and where you should, and need to be in order to reach the physical goals that you’ve set for yourself.
But that’s not all, as the AmazFit is compatible with both Alexa and Google Home, which means that you can control all of the WiFi-enabled and smart devices in your home from your watch and once you’ve paired it with your phone, it’ll alert you to incoming texts, calls, and email.
It’s an all-in-one smartwatch that does everything that you could ever want it to without damaging your belief in the idea that sometimes, dreams do come true.
- Biotracker 2 - The AmazFit makes fitness and health simple and straightforward with an easy to use, comprehensive software system that monitors and measure your heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation, stress levels, and sleeping patterns and allows you to access them separately or combines into a single figure that you can use to track your progress, and improve your performance.
- Ninety Sport Modes - With ninety different modes to choose from, you’ll easily be able to find the one that most closely matches your workout schedule. Oh, and did we mention that it’s waterproof at up to five atmospheres of pressure? It is, which means that it’s fine to wear the AmazFit while you’re swimming.
- Alexa, I’m Home - It’s also fully compatible with Alexa, so you’ll be able to control everything in your home that falls under Alexa’s jurisdiction with the GTS. Just speak into your watch and let Alexa know what to do, and she’ll handle the rest.
- Results Aren’t Always Accurate - While it’ll measure and record everything that you want it to, sometimes the results aren’t what you’ll expect and might be within the parameters that you think they will. It doesn’t always record everything that it was designed to record as accurately as it could, and should, which can put a bit of a downward curve in your long-term fitness planning. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does it can be annoying and throw a monkey wrench into your well-thought-out and organized physical schedule…
It’s time to refocus on the core objectives of our mission, and that means finding a smartwatch with an oxygen sensor that falls within everyone’s budget.
That mission statement, the one that we were determined to follow regardless of where it took us, brought us to Aikela’s door and their smartwatch that was designed and built to fit within the parameters of every single budget.
First things first, even though it’s been made to make your bank balance happy, the Aikela is deceptively functional and user-friendly.
As soon as it’s paired with your phone it’ll display any, and all, incoming messages from your social media accounts, ping text alerts to its screen, and alert you to any incoming phone calls.
It also uses nine different sport modes to record the number of steps you take in a day, will bounce you into action if you’ve been standing still or sat down for too long, and unlike every other smartwatch on our list, has a training function that revolves around teaching you the importance of deep breathing.
In fact, it’s the only smartwatch that we’ve ever stumbled across that believes it’s important to take a moment for yourself in order to find the peace of mind and focus that are vital to discovering the path to become the person that you long to be.
Most importantly though, it measures, monitors, and records three things - your heart rate, your blood pressure, and your blood oxygen saturation level.
The Aikela does everything that we, and you, will want it to do at an easily affordable and comfortable price point. And that’s all that really isn’t it?
- The Big Three - It monitors, measures, and records blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation, and heart rate. That’s the one thing that we needed it to record and a couple of extras for good measure.
- Deep Breathing Excercise - The deep breathing exercises that it teaches encourage you to get in the right frame of mind for an extended and prolonged physical workout, which means that it’s the one smartwatch on our list that recognizes and appreciates the link between a healthy body and an active, relaxed and ready mind.
- Water Proof - It’s also waterproof up to a depth of fifty meters. So yes, you can go swimming while wearing it without having to worry about chlorine, salt, or water damage and it will measure and record your water-based exercise as part of your daily fitness regime.
- Message Alerts - It’ll display any and all incoming net-based messages and ping you when a text message arrives or a phone call is about to either make your day or ruin your workout.
- Price Point - And it falls well within the comfortable boundaries of a budget that anyone and everyone can happily and easily afford.
- Battery Life - The battery life leaves a lot to be desired, and when it does start to fade the accuracy of the measurements (heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation levels) suffers, which as we’ve already mentioned, can leave you feeling frustrated as it’ll throw your whole fitness plan in the air and can put a serious dent in your quest to discovering the version of yourself that you always wanted to meet.
Last, but by no means least is quite possibly our favorite budget-friendly smartwatch which is made by a brand that we’d never heard of, and probably never would have if a friend of ours hadn’t told us about them.
It isn’t overly flashy, it wasn’t designed to appeal to fans of fashion or the latest must-have trends, it was created to be an affordable way for techies to embrace a healthier life and for fitness fanatics to discover all of the hidden advantages of and mysteries that surround technology.
The Kalinco will notify you when there’s an incoming message or phone call as soon as you’ve paired it with your smartphone and has seven different sport modes that you can utilize in order to accurately record your steps, calories burned, and daily fitness progress.
However, the thing that we love most about this incredibly well-pierced smartwatch is the fact that it will continuously record and monitor your heart rate, pulse rate, and blood oxygen saturation levels.
The things that we wanted it to do, it does, and the things that we’re not bothered about or didn’t really factor into our smartwatch equation… It doesn’t do any of them.
On a far more practical level, the battery life for a budget smartwatch is actually pretty good, and from a full charge, you should get a couple of days of use and as the screen has five different brightness levels, you can adjust it so that you can easily see what you need to whenever you need to.
We know that we shouldn’t single out any product over another, but the Kalinco is a practical and simple solution to the smartwatch with an oxygen sensor at a price that you’d like to pay conundrum.
And that ladies and gentlemen, and boys and girls is the answer to the strangely difficult task that we originally set out to complete.
- The Perfect Trio - The things that we wanted it to do, at a price that we wanted it to do them at, it does incredibly well. That is, it’ll measure and monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen saturation levels. Oh, and it will also measure and record all of the other fitness-related things (calories burned, steps taken, distance covered, and more) that you’ll want it to via its seven different sports settings.
- Connectivity - And as soon as it’s paired with your smartphone, the Kalinco will alert you to any incoming messages and alerts that’ll usually make your phone bing and bong at all of the most inappropriate times.
- Functionality - It’ll do the bare minimum that you’ll need it to, and it won’t do anymore. But at the price that Kalinco charges for this smartwatch, you won’t need or want it to do anything else. It is, as our old grandpa used to say, the bargain of the century. At least it is if you’re looking for a budget smartwatch that will tick all of the right fitness and technology boxes.
What Is An Oxygen Sensor?
An oxygen sensor, more commonly known as a SpO2 sensor is a tool used to measure pulse oximetry or the level of oxygen saturation in an individual’s bloodstream.
It is a non-invasive piece of equipment that can quickly and efficiently detect even the slightest fall in the amount of oxygen being carried in a person’s bloodstream.
The more oxygen in a person’s bloodstream, the more efficiently their heart and lungs are working.
A normal pulse oximetry reading should be around ninety-five percent, and anything less than ninety percent could be indicative of a serious health problem that should be checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Smartwatch Pulse Oximetry Tips
Over the years, we’ve picked up a few tips that have helped us to figure out the best way to get an accurate oximetry reading ninety-nine percent of the time.
However, we’d like to stress that none of these methods by themselves are guaranteed to give you a completely accurate figure, but if you use all of them together, then the sensor in your smartwatch should be right almost all of the time.
Palm Down - Place your arm on a flat surface, with the palm of your hand facing down before you take the measurement. It ensures that the sensor in your watch will be focused on doing what it’s supposed to do, and that’s to measure the oxygen saturation in your blood.
No Bone - The bottom of your smartwatch needs to be resting flat on your wrist and not on your wrist bone. If your watch is resting on the bone, it won’t be able to accurately measure the blood flow and use that data to calculate the percentage of oxygen in your blood.
It needs to be flat against your skin and not flat against the bone.
Tighten It Up - We know that it’s more comfortable to wear your watch loose on your wrist, we’re guilty of doing the same thing ourselves. The problem is, a loose watch won’t give you an accurate reading, so you’ll need to tighten the strap before you take a reading.
It’s a couple of minutes of discomfort at most, and it’ll be worth it. And when we say tight, we don’t mean tight enough to cut off your bloody supply, we just mean that it should be tight enough to prevent your smartwatch from slipping up and sliding down your wrist.
Avoid The Ink - If you do have any tattoos on your wrists try to place your watch on the clearest part of your skin. The less ink there is below your watch, the more accurate the reading and measurement that you’ll get will be.
Which Smartwatch With An Oxygen Sensor Is The Right One For Me?
That depends entirely on one thing, your budget and what you can comfortably spend on your smartwatch.
If it’s on the higher end of the economic scale, then the only smartwatch you should realistically choose is the Samsung Galaxy 3 if you use an Android phone, or the Series 6 if you have an iPhone.
However, if your budget is considerably smaller, then the only smartphone with an SpO2 sensor that you’ll ever need is the Kalinco. And it’ll probably be the best investment that you’ll ever make. Trust us, we know these things.