Samsung’s future vision is filled with screens that fold and bend




 

We’ll be seeing displays everywhere in the future, but some of them might be more than meets the eye.

We are already living in a screen-centric world. We do our work on computers, get our entertainment from TVs, and connect with other people through our smartphones. Even activities like reading books, listening to music, and staying healthy have become connected with devices like eBook readers, portable media players, and smartwatches. It probably won’t be a surprise if we one day wake up to a world filled with screens left and right, but Samsung is working to make those displays more interesting and, more importantly, more eco-friendly.

Designer: Samsung Display

Samsung is perhaps best known around the world for its smartphones and its TVs, and the company has been pushing the boundaries of its display technology for those consumer tech products over the past years. The most famous and most recent examples are perhaps the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, currently considered the standard for foldable phones. Unsurprisingly, the company won’t be stopping there and will be bending and folding every display it can for almost any device.

On the mobile device side, Samsung showed off what it calls “Flex G” and “Flex S” displays that would allow an even bigger, tablet-sized screen to fold down to the size of a smartphone. Samsung will also be targeting laptops with its “Flex Note” screen, where a 17.3-inch display can fold in the middle to form a laptop with two 13-inch screens. The goal of these foldable displays, aside from boasting of the company’s prowess, is to increase people’s mobility without hampering their productivity, letting them bring along their work and entertainment anywhere.

You might have actually seen these before if you’ve been keeping tabs on unique and interesting display devices in the past years, but Samsung also brought something completely new to CES 2022. It showed off a smart speaker that seemed to have a cylindrical screen wrapped around it. But at the tap of a button on a paired smartphone, that screen unfurls and turns into a regular flat-screen panel, turning the smart speaker into a smart TV.

With LG’s vision of transparent screens and Samsung’s future shape-changing displays, we can probably expect our world to soon be littered with these bright surfaces in whatever form they may come in. That, however, might also mean an overall increase in power usage and carbon footprint, something that Samsung is thankfully aware of. Part of the company’s big spiel this year is on sustainability through its entire pipeline, from production to packaging.

For example, it is pushing its Eco2 OLED technology that reduces power consumption by removing unnecessary components. It recently also revealed a remote control that charges via Wi-Fi waves instead of electricity. With these, Samsung is trying to promise a future that is not only all about displays but, hopefully, also green.

The post Samsung’s future vision is filled with screens that fold and bend first appeared on Yanko Design.

Samsung’s entry into smart projectors is here to replace your TV, speaker, as well as your lamp!




Say goodbye to those hulking boxes in your living room with a single projector that might actually be doing too much.

Along with the rise of cord-cutters, there has been an increase in the number of people eschewing traditional TV sets. Some have become accustomed to watching everything from their smartphones or tablets, while others have opted to use less permanent fixtures to replace those large slabs of plastic and glass. Home projectors, both the short and long throw kind, have become more en vogue these days, and Samsung is jumping on the scene with a surprisingly fresh take on the product.

Designer: Samsung

Projectors come in different sizes and designs, but almost all of them have one thing in common. Those come in a box shape and are often quite bulky, mostly to accommodate the equally bulky hardware inside. That’s what makes the new Samsung Freestyle a bit of a pleasant surprise because it throws all conventions out the window.

In stark contrast to most projectors, the Freestyle comes in a sleek cylindrical form that looks like a mix of a spotlight and a smart speaker. In reality, that is almost exactly what it is, though it substitutes the spotlight for an LED projector. The Freestyle’s body can swing 180 degrees, making it trivial to place the projector anywhere and still get a good view. The projected image can go from 30 to up to 100 inches with a Full HD resolution.

Despite the more compact size, the Samsung Freestyle is actually packed with features you’d see in bigger projectors. Those include autofocus and automatic keystone correction, both of which give the projector its advertised freedom. It even runs Samsung’s Smart TV software, so you’re getting the same apps and features you would see on the brand’s latest Internet-connected TVs. But wait, there’s more! The Freestyle also functions as a smart speaker and an ambient lighting device when not in use for watching videos.

There are, of course, some drawbacks to a projector this small, like the 500 nits of brightness that sounds too low for use in bright rooms. Its micro HDMI slot will also have some scampering for adapters, and there’s no built-in battery for wireless use. Then again, you can easily use a power bank when you carry it around, which could be music to the ears of Gen Z and millennials that this product was made for.

The post Samsung’s entry into smart projectors is here to replace your TV, speaker, as well as your lamp! first appeared on Yanko Design.

This handheld printer lets you put your best art on your arm temporarily




You can now be the center of attraction at a party and still be squeaky clean before you go to work the next day.

Tattoos have always been controversial in the modern age. Although they had important social and cultural significance for most cultures in the past, they have acquired a stigma today that’s often associated with unsavory characters. There’s also the issue of tattoo inks causing negative effects on your body, especially your blood. Temporary tattoos have long been available as relatively safe alternatives, but a new kind of device is trying to make it easier to show your creativity on your body, even for just a while.

Designer: Prinker

Prinker is a handheld printer like no other, designed and engineered to print not on paper but on your skin. Although the Samsung spinoff has been around for a while, it’s bringing its most compact version yet, the Prinker M. No larger than a typical barcode scanner, the device can easily be taken with you anywhere, like at a party where you can amaze friends and strangers with the ability to put colorful tattoos at a moment’s notice.

The device itself is only part of the magic, however, and Prinker’s proprietary ink is what makes it possible to actually put something on your skin. The ink is waterproof but can be easily removed with soap and water, making sure you can hide any evidence of the previous day’s shenanigans. Prinker says that the ink is registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP) and EU Cosmetic Product Notification Portal (CPNP), though it makes no mention of environmental hazards of the substance.

Of course, temporary tattoos are nothing new. What Prinker brings to the table is the ability to not only choose your tattoo design but also make one of your own. There are mobile apps for Android and iOS, as well as a cloud-based platform for downloading and uploading designs. Not many temporary tattoo platforms offer this kind of flexibility, making Prinker a one-of-a-kind tool for artistic expression.

The Prinker M is the newest and smallest version of this handheld temporary tattoo machine, but it does have one limitation. The older Prinker S can use both black and colored inks, while the Prinker M is limited to colors only. That said, it is also cheaper at $199, though you’ll also have to allocate $99 for the Color Ink.

The post This handheld printer lets you put your best art on your arm temporarily first appeared on Yanko Design.

Samsung unveils TV Remote that uses your WiFi router’s radio waves to constantly stay charged

In the run-up to CES 2022, Samsung is making waves with its revolutionary new TV remote that never needs a change of batteries or even to be periodically charged with cables. Instead, it harnesses power from the radio waves floating around in the air, notably from home WiFi routers. It also supplements that with another failsafe – a solar panel on the back of the remote that catches ambient or direct light to keep the remote constantly charged.

Dubbed the Eco Remote, Samsung announced the little device this time last year, although at the time it was only said to be running on solar power. With a fresh new reveal just for CES 2022, Samsung also mentions that the new Eco Remote can now harness radio waves from the air, capturing energy in a way that’s absolutely new for most commercial home-based appliances.

Designer: Samsung

Make no mistake, this new technology is pretty much bordering on magic. For starters, the remote doesn’t even have a battery inside it and instead uses a super-capacitor or SuperCap. What the Eco Remote essentially does is harvest energy from radiofrequency (RF) waves floating about in the ether around it, either from your WiFi router or your phone, or any other gadget that broadcasts radio waves. The Eco Remote then converts these waves into DC energy that effectively powers the remote. In its current nascent stage, the technology can only capture small amounts of energy, but it’s enough to power the remote for now. Other companies have been trying to scale this up to make wireless chargers charge phones without needing to place them on charging mats. As a failsafe, however, the Eco Remote also offers its standard solar panel on the base that allows it to run using light-based energy.

This comes as an effort on Samsung’s part to push for more eco-friendly tech. Their phones now ship without chargers to reduce e-waste, and their new TVs have a reduced power consumption too. Chris Davies from Slashgear points out, however, that all those efforts are almost instantly undone when you switch the TV on only to find that Samsung’s been working on an NFT marketplace within the TV that lets your television display the NFTs you purchase.

The post Samsung unveils TV Remote that uses your WiFi router’s radio waves to constantly stay charged first appeared on Yanko Design.

The best 2-in-1 laptops you can buy

The perfect hybrid machine that’s just as good a tablet as it is a laptop still doesn’t exist. But, in 2021, companies like Microsoft, Apple and Google continued to improve their operating systems for machines that do double duty. Windows 11 has features that make it friendlier for multi-screen devices, while Android 12L is on the horizon and promises an optimized experience for larger displays. Plus, with the rise of ARM-based chips for laptops, especially Apple’s impressive M1 series, prospects for a powerful 2-in-1 with a vast touch-friendly app ecosystem is at an all-time high.

These machines still have their limits, of course. Since they’re smaller than proper laptops, they tend to have less-powerful processors. Keyboards also tend to be less sturdy, with condensed layouts and shallower key travel. Plus, they’re almost always tablets first, leaving you to buy a keyboard case separately. (And those ain’t cheap.) So, you can’t always assume the advertised price is what you’ll actually spend on the 2-in-1 you want.

Sometimes, getting a third-party keyboard might be just as good, and they’re often cheaper than first-party offerings. If you’re looking to save some money, Logitech’s Slim Folio is a cheaper option, and if you don’t need your keyboard to attach to your tablet, Logitech’s K780 Multi-Device wireless keyboard is also a good pick.

While we’ve typically made sure to include a budget 2-in-1 in previous years, this time there isn’t a great choice. We would usually go with a Surface Go, but the 2021 model is too expensive. Other alternatives, like cheaper Android tablets, are underpowered and don’t offer a great multitasking interface. If you want something around $500 that’s thin, lightweight and long-lasting, you’re better off this year looking at a conventional laptop (like those on our best budget PCs list).

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Chris Velazco / Engadget

When you’re shopping for a 2-in-1, there are some basic criteria to keep in mind. First, look at the spec sheet to see how heavy the tablet is (alone, and with the keyboard). Most modern hybrids weigh less than 2 pounds, with the 1.96-pound Surface Pro 8 being one of the heaviest around. The iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7+ are both slightly lighter. If the overall weight of the tablet and its keyboard come close to 3 pounds, you’ll be better off just getting an ultraportable laptop.

You’ll also want to opt for an 11-inch or 12-inch screen instead of a smaller 10-inch model. The bigger displays will make multitasking easier, plus their companion keyboards will be much better spaced. Also, try to get 6GB of RAM if you can for better performance — you’ll find this in the base model of the Galaxy Tab S7+, while this year’s iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 8 start with 8GB of RAM.

Finally, while some 2-in-1s offer built-in LTE or 5G connectivity, not everyone will want to pay the premium for it. An integrated cellular radio makes checking emails or replying to messages on the go far more convenient. But it also often costs more, and that’s not counting what you’ll pay for data. And, as for 5G — you can hold off on it unless you live within range of a mmWave beacon. Coverage is still spotty and existing nationwide networks use the slower sub-6 technology that’s barely faster than LTE. 

Engadget Picks

Best overall: Surface Pro 8

Microsoft's Surface Pro 8 and Signature Pro Keyboard accessory.
Dana Wollman/Engadget

There’s no beating the Surface series when it comes to 2-in-1s. They’re powerful, sleek tablets running an OS that’s actually designed for productivity. The Surface Pro 8 is Microsoft’s latest and it addresses most of the issues we had with its predecessor. It’s thinner and looks more modern, borrowing the design of last year’s Pro X. Plus, it has a 120Hz display that makes scrolling endless spreadsheets or emails feel much faster. Just remember to drop the refresh rate to 60Hz if you want to get respectable battery life out of this thing. Windows 11 also offers a better split-screen experience for on-the-go multitasking.

Like most of the other 2-in-1s on this list, the Pro 8 doesn’t come with a keyboard cover — you’ll have to pay extra for that. That’s a shame, considering it starts at $1,099. Microsoft offers a variety of Type Covers for its Surface Pros ranging from $100 to $180, depending on whether you want a slot for a stylus on it. But at least they’re comfortable and well-spaced. You can also get the Surface Slim Pen 2 ($130) for sketching out your diagrams or artwork, and it also features haptic feedback for a more responsive experience.

Buy Surface Pro 8 at Microsoft starting at $1,099

Best for Apple users: 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2021)

Apple iPad Pro (2021) review
Chris Velazco/Engadget

If you’re already in the Apple ecosystem, the best option for you is obviously an iPad. The 12-inch Pro is our pick. Like older models, this iPad Pro has a stunning 12.9-inch screen with a speedy 120Hz refresh rate, but this year it uses mini-LED backlighting to deliver greater dynamic range. Apple’s M1 chipset is impressively fast too, and more than good enough for most tasks. Plus, the latest iPadOS is superior to older versions thanks to widgets and quick notes support.

Apple’s new Magic Keyboard provides a satisfying typing experience, and its trackpad means you won’t have to reach for the screen to launch apps. But it’ll also cost you an extra $300, making it the most expensive case on this list by a lot. The iPad also lacks a headphone jack and its webcam is awkwardly positioned along the left bezel when you prop it up horizontally, so be aware that it’s still far from a perfect laptop replacement. Still, with its sleek design and respectable battery life, the iPad Pro 12.9 is a good 2-in-1 for Apple users.

Buy 12.9-inch iPad Pro at Amazon - $1,099

Best for Android users: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+
Cherlynn Low / Engadget

While Windows is better than iPadOS and Android for productivity, it lags the other two when it comes to apps specifically designed for touchscreens. If you want a tablet that has all the apps you want, and only need it to occasionally double as a laptop, the Galaxy Tab S7+ is a solid option. Though it was released last year, it’s still the best Android-powered 2-in-1 around. You’ll enjoy watching movies and playing games on its gorgeous 12.4-inch 120Hz AMOLED screen, and Samsung includes the S Pen, which is great for sketching and taking notes. The Snapdragon 865+ processor and 6GB of RAM keep things running smoothly, too.

Thankfully the company significantly improved its keyboard case over previous models, with more comfortable and responsive keys. You could type for hours on this thing and not hate yourself (or Samsung). The battery life is also excellent, so you won’t need to worry about staying close to an outlet. The main caveat is that Android isn’t great as a desktop OS and, while Samsung’s DeX mode offers a somewhat workable solution, it has plenty of quirks. Still, with Android 12L on the horizon, a simple software update could ease some pain.

Buy Galaxy Tab S7+ at Samsung - $849

Best Chrome OS option: HP Chromebook x2

HP's Chromebook X2 is a 2-in-1 convertible that works as both a tablet and a laptop.
Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Android might suck as a desktop operating system, but Chrome OS doesn’t. If most of your tasks take place inside a browser, the HP Chromebook x2 will serve you well. It has great battery life, an excellent 11-inch screen and looks nice, to boot. HP even includes the keyboard and stylus with the tablet, which almost none of the competition does.

Chrome still isn’t a great OS in tablet mode, and the Chromebook x2’s Snapdragon 7c processor sometimes struggles if you rack up too many tabs. It’s also a little pricey at $600, but you can often find it for $400 when it goes on sale at sites like Best Buy. That makes it a solid choice considering everything HP includes for the money.

Buy Chromebook x2 at HP - $679

The best smartwatches, fitness trackers and wearables to gift

What better way to show someone you love them than getting them a gadget that they can wear on their person all day? Okay, maybe there are plenty of better ways, but a wearable can not only convey how much you care, but it can also help the user take better care of themselves.

Our list of the best wearables includes not only obvious things like smartwatches and fitness trackers, but also a touch-sensitive backpack that will let the hiker on your list keep their hands free while trekking through the mountains. Though the typical price here of about $200 to $300 might be steep for some, it might be a good range for those looking for something that a few friends can all chip in on. But we’ve also included budget-friendlier options if you prefer.

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

A smartwatch is a great gift for anyone that’s trying to stay on top of their busy schedules, keep tabs on their health or remain connected without having to look at their phone every 30 seconds. The Apple Watch SE is a solid choice for any first timer — it has all of the core features of the more-premium Series 7, but costs significantly less. Your loved one will be able to use it to track their workouts and sleep while getting their iPhone alerts and messages on their wrist. The watch will also detect if they’ve fallen and alert the user’s emergency contacts, not to mention warn the wearer of any heart rate irregularities. Of course, no smartwatch is meant to replace a consultation with a doctor, so think of it more as a way to get some data than as a tool for diagnosis.

If you believe your friend could benefit from a bigger screen, longer battery life, ECG readings and an always-on display, the $400 Series 7 is a better choice. But you’ll have to decide if those main differences are worth the premium.

Buy Apple Watch SE at Amazon - $279Buy Apple Watch Series 7 at Amazon - $399

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Samsung Watch 4 for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget / Apple

The Apple Watch is the best smartwatch around. Unfortunately it won’t work with Android phones. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for those over in Google-land, and the best of them is the Galaxy Watch 4. It runs the new Wear OS co-engineered by Samsung and Google, marrying an intuitive side-scrolling interface and great health-tracking with a plentiful third-party app library. That means your friend can reply to your texts from their wrist, get updates on their cab rides or takeout orders, track their calorie intake or log workouts through their favorite apps. Those who are into their physical and muscular composition will also appreciate the Watch 4’s body fat-scanning tool.

If the person you’re shopping for prefers a more classic-looking timepiece and doesn’t mind a chunkier device, they might enjoy the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. It features a spinning bezel that lets the user whiz through widgets quickly and easily, and the etchings on the frame lend a traditional look to the smartwatch.

Buy Galaxy Watch 4 at Samsung - $250Buy Galaxy Watch 4 Classic at Samsung - $350

Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit Charge 5 for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Those looking for something with a lower profile will prefer a Fitbit band. Despite its relatively small size, the Fitbit Charge 5 packs a ton of hardware including a heart rate monitor, onboard GPS and an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor. Altogether, it can help your loved one track their pulse, fitness and even stress levels. Fitbit also has one of the more insightful sleep-logging tools around, using cardio readings to determine if they’ve entered deep, REM or light sleep zones.

The company also made its touchscreen full-color on the Charge 5, which is a vast improvement over the last model’s greyscale version. This does diminish battery life, but the Charge 5 still manages to last up to seven days (though, that drops to two with the display set to Always On).

Buy Charge 5 at Amazon - $180

Fossil Gen 6

Fossil Gen 6 for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

For the Android smartwatch user who wants a little more fashion cred on their wrist, the Fossil Gen 6 is a worthy option. These are the company’s first to run the new Wear OS, but with some custom watch faces and tweaks for health-tracking. They have bright, crisp 1.28-inch AMOLED screens and offer continuous heart-rate monitoring, as well as a blood oxygen sensor.

Battery life has always been a big shortcoming of smartwatches, and Fossil is attempting to make up for that by offering fast charging on the Gen 6. It promises you can get up to 80 percent in 30 minutes, so your giftee doesn’t have to spend too long waiting around for their watch to power back up. And since this is a Fossil wearable, there are plenty of attractive strap and case options that will suit your loved one’s tastes.

Buy Gen 6 smartwatch at Fossil - $299

Amazon Echo Frames

Amazon Echo Frames for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Not all wearables are watches: there’s been a recent surge in speaker-glasses hybrid devices. The Amazon Echo Frames are the most comfortable, though. Like the Bose Frames and Razer’s Anzu, they offer open-ear style speakers built into the arms of the eyewear so that the wearer can hear what’s playing on their computer or phone without blocking out the rest of the world. Amazon’s version also offers easy access to Alexa, so the user can get hands-free help with setting timers or turning on their smart lights.

The Echo Frames can be fitted with prescription lenses and come in an inoffensive style that should fit most faces (there’s only one size available). Those who don’t need glasses can also opt for blue-light filtering lenses or shades instead. If you know someone who wants to listen to music or their favorite YouTube livestream at work, while still being able to hear when their boss calls them into the office, the Echo Frames are a good option.

Buy Echo Frames at Amazon - $250

Withings Steel HR

Withings Steel HR for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Withings

Some diehard watch aficionados don’t like the idea of a black mirror staring up at them when smartwatch batteries die, but still want a timepiece that can track basic health metrics. For these folks, the Withings Steel HR is an attractive, well-rounded product. It has a traditional analog watch face with a tiny round black-and-white screen that shows step counts and small status indicators. A sub-dial displays progress towards the wearer’s daily move goal, and runners can link the watch to their phone’s GPS to map their routes.

The device’s onboard heart rate and blood oxygen sensors help the user gauge their cardio performance, and swimmers or divers will appreciate the water resistance of up to 50 meters. Best of all, since this doesn’t have a large, battery-draining screen, it can last up to 25 days on a charge.

Buy Steel HR at Withings - $180

Garmin Forerunner 55

Garmin Forerunner 55 for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget / Garmin

The hardcore runner or marathoner in your life will most likely have heard of Garmin. The company is known for its GPS and heart rate monitors, and athletes swear by their running watches. The Forerunner 55 is a great device for those looking for something that excels at sports-tracking with long-lasting battery. It’ll last up to two weeks, while monitoring the user’s respiration, heart rate, step count and more. The wearer can also get basic notifications, music playback controls and apps on the watch.

But it’s Garmin’s robust sports features that will win your giftee over. These include comprehensive run coaching with cadence alerts, pace suggestions, estimated finish time and recovery guides. The Forerunner 55 also tracks stress and menstrual cycles and offers emergency contact tools when the wearer feels unsafe.

Buy Forerunner 55 at Amazon - $199

Samsonite x Google Konnect-i backpack

Samsonite Konnect-i Slim Backpack for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget / Samsonite

Who knew a backpack could be smart? The Samsonite Konnect-i bag features touch-sensitive fibers woven into its strap to enable Google’s Jacquard technology. This lets the wearer tap and swipe on the surface to do things like answer phone calls, play or pause music and more by connecting to their phone. For those who need to pay attention to their commute instead of fumbling around with a phone when they’re on the go, the Konnect-i backpack can keep their hands free and eyes alert. If you have the money to spare and want to give your friend a serious style upgrade, Google also teamed up with Saint Lauren on a $1,150 branded version.

Buy Konnect-i backpack at Samsonite - $199

Samsung’s bespoke series is the inspiration behind these ergonomic, thoughtful stylus designs

Working from our computers strains more than just our eyes. Sitting for long periods at a time, typing, dragging, and clicking the mousepad often results in finger and hand cramps. Products like smartpens and assistive keyboards are specially designed to take some of the stress off our hands, leading to streamlined and more productive workdays. Korean designer Jo Yoon unveiled their smartpen product idea called Bespoke, conceptualized using Samsung’s Bespoke appliance’s design language.

Draped in a velvety aluminum finish, Bespoke smartpens come in a few different color schemes, spanning from blush yellows to matte blacks. Paired with an accompanying smart notepad, users can write with the Bespoke smartpens on the attached notepad which translates the written text to the computer screen.

Instead of typing from the same hand position throughout the workday, Bespoke smartpens break up the monotony of computer work by bringing a more tactile, ergonomic typing tool. Along the body of each pen, an action button works as a clicker and on/off control.

Taking Bespoke’s ergonomic usability one step further, each smartpen gradually tapers towards its bottom to fit more comfortably in each user’s grip. Yoon also outfitted each smartpen with silicone grips to ensure convenient use throughout the workday without any slippage resulting from palm sweat.

In addition to the smartpen and notepad, Joon conceptualized a Bespoke charger that resembles an inkwell for when the workday slips into overtime. Each charging base comes with its own wire to plug into your computer or laptop, ensuring no power is lost during use, however, the actual charging sink is wireless.

Designer: Yoon Jo

Three small LED lights indicate how much charge remains in each charging sink.

The charging base is wireless.

The best fitness trackers you can buy

The fitness tracker isn’t dead, and if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of the people keeping these little devices alive. Smartwatches have all but taken over the mainstream wearable space, but the humble fitness tracker remains an option for those who want a gadget to do one thing right all the time. Despite the headwinds, there are still a bunch of fitness bands out there to choose from. Engadget has tested many of them and picked out the best for most people.

What do fitness trackers do best?

The answer seems simple: Fitness trackers are best at monitoring exercise, be it a 10-minute walk around the block or that half marathon you’ve been diligently training for. Obviously, smartwatches can do that too, but there are some areas where fitness bands have the upper hand: focus, design, battery life and price.

When I say “focus,” I’m alluding to the fact that fitness trackers are made to track activity well; anything else is extra. They often don’t have the bells and whistles that smartwatches do, which could distract from their activity-tracking abilities. They also tend to have fewer sensors and internal components, which keeps them smaller and lighter. Fitness trackers are also a better option for those who just want a less conspicuous device on their wrists all day.

Battery life tends to be better on fitness trackers, too. While most smartwatches last one to two days on a single charge, fitness bands will last five days to one week — and that’s with all-day and all-night use.

When it comes to price, there’s no competition. Most worthwhile smartwatches start at $175 to $200, but you can get a solid fitness tracker starting at $70. Yes, more expensive bands exist (and we recommend a few here), but you’ll find more options under $150 in the fitness tracker space than in the smartwatch space.

When to get a smartwatch instead

If you need a bit more from your wearable, you’ll likely want a smartwatch instead. There are things like on-watch apps, alerts and even more robust fitness features that smartwatches have and fitness trackers don’t. You can use one to control smart home appliances, set timers and reminders, check weather reports and more. Some smartwatches let you choose which apps you want to receive alerts from, and the options go beyond just call and text notifications.

But the extra fitness features are arguably the most important thing to think about when deciding between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. The latter devices tend to be larger, giving them more space for things like GPS, barometers, onboard music storage and more. While you can find built-in GPS on select fitness trackers, it’s not common.

Engadget picks

Best overall: Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit Charge 5 fitness tracker
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

Fitbit's Charge 5 has everything most people would want in a fitness tracker. First and foremost, it's not a smartwatch. That means it has a slightly lower profile on the wrist and lasts days on a single charge while tracking activity and sleep. It also has a full-color AMOLED display — a big improvement from the smaller, grayscale screen on last year's Charge 4. That display, along with a thinner design, make Charge 5 feel more premium than its predecessor.

But it also costs $180 — $30 more than the Charge 4 — and that's due in part to the design upgrades but also some additional features. The Charge 5 has EDA sensors for stress tracking and it will eventually support ECG measurements and Daily Readiness Scores (the latter is for only for Premium subscribers). Those are on top of existing features that were carried over from the Charge 4 — most notably, Fitbit Pay support and built-in GPS. The former lets you pay for coffee or groceries with a swipe of your wrist, while the latter helps map outdoor runs, bike rides and other activities. Built-in GPS remains the star of the show here — it's fast and accurate, making the Charge 5 the best option if you want a do-it-all wearable that’s focused on fitness.

Buy Charge 5 at Amazon - $180

Alternative: Garmin Vivosmart 4

Garmin Vivosmart 4 fitness tracker.
Engadget

A more subtle-looking alternative is the $100 Garmin Vivosmart 4. It’s thinner than the Charge 5 and fits in a bit better with bracelets and other jewelry you might wear regularly. But its attractive design is only part of its appeal — Garmin knows how to track fitness, and the Vivosmart 4 is proof that you don’t need to drop hundreds on one of the company’s fitness watches to get a capable device.

Like the Charge 5, the Vivosmart 4 tracks all-day activity and sleep and has a pulse ox sensor for blood oxygen saturation measurements. It has only connected GPS capabilities, and it has universal music controls that can control the playback of most anything. The band is also waterproof and can track basic swim workouts, plus it also has a battery life of up to seven days. While it’s similar to the Charge 5 in that the Vivosmart 4 works with both Android and iOS devices, it’s a bit more flexible as it syncs with Apple Health (the Charge 5 and other Fitbit devices do not).

Buy Vivosmart 4 at Amazon - $130

Best budget: Fitbit Inspire 2

A smartphone with the Tile app and a black Fitbit are shown against a dark grey background.
Fitbit / Tile

If you only have $100 to spare, the Fitbit Inspire 2 is the best option. It strips out all the luxury features from the Charge 5 and keeps only the essentials. You won’t get built-in GPS, Fitbit Pay or Spotify control but you do get excellent activity tracking, automatic workout detection, smartphone alerts and plenty more. As the updated version of the Inspire HR, the Inspire 2 includes a heart rate monitor, which the device uses to keep track of all-day heart rate, active zone minutes, sleep stages and more.

The Inspire HR is thinner than the Charge 5 but it also has interchangeable bands, so you can switch up its style whenever you feel like it. Its design is also swimproof, and it should last up to 10 days on a single charge. Fitbit also recently added Tile-tracking to the Inspire 2, allowing you to find your misplaced band using the Bluetooth locator feature and the Tile mobile app. All of these features make it the best value fitness tracker you can get.

Buy Inspire 2 at Fitbit - $100

Alternative: Samsung Galaxy Fit 2

Samsung Galaxy Fit 2
Samsung

The $60 Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 band is almost like a more affordable Garmin Vivosmart 4. The two trackers share the same skeletal design but the Galaxy Fit looks a bit more utilitarian — you can swap out its bands, though — something you can’t do on Garmin’s device.

We haven’t given the Fit 2 the full review treatment, but Engadget’s Cherlynn Low was impressed with the original Galaxy Fit: the Tizen-based interface is colorful and easy to use, and plenty of people will appreciate its durable, no-nonsense design. It tracks a bunch of workouts as well and even has auto-exercise recognition. That’s on top of its daily activity tracking and sleep monitor, all of which uses the built-in heart rate monitor to collect pulse data throughout the day.

The kicker for the Galaxy Fit 2 is battery life — the tiny tracker can last for up to 15 days on a single charge, and you can even extend it to 21 days if you change some settings. That’s much longer than most competing bands, so even if Samsung isn’t as comprehensive as Garmin or Fitbit is when it comes to fitness data collection and analysis, the Galaxy Fit 2 is a good option for those who want a basic tracker that they can safely forget to charge each night.

Buy Galaxy Fit 2 at Amazon - $60

Most fashionable: Withings Move

Withings Move fitness tracker.
Engadget

All of the previously mentioned fitness trackers are attractive in their own way (bonus points to those that have interchangeable bands), but they share a similar look. There aren’t many alternative designs for these devices anymore. The $70 Withings Move watch is an exception, and one of the most traditionally fashionable fitness trackers you can get. It’s an analog watch with a couple of health monitoring features including step, calorie, distance and sleep tracking, connected GPS, auto-recognition for more than 30 workouts and a water-resistant design. But we really love it for its button-cell battery, which can last up to 18 months before needing a replacement.

Buy Withings Move at Amazon - $70

The best fitness trackers you can buy

The fitness tracker isn’t dead, and if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of the people keeping these little devices alive. Smartwatches have all but taken over the mainstream wearable space, but the humble fitness tracker remains an option for those who want a gadget to do one thing right all the time. Despite the headwinds, there are still a bunch of fitness bands out there to choose from. Engadget has tested many of them and picked out the best for most people.

What do fitness trackers do best?

The answer seems simple: Fitness trackers are best at monitoring exercise, be it a 10-minute walk around the block or that half marathon you’ve been diligently training for. Obviously, smartwatches can do that too, but there are some areas where fitness bands have the upper hand: focus, design, battery life and price.

When I say “focus,” I’m alluding to the fact that fitness trackers are made to track activity well; anything else is extra. They often don’t have the bells and whistles that smartwatches do, which could distract from their activity-tracking abilities. They also tend to have fewer sensors and internal components, which keeps them smaller and lighter. Fitness trackers are also a better option for those who just want a less conspicuous device on their wrists all day.

Battery life tends to be better on fitness trackers, too. While most smartwatches last one to two days on a single charge, fitness bands will last five days to one week — and that’s with all-day and all-night use.

When it comes to price, there’s no competition. Most worthwhile smartwatches start at $175 to $200, but you can get a solid fitness tracker starting at $70. Yes, more expensive bands exist (and we recommend a few here), but you’ll find more options under $150 in the fitness tracker space than in the smartwatch space.

When to get a smartwatch instead

If you need a bit more from your wearable, you’ll likely want a smartwatch instead. There are things like on-watch apps, alerts and even more robust fitness features that smartwatches have and fitness trackers don’t. You can use one to control smart home appliances, set timers and reminders, check weather reports and more. Some smartwatches let you choose which apps you want to receive alerts from, and the options go beyond just call and text notifications.

But the extra fitness features are arguably the most important thing to think about when deciding between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. The latter devices tend to be larger, giving them more space for things like GPS, barometers, onboard music storage and more. While you can find built-in GPS on select fitness trackers, it’s not common.

Engadget picks

Best overall: Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit Charge 5 fitness tracker
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

Fitbit's Charge 5 has everything most people would want in a fitness tracker. First and foremost, it's not a smartwatch. That means it has a slightly lower profile on the wrist and lasts days on a single charge while tracking activity and sleep. It also has a full-color AMOLED display — a big improvement from the smaller, grayscale screen on last year's Charge 4. That display, along with a thinner design, make Charge 5 feel more premium than its predecessor.

But it also costs $180 — $30 more than the Charge 4 — and that's due in part to the design upgrades but also some additional features. The Charge 5 has EDA sensors for stress tracking and it will eventually support ECG measurements and Daily Readiness Scores (the latter is for only for Premium subscribers). Those are on top of existing features that were carried over from the Charge 4 — most notably, Fitbit Pay support and built-in GPS. The former lets you pay for coffee or groceries with a swipe of your wrist, while the latter helps map outdoor runs, bike rides and other activities. Built-in GPS remains the star of the show here — it's fast and accurate, making the Charge 5 the best option if you want a do-it-all wearable that’s focused on fitness.

Buy Charge 5 at Amazon - $180

Alternative: Garmin Vivosmart 4

Garmin Vivosmart 4 fitness tracker.
Engadget

A more subtle-looking alternative is the $100 Garmin Vivosmart 4. It’s thinner than the Charge 5 and fits in a bit better with bracelets and other jewelry you might wear regularly. But its attractive design is only part of its appeal — Garmin knows how to track fitness, and the Vivosmart 4 is proof that you don’t need to drop hundreds on one of the company’s fitness watches to get a capable device.

Like the Charge 5, the Vivosmart 4 tracks all-day activity and sleep and has a pulse ox sensor for blood oxygen saturation measurements. It has only connected GPS capabilities, and it has universal music controls that can control the playback of most anything. The band is also waterproof and can track basic swim workouts, plus it also has a battery life of up to seven days. While it’s similar to the Charge 5 in that the Vivosmart 4 works with both Android and iOS devices, it’s a bit more flexible as it syncs with Apple Health (the Charge 5 and other Fitbit devices do not).

Buy Vivosmart 4 at Amazon - $130

Best budget: Fitbit Inspire 2

A smartphone with the Tile app and a black Fitbit are shown against a dark grey background.
Fitbit / Tile

If you only have $100 to spare, the Fitbit Inspire 2 is the best option. It strips out all the luxury features from the Charge 5 and keeps only the essentials. You won’t get built-in GPS, Fitbit Pay or Spotify control but you do get excellent activity tracking, automatic workout detection, smartphone alerts and plenty more. As the updated version of the Inspire HR, the Inspire 2 includes a heart rate monitor, which the device uses to keep track of all-day heart rate, active zone minutes, sleep stages and more.

The Inspire HR is thinner than the Charge 5 but it also has interchangeable bands, so you can switch up its style whenever you feel like it. Its design is also swimproof, and it should last up to 10 days on a single charge. Fitbit also recently added Tile-tracking to the Inspire 2, allowing you to find your misplaced band using the Bluetooth locator feature and the Tile mobile app. All of these features make it the best value fitness tracker you can get.

Buy Inspire 2 at Fitbit - $100

Alternative: Samsung Galaxy Fit 2

Samsung Galaxy Fit 2
Samsung

The $60 Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 band is almost like a more affordable Garmin Vivosmart 4. The two trackers share the same skeletal design but the Galaxy Fit looks a bit more utilitarian — you can swap out its bands, though — something you can’t do on Garmin’s device.

We haven’t given the Fit 2 the full review treatment, but Engadget’s Cherlynn Low was impressed with the original Galaxy Fit: the Tizen-based interface is colorful and easy to use, and plenty of people will appreciate its durable, no-nonsense design. It tracks a bunch of workouts as well and even has auto-exercise recognition. That’s on top of its daily activity tracking and sleep monitor, all of which uses the built-in heart rate monitor to collect pulse data throughout the day.

The kicker for the Galaxy Fit 2 is battery life — the tiny tracker can last for up to 15 days on a single charge, and you can even extend it to 21 days if you change some settings. That’s much longer than most competing bands, so even if Samsung isn’t as comprehensive as Garmin or Fitbit is when it comes to fitness data collection and analysis, the Galaxy Fit 2 is a good option for those who want a basic tracker that they can safely forget to charge each night.

Buy Galaxy Fit 2 at Amazon - $60

Most fashionable: Withings Move

Withings Move fitness tracker.
Engadget

All of the previously mentioned fitness trackers are attractive in their own way (bonus points to those that have interchangeable bands), but they share a similar look. There aren’t many alternative designs for these devices anymore. The $70 Withings Move watch is an exception, and one of the most traditionally fashionable fitness trackers you can get. It’s an analog watch with a couple of health monitoring features including step, calorie, distance and sleep tracking, connected GPS, auto-recognition for more than 30 workouts and a water-resistant design. But we really love it for its button-cell battery, which can last up to 18 months before needing a replacement.

Buy Withings Move at Amazon - $70

Samsung’s Bespoke Design Contest reveals the three winning refrigerator designs from over 1,500 submissions!

The top three winning refrigerator designs of Samsung’s Bespoke Design Contest have been revealed after over 1,500 custom designs were submitted.

Samsung household appliances have been trusted by homeowners for years. In an effort to make their collection of refrigerators more unique to their consumers’ tastes and to reflect the appliance’s standard of dependability, Samsung hosted their Bespoke Design Contest with Wallpaper* Magazine. Between July 7 and August 4, 2021, 1,581 designs were submitted to the contest, a number narrowed down to three one-of-a-kind designs that were voted on by the public.

The contest’s top 50 designs were hand-selected by a panel of judges comprised of Wallpaper* editor-in-chief Sarah Douglas, Senior Vice President and Head of Design for Samsung Digital Appliances Harry Choi, Senior Vice President and Head of Samsung Design Europe, Felix Heck, interior designer Kelly Hoppen CBE, and artist Yinka Ilori. Following their announcement, Samsung invited their followers to vote for the contest’s top 15 designs by “liking” their posts on Samsung Bespoke’s Instagram.

At the top of the podium, Rita Louis’s “Lost Landscape” looks to walks in nature for inspiration. Taking cues from the subtle nuances of natural landscapes, Louis bedecked her off-white modular refrigerator system with splatters and thick brushstrokes of royal blue paint. Lauded for its “artistic, light and inspiring,” personality, “Lost Landscape” was voted for with enthusiasm from Samsung, Wallpaper*, and the general public.

Right beside Rita Louis’s creation, “Foodie” by Weronika Slifierz takes a different approach to custom design. Borrowing the color scheme of popular illustrations from the ‘90s, Slifierz coated her refrigerator in cartoons of food imagery. Sushi, watermelon, avocados, ramen, and a good ole’ carton of OJ grace the double doors of Slifierz’s refrigerator, serving to wet the tastebuds before a good, healthy meal, which Slifierz believes we should all indulge in every day.

“Nestled,” from Ioana Sabau was inspired by the company that food brings. Describing this, Sabau explains, “food brings people together, and…the time we spend in the kitchen can be [time spent] connecting with each other.” Noting the project’s particular use of abstract colors, Heck remarks, “The colors, the scale, the symmetry, and the cute, cartoony abstraction create a uniqueness and beauty that make me feel positive [about] this beautiful little love story.”

Designer: Samsung Bespoke Design Contest