5 best phones for health and fitness

Best smartphones for health and fitness icon

Mobile phones are fast becoming a surprisingly good sport accessory - and not just for ringing someone for a lift home after you’ve jogged out to the middle of nowhere.

There are plenty of apps out there to track your progress, and even the most basic smartphones have features like motion sensors that can act as a pedometer. But which phones are best for fitness freaks? We've taken a look at which ones have some of the best sporting essentials: durability, in-built apps, motion sensors, heart rate monitors, accessories, and more. Here are our favourites - and some of the best contract deals for each one.

iPhone 7

iPhone 7

When iOS 8 was launched, Apple made a big fuss about its Health app. And in all fairness, it has some of the most comprehensive fitness data: calories burned, minutes of exercise, heart rate, blood sugar levels, cholesterol… along with some bizarrely complex data points like your vitamin B intake. It means you'll need to input a lot of info to get a full picture of your health - which a lot of fitness fans have criticised - but if there's anything at all you want to track, the option is almost certainly there.

In terms of hardware, the iPhone 7 has got everything you could want for tracking exercise. The pedometer counts how many steps you walk, the barometer can tell you how many flights of stairs those steps were taken on, and the GPS logs how far you went on your run. If all that's not enough, you can link it up to an Apple Watch for even more precise data.

And fitness aside, the iPhone 7 is a darn good phone, with a stunning design and top-notch tech. Any iPhone will come with Apple Health so you're free to take your pick - but if you want an amazing mobile that just happens to be good for fitness too, the 7 is the way to go.

iPhone 5s

iPhone 5s

Getting the latest flagship iPhone can be costly. The 5s, on the other hand, is far less expensive - but still comes with all the fitness perks you could need.

In fact, it's even got a few advantages over a hefty iPhone 7. With a four-inch screen, its smaller size means it's more portable, and can be used with sport accessories like an armband that straps it to you while you run. That way you'll get more accurate readings on the Health app without having to stuff the phone in the pockets of your sportswear (or splash out on a Watch).

And it still has all the fitness-friendly features you could need: a durable Gorilla Glass display, motion detectors to power the pedometer, and GPS to track where you've been running.

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8

Prefer Android over Apple, but don't want to compromise on quality? Have a gander at the Galaxy S8 - and Samsung's own health and fitness app, S Health.

S Health may not have data that's as in-depth as Apple Health, but it's been hailed as one of the best fitness apps out there. There's the usual calorie counter, pedometer, and sleep tracker, along with an 'Exercise' feature that tracks your route when you're on a run, walk, cycle, hike, or work out - though this app's got some extras up its sleeve too.

As with all of Samsung's Galaxy range, there's a heart rate monitor stuck on the back of the phone, so you can see what your ticker's doing without strapping on a chest monitor.

And for logging your diet, there's a comprehensive nutrition diary, with a huge library of foods to select, so you can get a pretty accurate picture of your intake. Put everything together - food, sleep, exercise, even stress levels - and S Health will give you an overall 'Lifestyle Score' to let you know how you're doing.

Like the iPhone 7, the Galaxy S8 is simply a fantastic phone: huge 5.8-inch QHD screen, octa-core processors, and impressive software. It's also compatible with loads of wearables, such as the Samsung Gear Fit - which is cheaper and more lightweight than the Apple Watch, by the way, and will automatically input your data into S Health for you.

LG G6

LG G6

With its Gorilla Glass rear panel and display, this premium LG model is as durable as flagship models come. As with the Galaxy S8, it has a water and dust rating of IP68, which means it’s protected in water up to 30 metres deep for half an hour - and it has an excellent temperature tolerance, having been thoroughly tested across a wide temperature range.

Fully compatible with Android Wear 2.0 Smartwatches and other tech such as Fitbit, the LG G6 will happily sync up to make your exercise programme that much smoother. You can also use the LG Health App to record exercise types and your fitness data.

While the LG G6 battery isn’t a high performer, it’s quick to recharge and its heat pipes make sure the battery doesn’t overheat.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

More concerned about having a hardy handset than snazzy fitness software? The Xperia Z1 Compact may be for you. Its body is completely water and dust resistant, so it's a great companion for all your sporting endeavours - whether you're biking through mud in the rain, or kicking up dust on a run. This is a phone that won't let you down.

Since the Z1 Compact is a bit smaller than a regular Z1, it's more portable too, and it's got an impressive battery life that can easily last two days on one charge.

There aren't, however, any fitness apps included as standard from Sony - you'll need to nab one from the Google Play Store. Luckily the Z1 Compact is rocking all the features to make them work, including motion sensors, GPS, a barometer, and compatibility with Android Wear.

  • Best iPhone alternatives 2018

  • Best contract phone deals in September

  • 10 ways to make your smartphone more secure

  • How do I free up storage space on my phone?

  • How do I switch from my monthly mobile contract to SIM-only?

  • A parent’s guide: What are the best phones for kids and teenagers?

  • 10 ways to make your smartphone more secure

  • iPhone 7: Everything you need to know

  • How to buy a mobile phone: The complete guide

  • 5 best phones for older people

  • Mobile coverage: No more 'no signal'

  • How to recycle your old mobile phone