Wearable technology is one of the more recent categories of the ever-growing gadget market. Fitness trackers have become more popular, especially amongst fitness fanatics and the health conscious alike. They can monitor everything from your exercise and diet, to your overall body movement and sleep patterns. But with so many models and brands to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which one is for you. We’ve put together a simple overview of the top fitness trackers available and hopefully it will help you choose between the ones that just look good and those that will actually help you get fit and healthy.
The Polar Loop
I’ve chosen to start with this one because it is one of the few fitness trackers that is fully waterproof, so if you are looking for a device that can monitor your swimming activity, then this is an option for you. It also performs the same basic functions as any other tracker: monitoring sleep time, steps taken, activity time and levels, and calories burned. Priced at $99.95, it is good value for money, especially when you consider it displays the time, which some of the more expensive ones don’t.
When it comes to comfort the Polar Loop scores quite well and that’s probably because you have to cut it to size, resulting in a perfect fit for your wrist. The band connects to the accompanying software that can be downloaded from Polar’s website or you can opt for the iPhone app, which can be downloaded from the App Store.
This funky looking fitness tracker is the newer version of the original Jawbone UP and offers useful data about your daily routine and a handy feature that enables you to scan food barcodes. It connects wirelessly to an iPhone or iPad but unfortunately doesn’t have a screen for displaying information on the device itself.
Once you have set up the app, the tracker is easy to use and packed with functionality. You can set it to send you alerts so that you can keep motivated and even enter the food you’ve eaten to work out your calorie intake. Priced at $149, it is one of the more expensive fitness trackers and it’s worth remembering that this model is not waterproof. But if you’re looking for a tracker that couples style with functionality, then this would be a good choice.
This is one of the more recent releases and is becoming popular due to the fact that it is half the price of the FitBit Flex at $49.95. Again it tracks your steps taken, distanced travelled, calories burned and sleep. It can be worn in several ways; either on your wrist, attached to a belt or even around your neck thanks to the lanyard provided. As with the Jawbone UP24, there is no display, so if you want to view your information, then you’ll need to download the accompanying app which is available for both iOS and Android.
The Fitbug Orb will set goals for you and you will receive regular emails giving you feature hints and progress reports. But if you like setting your own goals, unfortunately you can’t with this device.
This perhaps one of the best known fitness trackers (you may remember the FitBit Force was recalled due to complaints of skin irritation) and at $99.95 is a middle of the range model. Being small and lightweight, it is the ideal tracker if you are looking for something less bulky. You can view information via the device itself or receive more detailed data on your activities through the app or your FitBit account online. It syncs wirelessly with your smartphone and comes with a handy wireless dongle for connecting to your PC.
The downside of the One is that it can’t track biking or swimming activites but you can log these yourself through your FitBit account. Once you have reached goals and personal milestones, you will get “badges” that appear on your account. This is just one of the motivational features designed to keep you going with your fitness regime – and using your FitBit One of course!
Basis Carbon Steel Edition
The Basis Carbon Steel Edition looks more like a smartwatch than a fitness tracker and at a cost of $199, is one of the most expensive. The silicon strap has been designed to be more flexible and therefore more comfortable, while the tracker display is rather large.
It automatically detects when you are on the move and will start to record walking, running and cycling activity. If you stop, it stops tracking but resumes again once it detects you have restarted. As well as telling you how long and how well you slept, Basis will explain what each phase of sleep means, why it’s important, how much time a person typically spends in each stage and what you should be aiming for.
Although there are some great features and it looks very cool, this could be too bulky for some.
If you have any recommendations for a fitness tracker, then please share them with us.