What's the point of a fitness tracker? If you're doing hardcore, focused training for en event, you will probably be in the market for a training watch or computer (Garmin or Polar are top of the range in this field). However if you're simply trying to increase your daily activity levels, monitor your heart rate or trying to keep an eye on your calorie-burn, a neat fitness tracker may be perfect for you.
Fitness trackers help you to check your progress and see where you need to improve, as well as monitoring your overall health. The days of the simple step-counting pedometer are long gone; devices can now monitor your activity levels, heart rate and even your sleeping patterns around the clock. But with so many on the market, how do you choose the one that suits your needs?
Our reviews of the best and most popular fitness trackers should help.
Silent vibrating alarm
Wireless and Bluetooth sync
Compatible withPCs, Macs, iPhone 4S & 5, iPad 3, Retina & mini, iPod touch, and to select Android phones
A flexible rubber exterior makes the Fitbit Flex super-comfy and easy to wear all day. The tracker comes in two colours, but you can get the bands in a range of different colours, which means you can accessorize to match your outfit. The FitBit is simple and not bulky so you can wear it every day without too much bother.
How it works
The FitBit Flex measures your activities around the clock, even when you’re sleeping. As well as tracking steps, distance, calories burned and sleep activity, the Flex also measures a brand new stat called active minutes (how many moderate-intensity cardio minutes a user has done in a day). Set yourself a specific goal and the LED lights on the tracker reveal how close you are to achieving your goal. The information is then wirelessly synced to your device so that you can see your data in real time on the simple to use, yet very informative app.
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Why we love it
This fitness bracelet is easy to use and the app gives you loads of great information. The live sync and real time updates mean you can stay on top of your fitness at all times and the LED lights and vibrating progress notifications are fab for keeping you motivated to keep active throughout the day.
There is a limited amount of information on the actual bracelet, so you do always have to have access to a device in order to analyse your results. Also there is no altimeter which means the device can’t measure the altitude of which you are working out, which could affect your results.
All in all this is a great device that really helps to keep on top of your fitness and helps you to achieve your goals.
Activity tracker (daily activity, calories burned, step taken,)
Acts as a watch
LED lights show progress
Bluetooth pairing to smart phones
Compatible with iPhones with i0S 5.0 or above
Not particularly comfortable and fairly bulky, the Nike Fuelband comes in black, black ‘ice’ and white. It does look cool, though (and Serena Williams wears one. Nuff said)
How it works
Tracks your daily activity, calories burned and steps taken and measures how much Nike ‘fuel’ you are using to do it. The bracelet includes LED lights, which change to a different colour depending on your progress. Sync to the Nike+ fuel band app on your iPhone or connect to your computer via the Nike+ connect software.
Why we love it
The Nike Fuelband is really simple to use and provides you with the basic information you need to know. The LED lights are an easy and effective way to keep on top of your progress all day long.
This is one of the most expensive products on the market, but offers few extra features. There is limited information compared with some other products.
If all you are worried about is calorie counting and steps taken, the Nike Fuelband is simple to use and effective.
24/7 Activity tracker
10 day battery
Compatible with iPhones with i0S 5.1 or above and Android 4.0 or above.
Sleek design available in eight different colours. Both flexible and strong and extremely light, it can be worn 24/7.
How it works
Again, this tracker is to be worn at all times as it tracks your movement both when you’re active and while you’re asleep. The Jawbone Up keeps track of distance travelled, calories burned, active time, and active intensity. If you are inactive for a long period of time, the bracelet will vibrate and inform you. Simply plug the Jawbone Up into your phone and view all your results on the free app.
Why we love it:
This app is absolutely fab at visualising information so that you can understand the meaning behind all the numbers, making the data delivery a little less daunting. We love the idle alert as it reminds you to stay active throughout the day. Another amazing feature is the ‘smart alarm’, which wakes you up at the optimum time based on your REM cycles.
This can only be used with IOS and androids and doesn’t work with a PC, so that is a fairly limiting factor. There is also no Bluetooth or wireless sync, to save on battery, but it really is simple to plug the device into your phone so don’t let this put you off.
The associated app really makes this product, as it is so informative and really easy to understand. A great tool if you’re looking for a thorough analysis of your overall fitness.
Heart rate sensor
Touch screen surface
14 day history of collected data available on product
Power save mode
Sync via Bluetooth smart
The Withings Pulse is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad, iPod touch 4th gen, iPod touch 5th gen and Android devices 2.3.3 or higher
The Withings Pulse has a slick design with user-friendly touchscreen display. Small enough to fit in a pocket or handbag, it also comes with a clip so you can easily and unobtrusively fix it to a belt or bra. Also includes a wriststrap to wear for gentle exercise and when you’re sleeping.
How it works:
The only fitness tracker with a heart rate sensor, the Withings Pulse monitors everything; distance, steps taken, calories burned, elevation, steps taken, sleep activity and heart rate. The product has a small touch screen so you can view your information throughout the day, but it also syncs to your device via Bluetooth smart. All information and data can be viewed on the free app.
Why we love it
The heart rate sensor on this makes the Withings Pulse different to other products. It measures your resting heart rate and your heart rate after activity which gives you a better idea of your overall health. The touch screen means you can constantly stay up to date with your fitness without having to move to another device. A two-week battery life means no worries about charging on a daily basis, and synch-ing your Pulse with a MyFiutnesspal account means you can accurately track what you eat and whether you are burning it off.
The wrist strap can only be used when sleeping, walking or running. If you are planning more strenuous activities you would be better off using the clip and attaching the tracker to your bra or pocket.
If you don’t mind a clip-on tracker as opposed to bracelet, this product is simple and effective to use and covers all areas of your health. The heart rate sensor really makes it a great product. Love - big time.
- Technology & Electronics
- Nike Fuelband