Activity Trackers: Which Should You Buy?

Activity Trackers
Buying Guides

A fitness tracker is a very useful tool which can be used for measuring and monitoring your physical fitness and activity. Before getting one, it is very important to take into consideration your fitness goals.

Do you want to fine tune a specific routine or perhaps train for a particular triathlon event? The most appropriate activity tracker is one that can help you in achieving your objectives and goals.

These fitness trackers may range from simple options to sophisticated pieces. All of these options also come with matching price points. There are certain things that you definitely need to take into consideration in order to find the best tracker that can fit your lifestyle, fitness, fashion sense and, of course, budget.

One thing is for sure – an activity tracker is very much similar to a membership at a gym – it will only prove to be advantageous if you actually use it.

What Makes a Good Activity Tracker?

Generally speaking, activity trackers have been designed to accommodate a wide array of requirements. For example, if you just want to know the number of steps that you actually take in a day, you can look for an all-day tracker.

On the other hand, if you are interested in knowing other details such as pace, speed and stride that are linked with the number of steps that you take and the distance traveled, you may want to find a training tracker. These types of models can give you data that are specifically tailored to the routines of avid athletes in various sports.

Of course, there are also certain features that you definitely need to take into consideration. These can allow you to refine your options even better, possibly allowing you to base your decision on your personal taste and preferences. Here are some of them:

Style

Different types of trackers have been designed as wrist wear. However, there are also others that can be clipped onto your clothes or worn as pendants. Years before, these devices may have only been considered as something that is completely functional.

However, modern manufacturers are now becoming more and more conscious of the preferences and taste of style of their consumers. When it comes to deciding on your own, it is highly advisable to look for an activity tracker that can provide you with a wide variety of shapes, materials and colors.

Display

The models that are considered more advanced are those that reveal data on a good-quality display. Data is presented in the form of numbers, words and symbols. Others may share such info through an LED light display or perhaps through an app.

After syncing the data to a mobile device, the companion app of the tracker will not just archive the gathered information but will also help in you interpreting and analyzing it. Before making a final decision, it is best to preview the companion app in order to ensure that it can meet your expectations.

Accuracy

As of this point, it is very important to acknowledge that these trackers are not really foolproof. They use algorithms and sensors in order to measure footsteps, stairs climbed, punches thrown, hours slept, etc. This means that you might see a certain level of imprecision at times. If you are looking for accurate, hard data, the option may be to look for a function-specific type of device.

Compatibility

Before buying one, it is very important to make sure that your device is compatible with your computer or smartphone. After all, there are certain trackers which may only sync with iOS, while others are only for Android. Most of these may not work with Windows.

Battery Life

Depending on the device’s sophistication, the battery life may stretch from a day to a specific number of months. A tracker which comes with a colored touchscreen and a wide array of sensors may require frequent charging compared to just a simple wristband with just some LED lights on its display.

Also, you may also have to consider that not all activity trackers are actually rechargeable as some may actually run with coin cell batteries that are similar to the ones used on calculators and cameras.

Water resistance

The water resistance of an activity tracker should definitely be taken into consideration. There are certain trackers that are considered splash-proof, while others have the capability to withstand a shower, both indoors and outdoors. If you are planning to use your tracker while engaging in pool or sea activity, you definitely need to look for one that is waterproof at a certain degree.

Advantages/Benefits of an Activity Tracker

There are several benefits that you can expect upon getting an activity tracker. Here are some of them:

#1 Tracks Your Performance Every Day

Obviously, this is the primary reason why you would want to get an activity tracker for yourself. Aside from just tracking, the process is done in an easy and more convenient way. This means that you can finally throw away that pen and paper that you used to use as you track your progress.

#2 Motivates You to Do Well On Your Activity

Some activity trackers provide support that will enable your data to be stored accordingly in the cloud. This can be done by syncing your tracker to your smartphone. There are several social communities where you can share your activity records. Those communities can even give you a fitness goal which you can also achieve by making your targets.

#3 Notifies You When It Is Necessary To Increase Current Activity

At times, you may have the tendency to forget that you need to do your workout session every day. A lot of tracker models have been programmed to notify that you need to start moving in order to reach your goal. There are even some that can give you a small electric shock if you fail to reach your target.

#4 Tracks Your Sleep

There are some activity trackers that also offer features that can record and track your sleep. Some tracker bands use data collected in a particular period, calculating the idea time individually for you to sleep. This means that your tracker can inform you that you need to go to bed at least 20 minutes earlier so that you can be capable of finishing your steps goals the next day.

#5 Tracks Your Vital Signs

These activity trackers are not just for younger, fitter people. Using a tracker is very helpful when it comes to tracking vital signs. This is also very helpful when it comes to providing support for older people who may be suffering from health problems. The data collected may be accessed occasionally by your physician for his diagnosis.

Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband

Getting fit simply means that you definitely need to exert a certain amount of effort each and every day. However, this may just be useless if you lack motivation. Therefore, while motivation can help a lot, it is also helpful to depend on the assistance of modern devices so that you can track your fitness better.

The Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband is a great choice in this regard.  It is recognized as one of the best options when it comes to price and accuracy in tracking. It is also compatible with other 3rd party applications. Other features include the capability to track sleep and its overall convenience.

Pros

  • Slim and comfortable
  • Setup is easy to do
  • Compatibility with Android and iOs devices
  • Fairly convenient
  • Easy to wear
  • Easy to sync with mobile devices

Cons

  • Does not include stair steps tracking
  • No LCD display to show the steps taken
  • Cannot be synced to Mac without its USB dongle

Summary

The Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband is undoubtedly one of the best options out there when it comes to tracking physical activity. It is available with a wide variety of straps with different colors. As such, you can easily select one that does not just focus on your physical performance but also allows you to have a device that can represent your preferences and tastes. With this tracker, you are assured that you are not just getting the output that you want but also something that can meet your fashion sense.

Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch, Black, Large

The Fitbit Surge is a sure competitor when it comes to activity trackers that provide real-time workout stats and includes features such as GPS tracking. It even comes with a heart rate monitor; thus being coined as a superwatch. It is a very reliable tracker which is loved because of its long battery life.

It also comes with a big LCD screen which can easily be worn on the wrist. Its interface is backlit and turned on all the time. This will easily allow you to keep track of your steps, miles, active minutes and heart rate.

Pros

  • App compatible with most phones
  • New features are added
  • Bigger touchscreen LCD
  • Comes with heart rate monitor
  • Classic watch clasp included

Cons

  • Weaker battery life
  • Certain issues with accuracy of data
  • Classic design may not be “cool” to others

Summary

There is no question that the Fitbit Surge is a very reliable activity tracker which comes with a lot of features. In fact, it deserves its ‘superwatch’ name since the company has upgraded the specs, such as the addition of a built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and real-time workout data.

These features were specifically requested by the consumers and were exactly provided to them as such, much to their pleasure.

Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband

This activity tracker also serves as a sleep tracker in a wristband form. It is typically useful as it can provide the necessary motivation for active individuals. As compared with other trackers under the same category and manufacturer, this specific model can be considered a hybrid of two other earlier models – the One and the Flex.

It is also equipped with a USB dongle that can be use in syncing it to a laptop or desktop. It also comes with a Bluetooth 4.0 support which can be used for wireless syncing to any smartphone.

Pros

  • Comes with a caller ID feature
  • Amazing interface overall
  • Easy wireless syncing
  • Tracks distance
  • Stairs and steps accurately tracked

Cons

  • Extra hand movements may be added to the steps count
  • Wristband feature may be uncomfortable to some

Summary

The Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband is very convenient in style and design because it comes in the form of a wrist band. It has the capability to count the number of steps taken, distance travelled, stair steps climbed and even calories burned while doing these activities.

Because of the fact that it also acts as a sleep tracker, you can expect that you can also use it in bed in order to track your sleep quality.

UP3 by Jawbone Heart Rate, Activity + Sleep Tracker, Black Twist

Jawbone is a known manufacturer of activity trackers and fitness bands. As a matter of fact, they take a different approach in their products. Their products are not created for user interaction – they’ve been designed in order to collect various types of data and for sensing things.

The UP3 model introduced by Jawbone is special in a way that it uses a unique technology named bioimpedance that provides an edge over other trackers that only use the normal optical and LED sensors.

Pros

  • Comes with magnetic USB charger
  • Advanced design in sleep tracking
  • Smart alarm patented technology
  • Compact band design
  • Longer battery life
  • Great coaching and lifestyle app

Cons

  • No on-band display
  • May not be used on water
  • Limited heart rate measurement
  • Challenging to adjust the band clasp

Summary

One of the activity trackers that come with high profile these days is the Jawbone UP3. This is obviously because the manufacturers really focused on making sure that the technology used in this tracker is highly-advanced. It comes with sensors and other amazing features.

This tracker is really reliable because it is also equipped with a new feature which is called as the tri-axis accelerometer. It also has some bioimpedance sensors, skin sensors and ambient temperature sensors.

All of these sensors can be found within the band to measure the resistance of skin tissue towards little electric currents, including a treadmill heart rate measurement. It is certainly a great tracker because of the features that it offers.

Garmin VivoFit 2 Activity Tracker, Black

The Garmin VivoFit 2 tracker is well preferred by various users compared to other models. For one, it is one of the few available options these days that is relatively waterproof – up to 5 meters. This means that this tracker can be worn on the wrist all the time without having to worry about getting wet during water activities.

While it may not be advisable for use on deep dives, it is safe and useful for any water-related activity aside from that. It is equipped with several other features, including its capability to count calories and analyse your sleep .

Just like other tracker model, the guarantee of 100% accuracy is not possible in this model but you can definitely get the data that you need.

Pros

  • Little, neat activity tracker
  • Accuracy in step counting
  • Waterproof up to 5 meters
  • Long battery life
  • Easy to understand screen display
  • Reliable features
  • Mobile app compatible with most phones

Cons

  • Useful analysis could have been provided
  • May not be accurate in tracking sleep and run
  • Certain challenges with comfortability

Summary

What a lot of users love about the Garmin VivoFit 2 Activity Tracker is the fact that it has the capability to stay on longer thanks to its long battery life. Also, you do not have to worry about losing it since you can just wear it all the time, even in the shower. It is waterproof which means that you do not have to worry about the unit getting wet.

Conclusion

While there are a lot of options on activity trackers that are available online aside from the models mentioned above, the trackers bearing the name Fitbit are a good choice. According to feedback coming from users, the Fitbit Surge comes on top of the list, followed by the Fitbit Flex and then the Fitbit Charge.

Of course, several users may have their own preferences, especially as each of these models comes with their own set of advantages and features. If you are planning to get the motivation needed to stay fit, getting your own activity tracker is a good option for you.

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