The 3 Best Fitness Trackers You Can Buy As Of Today
2014 has been the year wearable computing has started to settle, especially one specific type of wearables: fitness trackers. The battle for your wrist has stopped being a matter of just a few rogue players to become a crowd of competitors.
That's been beneficial for users in two ways. First, competition has pushed innovation further and, in consequence, fitness trackers are currently way more than mere smart wristbands. They now include features such as heartrate monitoring, GPS, synced notifications, and more.
Secondly, the variety of options is now wider regarding brands, design, and functionality.
As usual, when the market is flooded with dozens of options, the average user needs some help to decide which device really fits their lifestyle. Here are the three best fitness trackers you can get as of today according to the different needs you may have. Let's zoom in!
The most well-balanced option: Jawbone UP3
Designed as a pure bracelet, the Jawbone UP3 fits your wrist. Comfort is guaranteed, thanks to a flexible band with hypoallergenic rubber skin. It doesn't sport a display, but rather a simple notification LED, which can be a negative for some users who want to use it as a smartwatch or notification panel. However, its built-in sensors are always working in the background, tracking your steps, distance, heart rate, ambient temperature, and sleep quality. It seamlessly syncs data with your smartphone (or desktop devices) via Bluetooth.
The UP3 is one of the most accurate sleep trackers on the market. It includes a smart silent alarm that wakes you up in the ideal moment of your sleep cycle. Through the companion app, it provides you with tips on how to improve your sleeping.
Actually, the companion app pushing those tips is another added-value feature. It perfectly combines the data it collects from your activity to become a personal coach regarding sleeping, nutrition, and workout. In other words, it doesn't just log and show you the data, but also processes it and comes up with understandable, personal recommendations.
Finally, the UP3 is supported by a great deal of 3rd-party apps like Runkeeper, MyFitnessPal and Lose It! as well as IFTTT recipes. It can communicate with Nest Thermostat, it's waterproof to 10 meters, and its battery life can last for a week. How cool is that?
You can get a Jawbone UP3 for $179.
PROS: Design. Comfort. User-friendly companion app. Accurate sleep tracker.
CONS: No display. No smartwatch functionality.
Half Fitness Tracker, Half Smartwatch: Basis Peak
If you are going to put a gadget in your wrist, you might find a screen that actually displays the time non-negotiable. If that's the case, and you don't mind investing a few more bucks, Basis Peak (which is hitting retailers tomorrow, November 20) should be your choice.
The Basis Peak comes packed with all the sensors you might expect from a fitness tracker of its range (heart monitor, step counter, distance...) but, in addition, it includes skin temperature and perspiration sensors, as well as a triple-axis motion sensor. Of course, the increased number of sensors favor more accurate data collection and, in consequence, more in-depth knowledge of your own health and physical condition. There's a drawback though: the companion app still needs to be enhanced to turn all that data into user-friendly recommendations.
Hands down, one of the added-values of Basis Peak is that it's able to automatically detect which activity you are performing, such as walking, running, biking and, of course, when you fall asleep. It tracks and logs your different behavior while sleeping (tossing & turning, REM phase, interruptions...).
You can also set habits and weekly goals, and the Peak will adjust them automatically based on your behavior to help you improve.
Finally, you can expect basic smartwatch functionality such as time and alerts on your wrist for SMS, e-mails, calls, calendar event,s and some apps. You won't be able to answer from the Peak though. The battery lasts for at least four days, and the price at launch will be $199.
PROS: HR, perspiration, & temperature sensors. Auto-detects activity. Smartwatch functionality.
CONS: Clumsy design. Price. Companion app needs to be more user-friendly.
The affordable personal coach: Moov
Moov is an innovative wearable created by a team of experts including former Apple engineer Nikola Hu. Moov isn't only a fitness tracker in the restricted sense but also a personal coach. Of course, it comes packed with sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer) that record your activity. However, instead of showing you the data, it turns it into motivational and instructive voice commands.
It you are a data-junkie, Moov likely isn't for you, since it doesn't provide you with step count, calories burned, or your heart rate as ordinary fitness trackers do. Instead, the motion-sensing system made up by its three sensors not only detects the movement you are doing but how properly you are doing it. It delivers real-time advice via voice and app notifications so you can improve your workouts.
In addition, Moov is a live example of how apps can boost gadgets that have modest hardware a priori. Moov has currently two apps: Running & Walking and Cardio Punch that give insights for those specific activities. The underlying plan is though, to create an app ecosystem for different sports and activities (swimming, yoga, weight-lifting...).
Check out the Moov promo video.
Another good reason for giving Moov a chance is its price: you can now preorder Moov from its official website for just $79.95 and receive it in a few weeks.
PROS: Original approach to fitness tracking (Coach). Affordability. Growing app ecosystem.
CONS: It doesn't deliver raw data (steps, HR, calories...). No Android compatibility so far.
Have you ever tried one of these gadgets? Leave your opinion in the comments!