As the New Year brings in new resolutions to get fit and lose weight, we check out the state of the fitness tracker market on the eve of 2016
There’s so many fitness wearables on the market coming from established health brands that picking out the most suitable option can prove a tall order. Luckily, we’re here to help you choose between the likes of Jawbone, Microsoft, Fitbit and Nike.
Strap on those running shoes and start earning yourself some exercise points with our collection of the best fitness trackers for the New Year.
The Fitness Surge is more a fully fledged smart watch than a simple fitness tracker and its most notable feature is built-in GPS. So you can get runtime, distance, elevation and pace stats on all your runs and power-walks. Unlike the Apple Watch, the Fitbit Surge’s battery can last a whole week between charges because the display is monochrome and relatively low resolution. Perhaps the biggest thing in the Surge’s favour, though, is the fact that it is worn and used by the leader of the free world: Barack Obama. How’s that for a celebrity endorsement.
The Up3 is currently Jawbone’s flagship fitness tracker – although the Up4 has been announced in the US. What the extra £50 gets you over other Jawbone models is advanced sleep tracking and – most importantly – continuous heartbeat monitoring.
The Up3 also has an eye-catching form factor thanks to the creative input from trendy Swiss designer Yves Béhar. Personally we think it’s a little bit too attention seeking, but there a plenty of fans who love its looks.
Under the surface, the Up3 is possibly the most advanced tracker you can get with an array of sensors that include respiration, heart rate and galvanic skin response. The last is a measure – literally – of how sweaty your wrist is. Nice.
Jawbone’s wearables are widely known as some of the best around, and the Up24 is the best choice for buyers that aren’t looking to break the bank for a well-rounded fitness tracker.
Unlike the older (but cheaper) Jawbone Up, the Up24 comes with Bluetooth built inside, meaning that manually syncing data to your smartphone via the headphone jack is a thing of the past.
The Jawbone mobile app for Android and iOS is gorgeous, offering information on sleeping patterns, steps taken and weight changes. Users can also add fellow Jawbone owners to form ‘teams’, which gives lazy bums an incentive to get moving and earn more points than their mates.
Unlike other fitness tracker apps out there, Jawbone on mobile allows users to log meals eaten throughout the day, offering nutritional information to food fanatics and tips on how to improve diet to meet certain goals.
This is a very good purchase for both casual fitness fans and gym freaks alike.
Fibit is another company looking to dominate the fitness tracker market, recently updating its range of exercise accessories with features to rival Nike and Jawbone.
Unlike the Jawbone Up24, the Fitbit Charge boasts a mini screen for keeping track of steps taken during the day, which is useful to say the least. It can tell the time, too.
As with the majority of its competitors, the Fitbit Charge offers users real-time information on stats such as steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned, floors climbed (which the Jawbone can’t do) and ‘active’ minutes.
The beauty of having a screen built into the device means that users don’t need to be near a smartphone or computer to see how their day is going from a fitness perspective.
Fitbit boasts that the Charge offers an ‘industry-leading battery life’ of around 7-10 days, with the gadget also managing to serve out incoming call alerts to a user’s wrist.
Sleep can also be tracked accurately and Fitbit Charge owners can set alarms to ensure the wristband vibrates in the morning. Whereas Jawbone owners must manually tell their UP that they’re going to bed, the Fitbit Charge will work that out automatically.
Sporting giant Nike has its own answer to fitness tracking: The Nike+ FuelBand.
Nike’s FuelBand looks more like a ‘bangle’ than a wristband, but despite it’s size it’s a good-looking piece of kit.
This fitness tracker gives owners a concise read-out of the calories burned during the day and converts this energy into ‘ Fuel points’, a currency that the mobile app for Android and iOS focuses on.
Checking out fitness progress using the mobile app is a positive experience, thanks mainly to the clean and simple layout on show. There’s a host of social features tucked into the download, so owners can compare points with friends.
The FuelBand is water resistant according to Nike and is said to last for around 4 days of ‘solid use’. There’s a physical button on the band which scrolls through information screens when pressed.
Microsoft Band 2
Microsoft’s first foray into the world of fitness trackers comes in the form of the Band – a £169.99 fitness tracker with GPS, full-colour touch display and available on all platforms.
The new version – the Microsoft Band 2 – ups the recommended price to a shade under £200, but in return brings a sleeker design and yet another sensor in the form of a barometer.
The already impressive full-colour display gets a boost in both overall size and resolution.
Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant lives inside the Band and the gadget is compatible with both iOS and Android as well as Windows Mobile.
The new Band 2 is a definite step up in terms of looks, comfort and functionality. And along with the Fitbit Surge is one of the few trackers to offer full on-board GPS. A genuine contender.