Wearables are here
Fitness trackers combine cutting-edge technology with the latest fitness trends to provide users with the personalised data they need to monitor (and test!) their fitness goals.
It’s unsurprising that fitness trackers are proving so popular - by recording and storing personal fitness data, trackers are providing millions with the accurate information they need to regulate and refine their own fitness routines - from the comfort of their wrists or phones.
Fitness brands are releasing their own wearables left, right, and centre, making it difficult for fitness enthusiasts to find the right device for them. To help, we’ve tied back our hair, put on our gym shoes, and tried out a selection of the latest wearables for ourselves. Here are our top 3 fitness trackers.
Xiaomi Mi Band
Our number 3 — £15. Neat, cheap, and easy to use. The Xiaomi Mi Band is the fitness tracker for the newbie on a budget.
Design doesn’t come much simpler than this. The band consists of a plain rubber wristband, inside which sits the oval-shaped tracking module. No complicated straps or sharp buckles and no heavy interface, that’s it. Unlike many other smartwatches and trackers, it’s incredibly light so you can concentrate on your fitness routine unobstructed.
Simply snap the band around your wrist and use it in conjunction with the Mi Fit app to monitor your steps and sleep. There’s no display on the face, but the band does feature three LEDs that blink depending on how much progress you are making.
- The band is waterproof down to 1 metre for up to 30 minutes.
- Mi Band tracks sleep every night for more comprehensive picture of your overall health and fitness.
- Supported by a plentiful 30-day battery life, which the active enthusiast is sure to appreciate.
The data doesn't always seem to be accurate, we found some of the activity is sometimes overestimated. The app functions are quite limited and the technology isn’t the most reliable, with temperamental LEDs and pairing abilities. But for only £15, what do you expect?
Our verdict? It’s light, simple to use and affordable. The Xiaomi Mi Band is a great choice for the first-timer looking to take their first steps into the fitness tracking world.
Our number 2 — £129.99. At the other end of the tracking spectrum, we have the Jawbone UP/3. Sleek, sophisticated, yet subtle to wear, this tracking device is the quality choice for the more fashion-conscious fitness enthusiast.
This popular fitness tracker takes design seriously. With contemporary style and colour schemes such as Ruby Cross, Teal or Black Twist, this is an elegant device that looks and feels as good as your watches and bracelets.
We found this high quality product both accurate and efficient. In terms of features, it tracks all the usual fitness markers and more.
- Heart rate monitoring informs you exactly how long you’re taking to get going.
- Even resting heart rate is tracked, providing a comprehensive overview of your daily fitness levels.
- Enjoy the added benefits of both light and deep sleep tracking.
It’s worth noting that notifications are received exclusively on the app. This isn’t all bad as it gives the device a healthy seven-day battery life, although it does make retrieving data and alerts slightly less convenient.
The device sits at the pricier end of the market. We think the serious athlete will enjoy the more professional look and feel of the Jawbone UP/3, and the generally high accuracy of its readings. This device enables the wearer to take their fitness tracking to the next level.
Fitbit Charge HR
Our number 1 — £149.99. A feel-good approach can transform the way you feel about or interact with something. It’s for this reason we’ve chosen the Fitbit Charge HR as our number 1 wearable fitness tracker. Beautifully designed, and with a fun interactive screen, this device promises to satisfy even the dedicated fitness enthusiast.
The slim design feels basic, but practical. Fitbit have got the balance between form and function just about right. A watch-style strap secures it comfortably to your wrist, while the small screen completes a smart, discrete look and feel.
As expected, the device automatically tracks sleep and exercise as a basic function. You have the ability to customise your fitness settings for different exercises. Enhanced pulse checking ensures your readings are as accurate as possible. It also features a calorie counter, altimeter, clock, and the ability to personalise goals and targets enables you to assess and refine your fitness using the data that most interests you.
- The Fitbit Charge HR works with Windows, iPhone, and Android phones.
- The popularity of this device means you'll be able to join up and compete with friends.
- Fitbit also connects with a wide range of third-party fitness apps, making it one of the more versatile trackers on the market.
At three to five days, its battery life isn’t as strong as the Jawbone UP/3, and the OLED display also turns off after a several seconds, which we found unhelpful. And don’t get it wet! But these are minor complaints against a comprehensive wearable with unmatched interactivity and app support.
Which wearable is right for you?
Whether it’s style, affordability or function, each of these three fitness trackers has their unique appeal. Whichever device you choose will therefore depend on your needs, your budget, and how seriously you take your exercise. None of them are perfect, and there’s some way to go before wearable tech goes totally mainstream, but the market is fast paced and we look forward to what will come next!
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