It’s time to move our butts! There's never a "best" time to exercise, so it made sense for us to pull out a quick overview of the fitness trackers currently available on the market. Exercise is an important part of everyday life and we shouldn’t neglect this aspect of our general health and wellbeing. These devices are able to measure a number of different physical parameters. The most basic being things like steps taken, distance covered, calories burned and some can even determine the quality of your sleep. More sophisticated models include heart rate monitors and more advanced, more accurate sensors as well as exercise training guidance and metrics. Refer to each models’ specifications for more details and the capabilities on offer. These devices are handy for giving you feedback on your workouts and are a great way to motivate you into doing a little exercise.
Note, we haven’t included every model from every vendor under the sun, mainly because there are so many, and we took into account brands and models that should be relatively easy to find at retail stores across Asia. Apologies if we’ve missed your favourite brand, but at least for most of us who are new to these types of devices, it should suffice as a gentle intro.
Launched with its flagship, Galaxy series of smartphones, Samsung’s Gear Fit is a little larger than most other dedicated fitness trackers, but this isn’t so bad when you consider the large crisp AMOLED touchscreen it affords. It’s tied to the Samsung system so you must use one of the compatible Samsung smartphones. You get close integration with mobile notifications and built-in GPS capabilities in addition to the fitness tracking features like heart rate monitoring, calorie, speed, pace measurements.
One of the coolest features of the Vivofit 2, is that the battery life is incredibly long. It’s fully waterproof and designed to be worn 24x7. Tracking steps, distance calories and sleep quality right out of the box, it can also measure heart rate with a separate heart rate monitor. The display in the Vivofit 2 has a backlight and newer, more colourful band options.
This is a sexy, slim and minimalist tracker. It tracks your activity level, sleep quality, calories burned and distance traveled. What’s cool is that you can program the lights to indicate your goal progression. It can also vibrate to wake you up at the best point in your sleep cycle.
For the more experienced girls out there, the Polar Loop is an interesting one. It too, is tightly integrated with the companion (currently iOS only) app. It will prompt you throughout the day, guiding you towards meeting the goals you’ve set. The display on the band being used effectively to deliver the prompts. It can also link to an external Polar heart rate sensor for more accurate measurements.
This is the entry level fitness tracker from Jawbone. If you’re new to the fitness tracker trend, or you are just looking for something that gives you basic information about your movements, then this will fit your bill. It measures steps taken, active time, idle time, sleep micro-movements and calculates distance and calories burnt.
For a really light and minimal device, the Misfit Shine has to be it. The beauty about this device is that it’s so versatile, you can wear it on your wrist, clip it to clothing or hang it depending on the attachment accessory you’re using. It tracks the basics like steps, calories and sleep, but does really well with workouts like running, cycling and swimming. It doesn’t have a display so all your data is tightly integrated with the smartphone app.
Fairly lightweight, but very attractive, the Jawbone UP 2 replaces the outgoing UP24 and is a step up from many average fitness trackers offering basic monitoring. It tracks steps, calories and also monitors your sleep quality, waking you up at the best point in your sleep cycle. The 2 integrates more tightly with the accompanying iOS and Andriod app to offer features like Food Logging and Smart Coaching. It’s a nice looking device to wear and ticks all the basics.
The Charge is similar in form factor to the Fitbit Flex, but adds a small display and additional features. It tracks your daily activity and exercises and even has a Caller ID function when paired with a smartphone. It too has the sleep quality monitor and vibrating alarm. It’s a good step up from the Fitbit Flex especially for the more sporty types. For an even bigger step up, the Fitbit Charge HR includes a built-in heart rate monitor as well.
The Sony Smartband Talk is unique in that it incorporates built-in voice control features allowing you to make calls from the wristband. This, in combination with its very simple and legible E-Ink display technology, makes it an easy device to use. The battery life is pretty good too, thanks to E-Ink, and you can even receive WhatsApp notifications. As of writing, Android only.