The best fitness trackers / fitness Bands for 2016
The best fitness bands
Update: The Samsung Gear Fit 2 is the latest addition to our list. It’s much improved over the original model, bringing along battery improvements and fitness-focused perks like built-in GPS and an expanded coverage of workouts.
We’ve also added the Withings Go to our list of best fitness trackers. It’s simple, surprisingly robust, and best of all, its battery can last for up to eight months. While it isn’t the most visually stunning device out there, this could be the tracker that fits your style and workout schedule.
Additionally, we’ve replaced the Jawbone UP2 with its successor, the Jawbone UP3. We previously excluded it for its high cost, but it has become much more affordable in the past few months. Because of its added heart rate tracking and more robust sleep tracking, it represents a better value overall than Jawbone’s older model.
Original article follows below.
A fitness tracker is the perfect way to monitor your activity easily and with unmatched accuracy. Think of it as an electronic finger on the pulse, constantly measuring your vitals, quality of sleep and step count.
Today’s fitness band market is stuffed with compelling devices, most of which can do a pretty good job at the basics of tracking. But frankly, we’re only concerned with the best, and you should be too.
If you’re looking for a fitness tracker recommendation, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll showcase the best devices out there, and explain how they rank against each other in terms of stand-out features, price, design and the quality of their companion software – all of which are worth considering when monitoring something as important as your health.
1. Fitbit Charge HR
Quirks aside, this is the Usain Bolt in this fitness tracking race
Size: two sizes, S, L, L is 20.8x2x1cm | Display: 0.7-inch OLED | Weight: 22g | Compatibility:Android, iOS, Windows Phone | Battery: 5 days | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
- Excellent app
- Discreet and comfortable
- Weird cycle and run tracking
- Pulse monitoring not reliable
Now able to auto-detect exercise such as cycling and running – although you’re still better off telling it what you’re doing if you want total accuracy – and with improved pulse tracking and the ability to set more demanding weekly fitness goals, the Charge HR is now better than ever. With a screen, an altimeter to tell you how many steps you’ve climbed, a pulse counter for more accurate calorie counting during exercise, plus Fitbit’s excellent app and social ecosystem, this remains the best fitness band you can get.
The proper watch-style strap means it stays on and is comfortable, while the design is deliberately neutral and discreet. Some of the stats it pulls out are a bit odd at time, with a definite whiff of inaccuracy about them. However, it is consistent in the ways it is inaccurate, so you can still clearly see if you’re getting better or worse at hitting fitness goals.
2. Samsung Gear Fit 2
Samsung’s wearable has never been more Fit
Size: two sizes, S, L, L is 20.8x2x1cm | Display: 0.7-inch OLED | Weight: 22g | Compatibility: Android, iOS, Windows Phone | Battery: 5 days | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
- Works on all Android phones
- Impressive value
- No iOS support
- Barometer issues
Samsung’s Gear Fit 2 has made hefty changes to its wearable line both inside and out and the result is an Android-friendly device that does a whole lot for your money.
3. Microsoft Band 2
Excellent mix of step counter and proper gym/running/cycling companion
Size: 12.8mm x 32mm | Display: 320 x 128 AMOLED | Weight: 55g | Compatibility: Windows, Android, iOS | Battery: 2 days | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
- Powerful, versatile fitness tracking
- Looks much better than the v1 Band
- It’s not cheap
- Short battery life
With a better screen, greater comfort and a better look than the first Microsoft Band, this packs 11 sensors (one new one: a barometer to measure altitude and track stairs and hills climbed, plus an accurate optical heart rate sensor, 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, ambient light sensor, skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, capacitive sensor, microphone and a galvanic skin response sensor). There’s full Cortana integration on Windows Phone, while Android and iOS devices get calendar and message notifications.
It’s as good for the gym, running, cycling, golf and other sports as it is for counting steps and tracking sleep. The two-day battery life (less if you hit the GPS hard) is not amazing, but it does charge fast, hitting 80% in 30 minutes and 100% in 90. Apart from the Fitbit Surge, it’s more powerful than everything else here put together.
4. Jawbone UP3
Impressive design, oodles of features and sensors
Size: 220mm x 12.2mm x 3.0mm-9.3mm | Display: N/A | Weight: 29g | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Battery: 7 days | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 LE
- Impressive UP app
- Good sleep tracking
- Sensors under-utilized
- Awkward charging mechanism
When it comes to fitness tracker style, not many players are on the same level as Jawbone. The UP3 may have shifted how the UP bands connect to your wrist, but it still manages to exude the same Yves Behar flair of its predecessors.
Additionally, the fact Jawbone has managed to cram so many sensors into the body of the UP3, while somehow maintaining almost a week’s worth of battery life is to be commended.
7. Fitbit Charge
A cut-down version of the Charge HR that’s also worthy of consideration
Size: two sizes, S, L, L is 20.8x2x1cm | Display: 0.7-inch OLED | Weight: 22g | Compatibility:Android, iOS, Windows Phone | Battery: 7-10 days | Connectivity: Bluetooth
- Solid step counting
- Good looking
- Unreliable clasp
Take the Charge HR. Remove the heart rate monitoring. Make the clasp a bit less reliable. But reduce the price, of course. What you end up with is a very good, if more basic, fitness tracker with the same excellent app as the Charge HR, the same screen and altimeter… And the same endearing quirks. With a longer battery life due to the absence of a pulse counter, it’s an excellent product. Even so, its pricier sibling offers more and would narrowly be our first pick, of the two.
8. Garmin Vivofit 2
Long battery life is the MO of this simple, inexpensive step tracker
Size: 152-210mm | Display: 25.5 mm x 10 mm | Weight: 25.5g | Compatibility: Android, iOS |Battery life: more than a year | Connectivity: Bluetooth
- Good battery life
- Very cheap
- Not very comfortable
- Lacks extras
A neat little fitness tracker whose battery life and waterproofing means you never need to take off. And if it were just that bit more useful and more comfortable, you would never want to take it off, either. You do have to accept that all it really usefully does is count your steps and issue reminders to stay active. It has a stab at run tracking and sleep monitoring, but neither impresses. Still, it’s a very solid effort for the price.
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Categorised in: Fitness Bands/Trackers