With so many activity trackers and wearable fitness technology on the market, it can be hard to know what to look for. Belle About Town tested out four of the most popular accessories this season and assessed them for ease of use, comfort to wear and motivational properties. Here’s what we found:
FitBit – Perhaps the best known activity tracker on the market, the FitBit offers a variety of styles, settings and colours to suit your needs. We tried the FitBit Charge 2 in black (from £109.99) and despite its bulky appearance it is lightweight and comfortable to wear. As soon as you put it on, the FitBit is tracking your steps, monitoring your heart rate and reminding you to get active when you’ve been dormant for too long. Download the app and sync it to your phone, and you’re ready to go. You can input all food and drink you consume throughout the day and this is used to measure out your calorific intake and outlay, giving you an idea of how well you’re sticking to any weight-loss target. I’ll be honest, I’ve held off trying a FitBit for several years, but within days of trying this one I was addicted. If I hadn’t completed my 10k steps by the end of the day I would do a few laps of the garden or run up and down the stairs to reach my goal. It’s addictive, it’s motivating, and it’s really easy to use.
iFit – One of the lesser known models, the iFit is a more slender bracelet that looks more subtle on your wrist – we tried the iFit Vue in fuschia pink (from £100). Easy to set up, it’s light to wear. But being held together by plastic poppers meant that within four weeks of wearing it was falling off all the time and the bracelet had to be replaced. Unfortunately that wasn’t the only negative, and it soon became apparent that the iFit is like the FitBit’s inferior little sister. Connecting it with your phone takes ages, it doesn’t have the database for UK foods to enable you to input enough of your intake to keep track, and the fact it keeps falling off means that more than £100 worth of tech can literally just go down the drain. While it’s good for tracking steps, and the activity reminders are handy, it doesn’t really do much more (well not without a lot of effort and waving your phone in front of the watch to try to connect it to the app) so it’s not one we would recommend.
HUWEI Watch 2 – Designed with dedicated fitness freaks in mind, the HUAWEI Watch 2 (from £329) is the sequel to the popular classic model. It is super light and comfortable to wear, but the shape and thickness make it bulky and slightly cumbersome under long sleeves. It is water resistant for up to 30 minutes, but the manufacturers recommend it is not worn in the water, so not great for tracking during swimming, unlike the iFit, Apple watches and some FitBits. The HUAWEI is an android compatible device and synchs well with a clear, if small, display. Definitely one for serious athletes as opposed to anyone just wanting information on their general daily output.
Powerhouse Fitness Cardio Strong Activity Tracker – At a fraction of the price of the other contenders, the Powerhouse model (£29.99) is great for a budget buy. It tracks activity, monitors sleep patterns and synchs with the app the same, but is a bulkier shape meaning it’s less comfortable to wear (we ended up turning it round so the display was on the inside of our wrists) and it also takes a while to bring up the display, so a simple glance to check the time becomes a bit annoying. When synching with phones or tablets, data isn’t transferred, for example if you synch with your phone and have done 2k steps, when you connect it with your iPad later it won’t have taken them into account. But if you’re looking for a no frills tracker which works well and keeps you motivated by monitoring activity, this is the one for you.
- What’s your preferred activity tracker, and what do you love and loathe about them? Comment below or join the conversation on our Facebook page here.