Exercise trackers are the new must-have gadget for any keen runner or gym-lover. Although the exact features vary device-to-device, they can record your steps taken, level of high-intensity activity, calories burnt and your heart rate. We’d recommend them not only for the ‘gym bunnies’ but also for more casual exercisers – it’s a great motivating tool trying to hit your daily step target each day.
The most popular devices are reviewed individually below:
This classy wristband tracks your sleep, steps and general activity, all the while syncing flawlessly and automatically with your phone and FitBit account. Its silent alarm feature has also proven remarkably beneficial in many relationships; the band will just vibrate silently on your wrist, waking you up but leaving your partner to sleep on!
UK Price: £69.99
US Price: $98.99
Despite only weighing 8 grams, the Withings pulse can measure your heart-rate, count your steps, calories burned, total elevation and record your distance covered. When you’re feeling less active, it can also track your sleeping patterns. Furthermore, the battery on average use lasts for two weeks, and even has a ‘power save’ feature where it continues tracking but with the screen turned off.
The app automatically syncs with Withings own-brand app, but if you are already using other apps such as MyFitnessPal, it’s easy to sync the data with those too. The one drawback is that the heart-rate monitor doesn’t feed continuous data – so if you want to track your heart rate over the course of a run, then this is not the exercise tracker for you. However, if you would like to record your sleep patterns, steps walked, distance covered and take your heart-rate before and after exercise then this app comes highly recommended.
UK Price: £44.99
US Price: $58.99
The Polar H7 is a simple heart-rate monitor that can send live data to your phone through Bluetooth. It can easily sync with your phones, tablets and computers, and with a variety of different apps – including Polar’s own app, Polar Beat. It also has a very decent battery, lasting 7 days.
The one drawback to the Polar H7 is that it lacks other features. Similarly expensive products can also track your movement through GPS, record your total run distance and monitor your top speeds. However, if all you want is a heart-rate tracker, than the Polar H7 is a good, simple option, because of its high battery life and its ability to sync with all sorts of different apps.
Adidas MiCoach Pacer Bundle
UK Price: £99.99
US Price: $104.99
As the name suggests, this little device fulfills all sorts of roles in one. It contains a heart rate monitor, stride sensor, digital coach and post-workout analysis through Adidas MiCoach. Mid-run, the pacer can update you on your progress either through speaking your stats aloud or through intuitive colour zones, which means no more fiddling around with your tracker mid-run. When back at home, the pacer can sync your results to adidas.com/micoach, where you can track your exertions.
However, syncing isn’t automatic, and while the adidas app is good, its frustrating that you don’t have more options. Finally, the battery only lasts for one day, which means that you need superhuman levels of organization to ensure that a run is never hindered by a dead tracker!
UK Price: £79.99
US Price: $96.40
The Jawbone UP, unlike some of the other devices featured here, is designed to be worn 24/7, to give you a complete picture of your day. It can track your sleep, your movement, and, with the assistance of the partner app, track your food intake too. The battery also lasts for 10 days, so you don’t have to be charging it constantly.
However, there are major drawbacks with the Jawbone. Unlike other trackers, the Jawbone UP doesn’t have any LED screen – so if you don’t have your phone on you, there is no way of seeing any of the app data. Even more problematically, Jawbone UP appears to be trying to fulfill many different roles, but none of them well. Users have complained about the accuracy of the pedometer, the sleep monitor and the food database, as well as its durability after 6 months of use. For its price, the Jawbone UP does a huge amount of different things, but none of them flawlessly.