Fitness Trackers

In just three short weeks, the Apple watch will be available for pre-order. On the off chance that you haven’t heard me gushing about it, I am so excited! I realize that the first generation of new technologies usually comes with a few bugs, and that many of us wait for the second or third generation before dropping hundreds of dollars on a new gadget. This is very wise, but I just can’t wait!

Over the past two years, I have played with multiple fitness trackers, and here are my thoughts and experiences on my favorites:

Jawbone Up: I really like this one and it would be my number 1 if I hadn’t been through 7 bands in 12 months. The battery seems to die after three months of daily use. The customer service was always great and fast. My band would die and I would send and email it to customer service, and within 3-5 days I would have a new band. The companion app is my favorite, and I still use it with my Pebble watch (see below). In addition to tracking mileage, users can input different activities and adjust the length of time and intensity of the workouts. It tracks calories consumed, calories burned, weight, and distance; it also shows graphic representations of any two of these. My favorite is comparing calories consumed and burned. The Up also tracks sleeping, including light and deep sleep, although I don’t know what to do with this information. Pricing is $100-$125.

Misfit Shine: Looks like jewelry and different bracelets and necklaces can be purchased so that it really is jewelry. It runs off of a replaceable watch battery and is super easy to change. It has a strange blinking light watch function. I have a bad habit of wearing it upside down, so the time never makes sense. The Shine will tell you how many steps/miles you have moved and it assigns points for activity and congratulates you when you have reached your point goal. Syncing is super easy, as you just hold your phone near the Shine with the app open. The app is not as detailed as the Jawbone Up, but it is possible to add workouts, even though the selection is limited and the intensity is not adjustable. While there is not a food log, it does track sleep. Pricing is $100.

Pebble Watch: A smart watch, akin to what I would expect from a prequel to the Apple watch. It has a rechargeable battery that I charge every 3-4 days for about an hour. There is an app store with all sorts of different apps, from watch faces to fitness oriented to games. There is a blue tooth connection that allows it to work with both iOS and android phones. Yes, I receive notifications of phone calls, text messages, and reminders from my phone on my watch! I cannot respond to text messages via the watch, although there are apps that allows you to send canned responses. There is a remote control function that allows me to control the audio player from my phone. It even works with the Jawbone Up app, but syncing is not as smooth or as accurate as it is with the Up band, but this is not a deal breaker. The phone itself replaces the Up band! Pricing is $150.

Ultimately, the best fitness tracker is a subjective assessment; not everyone wants the same things from a fitness tracker. Many of you might not have any interest in seeing text messages on your wrist. If you are a watch person, most likely you will prefer a fitness tracker that is only a fitness tracker. Think about what exactly you want from your fitness tracker, and even try a few different trackers before committing.

Look for an update on the Apple watch and how much fun I am having with it in early May! - AB