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Fitness Tracker Reviews Guide

Best Fitness Tracker and Fitness Band Reviews 2017

What is the best fitness tracker?

The popularity of personal activity trackers is growing. In the first quarter of 2016 there were 19.7 million devices sold around the world, a 67.2% increase on the previous year. But which band or smartwatch will be the best fitness tracker for you?

With so many fitness wearables now available, it can be difficult to find what sets each brand apart. What makes a Fitbit different from a Jawbone, and how do you know if you need a fitness tracker, activity band, or smartwatch?

Looking at the facts there’s no question that Fitbit is the undisputed market leader, with a 24.5% market share in Q1 2016. This was after releasing the new Fitbit Alta wristband earlier in the year, alongside their award winning Fitbit Blaze smart fitness watch.

But Fitbit isn’t the only company making wearable fitness trackers. There are now more than 30 brands to choose from, including Misfit, Jawbone, Xiaomi, Withings, Garmin, and Samsung.

In our fitness tracker guide we’ll walk you through the differences between these devices, and explain the pros and cons of choosing an activity band or fitness tracker over a smart watch.

We’ve also added a comparison chart as a quick summary of the top 10 best fitness trackers on the market right now.

What activity do you need to monitor?
Our fitness tracker recommendations are based on a combination of price, build quality, connectivity (Bluetooth, data sync, GPS, etc.) and built-in features. This includes how accurately they monitor your vitals (heart rate monitor), quality of sleep, number of calories burned, step count (pedometer), altitude (altimeter), and what type of notifications they can receive.

Battery life, whether the device is waterproof, and what kind of social aspect (sharing achievements on social media) have also been considered. This is to help you find the best fitness tracker for your own health routine and lifestyle.

Fitbit vs. Jawbone

Fitbit and Jawbone have been competing in the fitness tracker industry since 2011 when the Jawbone UP and Fitbit Ultra were first released. But in 2016 Jawbone sold their more modern UP2, UP3, and UP4 inventory to a third-party and slowed production of the devices to raise funds for developing clinical-grade fitness trackers.

But with Jawbone struggling to release a new wearable and the Apple Watch 2 recently released, should it now be a question of Fitbit versus Apple Watch?

Fitbit Charge HR vs Jawbone UP3
The Charge HR is made from a flexible elastomer with a stainless steel buckle, available in three sizes for wrists ranging from 5.5 inches up to 9.1 inches. The UP3 is slightly different, with size available that features an adjustable clasp to fit a variety of wrist measurements.

In terms of width, the Charge HR is more than 2 cm wider than the UP3, measuring 34 mm compared to 12.2 mm. It also has a more advanced OLED display screen than the Jawbone band, highlighting your stats, current time, and incoming caller IDs.

Although the Jawbone UP3 has no OLED display, you can still monitor your sleep, activity, and notifications through a series of multi-phase LED lights. Blue indicates sleep mode, white for notifications, and orange for activity.

Both devices are splash-proof, and the Charge HR supports 24/7 heart rate monitoring using their Pure Pulse technology (same sensor as Fitbit Surge and Fitbit Blaze). After a software update, the UP3 also allows you to check your heart rate at any time, and records your bpm throughout the day.

For fitness tracking, both bands track your distance, calories burned, floors climbed, number of active minutes, and steps taken. Unlike the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ and Fitbit Surge, you have no GPS tracking, which would have been a nice advantage for runners.

Automatic sleep tracking is also a major feature of each fitness tracker. The Fitbit Charge HR tracks how many hours you sleep and uses Sleep Schedule mode to suggest the optimal time to go to sleep based on the data collected.

The Jawbone UP3 offers accurate sleep pattern analysis, differentiating between light, deep, and REM sleep, then displaying your results for viewing on the Jawbone app. You can even set a 30 minute window to wake up using the smart alarm function.

In terms of battery life, the Jawbone UP3 has the advantage, supporting 7 days of use from a single charge, compared to 5 days for the Fitbit Charge HR.

Top 10 fitness trackers comparison chart



  • __________
  • Heart Rate Tracking:
  • Calorie Tracking:
  • Sleep Tracking:
  • Waterproof:
  • Feedback:
  • GPS:
  • Stopwatch:
  • Notifications:
  • Colors Available:
  • Replacement Bands:
  • App Available:
  • Social Sharing:
  • Battery Life:
  • Charge Time:
  • Weight:
  • Band Sizes:
  • __________
  • Garmin Vivosmart HR Fitness Tracker

  • 1. GARMIN
    VIVOSMART HR+
  • __________
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • 50 meters
  • Steps, Distance,
    Calories, Heart Rate,
    Floors Climbed,
    Activity
  • No
  • No
  • Text, call,
    email, calendar,
    social media alerts
  • Black, Imperial Purple,
    Midnight Blue
  • No
  • Garmin Connect
  • Yes
  • Up to 5 days
  • 1 - 2 hours
  • 29.6g to 32g
  • 136 mm to 224 mm
    (Regular to X-Large)
  • __________
  • Fitbit Charge 2 wireless sleep and activity monitor

  • 2. FITBIT
    CHARGE 2
  • __________
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Water-resistant
  • Steps, Distance,
    Calories Burned, Active Minutes,
    Floors Climbed, Heart Rate
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Text, call,
    calendar
  • Black, Blue, Plum,
    Teal, Gun Metal,
    Rose Gold
  • Yes
  • Fitbit App
  • Yes
  • Up to 5 days
  • 1 - 2 hours
  • 33g
  • 140 mm to 236 mm
    (Small to XL)
  • __________
  • Apple Watch Series 2

  • 3. APPLE WATCH
    SERIES 2
  • __________
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • No
  • 50 meters
  • Activity Rings,
    Distance, Pace,
    Speed, Time
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Messages, Calls,
    Reminders
  • Various case and
    strap combinations.
  • Sport, woven nylon,
    leather and stainless steel
  • Apple Health
  • Yes
  • 18 hours
  • 1 - 2 hours
  • 28g to 45g
  • 125 mm to 210 mm
    (dependent on strap)
  • __________
  • Fitbit Blaze Fitness Tracker Smartwatch

  • 4. FITBIT
    BLAZE
  • __________
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Water-resistant
  • Heart Rate,
    Step Count,
    Time
  • No
  • Yes
  • Call, Text, Calendar,
    Email, and App
  • Black, Blue, Plum,
    Pink, Gold, Olive,
    Khaki, Leather
  • Luxe, Leisure, and
    Classic styles
  • Fitbit App
  • Yes
  • Up to 5 days
  • 1 - 2 hours
  • 44g
  • 140 mm to 236 mm
    (S, L, XL)
  • __________
  • Fitbit Alta personal fitness tracker wristband

  • 5. FITBIT
    ALTA
  • __________
  • No
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Water-resistant
  • Step Count, Distance,
    Calories Burned,
    Active Time, Time
  • No
  • No
  • Call, Text, and
    Calendar
  • Black, Blue,
    Plum, Teal,
    Gold, Pink
  • Yes
  • Fitbit App
  • Yes
  • Up to 5 days
  • 1 - 2 hours
  • 29g
  • 140 mm to 236 mm
    (S, L, XL)
  • __________


  • __________
  • Heart Rate Tracking:
  • Calorie Tracking:
  • Sleep Tracking:
  • Waterproof:
  • Feedback:
  • GPS:
  • Stopwatch:
  • Notifications:
  • Colors Available:
  • Replacement Bands:
  • App Available:
  • Social Sharing:
  • Battery Life:
  • Charge Time:
  • Weight:
  • Band Sizes:
  • __________
  • Fitbit Flex 2 sleep and activity tracker

  • 6. FITBIT
    FLEX 2
  • __________
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Water-resistant
  • Time, daily steps total,
    distance, calories,
    flights climbed and heart rate
  • No
  • Yes
  • Call only
  • Black, Blue,
    Plum, Tangerine,
    Teal and Pink
  • No
  • Fitbit App
  • Achievements and
    social challenges
  • Up to 5 days
  • 1 - 2 hours
  • 24g to 28g
  • 140 mm to 220 mm
    (S, L, XL)
  • __________
  • Fitbit Surge wireless sleep and activity monitor

  • 7. FITBIT
    SURGE
  • __________
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Water-resistant
  • Current Heart Rate,
    Steps Taken,
    Distance, Calories,
    Floors Climbed, Time
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Call and Text
  • Black, Blue,
    Tangerine
  • No
  • Fitbit App
  • Yes
  • Up to 7 days
  • 1 - 2 hours
  • 52g
  • 140 mm to 236 mm
    (S, L, XL)
  • __________
  • Jawbone UP3 fitness tracker wristband

  • 8. JAWBONE
    UP3
  • __________
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Splash-proof
  • Steps, Distance,
    Calories Burned,
    Heart Rate
  • No
  • No
  • No
  • Black Twist,
    Indigo Twist,
    Ruby Cross,
    Sand Twist
    Silver Cross,
    Teal Cross,
    Tiger Eye Twist
  • No
  • UP App
  • Yes
  • Up to 7 days
  • 60 - 90 mins
  • 29g
  • -
  • __________
  • Misfit Shine fitness wristband

  • 9. MISFIT
    SHINE 2
  • __________
  • No
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • 50 meters
  • Steps, Distance,
    Calories Burned,
    Activity Types,
    Sleep Quality
  • No
  • No
  • Text, Call
  • Carbon Black,
    Rose Gold
  • No
  • Misfit App
  • No
  • Up to 6 months
  • -
  • 8.5g
  • -
  • __________
  • Moov Now fitness activity tracker

  • 10. MOOV
    NOW
  • __________
  • Third-party
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • 30 meters
  • Calories Burned,
    Active Minutes,
    Sleep Duration,
    Distance
  • No
  • No
  • No
  • Aqua Blue,
    Fusion Red,
    Blizzard White,
    Stealth Black
  • No
  • Moov App
  • No
  • Up to 6 months
  • -
  • 6g
  • -
  • __________

Best fitness tracker for running

Not all fitness trackers are created equal. Someone with a passion for running won’t necessarily need a device that’s waterproof to 50, but will need GPS (preferably built-in) to accurately monitor their distance, time, and create splits.

Goal tracking and personal achievements will also be differ according to the activity. If you’re a runner, you need a fitness tracker that maintains its accuracy for marathons just as well as it does for a 5K. That’s why we’re confident the Vivosmart HR+ is currently the best fitness tracker available for runners.


Garmin Vivosmart HR+

Garmin Vivosmart HR+ Fitness Tracker

Review Rating: 4 Star Review Rating
The Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is an upgrade of the standard HR model released 6 months earlier, and now includes accurate GPS for indoor and outdoor run tracking.

Running isn’t the only sport you can track with the HR+. Move IQ is Garmin’s own exercise recognition system, working in a similar way to Fitbit’s SmartTrack technology. This automatically detects differences between movements such as running, biking, swimming, and using an indoor elliptical trainer.

The 160 x 68 pixel monochrome display lacks a backlight and isn’t quite as attractive as the Fitbit Blaze, but the touchscreen remains intuitive. It also provides an impressive amount of workout feedback, including your step count, active minutes, distance travelled, calories burned, heart rate, and stairs climbed, thanks to a built-in barometric altimeter.

In terms of heart rate monitoring, Garmin’s Vivosmart HR+ activity tracker uses Elevate™ to keep track of your pulse 24/7. This forms part of the activity data that can be synced to the Garmin Connect™ Mobile app, or your online profile as part of smart coaching and to review your performance. You can even use the web portal for creating workout plans and track your progress towards fitness goals.

Sleep monitoring is available as standard, but only distinguishes between periods of sleep and movement. There’s no light/deep/REM sleep analysis like you get with a Jawbone.

The Vivosmart HR+ bands aren’t interchangeable, but you can choose from a range of two-tone color combinations when you buy; Black/Shark Fin Grey, Imperial Purple/Kona Purple, or Midnight Blue/Bolt Blue.

A battery life of up to 5 days is fairly standard for top-of-the-line fitness trackers, and text, email, and call notifications can be received throughout the day.

Best fitness tracker for walking

Although a basic pedometer will monitor your step count, for just a few dollars more you can usually find a high quality fitness tracker. Most are also compatible with fitness apps to give you more actionable insights into your health and fitness routine.

But that doesn’t mean you need to run out and spend hundreds of dollars on the latest smartwatch. After carefully reviewing the pros and cons, making comparisons with other activity monitors and checking affordability, we believe the Fitbit Charge HR is is the best fitness tracker for walking.


Fitbit Charge HR

Fitbit Charge HR Personal Fitness Tracker

Review Rating: 4 Star Review Rating
The Fitbit Charge HR remains one of the leading activity wristbands, with continuous heart rate monitoring available via built-in PurePulse technology. During your workout you can check your bpm using the 0.7-inch monochrome OLED display, then analyze time spent in key heart rate zones (Peak, Cardio, and Fat Burn) using the Fitbit app.

As well as the heart rate monitoring, you can also keep track of the time, distance travelled, daily step count, stairs climbed, and number of calories burned. The only downside is that the Charge HR has no GPS, which has an impact on the accuracy of distance and pace data for runners and cyclists.

In terms of customization, the band is actually interchangeable, and can be found in a variety of colors. The Classic band is comfortable and available in small and large sizes, with colors ranging from Teal through to a more traditional Black. For their most aesthetically appealing band, Fitbit also have a leather option, which is available in Indigo, Blush Pink, and Brown.

As with other Fitbit fitness trackers, automatic sleep quality monitoring is available as standard, but only to record when you’re asleep, or restless. That’s compared to the Withings Activité Steel and Misfit Shine wearables, which can both differentiate between light, deep, and REM sleep patterns. A silent vibrating alarm can also be set to gently wake you up in the morning.

SmartTrack automatically detects certain high-movement activities, such as walking, running, cycling, and using an indoor elliptical trainer. Two more subtle exercise categories are also recognized, which are Sport (tennis, basketball, soccer, etc.) and Aerobic (dance classes, Zumba®, etc.).

Notifications are slightly more limited than on other Fitbit devices, but you can still monitor caller ID. Surprisingly this lack of notifications doesn’t increase battery life, and you still have up to 5 days from a single charge, as you do with the Garmin Vivosmart HR, Fitbit Blaze, and Fitbit Alta.

Best waterproof fitness tracker

Buying a new fitness tracker for swimming can be a complicated process. How do you know the difference between a device with an IP68 waterproof rating and one with a 1 ATM rating?

You also have to consider which device best supports the metrics that are important to you as a swimmer. This is different to what you’ll find on a fitness tracker for running, and usually includes stroke, SWOLF score, and water temperature.

A waterproof rating of 5 ATM (50 meter pressure depth) is just about the best in the industry right now, and is supported by the Misfit Speedo Shine, Garmin Swim, Garmin Vivosmart HR+, Fitbit Flex 2, and Garmin Vivoactive. The Moov Now also supports up to 3ATM (30m) and the TomTom Spark to 4ATM (40m).


Garmin Vivoactive HR

Garmin Vivoactive HR Personal Fitness Tracker Watch

Review Rating: 4 Star Review Rating
As their top specialist sports watch, the Garmin Vivoactive HR is capable of tracking your heart rate, cycling, running (built-in GPS), and swimming activity (waterproof to 5ATM/50m).

To increase battery life the color touchscreen has been dulled slightly, but you still have a backlight to improve visibility of the stats shown on the 205 x 148 pixel display.

Data displayed varies based on the sport selected, such as pace, distance, and cadence for running, lengths and stroke count for swimming, or ascent for skiing. You can choose from a wide range of activities, including running, cycling (syncs with Strava), swimming, walking, rowing, and paddle boarding.

But the screen isn’t just limited to fitness tracking. You can also view weather reports, smartphone notifications and heart rate, which is displayed using Garmin’s own Elevate optical sensor. Unfortunately this isn’t as reliable as an ECG touch sensor or chest strap during high intensity training.

Connecting to your smartphone is also possible for receiving notifications and information. These notifications range from a Facebook update or tweet through to a call or text message. Hourly and weekly weather forecasts are also available if needed.

Further connectivity is available through the Garmin Connect app (iOS and Android), or via their web platform at connect.garmin.com. This allows more of a holistic view of your workout, run, cycle, and general daily activity data. You can even create your own custom workouts and cycle/running routes.

Overall the Garmin Vivoactive HR does an excellent job of activity monitoring, tracking a variety of useful data for specific sports. It’s also one of the few fitness trackers that accurately tracks swimming, golf, and resting heart rate, with intuitive charts and graphs that make it easier to analyze your performance.

All the basics you expect from an activity tracker are available too, such as step count and sleep tracking, although this doesn’t track different sleep phases quite as well as a Fitbit.


Fitbit Flex 2

Fitbit Flex 2 Fitness Tracker Band

Review Rating: 4 Star Review Rating
The Fitbit Flex 2 is currently their only swim-friendly fitness tracker, with a slim, versatile, and comfortable band that’s also capable of sleep and activity monitoring.

Having no OLED display screen meant Fitbit could develop their slimmest wristband yet, which uses a series of LED lights for feedback. A green light indicates your goal, white lights show progression, magenta when goals are achieved, and blue for notifications, which appear when you receive a call or text.

For a personalized look and feel, the textured elastomer wristband is interchangeable. This allows you to switch between Luxe jewelry pendants and bracelets, gold bangles, or one of the Classic bands, which is designed to be durable in the face of swimming and high intensity exercise.

Step count, active minutes, hourly activity, sleep patterns, and number of calories burned can all be auto-detected via all-day activity monitoring. The Fitbit Flex 2 combines this with SmartTrack, which automatically tracks activities such as walking, running, using an elliptical trainer, and of course, swimming.

Unfortunately there’s no heart rate monitor or Connected GPS, which means you can’t get accurate distance and pace data for your running and cycling. However, this is beneficial to the battery life, which can be up to 7 days on a single two hour charge.

Such long battery life is unusual for a fitness tracker, but the Flex 2 has a quite unique combination of features. Swim tracking is disabled by default, there’s no OLED screen, no heart rate monitor or GPS, and the notifications you can receive only display in the form of LED lights, all of which contribute to more efficient use of power.

A full summary and history of your workout performance and activity is maintained in the Fitbit app, including time spent swimming. Aside from activity monitoring, you can also use the app to plan meals, log food, sync your stats to the Aria® Wi-Fi Smart Scale, share goal progress with friends, and compete in social fitness challenges.

Best fitness tracker for style

Although the classic elastomer band with OLED screen look is still incredibly popular, personal fitness trackers are now lighter, slimmer, and more stylish than ever. This makes 24/7 sleep and activity monitoring much more viable, from gyms and pools through to office and evening wear.

Industry leaders like Fitbit are working hard to make their wearable tech more personalized, with interchangeable bands in a variety of colors and materials. Apple have taken this a step further by letting you choose the case and strap material, case size, and strap color.

But companies that specialize in jewelry and watch design have also started entering the wearable fitness tracker space, with offerings like the Skagen Hagen smartwatch range and the Fossil Q activity trackers.

The question is whether Skagen and Fossil match up to Fitbit and Jawbone when it comes to accuracy of monitoring, or whether they’re too focussed on appearances.


Fitbit Alta

Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker Band

Review Rating: 4.5 Star Review Rating
As one of two new Fitbit devices released in the Spring of 2016 (Blaze being the other), the Fitbit Alta is a slim, affordable, versatile fitness band from the wearables market leader.

Fitbit’s SmartTrack tech is used to automatically detect certain activities, with a 128-by-36 pixel, 1.4-inch OLED screen used to display important feedback. This includes your steps, distance, active time, and calories burned, using a three-axis accelerometer.

The slim profile means it doesn’t get in the way of long sleeves, and is lightweight and comfortable enough to be worn while you’re sleeping. Wrist bands for the Alta are also interchangeable, so that you can quickly transition between the elastomer sports band, metal bands, or the leather bands.

The interchangeable bands are available in a variety of colors and wrist sizes; 14–17cm, 17–20.6cm and 20.6–23.6cm, each of which is 15mm wide. Their quick-release design makes it easy to switch between the elastomer band for gym workouts, and the leather or metallic band for work.

Accurate activity and sleep tracking are available as standard, but there’s no GPS, optical heart rate monitoring, or stair climbing feature due to a lack of altimeter. The Alta is also classified as water-resistant, rather than waterproof.

Unfortunately the Fitbit Alta sleep tracking is less insightful than the Jawbone UP3, as it only highlights sleep, restless, and awake phases. In comparison, the UP3 also shows deep sleep, light sleep, and REM.

Call, text, and calendar notifications can be displayed on the screen, with fitness data automatically synced to the Fitbit app for more detailed performance analysis. This is where you can keep track of challenges, badges, and a log of your food and water intake for the day.

Battery life isn’t as impressive as the Fitbit Surge (up to 7 days), but 5 days is still considerably more than most fitness watches and activity bands.

Top 10 overall best fitness trackers

1

Garmin Vivosmart HR+

See our best fitness trackers for running.


2

Fitbit Charge 2

Fitbit Charge 2

Review Rating: 4.5 Star Review Rating
As an upgrade to the Charge HR, the Fitbit Charge 2 features a new Guided Breathing feature that works with the built-in heart rate monitor to improve your aerobic capacity (VO2 max). This practice of controlled breathing has been shown to instill a healthier natural response to stress, and improve your relaxation.

As with the Fitbit Alta, the Charge 2 has no GPS, but can be paired with a smartphone via Bluetooth to take advantage of your smartphone’s GPS (Fitbit call it Connected GPS). In terms of notifications, you can also receive call, SMS, and calendar updates via the OLED touchscreen.

The band itself is slim, comfortable and interchangeable. This means you can quickly and easily switch styles, colors, or replace a worn out band without having to buy a new fitness tracker. The Charge 2 is also compatible with Fitbit’s Classic elastomer straps, as well as their Luxe leather version (Lookbook available).

Multi-Sport Tracking enables you to track your running (both indoor and outdoor), walking, and weight training, in addition to your use of indoor fitness equipment, such as ellipticals and exercise bikes. The type of exercise can often be determined automatically, thanks to Fitbit’s SmartTrack™ exercise recognition system.

PurePulse heart rate tracking technology is also included with the Fitbit Charge 2, which constantly records your pulse rate without needing to wear a chest strap. This data can then be analyzed through the Fitbit app or your online dashboard, together with your activity and sleep tracking data.

Number of steps, distance, floors climbed, active minutes, distance, and number of calories burned can all be tracked via the water-resistant Charge 2, which has a battery life of up to 5 days.


3

Apple Watch Series 2

Apple Watch Series 2

Review Rating: 4.5 Star Review Rating
The second generation Apple Watch is focussed on being a superior sports watch, with full fitness tracking technology. This includes built-in GPS, a heart rate sensor, daily activity monitoring, and being water resistant to 50 meters.

With its new S2 dual-core processor and WatchOS 3 operating system, the Series 2 is 50 percent faster than the original. Not only that, but it also has a dual connection to GPS and the GLONASS satellite-based navigation system, for improved location accuracy. This is a huge benefit for distances and splits if you’re walking, running, or cycling.

The screen itself is also twice as bright as the original Apple Watch, which is perfect for viewing workout feedback underwater or in low light.

Water resistant to 50 meters, the speaker is protected using sound vibrations, which force water back out. Swimming support is available via dedicated swimming workouts (Pool Swim and Open Water Swim), which track your distance and stroke via the built-in accelerometer.

Continuous heart rate monitoring is possible via green LED lights and light-sensitive photodiodes on the underside of the watch casing. Pulse data is then visible using the Workout app during a training session, and your resting heart rate is tracked throughout the day. This information can also be synced to the Apple Health app, where it combines with activity, sleep, and nutrition data for a holistic approach to your health and fitness.

Third-party health app support is also excellent, and the Apple Watch Series 2 is currently compatible with apps such as Beddit (sleep analysis), WaterMinder (hydration goals), and iCalorie (nutrition tracker).

The Workout app that’s built into Apple’s newest smartwatch features indoor and outdoor workouts for a variety of sports and activities. This includes swimming, cycling, running, and using an elliptical trainer.

For personalization, the Apple Watch Series 2 is better than any fitness tracker or smartwatch on the market. You can combine a wide range of straps, cases and faces to suit your budget and style, ranging from a Gold Aluminum case through to their high-end White Ceramic model.


4

Fitbit Blaze

Fitbit Blaze

Review Rating: 4 Star Review Rating
As one of the leading fitness watch designs, the Fitbit Blaze is packed with the same high-quality features you would expect from their more traditional fitness trackers. This includes PurePulse™ heart rate monitoring, SmartTrack™ exercise recognition, and automatic sleep monitoring.

The 1.25-inch 16 color touchscreen display highlights your step count, stairs climbed, active time, resting heart rate, quality of sleep, and number of calories burned. You even have access to built-in 7-minute and 10-minute workouts via FitStar technology.

Unfortunately the sleep tracking only records sleep, restlessness, and awake. This is compared to the Jawbone fitness trackers, which also distinguish between light sleep, deep sleep, and REM. However, the Fitbit Blaze does have a silent alarm which uses vibrations to wake you at a set time.

GPS is an option but only so far as having ‘Connected GPS’, which means you can only connect via the Bluetooth in your smartphone. Connectivity between your phone and the Blaze also allows you to receive notifications for incoming calls, SMS messages and calendar alerts.

The frame of the watch itself has a slim profile and comfortable band that’s interchangeable, for a personalized look. Each of the two strap sections can detach from the stainless steel frame and connect to one of the rubber ‘Classic’ bands, leather band, or Fitbit’s premium metal links strap.

The Multi-Sport and SmartTrack features work well together to automatically determine your exercise and record it in a specific section of the Fitbit app. This can include running, cycling, weight training, and using an elliptical trainer.

As with all Fitbit fitness trackers, the Blaze is water-resistant but not waterproof. Battery life is average for the price range but still impressive, lasting up to 5 days on a single charge.


5

Fitbit Alta

See our best style fitness trackers.


6

Fitbit Flex 2

See our best fitness trackers for swimming.


7

Fitbit Surge

Fitbit Surge

Review Rating: 3.5 Star Review Rating
The Fitbit Surge is one of the company’s Performance fitness trackers, with GPS tracking that doesn’t require you to connect through your smartphone to track your distance and split times.

Battery life is amongst the best that Fitbit has to offer, with up to 7 days of use on a full charge. This depends on how much you use the GPS and optical heart rate monitor, but it’s still impressive given the always-on display.

Having GPS built-in and connectivity to the Strava ecosystem makes the Surge fitness watch a good choice for runners and cyclists. These are also two of the exercises supported by the multi-sport modes and SmartTrack™ exercise recognition.

Daily activity monitoring and sleep tracking are available as standard, as well as call and text notifications via the 1.26-inch touchscreen. This monochrome display also highlights your steps, resting heart rate, distance, calories burned, and number of floors climbed, thanks to the built-in 3-axis accelerometer and gyroscope. There’s even a built-in backlight if you need it.

Unfortunately there aren’t many customization options for the Fitbit Surge. The textured elastomer band is comfortable but not interchangeable. You can choose one of three colors; Blue, Black, and Tangerine, to accompany the watch-style surgical-grade stainless steel screen casing.

PurePulse technology is used for the optical heart rate monitoring, where lights flash against the skin to detect changes in blood volume and relay data to the Surge and Fitbit app.

As with all Fitbit fitness trackers, the Surge is water resistant rather than completely waterproof. Music can also be played using a combination of Bluetooth Classic and two small buttons on the side of the Surge screen casing.


8

Jawbone UP3

Jawbone UP3

Review Rating: 3.5 Star Review Rating
At one point the Jawbone UP3 was the company’s top fitness tracker, even after delays to its 2014 launch caused it to be released later the following year. But after Jawbone sold its remaining stock to a third-party to fund new product development, is it really worth buying?

Overall the design is sleek, comfortable, lightweight (29g) and attractive, with a medical-grade hypoallergenic rubber strap and anodized aluminum casing. The clasp has also been upgraded on the second generation UP3 tracker to provide a more secure fit.

Heart rate monitoring is at the core of the UP3, with Bioimpedence sensors to measure electrical currents in your skin. This gives you real-time continuous feedback for Resting Heart Rate and active monitoring of your Passive Heart Rate at regular intervals throughout the day.

Bioimpedence technology is slightly different to the PurePulse LED lights on the Fitbit Charge HR, which reflect onto the skin to detect blood volume changes. Jawbone’s method results in a lower level of power consumption and a longer battery life of up to 7 days as a result.

Daily activity tracking is available through Smart Coach, which takes applies a personalized holistic approach to your health and fitness routine. This uses a tri-axis accelerometer to record movement and recognize certain activities, such as running. Smart Coach even plays a role in advanced sleep tracking, measuring your Deep, Light, and REM sleep and providing recommendations for the optimal bed time.

Unfortunately you don’t have a screen to monitor fitness data, like you do with a Fitbit. This leaves you reliant on a smartphone to review your performance via the Jawbone App, which can also import data from other third-party apps, such as Runkeeper.

The Jawbone UP3 is water-resistant, rather than waterproof, syncs wirelessly to most iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth®, and supports social fitness challenges via Duel.

You can also setup smart alarms and idle alerts to encourage activity, and notifications are highlighted by flashing status light icons. Unfortunately you can’t view calendar reminders, caller ID, or read SMS messages like you can with a Fitbit due to the lack of OLED screen.


9

Misfit Shine 2

Misfit Shine 2

Review Rating: 3.5 Star Review Rating
The second generation Misfit Shine 2 features accurate step tracking, automatic sleep detection, and activity monitoring, making it one of the most powerful yet affordable fitness trackers on the market.

Having the anodized aluminum casing and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) band ensures the Shine 2 is also waterproof to 50 meters, making it an excellent swim tracker. This is reflected via the In-App Lap Counting Upgrade that counts swim laps for 25 and 50-meter pools, and distance to the nearest meter.

Unfortunately there’s no heart rate monitoring or built-in GPS, which impacts the accuracy of running and cycling distance/split data. However, you can still monitor a variety of useful fitness data using the Misfit app (iOS and Android), such as step count, distance moved, calories burned, and sleep quality from the night before.

The Misfit Shine 2 is capable of accurately tracking activity from a range of sports and exercises, such as swimming, cycling, basketball, tennis, and running. This is thanks to the built-in 3-axis accelerometer and magnetometer and a highly responsive capacitive touch sensor.

Smart notifications can be received, but because there’s no OLED display screen, you rely on a series of 12 multicolor LED lights. These are also used to track fitness goal progress and indicate time of day to the nearest 5 minutes.

For phone calls the lights at the top of the device blink green, while for text messages they turn blue. That’s compared to goal tracking, where an increasing number of lights illuminates as you get closer to achieving your target, changing in color from red to white as they do so.

As with the Moov Now, battery life is excellent. That’s because the Misfit Shine 2 uses a traditional coin cell battery, similar to a watch, rather than a rechargeable ion-lithium battery. This results in a market-leading 6 month battery life.


10

Moov Now

Moov Now

Review Rating: 3.5 Star Review Rating
The Moov Now is designed as a dedicated sports coach, monitoring real-time data generated by your exercise and translating it into audio and visual coaching to improve your performance.

In terms of personalization, the silicon band isn’t interchangeable, so you don’t have the same style choice options as the Fitbit Flex 2. However, the design is still small enough and secure enough to wear during a range of sports and activities. You also have two different strap sizes, including a smaller ankle strap for tracking cycling and running movement.

Unlike most fitness wearables, the Moov Now is completely waterproof, allowing you to strap it to your wrist when you go swimming. These swimming sessions are tracked and data recorded, while cycling and running are coached.

An accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer combine to form the built-in Omni Motion Sensor, which makes it possible to track your movement through three dimensions. This is the fitness technology that makes it possible to provide live coaching feedback, and reduces the risk of injury through analyzing your exercise form.

To maximize battery life and keep the price affordable Connected GPS is available through a Bluetooth connection to your phone. Unfortunately this means pace and distance stats won’t be calculated accurately when cycling or running unless you have your phone on you.

There’s also no social elements to challenge your friends like you get with a Fitbit, but you can still connect to third party Bluetooth heart rate monitors.

A Moov app is available for tracking your sleep and activity data, but it doesn’t offer advanced analysis on your stats. All of the apps you had for different activities on the Moov have now been combined into one, but there’s still no support for syncing from third party applications (Runkeeper, MyFitnessPal, etc.).

For an activity tracker, the Moov Now has an impressive 6 month battery life, made possible through the use of a watch battery rather than rechargeable lithium. In comparison, most Fitbit fitness trackers have enough power for up to 7 days use on a single charge.