Whether you’re looking for motivation to start training for the marathon or you want to improve your sleeping pattern, fitness trackers are here to help. Plastic Logic CEO Indro Mukerjee calls wearable technology ‘the next frontier in consumer electronics. ’ These gadgets – a watch, bracelet, or clip – can perform a range of tasks aimed at helping you get healthy, like recording your steps, counting your calories, measuring heart rate and blood oxygen levels, and monitoring your sleeping schedule.
That being said, not all wearables are created equal and it will take a bit of research to find the one that’s right for you. It depends on what features you’re looking for: for example, if you’re a swimmer, you would need something completely waterproof. Or if you like to use an exercise bike, you would need a device that will accurately track a more stationary workout.
There are so many different models available, so in an effort to narrow things down, we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 wearable devices.
This lightweight wristband (think more ‘bracelet’ than ‘watch’) is one of the more stream-lined, stylish options, although it’s up to the user whether the lack of interface will be a hindrance or a bonus. It is both sweat- and water-resistant, but not completely liquid-proof, and lasts about 7 days on a full charge.
One of the best selling points for the Jawbone Up24 is its sleep tracking system: the alarm system vibrates you awake when you are in light sleep, not deep sleep, for a more polite wake-up call. And all of the data collected is synced via Bluetooth to your Android or iPhone, so you can continually view your progress.
Basis Carbon Steel Edition
Although this has been criticised for being bulky and heavier than some of the other models on the market, the Basis Carbon Steel Edition is comfortable and easy to use because, unlike the Jawbone Up24, the Basis has an interface with buttons that allow the user to toggle between data. In addition to its fitness and sleep tracking functions, this device also has sensors to monitor heart rate and sweat levels.
And we can anticipate even more from Basis Band: they are releasing the Basis Peak in November, and it looks like they are trying to slim down from the previous model.
Withings Pulse Ox
Called the ‘Pulse Ox’ in Europe and the ‘Pulse O2’ in the US, this slim gadget can be slipped into and out of a watch strap, making it one of the more versatile options out there. However, this interchangeability means that the Withings Pulse Ox is not waterproof. And while its matte finish is on trend, this might pose a problem for those getting active in direct sunlight, as it makes the interface incredibly hard to read.
That being said, this device has a ton of amazing features, including a heart rate monitor, pedometer, sleep tracker, and the ability to measure blood oxygen levels, which might be a bonus for those with asthma or other respiratory limitations.
For those looking to ease slowly into the world of wearable tech, the FitBit Zip might be a safer bet. It comes with a smaller price tag – £50 compared to the standard £100 and above – and can perform many of the same functions: steps taken, calories burned, and distance travelled.
Its small frame comes in a silicone case that can be clipped onto your clothing, making this a good option if you want a more discreet gadget.
Definitely the most stylish device, the Misfit Shine looks and feels like an aluminium coin, with no buttons, screens, or charge ports. It comes with a silicone watch band and a magnet, and there is even a pendant available for purchase so you can wear it like a necklace. It’s completely waterproof, making it ideal for swimmers, and lasts up to four months on a single battery.
The downside to this is its wireless capability: in order to sync your data to the mobile app, you have to physically place your Misfit Shine on the surface of your smartphone. This could be a hassle for those that like to transmit their data on the go.