Fitness trackers aren’t only for runners and avid gym-goers. They’ve become great accessories to help anyone maintain a healthy lifestyle, providing data on everything from sleep to heart rhythms. Here are the models that stood out the most, and the Fitbit Charge 4 is at the top of the list, thanks to its light and stylish design, long battery life, and basic smartphone connectivity features.
Fitbit Charge 4
There are good reasons why Fitbit is the top brand in the fitness-tracking market: Fitbit continues to release updated models with new features and designs, and the Fitbit Charge 4 is a perfect example of this. The design isn’t all that different from Charge 3, so it still offers a relatively sleek look and a button-free design. The band is small enough to work well for any wrist size, plus the shape means that it’s relatively comfortable too. The display on the device may not be the most impressive out there, but it gets the job done, and you’ll get satisfying haptic feedback for the home and back buttons.
The tracker has a full roster of workout and health tracking features, ranging from automatically detecting workouts, to tracking menstrual cycles for women. From the app, you’ll be able to see all your fitness metrics and workouts at a glance, as well as your sleep if you use the sleep-tracking feature. New for the Charge 4 is GPS support — meaning that you’ll be able to physically track your workouts and their distance without having to take your phone on the road with you.
The Fitbit Charge 4 offers other features too. For example, it has a nice auto-stop feature to pause your workout at an intersection, plus it’s great at tracking goals and helping you achieve them without making it too easy to do so. It can also receive text messages and call notifications from your phone.
Apple Watch SE
The Apple Watch SE is much more than an activity tracker. It has a beautiful screen, runs apps, will make and receive calls, shows all your notifications, and will even time how long you’ve washed your hands for. Obviously, this high level of functionality affects the price, and the Apple Watch SE starts at $279.
Why did we highlight it when it’s much more than a fitness tracker? Mostly because Apple’s health software and activity tracking are superb, and incredibly easy to use too. There’s a wide range of workout tracking, GPS, a heart rate sensor, sleep tracking, and a swim-proof body too. The data it collects is easy to interpret, and the Activity Ring system for daily goals is simple and motivational.
It’s the little things that make the Apple Watch SE a great companion. The automatic hand wash timer is surprisingly accurate, the watch will remind you to stand up after periods of inactivity, there’s a relaxing mindfulness app called Breathe.
Fitbit Ace 2
Fitbit nailed it with its kid’s fitness tracker, the Ace 2. The band is available in either Night Sky and Neon Yellow or Watermelon Teal and is replaceable if it breaks or your child wants a different color. The Ace 2 also is waterproof up to 50 meters, a must-have feature for kids who like to jump into the pool, pond, or ocean.
The tracker has a kid-friendly interface that tracks steps, active minutes, and sleep. You can choose between a variety of different clock faces from a simple digital watch face to animated faces that change as the child reaches their fitness goal. The spaceship animation was a favorite among my kids. The watch has several data screens that show the daily step count and active minutes. These real-time stats allow kids to track how much they move during the day and see whether they are close to reaching their goals. At night, kids can get reminders to go to bed and see how long they slept each night.
The Fitbit Ace 2 syncs to the companion Fitbit app, either using the parent’s device or the child’s mobile device. The dashboard is customized for kids with an easy-to-use interface that shows the child’s stats with little to no social features. Kids can view messages from parent-approved friends, but there is no tie-in to Facebook or any other social network. If the child has a phone, then the watch can be configured to receive messages from these trusted contacts.
Samsung Galaxy Fit 2
If you don’t want to spend much on a fitness tracker, it’s possible you won’t be preparing for a marathon, or cycling 100 miles every weekend. If that’s you, then a simple fitness band will suit you best, and they don’t get much more simple than the Samsung Galaxy Fit 2. At $60 it’s one of the cheapest bands you can buy, but don’t mistake the low price for it being low-quality or feature-light.
The 1.1-inch AMOLED screen is bright and colorful, the band comes in several different colors for variety, and it’s comfortable to wear all day too. On the back is a heart rate sensor, the band tracks your steps and calories, plus it has a range of tracking options for different workouts too. All this is presented in simple-to-use software, which you interact with using the touchscreen and a single touch-sensitive button.
It’s water-resistant and can be used to track swimming, and has the option to monitor sleep patterns too. The band connects with your iPhone or Android phone and will show notifications on the screen, but using all these features does mean the battery will need recharging every ten days or so. If you don’t track sleep, or use the notifications, this can be extended.
While the Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 doesn’t have GPS, a blood oxygen sensor, or an ECG, it doesn’t cost anywhere near those bands that do have these features. Instead, it’s cheap, pretty, reliable, and covers the basics very effectively. Alternatively, if you want to spend even less, the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is regularly available for around $40 through Amazon, and has essentially the same features as the Galaxy Fit 2.