These days it’s not enough to just buy an activity tracker that tracks steps and sleep. With technological advances bounding ahead every passing day, would you even believe that the 2 years old Fitbit Flex is now considered mediocre by today’s standards. Throw in training programmes like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), P90X, Tabata and suddenly step count seem quite an inadequate measure to track activities. As a Physical Education teacher, I clock in the region of 16-20k steps per day. Even then, I know I’m not getting the right amount of benefits I should from cardiovascular based exercises; 10000 steps in 1 hour and 10000 steps spread over 16 hours will bring about different benefits to each individual.
If you’re considering between a heart rate monitor and an activity tracker, you can get both now. 2015 is the year of optical heart rate sensors and I’ve curated 5 activity trackers that measure heart rate which stood out for me.
The purchasing of an activity tracker is a very personal matter akin to buying a pair of fitting running shoes that lasts about half a year at best with regular usage. Do your research, crawl through the reviews and put your money on the one that suits you best.
Apple’s foray unto the wrist has brought about mixed reactions; you either love it or you don’t. I personally liked the activity tracking aspect of the watch with the signature “Ding!” chime to move, the vibrations and the responsiveness to touch and the heart rate measuring capability.
The current series of Apple Watch apps are still at its infancy and might have marred the user experience somewhat. The Watch OS2 will bring about more customisation, new watch faces and allow native apps to run faster on the Apple Watch directly among many other new features.
The Apple Watch remains one of the more recent activity tracker with full smart watch capabilities. The potential has yet to be fully tapped and one can only imagine what new benchmarks the Apple Watch will set in the next 6 months with Watch OS 2; at a premium of course. The Apple Watch Sports is retailing for $349 while the Apple Watch Edition Rose gold goes for $12000.
Hands down the most advanced activity tracker on the market. Skin temperature? Perspiration? Heart rate? REM sleep tracking? Checked, checked, checked and checked. The on board Body-IQ technology senses when the user is walking, running, cycling and at rest.
Since release, firmware updates have brought about smart phone notifications, transmission of heart rate data to 3rd party apps and recently silent alarm. The company is making improvements to their crown jewel though it can be painful at times waiting for updates to arrive. Now if they would just improve the mobile app interface. Nonetheless, the Basis Peak is still an excellent activity tracker that measure heart rate to consider. The recommended retail price is $199.95 and you can usually get it at a slight discount if you get yours from Amazon.com.
Released in tandem with the Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Surge, the Charge HR is the first activity tracker from Fitbit offering heart rate monitoring capabilities during rest and exercise. With 24/7 activity tracking and a stellar performing mobile app platform, the Fitbit Charge HR is currently sitting atop Amazon.com’s wristband best seller’s list. I personally thought the Fitbit Charge HR is light-weight, provides a daily resting heart rate reading and minimal smart phone notifications. The recommended retail price is $149.95 and you can usually get it at a slight discount if you get yours from Amazon.com.
The Garmin Forerunner 225 is the first GPS enabled watch from Garmin to employ optical sensors from Mio Global. Of the 5 curated activity trackers, this is the only one that features on board GPS capabilities. I though the Forerunner is ridiculously light in weight given the amount of features the watch has, accelerometer, vibration motor, optical heart rate sensors, GPS and so on. Gamin has managed to combine the benefits of heart rate (HR) training beautifully with the on display HR zones.
The Forerunner 225 is also an activity tracker that tracks sleep and steps. Indoor run distance is automatically estimated with the in-watch accelerometer. I had a lot of fun during my review with the Garmin Forerunner 225 and if it could offer some form of smart watch notification, I’d be sold.
The recommended retail price is $299.99 and you can usually get a small discount if you get yours from Amazon.com.
The Adidas Fit Smart made the list of top 5 simply because there’s daily activity tracking and a formidable mobile app compared to the Mio Global series of wrist based heart rate monitors. The device can also tap on the smart phone’s GPS and have the running metrics recorded with the Fit Smart providing the heart rate data. When used without smart phone connection, the Fit Smart is able to estimate distance run based on the in built accelerometer.
The recommended retail price is $149 but you can usually get a small discount if you get yours from Amazon.com. In return your purchase helps to fund the running of this site.