Battle of the Fitness Bands, are they worth it?
Fitness bands can be a massive motivational boost as well as a neat and convenient way to track your training progress. Although fine gadgets in themselves, they don’t compete with precision and comprehensiveness of a dynamic movement assessment when it comes to monitoring the body. I personally use a Nike Fuel Band, but I wanted to explore the Internet and find out what people were saying about other popular Fitness Bands. That’s what I did, and here are the results, listed A to Z with some pros and cons for each.
- It delivers the most detailed reports of all the Fitness Bands.
- It automatically knows when you’re running, walking, biking, or sleeping.
- It measures Heart Rate (HR), a big plus for me.
- Some users report that it has trouble telling the difference between watching TV and sleeping.
- Does not measure distance
Price: upwards of $149.99
- Strong in activity monitoring, does all the basics (walking, biking, running, stair climbing)
- Great battery life
- Silent alarm feature
- Sleep monitor
- No heart rate monitor
Price: less than $100
- This one records your steps, how many hours of sleep you get per night, and your caloric intake as well with the help of the smartphone app.
- That app has an elegant user interface that makes it very easy to use.
- It’s easy to put on.
- It connects with social networking sites, if you’re into that!
- The device itself has no interface. It’s a band without a screen, so you’ll have to keep your Smartphone on hand.
- It does not sync automatically with your Smartphone.
- It’s a simple, non-flashy design with a friendly user interface.
- It tracks your steps, your sleep, and your calories.
- It’s pretty comfortable!
- Nike Fuel is a neat imaginary point system.
- It syncs wirelessly to your Smartphone.
- Some say the calorie counter is a little bit inaccurate, and the sleep monitor doesn’t stand up to that of the other brands.
- What is “Nike Fuel” anyway?
- It’s tiny, and therefore very portable and discrete. You could stuff it in your shoe, keep it in your pocket, clip it to your tie, tape it to your bicep…if you want.
- It’s 100% waterproof.
- Its internal battery has a year-long life.
- The Smartphone app gives specific and practical advice for reaching your goals.
- It’s tiny, and therefore easy to lose.
WITHINGS PULSE O2
- A detailed display shows steps, distance traveled, and calories burned.
- The calorie-counter takes hills into account, which is pretty cool!
- It also displays your heart rate and blood oxygen level. Great for those of us who are training for events.
- The Smartphone app has a crowded user interface.
- Not exactly waterproof, but it will survive a splash or two.
MY TAKE ON THIS
My Fathers’ Day gift two years ago was the Nike Fuel Band, it’s not the most expensive on the market but if it had of been left up to me to buy my own I would have searched for the best cheap fitness trackers and chosen one of them, but luckily for me I didn’t have to and the one I had bought for me was more expensive than what I would have spent on myself, why is it we always feel guilty about spending money on ourselves but never when it comes to buying it for someone else anyway I digress. As a guy who likes to quantify things, I embrace the idea of having this black rubbery band around my wrist all day, every day. After a while, it becomes part of your look. Even after the battery runs out (about every 4 to 5 days), I keep it on for another day or two. It sort of becomes a part of you.
I have to say, the Fuel Band keeps you on your toes – literally. You are probably goal oriented. I am too. The Nike Fuel Band, like the other trackers I listed above, allows you to set goals of how much daily “fuel” you would like to burn or how many steps to take.
What’s this “fuel” thing about? The “fuel” measurement is unique to the Nike Fuel Band and it may seem arbitrary at first, but over time, you’ll notice your daily average, which then allows you to earn more fuel points. It takes some getting used to, but it’s a workable system.
My own goals are moderate: use 3,000 fuel points per day and take 10,000 steps. 3,000 fuel points is what an average, active but not athletic person would use. I admit, there are days I fall short, but I try to hover around those numbers. There are also many days when I hit over 4,000 points. What’s cool is that if I am 1,000 steps away from my goal or need 500 fuel points to get to 3,000, I tend to do a little extra something to get there, e.g., walk up the stairs, park as far from the supermarket as I can, or do a fifteen-minute workout.
There are a few downsides to the Fuel Band I didn’t list above. For instance, if I’m not moving the arm with the band on it, I get no fuel points. So when I take a Citi Bike here in New York for 2 miles or so, I get no love.
I am not a fitness-band expert as I have only tried the Nike Fuel Band, but I know that a band that measures heart rate is best for me. If you’re looking for a more detailed review, I suggest going to the experts here!
The Bottom Line.
• If you’re doing hardcore exercise daily and like to see the numbers, I would recommend the Pulse O2.
• Looking for something light-weight and user-friendly? Shine.
• If you’re looking for an efficient, no-nonsense bargain, go for the Fitbit. It seems to be the most popular!
• If you’re a casual exerciser and want something you can quickly slap onto your wrist before you go, the Jawbone is for you.
• The Basis, I would say, is for those of us who need to monitor our body states in detail, or just like to have all the data. Most expensive but also has a heart rate monitor.
• The Nike Fuel band is nice but not my favorite since I only ‘get credit’ when I move the arm that has the band wrapped around the wrist. However, It’s simple, durable, and has just enough features to keep my on my toes.
I’m ready to move on to the next fitness tracker. Not sure which one yet.
But….. rumor has it the iWatch will be out soon! Starting price? $349
HERE’s a good review of the iWatch
HERE’s a fantastic XY wellness blog post on Fitness as a Lifestyle