Wearable Fitness Trackers - Buyers Guide
Meeting your fitness goals requires dedication and accountability. You can get started the right way by investing in some of the latest tech in wearable fitness. Let’s look at the three of the best fitness band options to help you reach your exercise and expectations.
If anyone band is synonymous with wearable fitness it’s Fitbit. Fitbit Zip wireless activity tracker delivers all the features you need to get active. The band tracks steps, distance, calorie burns and shows you how you're stacking up against your daily goals. Track how active your day is going with the easy to use Zip display. You can view your activity stats by simply tapping the Fitbit zip screen. you can also access your stats anytime on your computer, tablet or most iPhone or Android smart phones. The Fitbit zip can easily fit in your pocket or on your belt or anywhere can clip. it is water resistant and has replaceable watch battery that lasts up to 6 months. Wear the zip all day all the time without needing a charge.
Fitbit Charge HR
Looking for a Fitbit that goes a couple of steps further? The Fitbit Charge HR large black wireless heart rate and activity wristband is the perfect choice. Like the Fitbit Zip, the charge HR tracks activity like steps and calorie burns. However, the charge HR goes to that next level providing you with continuous automatic wrist-based heart rate monitoring. The band also tracks workouts and all day activity. You can get real-time run stats, review routes, splits and workout summaries on the wristband’s compatible app. Other bonuses include battery life up to five days and wireless syncing. Need that motivation to reach all your fitness goals - the Fitbit charge HR wristband is an excellent choice.
Polar Loop 2
The Polar Loop 2 always looks big in the photos but once you actually have it on your wrist it's not bad at all. Actually if you compare this to the very popular Fitbit Charge, the Fitbit is actually wider by one millimeter. This band is very comfortable and feels smoother and softer than the previous generation (Polar Loop). It features the same water resistance, as before working perfectly fine in the shower and you are able to swim with this up to 20 meters of depth.
The same port is found on the underside as the last model to sync your Loop 2 to other PC’s or Mac’s and of course used to charge the device as well using Polar’s proprietary USB cable. you can wirelessly sync via Bluetooth as well. The array of 85 LED’s in the display is a gorgeous white, which shine very bright at night and indoors. however outdoors it is somewhat difficult to see. The band can display your calories burned, steps, current time and lastly the activity bar filling up throughout the day indicating how close you are to meeting your goal. If you haven't met your goal the band provide suggestions on how many more minutes you need to run or how many more minutes for a walk to reach your daily goal. a perfect indicator that day to see if a few more minutes of being active will get you where you need to be.
This band is considered as an entry-level band and the Loop 2 does not have indications of your heart rate zones. When using your HRM chest strap, you do have to memorize where your levels are, if you desire heart rate zone training. When you are wearing H7 chest strap, your real-time heart rate is displayed right on the band. The Polar Loop 2 now features smart notifications for your iOS and Android devices.
Samsung Gear S2
Prefer to go the SmartWatch route? The Gear S2 from Samsung is stylish and functional alternate. The slim, stainless steel body sits comfortably on your wrist. Apps, email, a calendar and more – The Gear S2 includes everything you expect in a SmartWatch. What makes it a great choice for the fitness buff is that S health feature, which allows you to track daily activity levels, heart rate as well as water and caffeine intake. you can even set timely motivational messages to appear and keep you on track with your fitness goals.
Are wearable Heart Rate Monitors accurate?
The medical EKG monitors use electrodes and show the electrical activity in the heart. The chest strap HRM’s essentially use the same electrical sensing technology, have an EKG lead right over the chest, and is therefore expected to work very well. On the other hand, an optical sensor is not near your heart and it's not sensing the electrical activity within your heart. It’s sensing the flow of blood through your capillaries, one pulse per each heartbeat. The chest straps although uncomfortable and inconvenient are more accurate. Find out which one are most accurate here.
Scosche Rhythm Plus – Best Optical Heart Rate Monitor
Scosche Rhythm Plus comes with a charging cradle that plugs into any USB charger or USB outlet. While it's charging you'll get a flashing red light. When it's fully charged you have a solid blue light indicating that it's fully charged and ready to use. Users have reported a very broad spectrum of battery life anywhere from as little as five hours of use all the way up to eight hours of use.
The rhythm plus ships with both a small and large size Velcro strap. This is compatible with most fitness applications and compatible with iPhone and android devices as well as pretty much any sort of Bluetooth or a ANT plus fitness device.
The optical heart rate sensor on this is bigger compared to most of the optical heart rate sensors that you see on other Fitness wearables. Additionally it's very fast takes multiple readings per second. I compared it against the Polar H7 Bluetooth chest strap, which is considered by many to be a standard in heart rate monitoring.
Comparing it with Polar H7 Chest Heart Rate Sensor
Optical heart rate monitors tend to not do very well with strength training, lifting, CrossFit, high-intensity interval training. It’s just the nature of the technology and so usually a chest strap is preferred in those contexts. What I found was that at least while jogging or running it was only maybe a second or two behind the Polar H7 external HRM. Therefore, it was able to acquire my heart rate and keep its accuracy even though it was elevated at a very high rate. I kept trying to throw at it other exercises to quickly elevate my heart rate including jump rope and double unders to see how quickly the rhythm plus would be able to catch up to the polar h7. And again, I found that it would even with the with a double under spiking my heart rate up to 180 beats per minute very quickly, the rhythm plus followed right behind it within a matter of seconds. No matter what I did, the Rhythm Plus was able to accurately and quickly get my heart rate and hang right there with the polar h7.
The Rhythm Plus said I had a 138 beats per minute average versus a 141 beats per minute average of the Polar H7. The Rhythm Plus said I had a 186 beat per minute max and versus the 185 on the polar. Therefore, that was really surprising and then when you look at the actual cardiograph of my heart rate they're pretty much identical. So while it's true that the polar h7 Bluetooth chest strap was more accurate than the rhythm plus, it was only nominally. The rhythm plus was very impressive for an optical heart rate monitor.