Sports Watches Review

How to Choose an Activity Tracker

Activity trackers is made to be much smarter and accurate than your old-school pedometers.  After reading this article, you should understand what features are offered and what they do to make an informed purchase to help you meet your activity goal.watchesThese little devices tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed, like most advanced pedometers, but come nightfall, it also measures your sleep cycle, helps you learn how to sleep better (how many times you wake up and how long did you sleep), and wakes you in the morning. What makes it smart because you can seamlessly sync your data to your online profile to visually see your real-time progress. Activity trackers are also good for hiking, walking, playing sports and running plus your daily activities in general.  If you are serious about losing weight and getting fit, you definitely need one of these!  Becoming active works for so many different health problems:  Its cuts heart disease rates in half, lower the risk of diabetes by 58%, reduce anxiety and depression by 30-50% and significantly lower obesity in children and adults.So what do you want to look for when you shop for one of these fitness gadgets? Activity trackers can range any where from $69 to upwards of $200 retail. Your price point will vary based on the features and maybe even the application or software used to monitor your routine.  Most brands include a free application for you to sync, store and analyze your data, with the exception of BodyMedia (more information below).  You have to ask yourself, (1) what are you looking to track (steps, distance, calories, sleeping activity, meals) and (2) how easy it for you to interpret the data from your tracker to meet your goal. To help you with these two points, here is a list of features for activity trackers.

  • Tracks steps, distance and calories
  • Quality of Sleep
  • Meal Log
  • Sync
  • Water Resistant
  • Temperature sensors

Activity Tracker Review & Comparison: Guide by Features

The Activity trackers below all have Windows and Mac compatible with no heart rate monitor and uses 3-axis accelerometer to measure your activity.  Since most of them are meant to be worn on your wrist or belt, activity trackers are very accurate for walking and running activities, but less so for other sports.  Here are the top fitness monitors.  Please feel free to comment if you have any questions.

Choosing a Speed & Distance Watch

Speed and Distance watches are basically what it sounds like, watches that can measure your speed and distance.  gps-watchThese type of monitors can help determine how far you’ve have been running, swimming or even cycling and at what speed using (1) GPS or (2) an accelerometer.  These multi-functional watches has many other key features such as measuring your heart rates, bicycling accessories to track your cadence, altitude tracking, water resistance; making it a great device for the multi-sport enthusiast.

After reading this post, you should understand all the features of a simple to advance speed and distance watch and basic uses to make an informed decision.  If not, let me know and I’ll be sure to include it.

Key Speed and Distance Watch Features

GPS vs. Accelerometer

Using GPS

GPS (or global positioning system) receiver is used to locate satellites in orbit to deduce your position and speed, a mathematical principle called trilateration. This method is highly precise and does not require any type of calibration to your watch.  One downside to GPS training watches is that it requires a clear line of vision to the sky.  Did you ever notice your car GPS or your Sirius satellite radio zones out when you drive into the tunnel, bridge or in big cities?

Using Accelerometer

The other method used to measure your speed and distance is an accelerometer watch.   There is definitely some science to this, but to keep it simple, its a device that will measure acceleration forces. These forces may be static, like the constant force of gravity pulling at your feet, or they could be dynamic – caused by moving or vibrating the accelerometer.  This technology can be found on your iPhones and Wii joysticks.

For more information on compass and altimeter features, check out my post on Altimeter watches.

Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker

Retail Price: $99.95
Size: 1.89×0.76×0.38 inches
Weight: 0.28 oz.
What in the box? The Fitbit activity tracker, clip, wireless sync dongle, sleep wristband, and charging cable.
Features: Steps taken, Calories burn, Distance traveled, Stairs climbed, Hours slept, Quality of Sleep, Sync and Time
You can check your tracking information on the device in real time and easily brag about it by uploading your workout. You can wear it on your belt, bra, pocket and your wrist when you sleep. Some folks complain about losing it since its a clip on, what can I say, be more careful. The display’s much brighter than the previous Ultra, the button is more responsive and the technology behind the Fitbit, its interface, is much better now. Is allows you to sync your device if you are within 10-15 feet away. The sleep tracker monitors your sleeping patterns. You can track your sleeping patterns and see that you might wake up more during the weekdays then on weekends. It tracks your steps very accurately, but does not count activites such as the use of an elliptical machine, Pilates, weight lifting as accurate. Fitbit calorie calculations that are based on activity level (as measured by accelerometer) and duration.

Calories count include resting calories and calories from activities
Activity stats automatically resets at midnight
Silent alarms
2 hour to charge and lasts for 5-7 days
Free iPhone and Android app, syncing to your computer automatically
Lefty mode, the display will orient itself for left handed folks
It tracks up to seven days of detailed, minute-by-minute data.
They have a great free online dashboard gives you a daily snap shot and cumulative progress. You can log your food consumption, workouts and weight.
Awards you with badges to give your praise to help motivate you to reach your next level with the ability for you to compete with your friends.
Integrates well with other apps, such as Endomondo, Run Keeper and Map My Fitness.
Water Resistant, not water proof (no swimming).

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