Are you trying to measure the calories burned or to know if you train effectively? Well, what you need is a fitness tracker in the case of a morning walk or a workout in the gym.
New ways to improve results are always sought, and this device is very suitable to help you in this endeavor. Walking is an excellent example of how you can keep your body in good shape.
Here we had selected the latest and advanced models of the best fitness trackers that are given below.
Buying Guide to Select the Best Fitness Trackers
On many occasions, the benefits that can be derived from including technology in our sports routine are underestimated. The analysis of the data allows increasing the control over the exercises and, consequently, the result that can be obtained thanks to it.
To choose the right fitness tracker, we think it is necessary to correctly inform you about its characteristics and functions since it will directly influence every day of your life. In this regard, we will deal in detail with everything you need to know about this device to solve all your doubts.
Smartband or Smartwatch?
If you don’t know whether to choose between a smart band or smartwatch, and you don’t know the advantages of one type of fitness tracker on the other, I’ll briefly explain what the differences are.
A fitness smartwatch is an equivalent of a watch with Smart functionality, i.e., connected to the Internet or to another device from which it draws the ability to access advanced information.
Usually, despite the size, smartwatches have autonomy of a few days (sometimes they barely arrive in the evening) and are more reliable in the analysis of sports activities.
I do not recommend them, however, for sleep monitoring. In the evening, they must often be loaded, and you could often lose very important data if you are looking for a generic wrist device.
That is, also, for the management of notifications (and possible response), for the reproduction of photos or navigation via GPS, the smartwatch is certainly better. All this, however, weighs heavily on battery life.
The smart fitness band, however, is the equivalent of Smart bracelets. They also connect to an external smartphone for online connectivity, but – thanks to the presence of displays of smaller size and quality – they often offer a much longer battery life.
On these devices, you cannot reproduce photos or images, even if the latest models have color panels, but offer autonomy that can exceed two weeks.
Thanks to this feature, they are excellent fitness trackers both during the day and during the night: if you are interested in keeping track of your night habits, I recommend this particular type of fitness tracker.
Furthermore, smart bands can also reproduce the notifications of the paired smartphone, even if they offer much less possibility of interaction and management of the same.
A display is almost always present inside a smartwatch, but the same is not always true on smart bands. In most modern models, however, it is very difficult not to find an integrated panel for viewing the time, date, or even the notifications arriving on the paired smartphone.
On smart bands, the displays are usually very small, monochromatic or in color, while on smartwatches they are usually with a diagonal greater than the thumb (sometimes the size of the display of a smartwatch or a smart band is also indicated in millimeters), and with dials of different shapes:
The panel resolution indicates the number of pixels present in it, and, for the same diagonal, it is possible to establish its definition (i.e., how many pixels are present in a specific area).
For example, if the resolution is 320 × 320 pixels, a fairly high definition of 320 pixels on the horizontal side and another 320 pixels on the vertical side is indicated.
If the panel is circular, however, it is clear that both numbers represent the diameter of the display. The most modern smartwatches and smart bands can almost always be controlled by touch, thanks to the implementation of touch-screen panels.
Fitness trackers often use OLED displays, since they are more energy-efficient than LCDs (liquid crystal), and also brighter, despite having the ability to turn off the black pixels to offer a better contrast ratio and a made perfect in the dark.
One technology used in the past on some fitness tracker models was e-Paper technology, which allowed optimal visibility under sunlight (even better than OLEDs), consuming energy only in the change of state (for example, between one page to another ).
Have you ever heard of always-on displays instead? This feature indicates the possibility of keeping the display always on, even when the smartphone is not used.
Usually, when this function is not present, the display turns off to save energy, turning on only with a tap with the gesture of the arm that is performed to watch the time.
If present, however, the panel remains on in an energy-saving mode when not in use, while it activates in all its functions when the gesture I have just described is performed.
The straps of a fitness tracker can, fortunately, be replaced in the vast majority of cases, both if you buy a smartwatch, and if you choose a smart band.
In the latter case, you are almost always forced to choose dedicated straps for the specific bracelet model. At the same time, smartwatches often use standards compatible between multiple models, indicated with the width of the strap.
In the presence of a proprietary attachment system, such as on Apple Watch, it is still necessary to choose specific straps for that model.
Often some fitness tracker models are sold with non-universal straps, indicated with the letters of the alphabet S, M, or L, which, respectively, define the sizes Small, Medium, or Large. In this case, try to find the most suitable size for your wrist size.
As you have already understood, autonomy is one of the fundamental parameters of your fitness tracker, given that it relentlessly establishes the functions that you can use.
Usually, manufacturers indicate (almost always very optimistically) the battery life in days in the list of characteristics of each model. In contrast, the technical specifications of the battery are indicated in milliampere hours ( mAh ).
The plate data of a smartwatch or a smart band are not always effective; however, since in the use of a fitness tracker, many variables contribute to establishing its autonomy day after day.
For example, the width of a display, the always-on functionality or the use of the GPS module sacrifice autonomy a lot: in GPS mode any fitness tracker can, in fact, last only for a few hours, except specific models for sports activities that they have a very long lifespan.
If you practice outdoor sports or even pool activities, it is very important to select water-resistant models. The models that enjoy IP certification can also be used in the shower.
Although manufacturers often advise against using them at sea or in saltwater. These models often have an analysis of swimming activities, and can also be used in very humid environments without incurring breakage risks.
Another wording that you can find on models that can be used underwater is 3ATM or 5ATM: the first suggests the possibility of using the fitness tracker at a depth of 30 meters, the second up to 50 meters, obviously in both cases within certain time limits.
Many watches, especially those more related to the sports world, use a proprietary operating system, as well as almost all smart bands in circulation.
In this case, you should read the functions it has and, above all, the smartphones that are compatible with pairing (between iPhone and models with Android) and which functions they can take advantage of once combined.
For example, some models can read the notifications of some smartphones but can only allow the response on some specific models.
- Apple Watch Os – needs no big presentations. It is the Apple Watch operating system and is tailor-made for iPhones (in theory, it can also be associated with Android, but in a very limited way). It is recognized that it offers the best user experience on smartwatches, but to fully exploit it, you need to have an Apple smartphone.
- Google Wear Os – is Google’s operating system for smartwatches, which instead gives its best if paired with an Android smartphone. It works, however, also with the iPhone, although some functions are not supported in the latter case.
- Samsung Tizen Os – Samsung’s system is somewhere in between Apple’s and Google’s approaches. Although it can be used in conjunction with any Android device, and also with iPhone, it gives its best if it is paired with a Galaxy series smartphone.
- Fitbit Os – one of the most important players in the fitness tracker sector is Fitbit, now acquired by Google. The models of the American company make use of a proprietary operating system capable of synchronizing both with the iPhone, albeit with some restrictions in the management of notifications, and with Android devices.
Now let’s move on to the fitness functions of a fitness tracker, which are the most important, although it is very convenient to read the notifications on a smartwatch or a smart bracelet.
It is clear that a device of this type must be mainly reliable in reading the data collected daily, and must give useful advice for the improvement of one’s health and well-being personnel.
And this is possible thanks to a series of sensors, such as accelerometers, heart rate monitors, or gyroscopes, for example, integrated inside them.
Pedometer and Activity Analysis
The step count, also called the pedometer function, works thanks to the use of a digital accelerometer present in the fitness tracker.
It allows you to keep track of the steps taken every day, and dedicated software on your smartphone saves all the history, creating daily, weekly, and monthly statistics to offer a map of the progress made.
In a fitness tracker, the analysis of the activities carried out is fundamental. Thanks to the data collected, the compatible app on the smartphone can perform an analysis of the activities carried out.
Create a statistic that is always updated over time with a complete history of all the objectives achieved, day after day. Also, the apps of the most advanced models implement a sort of personal trainer capable of advising based on the same data to improve health conditions and sports performance in your favorite activities.
Some models (now practically all of them) also show data such as distance traveled, counting plans, and, by combining all the data – even those of the sports activities carried out – it is also possible to monitor the estimate of the calories burned.
The heart rate monitor is a sensor that manages to analyze the wearer’s heart rate, often throughout the day. Monitoring this data can be useful during sports activities, to keep the heart rate constant, but also during the day to find out about any cardiac problems.
The analysis carried out by a fitness tracker is not 100% reliable, therefore before being alarmed, it is always good to consult a reference doctor.
Some high-end models also implement the electrocardiogram, that is, a function that uses the integrated sensors to evaluate the frequency and intensity of the electrical impulses produced by the heartbeat.
If potentially dangerous cardiac arrhythmias occur, the fitness tracker can notify the user, and even in this case, it is advisable to consult a trained doctor.
As I wrote above, the GPS module is one of the most expensive functions in terms of energy consumption, but it is also among the most useful if you do outdoor sports such as running, cycling, and more.
It allows you to trace the path taken during outdoor training, and, in the most advanced smartwatch models, it can be used in satellite navigation mode to know how to get to a destination.
Other Fitness Features
The best fitness trackers can have many features related to fitness and many “lifestyle” features. In models designed for athletes, there is the possibility of connecting a heart rate monitor, which allows an analysis of the heartbeat often more reliable and precise.
While other models support automatic recognition of sports activity, a function that allows you to enable a certain type of “tracking” once you start a specific exercise (such as running, cycling, swimming, hiking, or other).
I have already told you about sleep monitoring, which allows you to analyze daily habits and verify the data on light, deep, and REM sleep when you wake up.
This function also offers advice on the time to go to bed, to improve the quality of night’s sleep and the general well-being of the user.
Among the useful functions, mainly for the sportsman but not only, but there are also the stopwatch or the timer (careful, because, although they are very simple functions to implement, they are not always present), or even the possibility to change the dial and information always visible to screen.