Fitness trackers are popular wellness devices that have been improving the lives of health-conscious consumers everywhere. From FitBit watches to Xiaomi bands, these trackers are helping users monitor their activity levels, watch their diet, and much more on a daily basis. In fact, fitness tracker sales are predicted to surge even more in the next few years, with about 303 million devices expected to be shipped in 2024. Now, we break down the reasons behind the hype and how these nifty devices actually work.
Why should you get a fitness tracker?
As we mentioned, wearable technology is designed to improve people’s lives — be it medical wearables that track blood pressure, or sleep trackers that help you get better quality shut-eye. Such cutting-edge gadgets are made possible by innovations in rigid-flex PCBs, which contain circuit boards that are made to fit the most unconventionally shaped devices.
This is what allows manufacturers to pack such powerful features in fitness trackers. Aside from that, some trackers can even analyze your data to create workouts tailored to your needs and preferences. It’s a convenient and cost-efficient way to watch your progress.
If you’re interested in finding a fitness tracker to help you reach your health goals this year, here are a few great options you can choose from:
Fitbit Charge 4; Best overall
The Fitbit Charge 4 has a grayscale display, but it has a basic and straightforward interface that makes it easy to navigate. It tracks hourly steps, distance covered, sleep data, and water intake, among others.
It also has a new metric called “Active Zone Minutes,” which shows you the time your body spent in fat burn, cardio, or peak heart rate zone. Other on-device apps include Agenda, Timers, Alarms, and Weather.
The battery life is 7 days, but it only lasts 5 hours if you use the built-in GPS to track your workout. However, the Charge 4 is compatible with both iOS and Android, so you can also connect it to your phone’s GPS to save battery life.
For those who need a little push, this FitBit offers motivational alerts to remind you to hit your daily goals. On the other hand, its sleep tracker can measure sleep time, including naps.
All in all, the Fitbit Charge 4 offers a lot of convenience and feedback regarding your health, making it one of the most advanced trackers on the market.
Xiaomi Mi Band 4; Best value
For only $40, you get an inexpensive and basic tracker that’s packed with features. Its battery life reaches 14 days, though it reduces significantly depending on how often you use its tracking capabilities.
It is water-resistant up to 50m, plus it comes with a heart rate monitor for tracking exercise and sleep. The display is a 0.95-inch full color OLED touchscreen, and responds quickly when you swipe it.
Take note that you’ll have to manually tap it to begin or end exercise tracking, and you won’t get any suggestions to improve your health habits.
The kind of workouts it can track is also limited to standard workouts like running, walking, cycling, and swimming. If you’re looking for something basic but gets the job done, then the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 will work well for you.
Fitbit Inspire HR; Best entry-level tracker
The Fitbit Inspire HR is another relatively cheap tracker that gives you the basic features to monitor your health. It’s more expensive than the Mi Band 4, but it offers a few more features in exchange as well.
For one, it has more exercise modes, and can track them excellently — including metrics like length, duration, and pace. Other features include exercises and guided breathing sessions.
The tracker’s battery life lasts for 5 days, depending on usage. The Inspire HR is compatible with both iOS and Android, and you can use your phone’s GPS features when you’re running too — so the data goes directly into the Fitbit app on the phone.
For sleep tracking, it breaks down your night into Sleep Stages, allowing you to detect irregular patterns and even conditions like sleep apnea.
Garmin Vivoactive 4; Best for in-depth metrics tracking
If you want a tracker that you can use for music too, then check out the Garmin Vivoactive 4. It offers 4GB of music space, and you can stream using Spotify and Amazon Music.
Aside from its large music space, this model has a battery life that lasts up to 8 days — impressive for a tracker with an always-on display and bright backlight. But if you use it in GPS mode while listening to music, it only lasts approximately 4.5 hours.
Compared to its predecessor, the Vivoactive 3, its beauty is in its flexibility as it is able to monitor strength training, yoga, cardio, and even Pilates workouts.
On top of this, it offers breathwork exercises for those looking for meditation features. Indeed, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 comes with many perks, but it stands out most for the music streaming services and storage space.
Samsung Galaxy Fit; Best for smartphone notifications
The Samsung Galaxy Fit is a relatively affordable tracker that accurately tracks steps, distance, heart rate, sleep, and more. However, you will need two apps to operate it: the Samsung Health app and the Galaxy Fit app. Nonetheless, the tracker has a simple interface, sharp display, and battery life lasting up to 7 days.
It’s iOS and Android compatible, and you can accept or reject calls, and view app alerts and text messages from the Fit. The Galaxy Fit also offers at least 90 activities you can choose from, and you can create goal-based exercises for specific workouts.
Whatever your budget or health goals are, there’s surely a fitness tracker out there for you. Let this list serve as a good starting point, and let us know in the comments section below which you enjoy using the most.
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