Fitness wearables are fantastic for kickstarting an exercise plan if you’ve been wanting to get more active. The fact that most accurately track your steps, calories burnt, distance travelled and give friendly exercise notifications offers an added incentive to hit those fitness goals.
Not everyone has the same fitness goals, however. Some people might be keen swimmers, whilst others might prefer racing along a running track. It only makes sense to purchase a band that meets your own individual fitness needs.
Some just offer basic step and calorie counters, whilst others offer more features like waterproof design, call notifications, calendar integration and tracking for different individual exercises. The number of features also determines the cost of the fitness band; the more advanced features it has, the more expensive it will be.
The many fitness wearables available can make it hard to find one suited to your budget and personal preferences. What Mobile has done all the legwork for you. We tested out a bunch of fitness wearables and assessed them on price, features and design. Here are What Mobile’s top five fitness bands.
Top five fitness wearables: Fitbit Charge
The Fitbit Charge grabs the top spot by blending thoughtful design with a decent number of features. Its minimalist design makes it more discreet than some of the other more garish-looking fitness bands on the market. Step, distance and calorie counters means you’ll have plenty of data to work with during your workouts.
Data was accurate, but a more interesting feature was the mobile social app. You can sync it with your Fitbit and challenge friends to see who can make the most steps under certain conditions. There are also badges awarded for the number of miles travelled, steps taken and much more. All this provided motivation enough for me to hit my daily step goal, if not more.
Of all the fitness bands tested, the Charge had the most secure and comfortable fit. Battery life is also fantastic and the band only had to be charged every 10 days or so.
It unfortunately lacks a heart rate monitor, but this can be overlooked because this is one of the most affordable, functional and well-designed fitness bands you can buy.
Top five fitness wearables: Sony Smart Band Talk
The Sony Smart Band Talk doesn’t just track your fitness activities, it also notifies you whenever you get emails, texts or calls.
It also allows you to make calls by talking into the wristband, but shouting at your wrist might look a bit strange to passer bys.
An E Paper display means all emails and messages are easy on the eyes, but the three-day battery life isn’t as great as the Fitbit’s. It does take an hour to fully charge, which does make up for the short battery life. Like any other fitness band, you can track your fitness data using a mobile app.
Whilst the Sony Smart Band Talk gains points for excellent features, it loses some for its unsightly design. The shape meant it felt slightly awkward whenever I wore it, whilst the large display makes it appear more basic and cheap than it actually is.
Top five fitness wearables: Microsoft Band
The Microsoft Band is perhaps the most feature packed of all the fitness wearables. It comes with a heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, ambient light sensor, skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, capacitive sensor, microphone and galvanic skin response sensor. Microsoft simply hasn’t held back here.
Lumia users can integrate it with Cortana, whilst a web app gives you plenty of insights into your fitness and workout routines. The app also offers a number of neat workout routines and the fitness band will vibrate whenever you need to move onto the next set. The display was also the best of all the fitness bands we tested; displaying all information in bright, crisp colours.
Like the Sony Smart Band Talk, the Microsoft Band suffers from uncomfortable and ugly design. Even when I wore a correctly sized band, it felt restrictive, clunky and certainly less comfortable than the Fitbit or Sony.
Top five fitness wearables: Garmin Forerunner 920XT
Serious athletes will be impressed by the Garmin Forerunner 920XT, which packs an incredible amount of features and lengthy 40-hour battery life. Whether you’re running, cycling or hiking, the 920XT will track your every activity with incredibly accuracy. The interface, although very basic, was very easy to navigate through and I was impressed by the very accurate GPS.
Costing £419, this isn’t a cheap device. So it’s probably best to buy this if you’re a serious athlete. It’s also quite chunky compared to all other devices in this group. But that shouldn’t matter if you’re a serious athlete looking for one of the most well-built, feature packed and accurate fitness watches.
Top five fitness wearables: Garmin Vivoactive
If you don’t want to burn a massive whole in your wallet with the 920XT, then the Garmin Vivoactive is a worthy alternative. It packs nearly all the features that the 920XT has in a more affordable £199 package. It’s also better looking. The way it accurately tracked all our running and cycling activities was impressive but, like the 920XT, it’s display and overall design aren’t the most attractive out of all the fitness wearables we tested.