How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker: If you haven’t bought your first fitness tracker yet or are considering an upgrade, this buying guide can help you identify brand, specs, and potentially new devices to buy.

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

 

A Guide to Choosing a Fitness Tracker

When choosing a smart tracker, budget and design are not so important, because basically everything is on the same level for both expensive and budget brands, how important it is who produces it, and for what purposes. Budget options – up to $ 50 – are massive products for everyone, but for those who play sports at an amateur level, it’s also an option. Those who value the accuracy of the sensor readings will have to pay at least $ 100- $ 150. We have already talked about specific models, and now we will deal with the selection criteria.

Manufacturer Brand

It is not so important how costly the brand itself is, how much its experience in the market is. For a long time and quite successfully in the segment of smart trackers, there are Samsung, Xiaomi, Fitbit, Huawei / Honor, Garmin. Of course, the more expensive and sporty a brand is, the more resources it spends on developing algorithms, the more accurate its measurements are likely to be. The more users a brand has, the larger the sample. The more costly the class of the device, the better the components will be in the device.

Xiaomi and Honor, in my opinion, are the best brands in terms of price and capabilities in the fitness tracker market for those who do not need super-accurate readings. Huawei is essentially the same product as Honor in features and system, only slightly more expensive. Therefore, if you sympathize with this manufacturer, but are thinking about the cost of electronics, you can safely give preference to a more affordable brand, in this case, it is justified.

Fitness Tracker Specifications and Mobile App/platform Functions

In choosing a specific model, I do not recommend starting from the budget since, below a certain level, the purchase will be a waste of money.

I advise you to choose models with a large and touch OLED screen, heart rate monitor, support for the sports that you do. Further – optional. Smart alarm clock (Fitbit, Huawei / Honor), color screen, music control (Fitbit, Xiaomi), autonomy (Xiaomi, Huawei / Honor in second place), GPS (Garmin, Fitbit), etc.

It is also worth reading about the capabilities of the tracker app and see if they meet your exact expectations. Xiaomi and Huawei / Honor have them almost the same, but if you look at the higher price category, like Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin, there will be differences.

With expensive, by the standards of fitness trackers, brands, there is another nuance. For Samsung, for Huawei, this is not a particularly exciting direction. The companies are competing for the market of smartwatches, a higher margin, where the names and brands of the Xiaomi family are not yet strong. Brands often donate them to more expensive smartphones. It turns out great for free, but it may not be very interesting as an item for self-purchase.

For example, the Samsung Galaxy Fit E, which is not in the top of the best, is a suitable tracker in itself if you use it with the brand’s smartphone and don’t pay full price for it.

Samsung has frankly scored on the budget segment and is releasing something interesting only in the smartwatch segment. But it is also impossible to call an unambiguous overpayment.

Your Smartphone Manufacturer’s Brand

This point is not particularly important, but other things being equal, I recommend taking it into account. The device will be better integrated with a native smartphone. Often this concerns the alarm clock setting (for example, on my Samsung smartphone, the alarm goes off separately from the Honor tracker, but with Huawei / Honor smartphones, the alarm on the smartphone also works on the watch; you can turn it off from the clock).

There may be other nuances. For example, with Samsung, connecting a native tracker is much more convenient; the smartphone itself does everything for the user. In addition, it transfers data to the proprietary Samsung Health application. This is one of the most sophisticated solutions on the market, there is everything, right down to third-party sports applications.

What is a Fitness Tracker for?

Fitness trackers are designed to motivate the user to move. The basic set of functions of such devices includes counting steps, estimating the distance traveled and calories burned, tracking the duration and quality of sleep, and an alarm wristwatch. Some models have a heart rate monitor and GPS to track your runs. However, this story is not only about sports. Even cheap trackers like Xiaomi Mi Band 4 can display application notifications and text messages, and a slight vibration on an incoming call greatly helps those who often miss calls.

Which Fitness Tracker is the Best to Buy?

If you do not have any special requirements for functionality, inexpensive Chinese smart trackers Xiaomi Mi Band 4 and Honor Band 5 are the best choice. The latter gets extra points for a more user-friendly application and an intuitive interface. If you’re seriously into a healthy lifestyle, consider your calorie intake and exercise regularly – take a look at Fitbit Charge 2 and Samsung Galaxy Fit. Have you outgrown your amateur level? The Huawei Band 4e will help improve your running technique, while the Garmin Vivosport offers a full range of sports features.

How to Charge a Fitness Tracker Without Proprietary Charging?

Usually, the charger for each tracker model is different, so just asking a friend for a spare is not always possible. In the case of well-known brand trackers, the charging dock can certainly be bought from local stores, not to mention AliExpress. The Chinese have even made a convenient adapter for charging Xiaomi Mi Band 4 with a strap on.

What is the Difference Between a Fitness Tracker and a Smartwatch?

The most obvious distinction is the size – fitness trackers are more compact and can hardly be felt on the wrist. Compared to full-fledged “smart” watches, trackers usually work on a closed platform and do not support the installation of third-party applications, but they can work for weeks on a single charge. And for those who are not satisfied with the small screen, there is a fitness watch with the functions of a regular activity tracker and a large dial.

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

1. Honor Band 4/5

Stylish and comfortable

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

Another inexpensive “smart” tracker with a color screen, heart rate monitor, and a classic set of fitness functions. In Honor Band 5, the company has added the function of measuring the level of blood oxygen saturation, and the firmware update brought another useful thing – music control. But if you are not very interested in this function, you can save a little and buy the Honor Band 4.

2. Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4

The most popular fitness tracker

The fourth generation of Xiaomi fitness trackers has finally got a color OLED display. With autonomy, everything is also useful; you can not remember about charging for weeks. Mi Band 4 has learned to control the music player in a smartphone and continues to improve as an activity tracker. All training modes can now be launched directly on the device. Successful continuation of the line.

3. Huawei Band 3 Pro

Sports Assistant

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

A good option for recreational athletes who want more accurate pace and distance data but are not willing to wear a bulky watch. The Huawei Band 3 Pro has pretty much everything you’d expect from a fitness tracker. It counts steps, tracks different sports activities, measures heart rate, monitors sleep, and shows application notifications from a smartphone. Thanks to its laconic design, the device is perfectly combined with casual wear and a business suit.

4. Huawei Band 4e

Budget running tracker and more

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

This is a simplified version of the Huawei Band 4 with a 0.5-inch screen and a unique buckle with which the capsule can be attached to clothing or shoes for a more accurate fitness activity analysis. The Huawei Band 4e is designed for running and basketball users. The rest, perhaps, should pay attention to other models with a broader range of smart functions.

5. Fitbit Charge 2/3

To lose weight for sure from Monday

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

Fitbit Charge 2 and the third-generation model automatically recognize the type of activity, compared to inexpensive Chinese trackers, they track sleep more accurately. The branded application allows you to keep a food diary for a complete calculation of calories, and also offers different training plans (but not always for free). Fitbit does have one of the best fitness platforms out there, but some users might be put off by the lack of full localization.

6. Garmin Vivosport

The sportiest fitness tracker

Garmin VivoSport’s strong point is its accuracy. In terms of its capabilities, the tracker practically does not lag behind a smartwatch; there are all the main types of sports training and even a stress measurement function. The only thing missing is a separate swimming mode, although the hull is protected from water. The information on the transflective screen is perfectly readable in any light, and the GPS comes in handy when jogging in the fresh air.

7. Samsung Galaxy Fit

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

The Galaxy Fit does not know how to control music on a smartphone, but the manufacturer has added several other useful features. The tracker automatically recognizes what kind of activity you are busy with, and supports the function of quick replies to messages. To the merits, it is worth adding the advanced Samsung Health platform with built-in food tracking service and exercise programs for which you do not have to pay.

Best Choice Fitness Tracker

8. Honor Band 5

Stylish and comfortable

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

Honor Band 5 is a minor update of the Honor Band 4 model, which is quite refreshing for its budget. As far as I understand, the new thing came out to “overtake” Xiaomi, which brought the Mi Band 4 to the market right after Honor. Now the “five” formally looks more serious. Compared to its predecessor, there is support for measuring the level of oxygen in the blood and more dials. In my opinion, the update is not the most necessary thing. The price difference is about $ 10, so you see two models at this point.

Both are direct competitors of Xiaomi Mi Band 4. They are almost identical in characteristics and the counting results. In terms of capabilities, Mi Band 4 even breaks ahead thanks to the ability to control the player (not in Honor Band 4) and better autonomy. But I still think Honor is a more exciting proposition because the interface of the tracker and the application is more convenient. It seems to have more logic. In fewer steps, you can get to the start of the workout, the watch faces are more informative, in the application – the way to view your indicators is more direct. Besides, in my opinion, the design is also more excellent, but this is already a matter of taste.

If you have a Huawei / Honor smartphone, then God himself ordered. It will be more convenient to manage the alarm clock (here, by the way, there is a smart alarm clock, for whom it is essential, Xiaomi has a regular one), and there will be one less application in the smartphone (“Health” is preinstalled).

Pros

  • user-friendly interface
  • price/opportunity balance
  • you have a Huawei / Honor smartphone
  • functional autonomy (4-5 days for sure, and then it depends on how hard you train)
  • smart alarm clock
  • switching tracks (only Honor Band 5)

Cons

  • you need something more serious, for sports, or you are ready to afford a much larger budget for a fitness tracker
  • Xiaomi is more careful to you, and you have been using the brand’s trackers for a long time

Alternative Option

9. Xiaomi Mi Band 4

The most popular fitness tracker

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

As much as I liked the interface and application for Huawei / Honor fitness trackers, the whole world is crazy about inexpensive Xiaomi trackers. If you have been using these devices for a long time and used to have Xiaomi trackers, there is no point in changing horses at the crossing. The capabilities of the Mi Band 4 are similar to those of the Honor Band 4/5, only there is still the ability to control music, and the autonomy is twice as large. But the interface is for the curious. Yes, and the battery will last for more than a week.

Pros

  • price-quality ratio
  • you are a fan of the Xiaomi brand
  • fantastic autonomy
  • you can control the music in your smartphone directly from the tracker

Cons

  • you need something more serious, for sports, or you are ready to afford a much larger budget for a fitness tracker
  • this price category suits you and you have a Huawei / Honor smartphone

Cheap and with GPS

10. Huawei Band 3 Pro

A graceful assistant to the athlete

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

You don’t need to bring your smartphone to track your route while jogging and cycling. A gadget on the wrist may well handle this. More often, watches are equipped with a GPS module, but there are more compact options in the tracker format. Huawei Band 3 Pro is one of those. This is a more sophisticated version of the Honor Band 4 in a metal case and with support for autonomous navigation.

According to the observations of users, when the message memory is full, the tracker becomes thoughtful. But bike tracking works with any smartphones, plus GPS allows you to track statistics on open water swims. But remember that with geolocation turned on, the battery will last for a maximum of 7 hours. In normal mode with constant heart rate monitoring, the device will last about 6-7 days. The soft strap does not interfere with charging; you can only find fault with the regularly sliding lock – the belt’s protruding end can cling to clothing and other objects.

The basic model Huawei Band 3 without GPS is also sold on Chinese online sites, but it makes sense to think about buying an Honor Band 5.

Pros

  • built-in GPS
  • looks more expensive than it costs
  • good feature set

Cons

  • you would have something more budgetary, but GPS is not needed
  • you are looking for a more sporty option

For Runners and Basketball Players

11. Huawei Band 4e

 Will do the role +1

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

Huawei was a little more motivated to offer the market an exciting and cheap product in a price segment that can be called “below the psychological bar” than Samsung. So their ultra-budget tracker got its own flavor – functions for runners and basketball players. The device can be clipped to the shoe, and it will read how the user puts his foot, jumps, etc., and makes recommendations on technique. But as a fitness tracker, it is useless – it shows a minimum of information, you cannot read messages on its tiny bw-screen.

For those interested in the device’s capabilities, but would still like a normal smart tracker, I can recommend buying two appliances. Recently, the Health app, which all Huawei / Honor watches and trackers work with, added support for multiple devices. Probably just for such cases.

Pros

  • you want to track your technique in running or basketball

Cons

  • too easy as a fitness tracker

For a Healthy Lifestyle

12. Fitbit Charge 2/3

To lose weight for sure from Monday

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

Fitbit fitness trackers, like Garmin, are not about cheap and cheerful, but expensive and sporty. Fitbit has a fresh platform for those who follow their lifestyle – they can automatically recognize activities, monitor sleep well, offer different training programs (many paid, however), soundly track sleep, allow you to monitor the cycle and consumed calories, can automatically detect some types of activity. The main drawback of both models is the lack of localization. Not the main one, but also essential – the monochrome screen.

Between these two models, I would instead recommend giving preference to the younger one, although it is difficult to find it on sale already. It has GPS, but no NFC, in the “troika” – on the contrary. Since Fitbit Pay does not work in our country, this is the most successful configuration. Right, the new product has a better battery for a couple of days. At least on paper.

If you are interested in this option, we recommend reading the Fitbit Versa 2 review, where I describe the platform’s capabilities.

Pros

  • cool sports platform
  • auto-detect activity
  • capabilities almost at the level of smartwatches

Cons

  • expensive
  • no localization

For All-money Sports

13. Garmin Vivosport

 Sport icon

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

Another non-budget option for those who need a fitness tracker instead of fitness is not because they are too lazy to go into their pocket for a smartphone. Garmin seems to have the best reputation on the sports wearable segment market, and this model is an opportunity to join the brand’s ecosystem more or less inexpensively. There is a GPS; the battery lasts for a week of use (or up to 8 hours in the geolocation tracking mode), there is support for all popular sports and bright color options.

Pros

  • cool sports platform
  • capabilities almost at the level of smartwatches
  • monitoring oxygen levels and stress levels

Cons

  • expensive
  • and there are no contactless payments for that kind of money

If  You Want Samsung

14. Samsung Galaxy Fit (2019)

How to Choose a Fitness Tracker

In general, this is a perfectly logical desire if you use a Samsung smartphone. Galaxy Fit will be twice as expensive as the first two models in the top, and the tracker itself will not be twice as expensive. But as I already wrote above, this does not mean that the model is shamelessly overvalued and should be taken in no case.

Firstly, it works perfectly with Samsung smartphones, maximum pleasure – even at the stage of connection. Secondly, the Samsung Health platform will give odds to any budget options; in terms of capabilities, it is close to Fitbit, but the device is cheaper. I’m not sure if they can compete in the accuracy of the readings (for example, with sleep monitoring with Samsung, everything is not very smooth). Still, it certainly will not be worse than Xiaomi or Huawei / Honor. The tracker can automatically detect activity, and this is another good thing in the budget segment. The app supports a wide variety of workouts.

Pros

  • perfect work with Samsung smartphones
  • advanced platform Samsung Health

Cons

  • brand markup is still present
  • you need something cheaper or, conversely, more sophisticated

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