Best fitness tracker 2019: the top 10 activity bands on the planet

With so many good fitness trackers on the market right now, and promising ones on the horizon, it's hard to contain them all in just one list. What is the best fitness tracker?

The best fitness trackers and fitness bands with heart-rate tracking, coaching and moretop rated fitness trackers 2016 это позитив) простоBest Fitness Trackers and Watches of - Reviews and Comparisons | Tom's Guide

By Duncan Bell TZ. Looking to get fit in ? After many years of doing very little beyond counting steps, makers of trackers and bands are now realising that many consumers want more useful feedback on how fit they are and how to get fitter. They are addressing this with, it must be said, 'varying' degrees of success.

Or, if you're less diplomatic, not much success. To cut a long story short, if you're interested in fitness, my strong advice is to get a running watch instead. The term 'running watch' is just shorthand - they're also useful when cycling, hiking, at the gym and even, in a few cases, swimming.

If you must have a Fitbit, get one of their more versatile watches such as the Versa, rather than a band. Okay, it's a Fitbit. Quite hard deciding which, as they are so similar in terms of functionality but at present we rank them like this:.

Fitbit Versa Lite : best fitness tracker for most people; essentially a fitness band made just big enough to incorporate a smartwatch-style screen. Fitbit Charge 3 : best fitness tracker for those wanting a band, not a watch. Essentially identical to Versa Lite in terms of functionality. Fitbit Inspire HR : best cheaper fitness tracker. Fitbit's app, social network and general ecosystem are just by far the best.

Seriously, it's not even close. Garmin's new, tightened-up app is a step in the right direction in some ways, but it's still too sprawling, because it's designed to be for everyone from 10,steps-per-day mums to elite triathletes. All that being said, if you don't want a Fitbit, Garmin's Vivosport , which includes built-in GPS as well as pulse tracking, is a very decent alternative to the Charge.

One outlier here is the Moov Now , which features useful audio coaching and long battery life, but is feeling its age a bit now. So, walking 10, steps per day is absolutely better than walking none, but it won't turn you into Sir Mo Farah.

Tracking your sleep may give you some interesting insights, but it won't necessarily help you sleep any better. I've tried to address those shortcomings by picking out the bands that try to do more, rather than just literally being step counters. Fitness trackers have issues around accurately calculating how many calories you've burned, how much distance you've covered and what your heart rate is, particularly during vigorous exercise.

Perhaps worst of all, most older fitness trackers made no effort to tell you how fit you are, or offer any ways to get fitter. Brands are finally addressing this, largely through estimating your VO2 Max during regular workouts. This gives you a base score for how fit you are, which can be rewarding or terrifying, depending on where you sit on the scale.

It tracks deep and light sleep, steps, distance and calories, but that is barely scraping the surface of its capabilities. Via Fitbit's excellently presented app and sprawling ecosystem, you can use it as the basis of a complete fitness and diet programme. Unlike all too many competitors, it syncs quickly and reliably too. Numerous targets and goals can be set steps, stairs climbed, 'Activity Minutes' of moderate to vigorous exercise, weekly goals for number of days hitting the Activity Minutes target, and so on.

You can also enter your meals to log calories consumed, and trade them off against the Charge 3's estimate of how many calories you've burned. I would not trust this, personally, but it's a semi-useful rough guide, I guess. Thanks to an acceptably accurate and reliable heart-rate reader, it's more useful for serious exercise than many bands.

This is undermined by the fact that the screen turns itself off after just a few seconds, to preserve battery, and the fact that your current cardio zone is not shown on screen. As someone who uses cardio zones as the basis of practically all exercise I do, I find this absolutely baffling.

Yes, in theory, you can turn the screen on by turning your wrist but this only works about half the time, and if you're really going for it on a run, cycle or gym session, that is a massive PITA. A more agreeable feature of the Fitbit Versa Lite is that it can auto-detect various common types of exercise, so you don't have to remember to press a button every time you go for a jog or get on your bike, or an elliptical trainer.

Many runners, I know, prefer to leave their phones behind, so they're out of luck with the Charge 3. This aside, the best thing about the Versa Lite is that it tries to tell you that you've got fitter, via its overall fitness score — mysteriously buried in the 'heart rate' part of the app dashboard. This uses analysis of your heart during very vigorous exercise it's a VO2 Max estimate, if you want to get technical about it , to rate you against the population as a whole.

I'm 'Excellent' thanks for asking. On the down side, the Versa Lite can't really give recommendations on how to get fitter, beyond taking more steps, although a more in-depth analysis of how to make a better you is promised via future software updates. I have reservations about the Versa Lite personally — it just looks a bit stupid on my wrist; it's more for more petite blokes and ladies, really — and the small touchscreen is not the easiest thing to navigate, especially as I'm used to massive, chunky running watches with multiple, prominent buttons.

It's also waterproof, so although it won't track swims, it can be worn whilst in the pool or shower, or monsoon. The Versa Lite is a cheaper version of this earlier tracker watch, which costs more but adds NFC for contactless payments although Fitbit Pay is, to put it mildly, a bit of a work in progress in terms of support , swim tracking, and a couple of extra buttons. If it's on sale, or you just want the best available version of the Versa and don't mind a somewhat inflated price for some fairly minor upgrades, it is worth considering.

The Fitbit Charge 3 is the best fitness band you can buy. It is broadly identical to the Versa Lite but in a more compact form, with a narrow screen embedded into a band. It tracks deep and light sleep, steps, distance and calories, syncs quickly and reliably and is an acceptably accurate and reliable heart-rate reader — for use during intense exercise it's arguably a little better than the Versa Lite, in fact.

Although again, you can't see your cardio zone on screen while working out, and the screen keeps turning itself off. The Charge 3 is very wearable, waterproof and not excessively priced. I just think the Versa Lite, with its proper screen and better impersonation of a smartwatch, is better. This is an object lesson in how software and wearability are as important to fitness wearables as features are.

Perhaps more so. And the reason I say that is as the Vivosport beats the Charge 2 by having GPS built in, an app for counting reps automatically at the gym, something to monitor your stress levels, you might think it's a better product. And it is, on paper. However, although the Vivosport is a very solid performer, it's just kind of horrible to wear.

It feels nasty, looks quite bad, I think, and the screen is even worse to look at than the Charge 2, due to a stupid layout. When you go into Garmin's app, it's also much more fiddly than the Fitbit one. The same metrics are there, and more beside, but they're harder to find and use.

Syncing is unacceptably painful at times. All that said, if you can live with the Vivosport's aesthetic and UI issues, it does do a lot and, like the Charge 2, offers an estimated VO2 Max score and rating that you can use to gauge your overall fitness. Sleep monitoring is perhaps a bit less detailed than Fitbit's but lovers of completely useless functions will be pleased to know that there is advanced stress monitoring on board.

Who doesn't know when they're stressed?! Okay, this one doesn't have cardio tracking but it's good enough to merit inclusion nonetheless. That's because, with a six-month battery life from a standard watch battery, waterproofing to 30m, a choice of wrist and ankle straps, and the addition of voice coaching, Moov Now is a very interesting take on fitness wearables.

You'll need your phone and a secondary device to track your position and pulse, but what this lightweight, reasonably priced, quite attractive band adds is to exchange data with a phone app so it can talk you through your runs. It'll tell you when to speed up, give advice on your stride and how hard you're hitting the ground. It'll also track and, to greater and lesser degrees, coach you through swimming, cycling, running, cardio boxing and seven-minute HIIT workouts.

When we say coaching varies, it really does. Cardio boxing is almost like Guitar Hero but with punching, with lots of voice input. Seven-minute interval workouts come with plenty of motivation too, but cyclists just get vague tips on cadence, and inaccurate data on RPM and power. Moov Now also handles day-to-day step and sleep tracking.

Functionally all but identical to the Charge 3, but somewhat more compact and aimed more directly at women, the Inspire HR replaced the Alta HR last year. It's a solid device, in terms of function, although a rather flimsy one in terms of feel — but then it is very slender, and very affordable.

It was such a huge success that Withings eventually became part of Nokia, and its successor, the Nokia Steel, is still pretty good. At a glance, this just looks like a Swatch-esque watch, but the small secondary dial measures your progress towards your step goal throughout the day.

The Steel will also detect when you're running or swimming and gamely attempt to track that. The Nokia Steel will also have a loose stab at tracking your sleep based on your movement as you slumber and has a useful vibro-alarm function to then wake you up.

The Nokia app is user-friendly enough, although data is annoyingly slow to sync at times. In truth, the best things about the Steel are that it doesn't look like a fitness band, and the standard watch battery it uses lasts an impressive six months.

All the Fitbits and Garmins have a stab at notifications, but the Ionic is the first such watch that is being marketed more as a smartwatch with fitness elements than a fitness band with smartwatch ones. It's a platform , man. The Ionic has all the strengths of the Charge 2, but with a much better screen, video-assisted guided workouts, and the ability to make contactless payments, receive notifications and use third-party apps.

It is quite a bit pricier as a result, however. To date there are hardly any third-party apps you can sync Deezer playlists, there's a slightly feeble shadow version of Strava and something for buying coffee from Starbucks. Contactless payments are fairly painless, but you need to enter a PIN once or twice per day on the Ionic's teeny tiny keypad. There are also only three video workouts.

Fitbit I am sure wants to expand this but I do question the usefulness of wrist-mounted, video personal training — have you ever tried to follow a training video on your wrist, whilst doing pressups? My main problem with the Ionic to date has been with the heart rate tracker, which has apparently been optimised for more intense exercise.

I think that's great in theory, but in practice it seems to mean it's highly erratic in the lower cardio zones, and only starts to work really well once your heart-rate is elevated into the upper cardio, performance and peak zones. That's not ideal if you want to deliberately stick to a lower intensity workout, for fat-burning reasons. Furthermore, Fitbit still refuses to show what heart-rate zone you're in during training; it only shows the pulse rate, leaving you to remember where each zone begins and ends.

At least, unlike the Charge 2, the Ionic allows you to have the screen permanently on, rather than requiring you to flick your wrist to activate it — an action which fails all too often, for me. Actually, I'm nitpicking in some respects. The Ionic is a very good fitness wearable. Being narcissists, kids love any information they can get about themselves, so a step counter specifically for kids makes a lot of sense.

Garmin's scaled down Vivofit comes in all manner of themed designs, from Minnie Mouse to Captain America, and rewards the wearer for completing 60 minutes of activity per day by allowing them to progress through a game related to the theme — Ultron's Revenge for the Captain America one, for instance. You can also set up alerts and 'chore management' for your offspring.

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