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Jumping On The Fitness Tracker Bandwagon…But Which Device Is Best?

Picking a wearable fitness tracker is next to impossible. Ugh!

Picking a wearable fitness tracker is next to impossible. Ugh!

Ugh! I’m breaking down. I’ve decided to get a wearable fitness tracker. Sigh…You know how I feel about pedometers. But the electronic fitness trackers do have some cool features like elevation changes, distance walked, calories burned/consumed, and sleep tracking to name a few. Most of the devices sync to my iPhone and Mac, making it easier for me to analyze my data. Plus many connect with my fitness apps, a nice bonus.

These aren’t your grandmothers pedometers. No ma’am! These smart, wearable devices go beyond counting steps. They can tell you the times of day and the seasons you’re more likely to sit on the couch rather than move, the intensity of your activity, and the length and (allegedly) quality of your sleep. To me that’s worth the investment.

The problem I’ve experienced is deciding on which tracker is best for me.

Oh, did I say “problem.” It’s not a “problem.” It’s downright frustrating. For the last month I’ve read product and Amazon user reviews and I’m still confused.

Yesterday I finally decided to get off the pot and picked the Fitbit Flex. It syncs with all of my fitness apps (Lose It, My Fitness Pal, Map My Walk). A lot of my friends use it, so I can connect with them now. But the Flex is a bit dated (Fitbit had to recall its latest tracker, the Force). Well, for some strange reason, I decided to do one more search (why God, why?) and came across two awesome trackers that are not the Fitbit Flex.

The Basis Carbon Steel Edition actually tracks cycling. Holy cow! This is like the Holy Grail for me. None of the other devices I looked at track cycling. Just steps, maybe stairs. This is a biggie for me because I spin 3 times a week. But then, my husband – the voice of reason (please don’t tell him I wrote that!) asked if that includes a stationary bike or if it uses GPS to track bike rides.

Oh, man! Why can’t this be simple?

Well the price tag took the Carbon Steel out of the running. At $199, that’s a lot of tracking for someone who needs to create a habit of wearing a device. Nope, I need something cheaper. If I really like the tracker and put the data to use, then I’ll see about upgrading to the Carbon Steel next year.

Then I came across Withings Pulse O2. This one doesn’t track cycling, but it can tell the difference between walking and running. Bingo! It also includes heart rate monitor and measures blood oxygen levels. It’s a nice design and you can wear it on your wrist or clip it onto a bra, a belt or just wear in your pocket.

But the Pulse O2 retails for $119…$19 over budget for me. Can I cry now?

To add to the confusion, I just watched CNET’s 2014 video on the top 5 fitness trackers. The Pulse O2 was rated #1 and almost made me think the additional $19 was worth it. But the video also mentioned Apple and Google were coming out with their own devices soon.

The only upshot is there’s no way Apple or Google will introduce a new smart device for less than $100.

So both Withings and Carbon Steel are out of the running. So do I go with the Flex?  I don’t know. I like the idea of wearing a clip rather than a “bracelet.” Maybe the Fitbit One is The One…and hey, it’s under budget (by $2).

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2 thoughts on “Jumping On The Fitness Tracker Bandwagon…But Which Device Is Best?

  1. I’m not sure what to recommend. I’ve used different pedometers over the years and the One has always been the best I’ve ever used. I don’t know if you care about wearing a bracelet all day every day but that really bothered me about the Force and Flex. At least with the One you can clip it onto different things, even in your bra which I’ve only done a couple times when wearing tight fitting dresses. My favorite part is how it syncs so easily with stuff – The phone app, MFP, etc. Oh and my other favorite part is the alarm function. I don’t wake up to noise anymore! I wear the One on my wristband and it wakes me up by vibrating. Works every time, too!

    I don’t know anything about the O2, but if it has all the features you really want then $19 doesn’t seem like that much more than your limit and might be worth it. Maybe make a pros/cons list between your top choices?

    • Thanks. I decided to go with the Fitbit One. I prefer the clip on rather than wearing a band or watch. The O2 is a bit too bulky to wear. I love it tracks cycling specifically, but if I’m going to wear it constantly then it needs to be smaller. Perhaps the next version. Now need to sync the One with all my apps.

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