Nike FuelBand, Jawbone Up, Fitbit Flex, Misfit Shine, Bowflex Boost: Which sports band to choose?
Finding the motivation to get off the comfy sofa and do some exercise is often hard to come by. A holiday or a shock from the scales might do the trick, but the classic "I'll do it tomorrow" is normally a far easier route.
Then again, you might not have a band on your wrist tracking your every move. They know how many steps you've taken, they know a lazy day, they know what you did this summer and they will make you feel guilty when they sync to your devices and present your stats. Read on for a comparison of a few of the stalker sports bands designed to get you off your backside.
New to the market, the Bowflex Boost is said to be coming in September from a maker famed for its weights. Its details haven't been fully announced yet, however the Boost sports tracker wrist wear is certainly cheaper than its competitors.
Despite its low price-point, it will be tracking your every step and monitoring you while you sleep, as well as syncing to your smartphone app using Bluetooth.
We will keep you updated on this addition when we find out more, but if Boost offers access to third party apps such as MapMyRun, as well as giving you a good battery life, it could be a great option for the price.
QUICK VERDICT: With sleep monitoring, step tracking and Bluetooth syncing, it seems this cheaper option will certainly do the basics. If it adds third party apps to the mix, and the battery life isn't too short, it seems it will be a good buy if budgets are tight.
Not exactly a sportsband but you can wear the Misfit Shine around your wrist, magnetically clip it to your clothes, or for any true fashionistas out there, wear it as a pendant.
The pebble is made from a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminium and, as if by magic, connects to your iPhone or iPod touch by placing it on top of the screen.
A circle of lights on the pebble light up as you do more exercise during the day and encourages you to set daily goals. It is also waterproof, will track you on your bike and its coin-style battery will last 4 months.
QUICK VERDICT: It’s in the lower price bracket plus it’s small and discreet, allowing you to make it almost a fashion accessory or keep it hidden away. The battery style means it won’t need constant recharging, it’s waterproof and the touch-syncing makes using it with your phone really simple.
Fitbit Flex fitness band
Launched at CES 2013, the Fitbit Flex offers many of the same features as its Fitbit One and Fitbit Zip companions, as well as an active minutes feature, which tracks how many moderate-intensity cardio minutes you have done in a day.
It also tracks steps, distance, calories burned and sleep activity, and as it is waterproof, you can wear it in the shower so it doesn't miss a beat. iPhone users can download an app which syncs to Flex, and tells you how you are performing in graphs and statistic presentations, while Android users can use the NFC capabilities to get the information.
You can choose from black or slate but a three band accessory pack with a choice of teal, tangerine and navy wristbands is also available.
QUICK VERDICT: Good value for money. Alongside colour variety and waterproof protection, the offering of steps, distance, calorie and sleep tracking, plus easy syncing, all at a cheaper price than two of its competitors makes it definite contestant.
A similar design to a charity wristband, Up tracks what you do and gives you advice on goals. It will track steps like a pedometer does, but for any other exercise such as cycling, you can tell it you are in activity mode and when you sync it later, you tell it what you did.
READ: Jawbone Up (2013) review
Syncing isn't done through Bluetooth though like its cheaper competitors, instead it has a hidden away connection you plug into your headphone jack. Up then syncs with the app which is available on iOS and Android and data is shared online where you can join others in sharing goals.
Up comes with a sleep tracker which has a vibrate function to wake you up when you are in a light sleep if you choose it, as well as a power nap feature and diet tracker. The diet tracker allows you to enter what you have eaten, or scan the barcode of the product, and it will give you tips on better choices for a healthier diet. You have eight colours and three sizes to choose from and the battery should last around 10 days before you need to charge it.
QUICK VERDICT: A bit pricier than others in the field, but with a good choice of colours and more features than its competitors such as the diet and power nap functions, the extra pounds could be justified. This is especially the case if you use Up in place of a scheme such as Weight Watchers that comes with a monthly fee.
The most expensive in the sports band sector, Nike+ FuelBand uses an accelerometer to measure your movements and speed of movement, and calculates how many Nike Fuel points you are earning. You can set daily goals between 2,000 and 99,999 fuel points, with a busy day walking in London equating to around 5,000.
READ: Nike+ FuelBand review
It is a bit more solid than other alternatives on the market, and the lock mechanism doubles up as a USB, which you can use to sync with your computer to give you colourful stats on how well, or badly, you are doing. However, unlike Jawbone's Up, it does come with Bluetooth to sync with the iPhone app, but its charge will last roughly 4 to 5 days depending on your activity, a few days less than Up.
Nike+ FuelBand will give you a rough estimate of calories burnt and number of steps taken, and the LED display will double up as a watch, but it doesn't come with a sleep tracker and you have to sign up to Nike+. Although the colour choice is matt black only, it is waterproof and you can alter the one size option with spacers.
QUICK VERDICT: The Nike+ FuelBand is certainly more interactive than others available with its LED display, and the points system means you can earn as many points as the person next to you if you do exactly the same exercise, regardless of your fitness level. It also doubles as a watch. However, if your budget is tight and you want a few more features like colours or sleep tracking, one of the cheaper alternatives might be better.
The sports band you choose will undoubtedly rely on your budget, how much you actually plan on using it and whether you can justify the more expensive models for a short-lived phase of wanting to get out there and do exercise.
However, whether you go for the £140 Nike+ FuelBand or the £32 Bowflex Boost, both could be justified as a small one-off price to pay in return for keeping a just-like-new sofa and achieving that motivation.