Battle of the bands: Fitbit Flex, Nike+ FuelBand SE, Jawbone Up and more
Fitness bands are well and truly everywhere. You could say they're in step with trends, if you were desperate for a pun. Since we're not, we've decided to spend our time finding the best activity trackers so you can decide which is the best fit for you. We couldn't resist that last pun.
So from big names in sport like Nike to successful transitioning companies like Jawbone and specialists like FitBit, we've rounded them all up.
Nike+ FuelBand SE
This is first on the list as Nike was the first to really crack the wrist worn fitness tracker. Since the original FuelBand Nike has released the updated SE with greater water resistance, more colour options and improved sensors.
The FuelBand SE will track your steps and, based on your vital statistics, will tell you how many calories you've burned. The Nike special edge is Fuel Points which are a measure of fitness that allows users to compare and compete with other FuelBand users from around the world.
The downsides to the FuelBand SE is that the screen is limited when compared to a smartwatch. It's also quite pricey when compared to the competition. Though it does now use Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy to connect to your phone and also tracks running, cycling, rowing and even some yoga.
READ: Nike+ FuelBand SE review
Withings Pulse O2
This is the newest tracker out there featuring not only step tracking but also a heart rate monitor and an blood oxygen reader. The Pulse O2 is a single unit meaning it can be clipped onto clothes, worn with a band as a watch or slipped into a pocket.
The screen is also a big win for the Pulse O2 with a full display and touch screen controls it's the best tracker for working independently from your phone. Although it will still offer live-tracking on the device via Bluetooth 4.0 LE.
The Pulse O2 it will track your sleep for reading out in a chart showing your patterns. This works in conjunction with the Withings Body Analyzer Scale's CO2 sensor to show you how oxygen levels in the room affected your sleep.
Fitbit has been making fitness trackers since before they were a famous trend. With the Flex it's managed to cram all those years of experience into an absolutely tiny unit which sits in a wrist strap. This is great because the strap can be replaced cheaply and is super flexible and comfy. It's also helpful as the device itself can be removed to be worn on different body parts or held in a pocket, say, to suit what you're wearing.
The Fitbit Flex offers real-time feedback meaning you can look at the connected phone and see your steps counting up as you walk. Or watch your calorie goal getting closer to zero, if you'd prefer.
The Flex also tracks sleep accurately. This means you can set it to vibrate to wake you in the morning and since it knows your sleep cycles it will wake you when you're almost conscious leaving you feeling alert.
While its conveniently water resistant and connects via Bluetooth, NFC and wireless it won't really track sport. It'll track the time when you're active but won't really be able to accurately judge distance. But since it works with other apps like Run Keeper and My Fitness Pal, this isn't so much of an issue. Fitbit Flex works with both iOS and Android and should last over a week on a charge.
Jawbone, formerly a Bluetooth headset specalist, has been refining the UP for years and has really got it spot on. This is, in our opinion, the best-looking activity tracker you can buy with that textured nylon finish, beautiful colours and easy snap on fit.
The Jawbone UP24 connects to your mobile via Bluetooth 4.0 BLE for up to 7 days on a charge which only takes 80 minutes to juice to full. It also tracks sports like cycling and running and allows you to press the metal end button to activate the timer to record the sport without you having to dig out the connected mobile. And feedback is in real-time so you can see it right there on the screen.
The Jawbone UP24 also tracks sleep and vibrates to alert you. The app keeps this data and even lets you log food intake for an accurate measure of your daily calories burn and intake. The vibrations can also be used as an alert to remind you to get active if you've remained idle for a period of time set by you.
The Jawbone UP24 is friendly with other apps so you can draw in data from whatever you currently use while adding the UP24 for even more information.
Jawbone has announced it's new UP3 with hear rate monitor built in will be coming soon. Also a budget UP Move is due to arrive. When either of these is released isn't clear but it's likely to be early 2015.
READ: Jawbone Up24 review
This tracker is unique for featuring a battery that lasts four months before a new battery is needed and being waterproof. It's also got a solid metal clad design that's strong, looks good and uses 12 lights to show the time.
Like the Fitbit it can be tapped to check progress using the lights. And like the Jawbone UP24 it can be told to record an activity by tapping at the start and finish. It tracks steps and distance and thanks to its waterproofing can be used while swimming too.
The Shine pairs over Bluetooth but works when you place it on the mobile's screen. It's a novel idea but certainly not as seamless as live-tracking like its competitors offer. But its ability to clip onto your clothes is a plus.
READ: Misfit Shine review
Sony SmartBand with Roxy
Sony has announced a fashion team-up with women's outdoors sports specialist Roxy for what's called the SmartBand with Roxy.
The SmartBand with Roxy comes in cobalt blue and works with the Lifelog SmartWear app via Bluetooth and NFC. It is IP58 dust and water resistant meaning it can track steps and movements while surviving up to 30 minutes in 3 metres of water.
The SmartBand also features a vibrating alert allowing it to track sleep and wake you at the perfect point in your sleep cycle. It can also be used to notify you of social media alerts using the vibrate function and can control the Sony Walkman app using the key and tapping the band. The band is out later this month.