The latest fitness gadgets record much more than how many steps you take on any given day. From sleep patterns to mood, calorie intake and progress toward exercise goals, few aspects of life are left un-tracked for those searching for a more quantified self.
These gadgets can be good for aspiring health nuts and couch potatoes needing inspiration to get active.
But before you get one as a gift, consider this: Wristbands can be a commitment, style-wise and beyond. Some are meant to be worn around the clock and include options to manually enter every meal you had. Those who remember Tamagotchis know that constantly tending to your hungry gadget day after day can get tedious.
Then there's the message. Are you telling your sedentary cousin that he needs to get in shape? Before buying one of these, try to feel out what the gift recipient thinks of them and whether he or she will find it useful.
Fitbit Force ($130):
This comprehensive fitness tracker does a little bit of everything. It'll log how many steps you take, floors you climb, calories you burn and miles you move. Sync it with your computer or a smartphone app to set goals and see how you spend your waking -- and sleeping -- hours.
Pros: It's a sleek wristband with a display that functions as a watch and shows the day's activity progress. It's comfortable to wear sleeping or typing. It works as a silent alarm and will wake you up with a vibration if you wear it to bed. The app will help you create a food plan if you want to lose -- or gain -- weight.
Cons: The clasp can be difficult to fasten; mine fell off once when I was taking off my coat because I didn't know it wasn't closed all the way. It doesn't track your heart rate or skin temperature, both of which are crucial for some fitness gurus but aren't included in any of these four gadgets. The app itself is not as visual as the Jawbone's.
Fitbug Orb ($50):
The Fitbug is the most versatile when it comes to wearability -- crucial for any device meant to be worn constantly. The device itself is a round orb with a diameter of roughly an inch. You can insert it into a wristband, hang it on your belt or clip it into a bra.
Pros: You can wear it on your wrist, but you can use an included "underwear clip" instead. Unlike the others, there's no need to recharge the battery. Its replaceable battery should last six months or so. It's far cheaper than any of its competitors and will track your sleep, unlike the Nike FuelBand. (continued...)
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Posted: 2013-12-21 @ 6:31pm PT