By Chris Dato • December 23, 2014
As we have discussed before, staying in shape during the holidays can be a challenge. We have already gone over some simple tricks to stay toned through these hectic times, but what about incorporating some electronics into your exercise? The holiday is the perfect excuse for you to treat yourself to the gift of better health. However, with so many different products on the market, it can be intimidating. Here is a quick comparison of the most popular products to guide your shopping in this winter of the wearable.
There are a few features that are shared by all of the wearable workout gear. They all wirelessly sync to your smartphone, and have a companion app that you can download to keep a log of your daily activity. The products are designed to track your activity, so they all record workout stats like steps, distance, and calories burned. Now lets look at some of the unique features of each product.
Sony is one of the leading names in technology globally, so it is no surprise that the Sony SmartBand has many very useful design features and interface capabilities. There are two different models: the SmartBand and the new SmartBand Talk. While the capabilities of the two products are very similar, the new SmartBand Talk has a screen display. This design feature does come at a cost (the SmartBand Talk is $170 compared to the $100 SmartBand), but the increased functionality it offers more than justifies the extra money. The SmartBand Talk syncs with your phone using Bluetooth, and displays information for incoming calls and text messages. Although other bands can alert you of incoming notifications, the SmartBand Talk is the only product that gives you the ability to respond right from the device, without even pulling your phone out of your pocket. The SmartBand also features a removable battery and core unit, and bands come in a wide range of professional and extreme colors.
Sony Lifelog is the companion app, and is only available for Android. It is important to note that the Sony SmartBand is only compatible with Android based products, so be warned that it will not work with your iPhone.
The Nike FuelBand SE was one of the first wearables to enter the emerging field. The design is elegant and simple, coming in all black with just a touch of color at the clasp. Not only is this the only wrist accessory for under $100 ($99) to feature an intelligent display, but also the screen is seamlessly integrated into the band, which adds a very futuristic element to the feel of the product. The device tells you the time as well as your daily step count at a glance.
The Nike+ FuelBand app works with both Android and iOS. Nike is no stranger to integration with the iOS, and the FuelBand app is compatible with the new Apple Health app.
Jawbone has few options when it comes to wearable workout devices. The Jawbone UP Move is only $50, but features a design that is nowhere near as wearable or elegant as the more expensive models. The Jawbone UP24, which retails for $130, is designed to wrap effortlessly around your wrist, without even so much as a clasp. All of these devices feature activity tracking, sleep tracking, and workout goal monitoring. However, only the Jawbone UP3 (which goes for $180) has the capability to monitor heart rate, which can be an important number to track if you are a health nut. The UP3 is also the only one to alert you about notifications on your phone. The battery lives for all 3 products are remarkable, with the UP3 boasting 7 days on a single charge, and the base model UP offering up to 6 month!
My personal favorite training technology this year is the Fitbit. Although the company is fairy young, they have quickly established themselves as the ones to beat in the fitness band field. Like others, there are different levels of Fitbit products. The $60 Fitbit Zip is a clipable activity tracker, and the $100 Fitbit One has the added feature of sleep tracking. The Fitbit Flex has become the company’s flagship product, and retails for $99. The sleek design is both futuristic and minimalist, using LED indicator lights in place of a display. For $130, the new Fitbit Charge has a screen display that informs you of the time and notifications. All of these products sync wirelessly with the Fitbit app, which works with both Android and iOS.
Don’t let the number of options intimidate you from trying out one of these wearables this winter. Good health and a long life are perks of an active lifestyle, but looking good is as big a motivation as any. And with these products, you will be looking good before you log your first lap.
Chris Dato A Southern California kid born and raised, Chris is happiest with sunglasses on his face and sand under his back. Although a self-proclaimed master money saver, he prefers the term 'responsibly frugal' to 'cheap.'