The best fitness trackers to buy this holiday season: Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin and more
The holidays are a time for overeating and snuggling indoors. One way to counteract the seductive pull of the couch is to invest in a fitness tracker.
More fitness trackers are hitting the market as the demand for internet-connected products continues to grow. While increased competition can be a good thing for consumers looking for variety — and possibly even push retail prices lower — it can also lead to confusion for shoppers looking for the perfect device.
This season we've decided to make your holiday season as simple as possible and highlight a few of the best fitness-tracking tech on the market.
Here are our top picks for the year and where you can get them:
This fitness tracker may not look like much, but there's a lot of technology inside this plain band.
The fitness wearable is crammed with tons of features that do everything from measure your heart health throughout the day to analyze sleeping habits and act as a fitness motivator, for up to an impressive seven days on one charge.
If you're interested in improving your sleep schedule, the device has a smart alarm that wakes owners up at the optimal time during their sleep schedule so they never over-or-under sleep. If you forget to get up from your desk throughout the day, there's a vibrating "idle alert" that gently reminds you to stay active. One charge can last up to one week and its social workout features allow users to invite friends to share fitness data and even track group progress.
• Walmart: $55.99 to $99.99 (depending on style)
If you're looking for a tracker that acts as a digital assistant to keeps you healthy, day and night, the Fitbit Charge 2 could be for you. Fitbit has managed to create a product that not only does all of the above but is also quite stylish — as stylish as any fitness tracker can possibly be, that is.
The Charge 2 will set shoppers back a little more than some of the other products highlighted on this list, but worth the price tag if you're interested in purchasing an all-encompassing fitness aid. You can swap its bendable straps and it includes exercise recognition software — so in most instances you won't have to waste time logging activity type and duration post-workout. It also includes continuous heart rate tracking and a "relax" application to help individuals boost inner mindfulness based on their real-time heart activity.
This tracker's battery lasts up to five days and includes the ability to set notification pop ups for calls, texts and calendar events.
It's not hard to see why Samsung's Gear Fit2 sports band is considered one of the favored devices on the market today. A big display in the center of the device showcases the latest fitness activity stats, time and even heart rate — so staying up-to-date on your latest fitness developments is incredibly easy.
Music fanatics will like the Gear Fit2's Spotify compatibility and impressive memory range that allows user to store up to 500 songs, which no doubt plays a role in the Gear Fit2's mediocre three to four days of battery life.
The Misfit Ray easily stands out amongst its competitors thanks to the wearable's unusual look that includes a space-like tube in the middle. The Ray automatically records steps, distance and sleep quality while worn and provides vibrating alerts for daily alarms, texts and calls.
It's also swim-proof and owners who opt for a paid app upgrade via Speedo can track their lap times, swim times and distance. The device's three non-chargeable batteries last up to six months, which leaves much to be desired, but in the grand scheme of things pretty inexpensive to replace: A set of three goes for $6.99.
Where the device really shines is with its stylish customization. Users can detach the Ray's tube from its bands and customize it so that it can be worn as a necklace or bracelet.
• Misfit: $79.99 to $94.99 (depending on style)
The Vivoactive is designed to do a little bit of everything in order to satisfy most workout warrior's needs. In addition to its normal tracker-like features — like step counting, heart monitoring and data alerts — it also has built-in sports apps that cover a variety of activities. Its swimming application can record distance, stroke type, pace and calculate overall efficiency by comparing number of strokes to pool length.
Meanwhile its approximately eight days of battery life (or 13 using GPS) is enough get a good workout without being tethered to an outlet. When in use the device automatically syncs with Garmin Connect, the company's free online app, that analyzes daily performance and offers up freebies like virtual coaching and health tips.
• Walmart: $129.99 to $209 (depending on style)
Editors note: Prices are subject to change throughout the holidays.
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