There are LOTS of activity trackers on the market and LOTS more planned to come from the large existing companies such as FITBIT [SURGE, others] as well as new large entrants such as MICROSOFT [BAND] and start-ups.
With the plethora of trackers none is yet the ‘perfect’ one. In fact, what would a perfect activity trackers ‘do’ and ‘look like’? A tracker that’s perfect for a 60-something may well not be perfect for a 28 year-old triathlete.
Indeed I recently bought a FITBIT ONE for a 60-something. It’s a simple clip-on device with a display and rudimentary sleep tracker that links to a decent app. That may well have been the ‘perfect’ tracker for that particular individual. Reasonably priced too.
Me? Nominally a ‘triathlete’, I don’t have a tracker that I use regularly. I have a Garmin 920Xt which has good inbuilt activity tracking functionality – but I don’t really use the activity tracking as the watch is not too pretty; pretty large (compared to a band) and doesn’t give the HR and Sleep functions that I would want.
I don’t ‘track’
Essentially what I want (maybe even NEED from a sporty point of view) is a RECOVERY tracker.
A recovery tracker would need to have judicious use of heart rate variability analysis from an optical (non-chest) strap as well as good sleep analysis metrics. The former of those might not even be possible. (Although Jaybird REIGN makes some claims in this area).
Before I go on to say what features the ‘perfect’ activity tracker would possess let me cover some of the features that it SHOULD NOT have.
- Watch-form factor
- SMS-Text/notifications features
- Camera control
Some of those are controversial. They are clearly all useful functions and functions that help a product sell and differentiate it from the competitors. However I argue they add size/weight/complexity and are not necessary to perform the task that an activity tracker needs to do.
Before we get carried away we have to lose the mind-set that the activity tracker needs to do everything. IT IS NOT MEANT TO BE A MARATHON RUNNER’S WATCH nor A TRIATHLETE’S watch. That’s a different device at a different price point.
Of course I know that you are going to say that if you go for a 10k jog then that is an activity that needs to be tracked
So the ‘perfect’ activity tracker IMHO will do this
- Provide some meaningful way of tracking ACTIVITY
- sport activity (or be able to turn off the device for sport activity allowing another dedicated device to track sport)
- walking and stair climbing (but not necessarily ‘steps’ per se)
- Provide some meaningful way of tracking INACTIVITY
- sleep quality
- waking inactivity, such as driving, without recording false activity.
- general stress/recovery level of nervous system through HRV and/or HRrest
- A simple method of showing progress against a meaningful daily target
- Look aesthetically pleasing and be lightweight
- Bluetooth comms to a SMART phone app and/or ‘open’ standards-based web app
Do you agree?
So: Fitbit at the lower end, Jaybird at the top-end and the middle ground is littered with differing functionality. My personal choices there would be the FUSE and the BAND as I like how they look.
|Black Friday 2015||Amazon Price|
|Epson Pulsense PS100||£42.99||Link|
|Epson Pulsense PS500||£79.99||Link|
|Fitbit Charge HR||£74.99||Link|
|Fitbit Surge Ultimate||£142.49||Link|
|Garmin Forerunner 15||£79.99||Link|
|Samsung Gear Fit||£63.99||Link|
|sony Mobile SWR10||£29.89||Link|
|Timex Move x20||£50.55||Link|