Fitbit products ($60-$100)
Fitbit was one of the first commercially successful fitness gadgets; When the Fitbit Ultra debuted in 2008, the general public quickly embraced the device for its relatively low price point, wearability, and lack of subscription fees. Since the initial release of the original Fitbit, Fitbit Inc. has developed a few new products, including the Fitbit One and the smaller Fitbit Zip. These gadgets are designed to clip onto your clothing and track daily activities (in the One’s case, the device also tracks your sleep quality). They do this by keeping track of the steps taken, the calories burned, elevation gained, and how often your sleep is disrupted. Both versions of the Fitbit syncs wirelessly with your computer or smartphone to provide you with feedback on your level of activity. Check out our Fitbit Zip review to get a better idea of how it works.
Nike+ Fuelband ($149.00)
Nike has always been a leading innovator in the world of sports and active gear, a trend the company has continued with the Nike+Fuelband. Rather than clipping onto your clothes like the Fitbit, the Fuelband is intended to be worn around your wrist like a bracelet or watch. It keeps track of your activity by means of a triaxial accelerometer, and uses an array of embedded LEDs to help you switch functions and navigate menus. In addition to providing detailed feedback on your daily activities, the Fuelband lets you set goals and awards Nike Fuel points based on your overall level of activity. Check out our full Fuelband review for more details.
MotoACTV ($149.99 – $199.99)
Motorola’s ACTV is a little touchscreen square that looks a lot like a sixth generation iPod Nano – and it acts like one too. Not only can it track your location and keep tabs on your heart rate and activity level, it can store and play MP3′s, send text messages, and check for weather updates. The ACTV uses a built-in GPS to determine the distance traveled during runs or bike rides, and sensors to measure the calories burned during any workout. It’s definitely more of a smartwatch than anything else, but its wide variety of sensors make it a powerful fitness tracker. As an added bonus, it’s also quite easy to hack and turn into a watch-sized Android tablet. For more info and details on specs, check out our hands-on review.
Jawbone Up ($129.99)
Jawbone’s Up is essentially the same idea as Nike’s Fuelband, but executed in a slightly different manner. Its creators call the Up a “functional bracelet,” and that’s a pretty apt description. It doesn’t really look like a gadget – it’s slim, flexible, and its exterior controls aren’t easy to spot if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Don’t be fooled though, the Up has plenty of sensor tech under the hood and can track a relatively wide range of activities. It uses actigraphy to gather data on how many steps you take, the distance you walk/run, and how well you sleep at night. There’s even a vibrating alarm feature that slowly vibrates in the morning to give users a gentle wake up call. Torn between Jawbone’s Up and Nike’s Fuelband? Check out our comparison of the two.
This one isn’t quite available to the average consumer just yet, but we expect it will be soon. It’s essentially a compression shirt equipped with a removable “bug” sensor that houses a triaxial accelerometer, microprocessor, 2GB of storage, and a few other sensors that measure heart rate and breaths. It can connect wirelessly to any smartphone, tablet, or computer, and will give detailed feedback on how your body performs during any type of exercise. However, it’s definitely not as convenient for daily use as some of the other fitness gizmos listed here, and seems to be geared toward serious athletes and trainers.
It’s good to get pumped up for the gym, and there’s no better way to do it than with an awesome playlist. With that logic, instead of building a clip or wristband to track your activity, Valencell built sensor technology into a set of earbud headphones. The company managed to fit a boatload of different sensors into the tiny buds, all built to measure your heart rate, respiration rate, energy expenditure, calories burned, metabolic rate, speed, steps taken, ventilatory threshold, and recovery time. And it can do all that while simultaneously pumping “Chariots of Fire” into your skull. Just sync with your smartphone to wirelessly access all of your exercise feedback data.
If running, jogging, and lifting aren’t your thing, you might prefer lower impact workouts like pilates and yoga. If the latter is the case, check out this new breed of wearable tech from Electric Foxy. The Move is essentially a shirt equipped with four stretch sensors that can monitor your body’s position during exercise. It reads your muscle movements from your shoulders down to your back and provides haptic feedback vibration if your posture is off. At this point, the Move shirt just a bit past the concept phase, but if all goes well you might be able to get your hands on one in 2013. Check out our full post for more details.