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Hands on: LG Lifeband Touch Fitness Tracker and Heart Rate headphones

LG’s Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones appear to be a great option for those hoping to better monitor their workouts.

Everyone wants to own your wrist. This year, smartwatches and fitness bands are quite the trend, and LG is jumping in with both feet. Today, it announced the LG Lifeband Touch, a bracelet that tracks your health in a few different ways, and even connects up to a pair of LG earphones that monitor your heart rate.

We had a few minutes to play around with the Lifeband, which comes in a few different sizes to best fit your wrist. My wrist, I found out, is a medium. The band fit reasonably well and didn’t spin around my wrist, or cut off my circulation.

Unlike many other fitness bracelets like the Nike Fuelband, and even smartwatches like the Galaxy Gear, LG has made its Lifeband Touch compatible with Android and iOS, so you can use a G Flex, Galaxy S4, or iPhone to sync up with your motion monitor. It connects to an LG fitness app via Bluetooth, but is also compatible with third-party apps like MyFitness Pal, Runkeeper, and MapMyFitness.

Like many LG products, the Lifeband doesn’t jump out at you. You’ll naturally dismiss it as just another fitness tracker, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve. In particular, the small OLED screen on it is touch enabled, allowing you to swipe between screens to see how many calories you’ve burned, miles you’ve walked (or kilometers, if you’re all metric), the distance you’ve walked, your speed, the number of steps you’ve taken, and anything else the bracelet’s three-axis accelerometer and altimeter can tell you. We didn’t get a chance to test it out much, but the band is also supposed to turn on whenever you move your wrist to look at the screen. A big button with a light-up LED ring helps you know when you’re synced up via Bluetooth and such.

If a wristband isn’t enough for you, LG also released a pair of earbuds that use a special PerformTek sensor (infrared, we think) to monitor blood flow in your ear. Affectionately called Heart Rate Earphones, they can also monitor your oxygen consumption, another valuable metric for measuring your workout.

It’s encouraging to see LG put competition aside and make the Lifeband Touch available for both Android and iPhone.

We were able to hold the earphones, but not plug them in or use them. They seem comfortable enough, but we can’t comment on their effectiveness, durability, or sound quality. They also connect via a Bluetooth dongle to your phone.

Overall, we’re excited to see LG making a move into the fitness space, but we need to spend more time with the Lifeband before we can advise you to throw away that Fuelband, Jawbone, or Fitbit. It’s very encouraging to see LG put competition aside and make the Lifeband Touch available for both iPhone and any Android device. Nike’s Fuelband only works on iPhone and many other devices only work on Android. By not taking sides, LG could end up a winner with a fitness band that just works.

The LG Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones don’t yet have a release date or price, but LG says they will be available sometime in the first half of 2014.

Highs

  • OLED touchscreen
  • Decent fit, different sizes
  • 2- to 5-day battery life
  • Works with Android and iPhone

Lows

  • We haven’t tested Earphones yet
  • We need to use the Lifeband to know its accuracy
  • Band isn’t as flexible as some
  • Price is unknown