By Yasi Baiani (@Yasaman): Yasi is the Co-Founder and CEO of ActivePepper and an MBA candidate at Harvard Business School. She was a VC in her past life. She is a competitive skier and passionate about all sorts of sports. She is currently training for the Boston Marathon. Dancing and delicate desserts can put her in the best mood.
It’s mind blowing how rapidly and seamlessly the life-tracking tools are opening their space in our lives and becoming more pervasive. With so many alternatives and at such reasonable price points, monitoring tools are no longer only particular to the athletes. But rather they are widely used by many people who care about their health and fitness. These devices not only can track the calories burned during the workout and sports, but also can monitor the energy consumed through the daily activities such as gardening and walking up and down the stairs. In fact, most people view these monitoring devices as motivational tools for everyday living.
Many friends and fans asked our opinion about these products to help them find the one that fits them best. So we figured to put a blog post out and compare these devices in one place for the ActivePepper‘s audience. This should help you to quickly shape your view of the existing monitoring tools in the market and chose the one that suits you best:
Tracks: Movements, sleep, meals, and mood.
Pros: Durable, fashionable design. Tracks wide-range of metrics. Well-designed monitoring mobile app. Waterproof. 10-day battery life.
Cons: No data readouts on the device. No wireless syncing. iOS only app.
The slick, snake-like strap, called Up, allows you to gain more insight about yourself by tracking your workout, sleep, and food-intake. The precision motion detection system in UP tracks all your movement, capturing a complete record of your daily activity. To track your calorie consumption you can take a photo of your food, scan a barcode, browse the image gallery in UP or search the ingredient database to record what you eat and drink. Finally, Up can also monitor your mood and sleep. With Up you can see hours slept, time to fall asleep, light vs. deep sleep and waking moments. Up’s features such as Smart Alarm allows you to set a silent alarm that vibrates up to 30 minutes ahead of an ideal moment for you to get up based on your REM cycles. I bet your loved one will adore this feature now that your morning alarm wont go off on her/him every day!
Up comes in three sizes (S-L) and eight chic, fun colors. It’s retailed about $130. You can order Up at Jawbone’s website or retail partners. A free app linked to Jawbone allows users to monitor and view their activities and compare those over time. The Up’s app is currently only available on iOS devices.
Flex by Fitbit: Tracks: Activities and sleep.
Pros: Syncs wirelessly. Highly adjustable size. Water-resistance. Available on iOS and Android. Syncs with MyFitnessPal.
Cons: Blocky, squared-off Design. 5-7 days battery.
While Fitbit pioneered the fitness gadget industry with its fitness tracking device, it has recently been overshadowed by the arrival of fitness wristbands from Nike and Jawbone. People prefer bracelet, so it’s always on them and tracks their activities versus the old clip-on Fitbit types. But Fitbit didn’t let this be a hurdle on their sales and on expanding their customer base. Instead, they just recently came out with the new design, Flex, which is a wristband that tracks your steps, distance traveled, calories burned and sleep patterns (Unfortunately, it can’t track steps you’ve climbed, unlike some of the company latest devices).
What makes Flex distinct is the real-time direct syncing capabilities with your mobile phone (iPhone and Android) and computers. Unlike Up band that doesn’t have a mechanism to transfer data until you take it off and plug it into your phone, with Flex you can constantly monitor your activities or sleep. The Nike band solves that problem – it transfers its data wirelessly, by Bluetooth, without removal from your wrist – but it doesn’t track sleep, only activity.
The lower price of $99 makes Flex more affordable and appealing for many people. Some consumers have loyalty to Fitbit older generation products and are happy to see the new wearable Fitbit device will be out this Spring. You can pre-order Flex from their website to be among the first ones wearing Flex.
Tracks: Daily activities and sports
Pros: Sleek display to see information real-time. Can be used as a watch. 7-10 days battery life.
Cons: Only monitors activities. Can’t capture calories used in stationary sports (e.g. yoga, elepticals). Only an iOS app.
Nike+ FuelBand measures your everyday activity and turns it into NikeFuel, new unit coined by Nike. The Fuelband allows you to track your physical activity, steps taken daily, and amount of calories burned. You can set your daily activity goal to 1,000, 3,000, or 5,000 Fuel points, depending on how active you aim to be. The information from the wristband is integrated into the Nike+ online community and phone application, allowing the wearer to set his own fitness goals, monitor his progression, and compare himself to others in the community.
Nike+ relies on the gamification of fitness activities turning all tracked movement into NikeFuel points, which can unlock achievements, can be shared with friends, or can be used to engage others in competition. The Nike FuelBand is great for measuring daily activities and movements, running, walking, and hiking. However, the FuelBand falls short to accurately measure calorie burned or fuels consumed during the stationary sports such as elliptical or yoga.
The FuelBand is available in three colors of white ice, black ice, and black and three sizes (S-L). The retail price of Fuelband is $150. You can purchase Nike+ FuelBand directly from Nike’s site or any of the Nike’s stores.
Two more products that have many of the same functionalities and features will be soon released by Samsung and Under Armour:
Samsung S Band:
Samsung has announced an update to its health-tracking app S Health, and with it, the company has unveiled a S Band. The S Band features a pedometer inside and will feed information like calories, steps, and more into the S Health app for a detailed view of your daily exercise routine. The S Health app will be there to manage the activity.
The Galaxy S4 features a pedometer itself for tracking steps. It also tracks temperature and humidity, along with food in a nutrition database, for a more complete overview. The S Band will come in nicely if a user doesn’t have the S4 on them.
Armour39 is a chest strap for athletes and those who care to measure and improve their performance. Armour claims to precisely and accurately track critical performance measures such as heart rate, calories burned, intensity, and WillPower in real time and compare performance data across workouts.
Aside from the chest strap, Armour offers module, mobile app, and watch. You need the module and chest strap (sold together) and either the mobile app or the watch (sold separately) to display your information. Armour39 currently accepts pre-orders and will debute in spring. The cost of chest strap and module is $150.
Now that we gave you all the information you need to know, which fitness monitoring device you plan to buy? Share your opinions and insight with us. Good luck!