What’s That On Your Wrist? The Activity Tracker Is Moving Beyond Geek Appeal



By Yen Shing

I’ve recently noticed a few tech-savvy friends wearing “Activity Tracker” wristbands. The main purpose of these gadgets is to help you live a healthier lifestyle by tracking your daily activities, from how many steps you’ve walked today to how well you’re sleeping at night. The four main competitors on the market are Jawbone UP ($130), Nike+ FuelBand ($149), Fitbit Flex ($100), and Basis Band ($199). Each tracker records your activity levels and sends the data to your iPhone and/or Android mobile app, which can convert this data to calorie count based on your self-disclosed food intake.

Features vary slightly between each tracker, for example the mobile-syncing requirements, how the mobile app works, and the tracker’s battery life. In terms of appearance, Jawbone’s UP is definitely the most graceful-looking option, followed by Fitbit Flex and Nike+ FuelBand. The Basis Band is a somewhat chunky-looking (but relatively light) watch, and it’s the only one with additional skin and heart rate sensors. The accuracy of these trackers’ readouts varies from activity to activity, but is generally within range of one another. There will also be an attractive new competitor launching in mid-July – the Misfit Shine, a crowd-funded device you can pre-order for about $100. All in all, it’s a pretty cool gadget to have, especially if it motivates you to implement a healthier lifestyle.


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