The latest fitness trackers are so technologically advanced, they practically strap themselves on your wrist and drag you out to the gym (or trail, or pool). But with so many trackers offering so many features, how to choose among them? We’ve sorted them all out for you.
BEST FEATURES: Google GPS; intuitive mode switching
Now that the Moto 360 Sport model will also have iOS capability, it’s poised to give the Apple Watch a serious run for its money. This is a full-functioning smartwatch: Its GPS uses Google’s superior mapping software, feeding directions to the watch face like a tiny TomTom; it also somehow knows whether you’re running or doing pushups and switches modes between sports, then syncs all your metrics in the Google Fit app. And of course, being Google-driven, it can help you find the best place for a post-workout smoothie with a voice-activated search.
BEST FEATURES: Blood-oxygen reader; long battery life; budget price
The Pulse Ox is a no-nonsense band with a few essential features and a great price. Four LED sensors allow it to track heart rate and read blood-oxygen levels—handy for assessing exercise efficiency when training at altitude. And it blows the competition away with its astounding two-week battery life.
BEST FEATURES: Running-specific tech; optical heart-rate sensor
Aimed at runners, this new Forerunner has an incredibly accurate Mio optical heart-rate sensor and can track time, pace, distance, and heart-rate zones, which are fed to you during your run to ensure optimal training. Using your age and fitness level, the watch will determine your warmup/aerobic/max pace and guide you through each part of your workout.
BEST FEATURES: Activity mapping; calorie-burn algorithm; battery life
Built-in GPS lets you map your run, ride, or hike with an app on your handheld device; you can also track heart rate and calorie burn across different sports like yoga, spinning, and circuit training using a unique algorithm for each. One charge can last up to a week—impressive for a continuous heart-rate monitor; and sleep tracking helps you get the perfect snooze.
BEST FEATURES: iPhone syncing; inactivity reminder; sleek style
The Apple Watch isn’t a fitness-focused tracker, but devotees will love it because it fits so neatly into the Apple ecosystem, syncing seamlessly with the iPhone Health app as well as iEverything else. Usual lifestyle features aside, the Apple Watch also monitors both resting and exercising heart rates and pings you with reminders to stand or walk when needed throughout the day, then feeds it all back to you in a well-designed snapshot of your activity. What it lacks in multisport features and battery life, it more than makes up for in style.
BEST FEATURES: High-tech heart-rate monitor; swap-able leather strap
This Intel-driven unit has one of the most accurate heart-rate monitors out there due to the brightness of the LED in the spectroscopic sensor, which cuts through any light pollution between the band and your wrist. That cutting-edge tech is now paired with a refined leather/metal-look strap that can go dressy or be swapped out for a plastic band. Plus, the Basis is now integrated into Apple Health and Google Fit and can sync with whichever smartphone you use. To switch from a slick wristwatch to fitness mode, just swipe left.
BEST FEATURES: Guided workouts; iOS/Android syncing
This “band” has 10 sensors, including optical heart-rate monitor, GPS, GSR (Galvanic Skin Response, which means it knows when you put it on), and even a UV sensor. It works with iOS, Android, and Windows and comes loaded with guided workouts from Gold’s Gym, Benchmark WOD, and the best fitness magazine on the planet.