Activity tracking doesn’t need to be expensive. The latest generation of fitness wearables offers a wide range of different features to choose from at incredibly reasonable prices. Also, with so many companies releasing 2nd and 3rd generation devices, their previous generation devices are becoming cheaper. While these wearables may not track everything, with some shopping around you may be able to find one that fits your needs.
With a price of less than $80, this is a beautiful little wearable which fits squarly into the budget fitness tracker category. The circular device was clearly designed to assist just about everyone to embrace activity tracking.
Withings Go features an E-Ink screen that shows activity, functions as a watch on demand and is legible in bright sunlight. The E-Ink screen is an original concept which has the benefit of not draining the battery even though its on all the time.
A user’s progress is displayed via 88 segments on the with the middle icon switching from a stick person to a star when your daily goal is achieved. When you press on the center of the display the tracker will switch to a standard watch display. Click it again, and it will go back to a meter showing your daily activity.
You can choose from one of five colours – black, blue, green, red or yellow. The device can be worn on the wrist, the pocket, the belt or the shoe. Withings Go is essentially designed to reduce interaction, being able track everything without the user having to push a single button.
There is automatic 24/7 activity tracking for walking, running, swimming and sleeping, as well as automatic recognition of a variety of daily activities. For walking and running, the device analyses the number of steps, distance covered, calories burned and duration of the running session. At night, Go can distinguish between light and deep sleep cycles to give you a better understanding of your sleep patterns.
The battery lasts an impressive 8 months. To recharge it, just replace the button cell and you are ready to go again. Go is also water-resistant up to 50 metres and automatically recognises when you start swimming, providing the time of the session and calories burned.
All in all, this is a super attractive budget tracker designed so that in only requires your passive, not active, attention. Clip it on and forget about it.
Fitbit is the global leader at the moment in wearables sales. There is a reason its trackers sell well. They are simple to use, reliable, look smart, provide great vitals statistics and have a great app behind them.
The FitBit Zip can be worn in your pocket, on a belt or on a bra, as it is as discreet or as visible as you want it to be. The little device tracks steps, distance, calories burned and syncs the statistics to your computer and selected smartphones. It has a silicone clip and is rain, splash and sweat-proof.
The mobile app remains a well-designed, easy to navigate tool for looking at your data, monitoring your fitness progress, and also tracking your food intake and water consumption. Any metric can be tapped to show historical data, and weekly totals.
Misfit Flash is a budget version of the popular Shine tracker. The main difference between the two devices is the price (the Flash is about twice as cheaper) and construction material (the Flash is made out of “soft-touch” plastic). Everything else is pretty much the same.
Being made out of the softer material, actually gives Flash one advantage over Shine – the front side of the device is functions as one large button. Pressing it is the same as double tapping the Shine – a progress bar of your daily activity goal will appear followed by the time via the minimalistic 12 LED display.
Similar to its more expensive cousin, the Flash operates on a coin cell battery and does not require charging. It automatically tracks steps, calories burned, distance, sleep quality and duration, cycling, and swimming. The Flash is water resistant up to 30 metres.
Link is another entry level, extremely inexpensive activity tracker from Misfit. With a suggested retail price of $20, it is one of the lowest price activity trackers on the market. The device is crafted out of a special soft-touch plastic, the same polycarbonate used in space suits.
In addition to activity tracking, Misfit Link can be used as a remote for toggling music remote controls and smartphone selfies. If you ignore the “smart button” function, in essence, the Link is practically the same as the Flash (minus the wrist band).
The UP Move has a standard pedometer design, with a belt clip case that lets you wear it on your clothes. Jawbone has also launched a range of wristband accessories that allow you to wear the tracker like a watch.
The device tracks steps, exercise, overall calories burned and sleep. It is water resistant, but you don’t want to go submerging it. The battery lasts a whopping 6 months.
The main face of the device doubles as a large single button, which you press in a combination of short and long presses to initiate different modes. The big two, are step tracking and sleep, but like previous models you can also pop the Move into stopwatch mode. The LED display indicates time and progress towards your daily goals.
The UP Move does not include a vibration motor, so is not able to function as a wake up alarm – but the omission was necessary to improve battery life and reduce the price.
For those looking for are entry level device at a reasonable price, the UP Move is a great choice. In a way however, the device more of a gateway drug, designed to entice you to upgrade to a more comprehensive Jawbone device.
The Archon Touch can be used to monitor your steps, distance travelled, calories burned, active minutes and the quality of your sleep. It will also show real-time notifications of messages and keep track of the time. In terms of notifications, Archon provides you with incoming call alerts, instant text messages, social media messages, emails and calendar reminders.
This low cost activity tracker will allow you to set your own fitness target (in terms of a daily goal for steps and sleep), and the app will chart your progress via easy to read bar graphs.
The battery life is around 5 days, and the tracker has a IP67 water resistance rating. All things considering, this is a decent tracker for those on a budget.
Lightweight and durable, with high water and dust resistance and a 20 day batery life, Arc is a very low-maintenance fitness partner. This minimalistic, smart looking device will provide you with an accurate step, distance and calorie count during the day, and will automatically monitor your sleep at night. It will also provide you with pulse readings on demand.
Arc sports a large but slim 0.42 inch UV coated and scratch resistant OLED touchscreen. The display is one seamless black surface that is equally readeable in both sunny or low light conditions. Only the bottom portion of the screen registers your touch, but it is very responsive and immediately springs to action.
This is obviously a device which is aimed for the average person who is after an activity tracker that seemlessly integrates into his or her life. The unisex unobtrusive look would easily fit a formal evening occasion or an office setting, particularly as it comes only in black. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to more expensive models that has solid features and still looks premium, you found it.
This list would not be complete without the Xiaomi Mi 2 Band. The third generation band from the Chinese tech giant, combines the best features of the predecessor devices, and adds an OLED display to the mix. Which means that for the first time Mi tracker users are not tied to their smartphones to check on their daily progress.
The device itself is super lightweight and comfortable to wear. The “capsule” pops in and out of the band for charging but is in no danger of falling out once pushed in. The wearable tracks steps, distance, calories and sleep, and has a battery that lasts 20 days between charges. It is water-resistant and will even wake you up in the morning.
The tracker uses a light-based PPG (photoplethysmography) sensor to measure your body’s blood flow. The heart rate sensor can be used on demand, such as while running or monitoring your sleep patterns.
This fitness tracker aims to teach you the concepts of a healthy life. The truly novel feature of the Moov is its real-time coaching feedback. At the moment, the Moov is pretty much out on its own for what it can do. The device tracks your movements, analyzes them and gives you a comprehensive report on how you are doing, after, as well as during the workout.
The original model was meant to be worn only during workouts so was not ment to be used as a standard activity tracker – in contrast, the Moov Now is designed for all-day use and will measure your activity level and active time, in addition to automatically tracking your sleep at night.
The Fitbug Orb is a discreet, button-sized device that tracks your activity around-the-clock. From steps and aerobic steps to calories burned, distance walked and your sleeping patterns.
The sleek device is available in three colours: white, hot pink and black and offers a number of wearable options. You can use it as a clip-on gadget, or around your wrist.
The Fitbug Orb comes with access to Fitbug’s online platform. Here you can log what you’ve eaten, set goals and track your activity. Fitbug calculates realistic targets for you to hit based on your information. You’ll also receive a weekly newsletter filled with articles about health, wellbeing, nutrition and activity.
This is another device that uses a standard replaceable battery instead of a rechargeable one which means it can keep going for 3 – 6 months instead of needing to be charged every couple of days.
The Garmin Vivofit is a lightweight and comfortable device, great for those on a budget. The tracker is neat and unobtrusive, and comes with a large and small strap. As with most Garmin fitness trackers, it is available in a wide range of colours and is water-resistant to 5 ATM, so you can shower or get caught in the rain, worry free.
The device will keep track of steps, calories, distance and sleep, learns your activity level and assigns a personalized daily goal. You can also pair it with a heart rate strap (sold separately) for more precise fitness tracking.
Vivofit uses two standard watch batteries and has a battery life of up to one year. Because it is also water-resistant and tracks sleep, you rarely need to take it off.
For a few more dollars, you can opt for the Vivofit 2 instead. This is a slightly souped up device featuring some design updates, automatic sync and a few other new functions. There is, of course, the Vivofit 3 that came out in 2016 and offers automatic activity tracking. The third generation tracker, however, sits in the mid-range rather than budget in terms of price.
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