Merging fashion with fitness, ten activity trackers for women

The world of quantified health hasn’t exactly been focused on women. Activity trackers started off with chunky and unattractive devices aimed at fitness freaks and technology buffs. Thankfully, those days are behind us and the tech community has grasped the importance of designing wearable technology that is both functional and attractive.

Essential reading: Wearables that keep you safe

This article is a summary of our favourite activity trackers designed with female fitness enthusiasts in mind. Our criteria is based on a combination of visual appeal, smaller sizes and functionality. These are wearables that are designed to keep track of your activity and sleep so should not be confused with safety wearables, i.e. devices which make it easy to call for help at the touch of a button.

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Bellabeat | Withings Steel HR | Swarovski Shine | Jawbone UP3Amazfit | Samsung Charm| Fitbit Charge 2 | Fitbit Alta HR | Misfit Ray | Apple Watch


Bellabeat Leaf & Urban

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Founded in 2014, Bellabeat is a wellness-oriented company dedicated to creating attractive connected wearables for women. The company has distributed over 400,000 of its Leaf device, launched some two years ago.

This smart piece of jewellery is designed to track your health. Wear it as a necklace or bracelet with Leaf accessories or items you already own – or clip it to any clothing item as a stylish accent. You choose what fits your style best in any given occasion.

The tracker learns about you and provides insights and improvements to your daily routine to help you feel your best. The wearable tracks your breathing, sleep, activity and monthly cycles through the smartphone app. If you are feeling stressed, you can follow one of its breathing routines to try and calm yourself down. Its advanced technology is hidden inside the wood housing, giving it a soft natural appeal.

Leaf does not need to be charged. It is powered by a replaceable battery that lasts up to 6 months. It also has up to 14 days worth of memory, so you only need to sync it every couple of weeks.

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large_leaf[1]Bellabeat has recently come out with its second generation tracker. In addition to all the features offered by its predecessor, Urban helps you deal with stress. The new feature analyzes different lifestyle habits to help you not only manage this silent killer, but also prevent it by determining the triggers that cause it.

The Urban features a slightly different design and is smaller and lighter than Leaf. Made with water-resistant certified wood composite and stainless steel, it maintains the natural look and feel that made Leaf so appealing.

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Withings Steel HR

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Steel HR is the newest offering from Withings. Launched late last year, the wearable takes much of what was great about the Activite range and upgrades it with new features including a heart rate monitor and a digital display for smartphone notifications.

There are no buttons to push. Steel HR automatically tracks everything and syncs the info to your app to give you metrics, personal coaching and more. The main novelty for an analogue type device is the addition of heart rate monitoring.

Real-time heart rate info is displayed on the watch during your exercise, and more detailed info including time spent in heart rate zones can be seen in the app. The watch also tracks resting heart rate, one of the most important metrics to assess overall health over time.

This is a watch that is designed to look and feel normal, and it works in pretty much every situation. You can wear it not only during business hours, but also for a formal event, as well as light hiking or other sporting events.

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Swarovski Shine

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The Swarovski Shine comes from a partnership between the cut crystal specialists and Misfit. It blends further the worlds of fashion and health and fitness wearables.

The device offers all the functions of Misfit’s other trackers– i.e. it measures your daily activity and quality of sleep,  syncs wirelessly with your smartphone and has a battery life of up to 6 months. As with the original device, you can enable the clock feature when you double-tap the tracker.

The main appeal to the Swarovski Shine is the giant Crystal on top of the wearable. You can choose from a range of bracelets, bands and necklesses, to make this fitness tracker fit into your wardrobe. The idea is that you buy bands and necklaces to suit every occasion. Not surprisingly, the various jewelry-esque pieces are a bit pricier than the Misfit Flash or the original Misfit Shine.

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Jawbone UP3

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Although its been a couple of years since its been updated, the UP3 remains a solid option. The wearable is loaded with state-of-the-art sensors that give you a better understanding of your health and fitness. Like all bands, Jawbone UP3 measures the steps you take, and like some, monitors the quality of your sleep. It has a sparkling design and is astonishingly light.

Essential reading: Stress busting wearables to help you chill

While most other fitness trackers display raw figures and leave it at that, the UP will provide you with tips throughout the day on how to improve your health and fitness. We like the advanced sleep tracking and the ability to automaticaly recognise when you fall asleep. The ability to periodically check on your heart rate throughout the day in addition to viewing you resting heart rate, is definitely a welcome addition to its wide range of features.

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Amazfit

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This stylish, ceramic-based device allows you to track and record steps, distance traveled and calories burned. It will also monitor sleep quality and receive incoming call vibration alerts.

You can choose from two wristband styles, Moonbeam and Equator. Moonbeam is a white ceramic shell encased in a rose gold-plated metal frame and is surrounded by a premium white leather wristband. Equator is designed to offer sleek sophistication. The ceramic shell is surrounded by a simple, minimalistic band in complementary matted black or rose gold tones. You also get interchangeable accessories to suit your mood.

Amazfit is one of the slimmest, most lightweight activity trackers on the market today. Just by looking at it, you would never even guess that its anything more than a stylish accessory.

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Samsung Charm

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Charm is a lifestyle band designed to look like a piece of jewellery. It uses a small LED to make you aware of incoming or missed calls and messages, as well as push alerts from applications that you can select via the smartphone app. Color-coded notifications display information about charging, connectivity status and battery level.

Charm also doubles up as a basic activity tracker. Simply sync it with a smartphone via Bluetooth and pair it with the accompanying app to see how many steps you’ve taken, how much distance you’ve covered over the course of a day and how many calories you’ve burned. The device sports on-board memory, so even if you don’t have your smartphone with you, the wearable will continue to gather fitness data.

To suit both men and women the tracker comes in two versions, bar and square-shaped. There are also three colors to choose from, Rose Quartz, Gold and Black.

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Fitbit Charge 2

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The list would not be complete if we did not mention the Charge 2. This is also our choice for the best fitness tracker right now for the average person.

unknown-1The wearable features a sleek new look with a larger screen than previously. It also comes in a number of colors so is suitable for both men and women. The interchangeable bands mean you can customize it to your liking.

There is a 3-axis accelerometer inside, along with an altimeter and heart rate monitor. Its heart rate tracking is continuous and accurate, while its sleep tracking feature is much more useful following Fitbit’s recent update.

Essential reading: Fitbit’s new sleep tracking feature explained

The Charge 2 also links to the GPS on your smartphone to provide more precise data on pace and distance when you’re running, while recording a map of your route in the app. And lets not forget Multi-Sport tracking and smartphone notifications.

Plus there are a few new features that tap into your hear-rate readings. The most useful one is called Cardio Fitness Level. It gives you a snapshot of your fitness level using a personalised Cardio Fitness Score, which is based on your VO2 Max. You can also see how you compare to your gender and age group.

The other new addition are Guided Breathing Sessions. This is a relaxing mindfulness experience that calms your body and mind through personalized deep-breathing sessions called “Relax”.

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If you are interested in Fitbit’s less sophisticated but water-resistant wearable – the Flex 2, you have the option of choosing a super chic accessory with an exclusive collection from Tory Burch (view on Amazon).


Fitbit Alta HR

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Alta HR might actually be the best-looking fitness tracker Fitbit has released so far. The wearable is particularly popular with women and the high-fashion crowd. Just strap it on, without worrying about pressing buttons or logging any activity. Automatic activity tracking is a huge plus.

simple.b-cssdisabled-png.h584ccea3211cdc831c6734f2343195d3.pack_-300x256The new device looks a lot like the much-loved Alta fitness tracker. It has swappable bands and can track steps, distance, calories and sleep. And just like the original, it displays notifications for incoming calls, text messages and calendar alerts. The Alta was, however, missing out on a couple of features, one of which is becoming fairly standard these days – heart rate tracking.

With this new tracker, Fitbit has shown that it is possible to bring its Pure Pulse technology to a device this small. The Alta HR will monitor your ticker 24/7 and allow you to better measure your calorie burn, exercise smarter and keep better tabs on your overall health.

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Misfit Ray

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This is an activity tracker made from aircraft-grade anodized aluminium that for the first time moves away from the circular shape that Misfit is well known for. Rather than many LEDs, there is only one which displays different colours to alert you to text, call and other notifications from your phone.

The device offers pretty much the same functionality that can be found in Misfit’s other devices. It allows you to monitor sleep duration an quality; see steps taken and distance travelled; tag specific activities such as cycling or yoga; track calories burned; take selfies and control lights and music; and get vibration alerts for calls, texts and alarms. It also features movement reminders.

Misfit Ray runs on replaceable button cell batteries that run up to 6 months – so one less device to recharge in the evening. It is water resistant up to 50 metres.

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Apple Watch Series 2

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The Apple Watch Series 2 delivers solid improvements over its predecessor, including water proofing up to 50 metres, on-board GPS, a 50% faster Duel-Core processor, a better display and a few other updates.

The big news is that the watch is now water resistant up to 50 metres and can be used for monitoring open and pool water swimming. The company has developed all-new algorithms to count laps, track average lap pace and auto-detect stroke type to measure active calorie burn.

The device offers so many other things in addition to being a fitness tracker, its health and fitness features should be viewed as a bonus rather than the main reason for purchase. As a fully featured smartwatch, there are few wearables on the market today that can rival Apple.

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8 thoughts on “Merging fashion with fitness, ten activity trackers for women

  • November 17, 2015 at 4:59 am
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    Isn’t that a limited edition of the UP2 rope edition. Have not seen the UP3 in a rope edition.

    Reply
    • November 17, 2015 at 5:44 am
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      You are right of course. We have amended the picture to the latest version of the UP3. Thanks for flagging up.

      Reply
  • November 2, 2016 at 8:19 pm
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    Could you recommend a trekker that will measure distance, pace and elevation gained and lost? I do a lot of hiking and running, and it’s hard to find a women design with these feature.
    Thank You!!!

    Reply
    • November 2, 2016 at 8:41 pm
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      You are going to struggle to find a ladies watch that tracks elevation (I am assuming you don’t mean floors). My suggestion would be to go for the Apple Watch 2 and a third party app like Altimeter+ or the ViewRanger hiking and cycling app – or one of the Garmin smartwatches (which are not exactly built for ladies).

      Reply
    • August 19, 2017 at 4:03 pm
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      The Samsung Gearfit 2 tracks floors and using gps, elevation as well. I believe the newer model Gearfit3 would be worth taking a look at.

      Reply
  • November 20, 2016 at 4:21 am
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    HI,
    I have a rather small wrist and find a lot of fitness trackers too chunky. I want one that accurately measures steps and sleep.
    What would you recommend?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • November 21, 2016 at 8:58 am
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      You might want to go for the Jawbone UP3 then. It has one of the best sleep tracking functions (very detailed), it will count your steps (all fitness trackers will…), and comes in a small form-factor.

      Reply
      • April 9, 2017 at 5:25 am
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        UP3 appears good for a small wrist. It allows you to tighten it far enough to fit,but the problem is that this applies pressure along the edge of the hard tech part, and then the band splits. I’ve had two split in 12 months. Still trying to find an alternative.

        Reply

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