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.
Essential reading: Compare fitness trackers with our interactive tool
Also, with so many companies releasing 2nd and 3rd generation trackers, the older 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.
The water-resistant Nokia Go was designed to assist just about everyone in embracing activity tracking. This circular little wearable fits squarly into the budget fitness tracker category.
You’ll find an e-Ink screen that shows activity and functions as a watch on demand. This type of screen has the benefit of not draining the battery even though its on all the time and legible in bright sunlight. In fact it will keep going for 8 months before a change of the coin cell battery is needed.
A user’s progress is displayed via 88 segments 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.
There is automatic 24/7 activity tracking for walking, running, swimming and sleeping, as well as recognition of a variety of daily activities. At night, Go can distinguish between light and deep sleep cycles to give you a better understanding of your sleep patterns.
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.
Fitbit is the global leader 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 one of the best apps behind them.
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 has been around since 2011, but has in this short time become one of the leading wearables brands with its line of sleek and inexpensive activity trackers. With zero cables, an elegant design, and no need to recharge – its staple product, the Shine remains one of the best-looking, lowest-maintenance activity trackers.
The Shine 2 looks very much like its predecessor. It is however a bit larger in diameter. At only 8mm thick it is Misfit’s thinnest wearable ever. The device automatically tracks steps, calories burned, distance, sleep quality and duration, cycling, and swimming.
The circle of 12 tiny LEDs now lights up in different colours, showing different patterns to show time, progress and other types of notifications. The LEDs on the Shine 2 are marginally easier to read in daylight than the LEDs on the original Shine, but only just. The device also features a capacitive touch sensor.
Not all updates are cosmetic in nature. In addition to the standard tri-axis accelerometer, Shine 2 sports a more powerful processor and a vibration motor that acts as a silent alarm and alerts you to important information. It also gives you a nudge if you’ve been stationary for too long.
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.
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 throws an OLED display to the mix. This 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.
Its worth noting, it won’t be too long before we see the Mi 3 Band. Look for it to land in the months ahead.
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 gadget is pretty much out on its own for what it can do. It keeps tabs on your movements, analyzes them and gives you a comprehensive report on how you are doing, after, as well as during the workout.
The predecessor model was designed only for 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 keeping tabs on your sleep at night.
Ray is an activity tracker made from aircraft-grade anodized aluminium that 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 fitness tracker is designed to be worn alongside a watch. The cylindrical body measures 38mm long and 12mm in diameter. Ray is extremely customizable and can be attached to a number of different accessories allowing you to wear it on your wrist or around your neck. It can even be tied right into your sneakers.
The newest addition to Garmin’s stable of fitness trackers comes with evolutionary rather than revolutionary updates.
What Garmin hopes will distinguish Vivofit 4 from the competition is its awesome battery life. The tracker – which sports an always-on sunlight-visible, transflective 8 color memory-in-pixel (MIP) display – will keep going for a full year, no charging required. When it comes to battery life, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Vivofit 4 is swim and shower safe and features a sleek, comfortable band. The lightweight device keeps tabs on your steps, distance, calories and sleep, but not on your heart rate. There is a move bar, auto-recognition for activities plus you also get some basic non-fitness features.
The Flex 2 is the company’s slimmest tracker yet and for the first time for a Fibit device is water resistant.
The device is 30% smaller than the original model and features a removable core unit and interchangeable slim, classic fitness bands in seven colors. A simple LED display uses color-coded lights to show progress toward your daily goal, and keeps you connected with call and text notifications.
More importantly, this is Fitbit’s first swim-proof wristband. The device is water resistant up to 50 meters, whether you’re in the shower, pool or ocean, and it automatically tracks your pool swims including laps, duration and calories burned in the Fitbit app.
What it doesn’t do is monitor your heart rate or count the floors climbed. You will need to opt for one of Fitbit’s more advanced fitness trackers for that.
The low cost wearable goes beyond the basics when it comes to keeping tabs on your fitness. You’ll find a continuous heart rate monitor, along with a Breathing Coach to help you destress. Other advanced features include info on light, deep and REM sleep stages, and an on-board GPS sensor so you can track your workout routes without your phone.
There is also Huawei’s Running Coach which taps into Firstbeat technology to assess your running style and suggest tailored workouts. The water-resistant gizmo will let you know if you are training hard enough to improve your fitness level and suggest a rest period between exercise sessions.
When paired to a smartphone, the Band 2 Pro act will transmit notifications from the handset. You can reject calls, view messages, and set alarms, all on the band itself.
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