Many people out there pay a lot of money on personal trainers and on gym memberships in order to live a healthier life style, but that is not really necessary. It is proven that one of the easiest and best ways to lose weight is by walking. According to the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” it is recommended for adults to get 150 minutes, or more, of moderate aerobic activity, each week.
This means that you will have to dedicate 22 minutes every day to go for a brisk walk, or for a light jog, and in no time whatsoever you will notice overall health benefits. You will feel better, stronger and a lot more energetic.
In the past few years there was a big boom of devices meant to easily monitor your daily activities and to motivate you into reaching your goals. Over the past year, I’ve tested a large number of such devices and concluded that only a hands full of them are worth your time, while one in particular stood out above the rest.
The Jawbone Up24 was absolutely incredible, arguably the best fitness band, and I will cover it in great detail, but I will also talk about the other fitness trackers that managed to impress me.
Best Fitness Band: The Jawbone Up24
The first time that I’ve used the Jawbone 24UP, back in 2013, I was very impressed by it, and there wasn’t anything really to complain about, except maybe for the fact that the band’s app was only compatible with the iOS.
The fitness tracker looked great on my wrist and offered Bluetooth synchronizing with the companion application, and Jawbone promised to also make the app compatible with Android. It is my greatest pleasure to tell you that, in the spring of 2014, they have indeed delivered on that promise.
Now this awesome fitness band is available to Android users and brought into the fold an even larger audience. The resulting product was a superb fitness tracker that works with the majority of smartphones available on the market.
When it first came out, the Up24’s biggest competitor was the Fitbit Force. Priced at $130, the Force was not only a wrist tracker, but also a wristwatch. Even so, the U24 won when Fitbit pulled the Force from the market, due to some complains made by a small number of user, saying that the device causes skin irritation.
Now, Fitbit released the Fitbit Charge as an activity and sleep wristband, which is much better than the Force, but, to be frank I still prefer the Jawbone Up24. They have also released the Fitbit Flex, which is very similar to the Up24, but with an alphanumerical display and a lot more functions, but even so, I still prefer the Up24 for its cheaper price and comfy fit. If you factor in the price, specs and overall comfort, the Jawbone is definitely the best fitness band.
The Jawbone Up24 was on the top of most recommended wrist trackers in 2014, and even today it is still one of the best. Unlike most wearable technology devices, the Up24 looks great both on women and on men. It is perfect for people that want a simple and cheap fitness band, that has an easy to use and fun UI.
Jawbone Up24: Design
The first time that I’ve saw the Up24, I said to myself: “Is this really a new product?” The reality is that the fitness band looks almost identical to its predecessor, the original Jawbone Up fitness tracker.
Just like the original, it is a bracelet-styled device, meant to be strapped around your wrist and worn all day long. It is encased in a rubber skin, that hides the activity data components and the rather sensitive motion tracker. It is designed in such way so it will protect the interior from exposure to sweat, or moisture, and also from water splashes. As a result, you will be able to wear the bracelet while washing the dishes, taking a shower, or while taking a walk through the rain. The device feels very comfortable on your wrist, especially because it has no buckle.
Rather than having a fastener that snaps around your hand, the jawbone Up24 does not connect in any way. Instead, it has two open ends that sit parallel to each other, with the band’s spring softly, but firmly, gripping around your wrist. Not counting the more traditional watch strap, this is by far the best and most ergonomic design for a wristband.
However, Jawbone did not give its fitness tracker an alphanumeric display, a weird decision, considering that competitive products, such as the Nike FuelBand SE, or the Fitbit Flex, have such a feature. Because of that, the Up24 is visually challenged, when compared to the above mentioned devices.
The Jawbone Up24 only communicates through a light indicator about its status, by showing the colors red, yellow, or green, and by displaying different symbols, such as the half-moon symbol, or the stardust one. The be completely honest with you, as much as I love this product, the fact that it doesn’t have a display it’s a big letdown for me. I simply love to check, in the blink of an eye, how lazy, or how active I’ve been. Most of the time, it takes too long to search through my pockets for my phone, and then I also have to fire up the app too check my progress, and I have to do all of this while dodging slow-walking pedestrians.
The Up24 doesn’t even get a big weight advantage without the screen. It is only one gram lighter than the FuelBand SE.
On the tip of the band of the Up24 there is a square button, that you can use to change the various modes of the gadget, or to simply confirm that the device is powered and alert. On the other end of the fitness band, there is a small 2.5mm jack, that is used to charge the device, via a bundled USB cord.
The Key Wellness Functions
The Jawbone Up24 is more of an evolution of its predecessor, than a new and revolutionary fitness device.
The tracker’s pedometer will provide you with ample information about the logging steps that you took, as well as the resulted burned calories. Also, you can use the mobile app to enter the meals and the snacks that you ate, in order to see how many calories you have acquired, and to observe if your workout managed to burn them all.
However, the Up platform takes the food logging a step further. In addition to picking up drinks, snacks and dishes from a rather extensive database, you also have the option to scan the barcodes on food packages, so you will get the nutrition value in a instant.
If you do not require you fitness band to have a display, then the Jawbone Up24, with its clever advices, very comfy fit and superb application, it probably your best choice. The price is just right, only $69,99, and it is available for purchase at Amazon.com, with free shipping within the US.
- It is very easy to use
- It has a great pedometer and a good fitness tracker
- It is water resistant (be advised I said water resistant not waterproof, so don’t go swimming with it)
- It feels very comfortable on your wrist
- It is very light
- It is rather cheap
- It works with Android phones, as well as with iPhones
- It has no display screen
Other Affordable Fitness Trackers
The Pivotal Tracker 1
This is the most affordable fitness tracker tested by me. Pivotal Living, a startup company, based in Seattle, took an unique approach, by offering the Pivotal Tracker 1 as part of yearly subscription plan. This device is only available in the US, and you can purchase it for only $12. This price also covers the cost of the company’s iOS and Android app, but only for a year. If you want to continue using the application after that is year up, then you will have to pay another $12, but they will also provide you with a new band.
The Pivotal Tracker 1 can track your steps, calories burned, sleep, active time and distance traveled. One charge of the battery will last you for about a week. The band also features inactivity alerts, a silent alarm and day-to-day specific activity goals.
This fitness band is not waterproof and I found out that it isn’t very accurate when it comes to tracking long distances. I also have a few concerns about the build quality, but seeing it’s given price that is something that you should expect.
The companion apps is very well designed, although it does not have food tracking and it cannot be synced with third-party apps.
As far as the design goes, the Pivotal Tracker 1, doesn’t look cheap at all, and trust me when I say that it doesn’t feel cheap either ,but it’s not the most comfortable fitness tracker ever made. The sides of the OLED screen are not very flexible and you will definitely feel the Tracker 1 on your wrist a lot more than you would feel the Fitbit Charge, or the Jawbone Up24.
The screen is used to display the time, how much battery you have left, an alarm indicator and all of your daily activities, including the traveled distance, the steps taken, the goal completion percentage and the calories burned.
The Pivotal Tracker 1 is a very affordable fitness tracker, and although it does not have any advanced features, it is perfect for newcomers that are interested in the wearable market.
- It is very cheap
- It can track your sleep, daily activities and your hydration level
- It has a silent alarm
- It has inactivity alerts, meant to get you on the right track once more
- It is not waterproof
- The distance tracking is not very accurate
- The build quality is not very high
- The companion app cannot be synced with any third-party application
The Fitbit Charge HR
It would have been weird to finish this list without adding a product from Fitbit. They are one of the biggest companies out there, when it comes to wearable fitness devices. The Fitbit Charge HR is a retooling of the Fitbit Force, a product that was recalled because of some users complains that it gave them skin rashes. For only $20 more, the Charge HR add a continuous heart-rate monitor to the features already available on the normal Fitbit Charge. The only other difference between the two devices it that the HR comes with a traditional watch strap.
The Charge HR is able to track the calories you have burned, the distance you’ve traveled, your sleep at night and the stairs that you have climbed. All of the information can be viewed on its OLED screen that is also capable of displaying call notifications from your smartphone. Just like the other fitness bands that I’ve talked about earlier, it has a silent alarm and customizable daily goals.
The mobile app is easy to use and very straight forward, and it is available for iOS, Android and Windows. Unlike the app from Pivotal, this one supports third-party apps.
One of the major downsides, is that the Charge, as well as the Charge HR, is not waterproof. You must remember every time you take a shower, or you wash the dishes, to take it off. This is a major letdown for me personally, because I find swimming to be the most enjoyable and satisfying workout, and I love to track my progress. For that specific activity I like to use other wearable devices, such as the Pebble Steel.
I also found that while resting, the heart-rate monitor is very accurate, but, while exercising, it tends to drop-off a little.
The Fitbit Charge HR is available for purchase at different retailer (Verizon Wireless, HRM USA INC., Kohl’s and Microsoft Store), and it will cost you $149,99.
The addition of a heart-rate monitor to an already solid fitness band, makes the Fitbit Charge HR a very good product. It comes from a company that has a lot of experience in this field and tends to come up with better and better devices. Not all of the kinks are ironed out, but it does do a lot of things very well.
- It has a continuous heart-rate monitor
- The readings from the heart-rate monitor are for the most part accurate
- It has all of the features of the Fitbit Charge
- Active exercises causes accuracy drops
- It is not waterproof
- The display turns off after a few seconds, which tends to get a little annoying