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Best Android-compatible fitness trackers money can buy: December 2015

Whether you prefer to call them fitness trackers, activity trackers, fitness bands or perhaps smart bands, these poor men’s smartwatches are spreading like wildfire. According to the International Data Corporation, three of the four wearable industry-leading manufacturers in Q3 2015 were specialized in such basic, low-cost gadgets, with Fitbits somehow managing to even beat the trendy Apple Watch.

Fitness-tracker-wrist

Down the line, analysts expect “iWatches”, Samsung Gears, Moto 360s, Pebbles et al to prevail over Mi Bands, Jawbones, Misfits, Vivofits and so on, but by the looks of things, there should be enough room under the sun for both similar yet radically distinct product categories.

It’s practically impossible to predict the long-term evolution of a market so far from maturity, but at least for the foreseeable future, some folks will want to spend chump change on minimalistic devices capable of reliably monitoring their active life and little else. Bottom line, you need to make a choice between the following, just like a separate audience had to pick a stylish, futuristic Apple Watch alternative.

Xiaomi Mi Band – $19.90

Xiaomi Mi Band

Our least expensive recommendation is obviously the most rudimentary gizmo of the bunch, and adding insult to injury, it’s also listed as out of stock at the Chinese OEM’s US Mi store. There’s reasonable doubt the item sold on Amazon may not be legit, but rather an even cheaper knockoff, so all in all, it’s probably wiser to avoid this one, and instead wait for the Pulse sequel to reach America.

That’s too bad, really, since you got plenty for your 20 bucks – month-long battery life, step counter, calories burned indicator, automatic sleep monitor (though not very reliable), vibrations for call alerts, and IP67 water resistance.

Misfit Flash – $19.99

Misfit Flash

Compatible with both Android and iOS, much like all its rivals indexed today, the Flash is an oldie, having also made our magnificent seven list from exactly a year ago, but doesn’t show its advanced age, featuring a winning sporty design, up to 6 months (!!!) autonomy, and up to 30 meter water protection.

It’s perfect for running, walking, cycling, as well as playing tennis, basketball or soccer, and it can be worn anywhere, from your wrist to the waist, sleeve, pocket, shoe, socks, lapel, shirt or key chain with a convenient clip-on mechanism. Okay, maybe “perfect” is a bit of an exaggeration. It’s decent and super-affordable.

Garmin Vivofit 2 – $70

Garmin Vivofit 2

That’s a pretty big price gap someone might want to cover, though the Vivofit 2 very much justifies it. The always-on backlit LCD screen alone is worth your $50 premium, not to mention a battery rated at one full year of endurance, and automatic synchronization to one of the best fitness apps around, Garmin Connect.

Now, you may find this a tad annoying, but the smart band tells you when it’s “time to move” in addition to the actual time, and proposes personalized daily goals to help you get the most out of every workout session. Talk about an intuitive UI, huh?

Fitbit Charge and Charge HR – $90 and $120 respectively

Fitbit Charge

If you can afford it, definitely buy the model with a built-in heart rate monitor. It’s a literal life-saver for people who may look to push themselves too far. The sub-$100, non-HR configuration ain’t half bad either, despite a somewhat awkward aesthetic sense and tiny OLED display.

Compared to the Vivofit 2, the Charge isn’t quite a battery powerhouse, lasting however north of a week before requiring extra juice, which is an unattainable feat for the likes of the Apple Watch. “Real progress in real time” is one of the activity tracker’s main claims to fame, alongside wirelessly stat synching across 120+ “leading smartphones” and your PC. Nothing special, you say? Over 20,000 happy Amazon customers beg to differ.

Withings Activite Pop – $120 and up

Withings Activite Pop

This one is sure an odd duck, not just because of its fancy name, but first and foremost as it touts a “timeless look” and yet focuses on the wearable basics rather than putting a smartphone on your wrist. It’s by far the world’s most fashionable fitness tracker, in a retro, always in vogue way, but amazingly keeps the lights on for more than eight months without needing a recharge or cell swap.

That’s obviously due to the screen not really being a power-hogging screen and showing anything else besides the time and an “analog feedback loop.” Quite the ingenious hybrid construction, and best of all, you don’t have to worry if you leave it on while swimming.

Jawbone Up3 – starting at $125

Jawbone Up3

When it comes to dependable bands capable of a little more than counting steps, Jawbone remains Fitbit’s primary rival. The Up3 builds on the success of its two predecessors, once again skipping the display, going instead for a low-profile design path, and an abundance of useful sensors meant to capture both your Resting Heart Rate and Passive Heart Rate for a “holistic view of your heart.”

Marketing mumbo-jumbo aside, this stands out with tailor-made workouts and custom Smart Coach guidance, as well as “advanced” automatic sleep auditing with detection of REM, Light and Deep stages.

Garmin Vivoactive – $170

Garmin Vivoactive

Another smartwatch lookalike, this time copying the first wave of Android Wear devices, the rectangular Vivoactive is GPS-enabled, and that says it all. Why is GPS important for sports nuts? Because the wearable piece knows at all times exactly where you are and what you do, even when away from your Android phone, showing you precious, detailed data like speed and cadence during an indoor run.

Garmin’s always stellar proprietary software also helps distinguish between run, bike, swim, walk and golf efforts, providing you with one of the most in-depth looks at your health money can buy. Oh, and even with the GPS continuously on, the Vivoactive lasts up to ten hours on a charge. 3 weeks when the feature is turned off.

Fitbit Surge – $200 and up

Fitbit Surge

The “fitness superwatch” is not a smartwatch per se either, looking, well, kind of ugly and cumbersome, though it’s not actually very heavy, at 80 grams or so. Superficial fashion characteristics aside, what’s truly relevant is the Surge packs GPS, a 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, digital compass, optical heart rate monitor, altimeter, ambient light sensor, and vibration motor.

Translation – it knows exactly what you’re up to, where and to what end, and it’s pretty decent for call and text notification displaying purposes too. It’s essentially the best of both worlds, and yes, it offers week-long battery stamina.

Microsoft Band 2 – $250

Microsoft Band 2

It feels odd to wrap up a roundup of Google-friendly devices with one produced by the “enemy”, but if Redmond forgot about petty arguments, why wouldn’t we follow suit? Especially given the Band 2 embraces Windows Phone, Android and iOS, greatly refining the clumsy build of its forefather, and further enriching the sensor slate.

Believe it or not, you can do better than the Fitbit Surge, with accelerometer and gyro, GPS and a barometer, ambient light and skin temperature, plus galvanic skin response, UV, a capacitive sensor, microphone, and haptic vibration motor. Have no idea what half of those do? Cool things, we assure you, equaling fit with fun.

The Withings Activité Steel gives a different spin to the concept of smartwatches

Withings Activité Steel

Withings Activité Steel

French fitness accessories manufacturer #Withings has just unveiled the #ActivitéSteel #smartwatch which features an analog watch face and no touchscreen functionality. However, the wearable can manage to track your fitness data like steps, calories burnt and even swimming.

Data can be synced with your smartphone using the Health Mate app that is available on major app hubs. Just to make it clear, the Activité Steel isn’t capable of showing phone related notifications, so by definition it is merely an analog wrist watch with some level of “smart” inside.

The wearable has been priced at $169.95 and will be available for purchase across major Withings retail locations of the world. The company is known for its fitness accessories and devices, so the release of a device such as this doesn’t really come as a surprise to us.

Do you think the lack of proper notifications support will dent the chances of the Activité Steel in the market? Let us know.

Via: Tech Crunch

CES 2015 recap: All the new Android-compatible wearables launched in Vegas

It’s over. It’s really, really over. The Consumer Electronics Show effectively wrapped up a couple of days back, even though certain exhibitors will continue to, well, exhibit their spanking new products until Friday, hoping for a last-minute publicity boost.

Best of CES 2015

The bad news? A similar onslaught of sizzling hot fresh Android gear isn’t set to go down again for the next couple of months or so, when everyone from HTC to Sony, LG and perhaps even Samsung are expected to take Barcelona, Spain by storm for the Mobile World Congress.

The good news? As long as you know where to look, and are wise enough to disregard natural born haters, you have quite a lot to take in from Las Vegas. Almost enough to keep you busy until March 2.

Granted, not much happened on the high-end smartphone front, and tablets in general have hit a major slump. But piles of unusually capable budget handhelds and oodles of rudimentary yet solid and affordable fitness trackers saved face for mobile at CES, shining nearly as bright as Intel Broadwell-powered laptops and convertibles.

garmin-fenix3

In the following lines, we’ll try our best to round up all the Android-supporting wearables introduced in Vegas the past few days. Since everyone and their mother had something to showcase in the niche though, we’re afraid we had to handpick the most promising dozen or so new gizmos. And yes, we stuck to conventional activity trackers and smartwatches, ignoring the nutty smart insoles, mouth guards, light bulbs and so on and so forth. Call us conservatory or uptight, but those things are a little too eccentric in our book.

Stainless steel Sony SmartWatch 3

It’s weird, but amid all the new announcements at CES, the wearable that caught our eye the most was a rehashed take on a classic. That said, you really have to wonder why Sony didn’t go the metal route earlier to bring out the very best in the near-flawless SmartWatch 3.

Sony SmartWatch 3 steel

Available for $236 on Amazon in a standard, basic, silicon band-strapped flavor, the timepiece is unlikely to be cheap in the premium steel finish. But boy, is it sexy, and jam-packed with sensors, GPS included, plus Android Wear-running.

Alcatel OneTouch Watch

A stylish, retro-evocative, round-faced gadget with lengthy battery life, all the typical functionality found on a complex smartwatch, and priced at $100 less than Motorola’s Moto 360? Where do we sign up?

Alcatel-OneTouch-Watch

Not so fast, grasshoppers, as Alcatel’s rookie effort in the increasingly competitive market segment snubs Android Wear in favor of a proprietary, thus far unproven OS. The “rookie” part should put you on the alert as well, with build quality a potential worry. All in all though, for $150, it’s probably worth the risk.  

Lenovo Vibe Band

Extreme affordability is what this basic activity tracker has going for it too, plus mind-blowing autonomy, courtesy of a deliciously frugal E Ink display with 296 x 128 pixels resolution. Seven days is six days more than what most smartwatches around can last between charges, and being able to charge just $90 for the privilege is an amazing feat on Lenovo’s part.

Lenovo-Vibe-Band

The fundamental downside? To our knowledge, the Vibe Band is unlikely to ever set foot on American soil, with wide European availability also a stretch.

Garmin Vivoactive, Vivofit 2, Fenix 3 and Epix

My oh my, did this once navigation-focused titan take CES seriously. As does Garmin seem to take the wearable landscape as a whole, with more products rolled out in the niche recently than I can count on the fingers of one hand.

Garmin watches

Though it’s hard, if we were to pick a standout performer from Garmin’s CES 2015 quartet, we’d probably go with the Vivoactive. Priced at $250, this is billed as the ultimate low-cost smartwatch for athletes, and fits the description beautifully.

Don’t get us wrong, the Fenix 3 is in many ways superior to the Vivoactive. But it’s also $500. Meanwhile, the Epix is aimed at extreme outdoors enthusiasts, and the Vivofit 2 is budget-friendly, at $130, and mighty elegant… for the price range.

Razer Nabu X

One word number. 50. As in, $50. The rest almost doesn’t count, and the minimalistic, straightforward design, as well as the long-lasting battery (five to seven days) just make the deal that much sweeter.

razer_nabu_x

And in case you’re wondering, no, there’s no screen in sight, and the number of sensors is skimpy, to say the least. But it’s 50 frigging bucks.

Withings Activité Pop

Never heard of Withings? You don’t know what you’re missing out on. Case in point, a $150 full-featured fitness tracker in smartwatch clothing. Smooth, round, metallic, premium clothing, that is, with playful color added in the mix upon request, and, get this, 8 month+ autonomy.

withings-activite-pop

Of course, that raises the problem of spending extra on spare batteries, but how cool is it to forget about charging cables, docks or whatnot, and still get detailed athletics stats, water resistance and sleep monitoring?

Unfortunately, Android compatibility isn’t offered yet, albeit it should be on the way in a matter of a few months, maybe weeks. The sooner, the better, Withings.

Omate Roma and Racer

Not familiar with Omate either? Maybe you should look around Amazon, and closely explore the $128 X smartwatch, or the $210 3G-capable TrueSmart. Yes, this start-up is beginning to shine, and become one of the greats, with a new $99 Racer targeting unfussy sports addicts, and the pricier Roma going after, well, men.

Omate-Racer-Roma

Men who still love the feel of leather against their skin, and the look of a classical, “conventional” watch. With a number of contemporary upgrades and improvements, full Android support for notification displaying included.

Misfit Swarovski Shine

Ladies, this one goes out to you in a big way. Essentially a jewel-adorned sibling of the standard $75 Shine, the Swarovski line looks exquisite as a watch, necklace or small clip attached to your clothing, breaking new ground in alternative battery-powering techniques with solar charging.

Misfit-Swarovski-Shine

You’d think a charming, cutting-edge ensemble of that nature would force you to break the bank, but amazingly, Misfit plans to price the Swarovski Shine at between $170 and $250, depending on specific capabilities and some add-ons. Wow!

Polar A300

Polar’s back, and this time, it’s showing off a lower-end variant of the omnipotent $315 and up V800 GPS sports watch. GPS support is now missing, and by the looks of it, certain build quality compromises were obligatory.

Polar A300

But at $140, with 24/7 activity tracking, advanced sleep monitoring and convenient health guidance, the A300 is a must-buy for anyone that’s not overly attached to Android Wear or just doesn’t dig “real”, beefy smartwatches in general.

Magellan Echo Fit

This company we’ll admit to not knowing it very well beforehand, but after proper vetting, Magellan checks out. Their OG Echo is vastly praised on Amazon, and costs a measly $94, whereas the just-unveiled Echo Fit is already up for grabs at $129 and up, and the swift turnaround is bound to go a long way.

Magellan Echo Fit

Round and pretty handsome for just 130 greens, this bad boy doesn’t need charging, and works with an entire slew of third-party sports apps. From RunKeeper to MayMapRun and GolfPad, you can throw everything at the Echo Fit, and business will be handled smoothly as butter.

iHealth Edge

Don’t let the name fool you. This $70 economical wearable doesn’t play OS favorites, and shows Android the same respect as iOS. As is often the case when paying so little for a gizmo of this kind, you shouldn’t rely on its data and statistics accuracy too much.

iHealth Edge

But the Edge is a fun, little, affordable fitness tracker with all the essentials, a five to seven days battery life, and automatic sleep monitoring. It’s tough to recommend it over Misfit or Fitbit-built contenders, but it could be the beginning of iHealth’s rise to fame.

That’s a wrap, boys and girls, both for our wearable roundup, and CES 2015 coverage. We wanted to do a tablet recap too, we really did, and perhaps something to cover the hybrid and “others” sections, but there’s simply not enough material to bother. See you all at MWC!

New Withings Bluetooth based blood pressure monitor now available for purchase

Withings Blood Pressure Monitor

Withings Blood Pressure Monitor

Health trackers are available in abundance today, however this one from Withings is slightly different. It takes a conventional digital blood pressure monitor and adds a Bluetooth chip to it so that BP levels can be monitored directly on your Android or iOS smartphone with the help of the Withings Health Mate app which also syncs with a range of other Withings monitors and scales.

The Withings blood pressure monitor will set you back by $129.95, which doesn’t seem like a lot considering what it brings to the table. You can purchase this new blood pressure monitor directly from Withings’ website.

The Withings blood pressure monitor has been available for quite some time now, but only with support for iOS devices. So Android compatibility is certainly a welcome addition.

If you’re a user of other Withings products, the purchase of this new wireless blood pressure monitor should be an easy choice. However, if you’re willing to try it out for the first time, make sure you read up on some reviews first.

Source: Withings

Via: CNET