Fitness tracking devices are still having their moment. These gizmos, gadgets and bracelets promise to overhaul your workout, daily movement and even your sleep. All of the data they offer can help reinforce healthy behaviors and inspire you to improve, such as upping the ante during a workout session, sitting less often and getting a better night’s rest. Check out some of the newest entries into the category.
One big issue with most trackers is that they don’t give you total credit for calories burned during activities that don’t involve running or walking, such as spinning and weight training. The Loop solves this problem by syncing up to a separate heart rate monitor you wear strapped to your chest. Based on heart rate, the gadget calculates calories burned with a reasonably high degree of accuracy. The red LED display is a bit old school, but it’s easy to read and the battery life is crazy long. And once you get past the pesky set up for the wristband, the device and interface are as informative and as simple to use as they come. You do have to buy one of the two compatible Polar monitors to take advantage of the heart rate feature, but if you’re serious about training, it’s worth the extra expense.
Rather than having you wear a separate pulse monitor, the Basis has a built-in sensor that also records perspiration and skin temperature. Presumably this should give you a more precise calorie estimate—though chest straps are still considered the gold standard in heart rate monitoring. One especially handy function is the Basis’ automatic screen scroll that flips through steps, mileage, calories and so on with a single touch of a button. The “Habits” feature pushes you to unlock attainable yet entertaining goals like “Don’t be such a sitter!” And it automatically measures sleep, something many other trackers must be told to do. It’s a bit too bulky for comfort and it only comes in one size, but all in all, this wristwatch style device will inspire you to get up and move.
Sure, the Sony Core will measure your steps and calories just like other trackers. But when this teeny, tiny chip goes on sale later in 2014, it will sport “LifeLog” software that will also obsessively bookmark everything from your photos to your phone calls to your appointments. It will be like having a piece of jewelry that also acts as a monitor, motivator, calendar and blog. Colorful skins will be sold separately and you can wear the device on your wrist or arm. Price has not yet been decided, according to a company spokesperson, but it should retail for around $100.
This metallic-tinged pod looks like a tiny, alien craft complete with blinking lights around the edges. Worn as a stylish pedant, sport band or clasp, the Shine may not pack in the features like some other trackers, but what it does, it does well. For example, the Shine tallies up your steps and calories in a cheerful manner, even letting you know when you have just 20 minutes left to reach your goal. And its separate modes for walking, running, swimming and cycling are especially helpful, though you do have to fiddle a bit to switch between them. On the downside: You can only sync up to your mobile phone and it’s only compatible with iOS and Android devices. And the setup is far from intuitive. You’ll need to watch a video or two or three to figure out how to pry it open and place the battery. Good thing the battery lasts up to four months.