The wearable market has really kicked off in the past year or so, and the number of fitness wearables out there is rather large. Some are cheap and some are not so cheap. If you’re not paying attention you can end up with a tracker that costs a pretty penny, and if you want to grab yourself a gadget to help you exercise without breaking the bank you should definitely see what we have to offer you.
The key to the Flex is in its minimalism. There is no screen taking up valuable space, and it’s relatively small so it won’t exactly stick out when you’re wearing it. This does come with the downside of having to sync it to your computer, smartphone, or tablet to actually keep track of your fitness statistics, but that doesn’t make the Flex any less useful. That simple little wristband is able to monitor your activity levels to work out how hard you’re working at any given time, and how many calories you’re burning. It also keeps track of how many steps you’ve taken that day and can be used to monitor your sleeping pattern to see how efficient your sleep actually is.
The battery only lasts five days sadly, but it only takes a couple of hours to charge to 100%.
Buy the Fitbit Flex from Amazon for £68.
It’s very easy for a cheap gadget to look tacky, and the fitness tracker is no exception. Fortunately the Misfit Shine is not one of those devices, and instead looks relatively stylish and nice to look at. It’s not the kind of thing you want to hide away under your sleeve, you almost want the entire world to see what you have. The Shine functions like most fitness trackers, monitoring your activity, how many calories you;re burning, how many steps you take, and syncs all that data wirelessly to your computer. What sets it apart is that it also functions as a watch, and is powered by a watch battery that’ll last three months so you don’t have to worry about charging it. If that’s not enough, unlike a lot of trackers, it’s totally waterproof which means you can wear it while you’re swimming.
Buy the Misfit Shine in a variety of colours from Amazon with prices starting at £64.
Don’t let the design fool you, the Orb isn’t actually a fitness tracking watch, instead it’s a fitness tracker that happens to look like a watch. Perhaps it’s for camouflage reasons. The orb is relatively basic with the device itself covering the usually suspects of measuring distance travelled, counting calories burned, and monitoring your sleep. If you do want something basic and simple this will do you just fine. You don’t have wear it on your wrist either, it works just as well sitting in your pocket or clipped onto your belt. There is one difference with the Orb, and it’s that buying the device gives you a free lifetime membership to Fitbug’s KiK virtual coach which will help whip you into shape.
Buy the Fitbug Orb from Amazon for £49.
Unlike the other fitness trackers in this list, the Zip is not designed to be worn on your wrist. Instead it’s supposed to be clipped onto your trousers or a belt in order to do it’s job, meaning it can function relatively discretely. The best way to think about the Zip is as an advanced pedometer of sorts, using your steps and distance to calculate how many calories you’ve burnt. This is rather similar to most other budget fitness trackers, but the Zip does have an advantage in the form of it’s screen which can be used to display how many steps you’ve taken that day, and thus how active you’ve actually been (to an extent). But, like the flex, if you want to go into any great detail you’ll have to sync it up to the mobile/web app where you can see all your stats broken down and shown off in more depth. It’s also got a 4-6 month battery life, so it really is the kind of thing you can clip on and forget about. Just don’t send it through the washing machine by accident.
Buy the Fitbit Zip from Amazon for £47.
Jawbone Up Move
This one is essentially a hybrid of the Fitbit Zip and the Misfit Flash, and relies on a separate app for you to analyse and keep track of your fitness activity. It’s pretty much like every other fitness tracker out there in that it monitors your activity, how many calories you burn, how many steps you’ve taken, and even a bit about your sleep. It is rather small, which is great because if you feel like the design is a bit too trippy for wearing on your wrist you can just slip it in your pocket where it will continue to work unimpeded. It also has the advantage of allowing the Move to last six months on a single charge and since it uses a watch battery you can just pop a new one in when it dies.
Oh, and it also tells you the time when you ask for it.
Pre-order the Jawbone Up Move from Jawbone for £40.
By Tom Pritchard | November 13th, 2014