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Best Fitbit 2017: Which Fitbit should you buy?


Here's our guide to choosing the best Fitbit for your wrist.

Fitbit has become synonymous with fitness tracking wearables. So much so, that for many it’s become a catch-all term for activity trackers that count your steps, keep tabs on your sleep and monitor your heart rate – even when incorrectly referring to devices made by Fitbit’s many competitors.

Fitbit’s rise to fitness tracking ascendancy is for good reason, though. It was one of the first companies out of the blocks when it came to health and fitness wearables, and its devices have evolved over the years adding new features and improving designs.

Related: Best Running Watches

Today, the company has a range of fitness trackers available, catering for fitness newbies to more seasoned enthusiasts. Models include the Flex, Alta, Charge, Blaze and Surge.

So with so many models on offer, which Fitbit you should buy? We've evaluated the current Fitbit range, highlighting the key features as well as who will get the most out of each tracker.

Fitbit Flex 2

Perfect for: Fashion-conscious exercisers with basic fitness needs

Key features:

  •     Interchangeable bands
  •     Optional pendant accessory
  •     Water-resistant to 50m
  •     Lap counting
  •     Price: £79.99
The Fitbit Flex 2 improves over the original Fitbit Flex with a far slicker design. The tracker itself is smaller and you can customise it with interchangeable bands and accessories. You can even wear the Fitbit Flex 2 as a pendant through an optional necklace accessory.

The big addition is water resistance to 50m, which is a first for Fitbit. You can wear the Fitbit Flex 2 while swimming and built-in lap counting is included. It also has automatic exercise recognition, too. You can expect up to five days of battery life, which is great.

Perfect for: Fashion-conscious exercisers who want smartphone notifications

Key features:

  •     Interchangeable bands
  •     Smartphone notifications
  •     Heart rate monitor
  •     Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights
  •     Price: £129.99
Like the Flex 2, the Alta HR largely covers the basics in terms of activity tracking. The Alta HR is an updated version of the Alta, which adds a heart rate monitor without sacrificing its slim form.

It's evident in the discreet design, interchangeable strap with leather options, and stainless steel body. Unlike the Flex 2, it comes with an OLED display, so you can view your vital statistics and data direct from your wrist, alongside some basic smartphone notifications.

The big addition with the Alta HR is new Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights. These use the heart rate monitor and accelerometer data to better track your sleep, including telling you how much time you spend in each sleep phase.

Since the Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights functions are coming to the similarly priced Charge 2, the Alta HR's main draw is its sleek and attractive design. If you want more detailed insight into your exercise, however, the Charge 2 is the better choice of the two models.

Perfect for: Intermediate fitness enthusiasts looking to make improvements

Key features:

  •     Interchangeable bands
  •     Larger display
  •     Guided breathing
  •     Cardio Fitness score
  •     Price: £129.99

The Fitbit Charge 2 is the update to Fitbit's best-selling tracker, the Fitbit Charge. Unlike the original Charge, which was available as Charge HR and standard Charge models, there's just one Charge 2. This is because the heart rate monitor now comes as standard, helping to simplify things.

Otherwise, there have been a raft of improvements over the original Charge model, including a much larger display. This allows for greater at-a-glance information as well as basic notifications from your connected smartphone. The bands are also now interchangeable, meaning you can dress the Charge 2 up or down, depending on the occasion. Bands range from elastomer to fancier leather options.

Built-in GPS is still lacking, but connected GPS that uses your phone is available if you want to map your running routes. The Charge 2 can also provide you a Cardio Fitness Level score, which is based on your VO2 Max. This is a useful metric to gauge your fitness and a way to keep tabs on your progress. Other new additions include a Breathe mode, which is designed to help you relax.

The Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights that debuted with the Alta HR are also coming to the Charge 2 for better sleep tracking. Unless the sleeker design of the Alta HR is more important for you, the Charge 2 is a more fully featured tracker for the same money.

Perfect for: Advanced fitness enthusiasts looking for more diverse workouts

Key features:

  •     Interchangeable bands
  •     Connected GPS
  •     Breathe mode and Cardio Fitness
  •     Integrated FitStar
  •     Price: £159.99
This is a fitness watch hybrid, but this time with particular emphasis on the 'watch' part. To that end, it comes with a traditional square(ish) body, an interchangeable strap, and a colour screen that can feed in texts and calls like a smartwatch.

There's no GPS, so it isn't for hardcore runners like the Surge, although it can piggyback the GPS in your paired smartphone. Rather, it's a fitness tracker you'll be happy to wear all day and maybe even all night, too, which is handy with that sleep-tracking function.

The Blaze packs in a heart rate monitor on its rear and Fitbit is rolling out an update that brings some of the newer Charge 2’s features across, including the Breathe mode and Cardio Fitness score. FitStar is another Blaze feature that delivers recommended routines based on your activity level and provides a library of bodyweight and cardio exercises. The Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights from the Alta HR will also arrive to the Fitbit Blaze as a future update.

Fitbit Surge 25

Perfect for: Serious advanced runners who need GPS tracking

Key features:

  •     Heart rate monitor
  •     Built-in GPS
  •     7-day battery life
  •     Price: £199.99

Fitbit refers to its most expensive and fully featured wearable, the Fitbit Surge, as a "super fitness watch." Unfortunately, that doesn't mean it will automatically make you super-fit – you’ll still need to put in the hard graft.

The Surge includes most of the features you’ll find on Fitbit’s other trackers, including all-day activity and sleep tracking, automatic exercise tracking, smartphone notifications, and up to seven-day battery life. But the real addition, which will make it appeal to more hardened runners and cyclists, is GPS.

It means the ability to accurately track distance and pace, giving you more biometric detail, as well as the ability to map out your route without having to bring your phone. If you’re building up to a marathon pace, or looking to run your fastest 10K, accurate distance and pace recordings will be vital alongside the heart rate data to monitor your fitness and effort.

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