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Best Fitness Tracker 2017: 6 best activity trackers right now

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Looking for the best fitness tracker for you? We’ve put together the ultimate guide to the best activity trackers and fitness bands on the market right here. Whether you’re an experienced athlete or an absolute fitness beginner, you’ll find what you need.

Why buy a fitness tracker?

Because they’re an extremely convenient way to get quick, at-a-glance updates on your activity and encourage you to do more. And, if you’re already active, more advanced models are perfect for keeping tabs on your performance, and even improve your recovery.

A good fitness tracker will also work with a companion app to let you get an overview of your fitness. This way you can easily identify trends or areas for improvement. Many apps will have extra functionality, like the ability to log your food and water intake, too.

…And why not?

If you’re expecting that wearing a fitness tracker will be a magic bullet to getting fitter and losing weight, you’ll be disappointed. You’ll still need to put in the hard graft and have a healthier diet to reap the rewards.

Similarly, if you’re an advanced athlete, make sure you take the time to understand some of the extra data and insights provided by your fitness tracker – otherwise you’re wasting a lot of potential.

If you’re not committed, your shiny new fitness tracker might soon find its way down the back of a drawer, never to be used again – but the better ones will keep you motivated and on the right track to succeed.

How much should I spend on a fitness tracker?

If you’re just starting out, £80/$100 or less will get the features you need. These will cover the basics, such as counting the steps you take throughout the day and keeping tabs on your sleep at night.

For £100/$120 or more, you’ll find fitness trackers begin adding in heart rate monitors targeted towards more intermediate exercisers. At this price you tend to also see added smartwatch functionality, such as notification mirroring.

Spend around £150/$180 or more and you’ll find the advanced fitness trackers with GPS sensors and more fully fledged performance analysis. You’ll also start entering smartwatch territory, which means they can serve a dual purpose.

Meet Our Experts

Richard Easton: Resident Wearables & Fitness Editor and self-proclaimed ‘henchest in technology journalism’. Richard is as at home on the running track as he is in the squat rack. His attire is either set to ‘maximum dapper’ or ‘headed to the gym’, so he knows how to spot both a stylish and functional fitness tracker.

Alastair Stevenson: Reviews Editor for TrustedReviews. His lunch runs are as regular as clockwork. Alastair has been training for the impending zombie apocalypse, so when the time comes he’ll be able to leave the hoards of undead in his wake.

This Week's Best Fitness Tracker Deals

Withings Activité Pop at Amazon.com | Was $129 | Now $81

Moov Now at Amazon.co.uk | Was £59 | Now £49

Moov Now 19

1 / 6

Our Score:

9

Moov Now

Read full Moov Now review
Key features
  • Waterproof to 30m and dustproof
  • Real-time coaching with rep counting
  • Six-month battery life
  • Omni Motion 3D sensor
  • Wrist- and ankle-worn

The best fitness tracker for most people

Why buy? When you consider everything you get with the Moov Now for its low price, it’s an astounding fitness tracker. Not only does it handle the basic activity and sleep tracking of its peers, it has a staggering number of coaching features thanks to its Omni Motion 3D sensor.

When used alongside its excellent Moov Now app, you get guided running, swimming and cardio exercise coaching (think cardio boxing workouts). The guided workouts have real-time coaching and a motion gauge to let you know you’re following along correctly.

The Moov Now uses a coin-cell watch battery, and you can also expect around six months of battery life before it needs replacing, which is great. This means you can throw it on and forget about it, especially as you can shower with it on without a problem.

And why not? For a fitness tracker that is otherwise so advanced, it does lack a heart rate monitor, although this is excusable considering the price. Thankfully, it supports third-party HRMs as well as Moov’s own new Moov HR headband. While this is an additional cost you’ll have to factor in, it does unlock new heart rate-based workouts in the app.

Richard says: "For someone looking to not only track their activity and sleep but actually also get fitter and healthier, the Moov Now offers simply unrivalled value and gets my absolute recommendation."
Key features
  • Interchangeable bands
  • Five-day battery life
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Altimeter
  • Smartphone notifications
  • Breathing exercises

Also consider: This all-round fitness tracker with heart rate monitor

Why buy? Fitbit improved on its best-selling fitness trackers, the Charge and Charge HR. Now, heart rate monitoring comes as standard, which is a real plus. The Charge 2 also includes a much bigger display than its predecessor for much improved at-a-glance information.

This also means better smartphone notifications. With a recent update, Fitbit added the ability to get notifications from the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, alongside the usual SMS and Caller ID.

The bands on the Charge 2 are also now customisable, so you can dress it up or down depending on the occasion. The Charge 2 also provides a useful Cardio Fitness score, which is based on your VO2 maximum, which is a useful way to measure your fitness level.

And why not? There’s no GPS – instead the Charge 2 relies on Connected GPS through your smartphone.

Richard says: “The Fitbit Charge 2 has become my favoured fitness tracker for comparing readings whenever I test something new. That’s because I’ve grown to trust its accuracy. Its strength lies in its ever-improving app, which makes the data easier to understand.”
Garmin Vivosmart HR+
Key features
  • Rugged and water-resistant to 50m
  • Five-day battery life
  • GPS
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Smartphone notifications

Best advanced fitness tracker for everyday wear

Why buy? The Garmin Vivosmart HR Plus packs in every sensor an advanced fitness enthusiast is going to want into a design that, while not the most inspiring, is more subtle and discreet than rivals. All of those sensors also proved as accurate as we would expect.

It’s also water-resistant to 50m, which not only means you can swim with it on, but it also means you don’t have to take it off to shower, which is more inconvenient than you might initially anticipate. With five-day battery life, it really is an advanced fitness tracker you can throw on and forget about, but ready for your next exercise session.

Garmin has included some other useful metrics, such as its ‘Intensity Minutes’, which will help to motivate you to work harder.

And why not? Garmin’s Connect app could do with a design overhaul. While there’s plenty of data on offer, it can be tricky to initially make sense of it all.

Alastair says: “I’m still wearing the Garmin Vivosmart HR Plus every day and it’s accompanying me on all of my famous lunch runs thanks to the built-in GPS. Need I say more?”
Key features
  • 1.5-inch curved OLED touchscreen
  • Always-on display
  • GPS
  • Barometer
  • Smartwatch functionality
  • Water-resistant to 1.5m for 30 minutes
  • Three-day battery life

Also consider: An advanced fitness tracker with added smartwatch smarts

Why buy? If you want a fitness tracker that can serve a dual purpose as a smartwatch, you would do well to consider Samsung’s Gear Fit2. It’s by far the company’s best fitness wearable to date.

It has a stunning 1.5-inch curved OLED touchscreen and runs on Samsung’s Tizen operating system, the very same seen in its Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch. This means you have access to a catalogue of apps and smartphone notifications.

But as for its fitness capabilities, all are present and correct, including GPS, a heart rate monitor and barometer to get you wanting to use the stairs. There’s also built-in storage to store music and you can pair Bluetooth headphones, so you really can leave your phone at home.

And why not? The Samsung Gear Fit2 falls a little short when it comes to training insight, and that gorgeous screen also impacts battery life, which amounts to only around three days.

Richard says: “The Gear Fit2 has fantastic smartwatch functionality, although it comes slightly at the expense of the fitness side, which wasn’t as fleshed out as I would have liked. The Gear Fit2 is still very much a worthy contender for your wrist, though.”
Key features
  • Discreet traditional watch design
  • Water-resistant to 30m
  • Replaceable straps
  • Eight-month battery life

Best for discreet activity tracking

Why buy? Not everyone wants the world to know they’re looking to get healthier or keep tabs on their activity levels. In that sense, many of Withings’ fitness-tracking watches are the perfect fit. The Activite Pop is one of the less expensive models in the range, with the standard Activite costing three times more if you want far fancier materials.

The Withings Activite watches let you know how close you are to your steps goal via a sub-dial. A full revolution of the hands tells you you’ve hit 100% and it’ll also track your sleep.

On the surface, though, the Withings Activite watches just look like standard traditional analogue watches, meaning they won’t stick out like a sore thumb in more formal attire.

The Activite Pop only comes with rubber straps, owing to its lower price, but these are replaceable if you want something flashier. The rubber straps will at least fare better than leather in water, as the Activite Pop is water-resistant to 30m.

And why not? In part you’re paying for the traditional analogue watch design, so its fitness tracking side is rather basic.

Richard says: “Not everyone wants the world to know they’re keeping an eye on their activity levels. For something that is both tastefully designed and discreet, the Withings Activite Pop is great.”
Key features
  • Discreet traditional watch design
  • Heart rate monitor
  • 25-day battery life (plus 20-day low-power mode)

Also Consider: Discreet activity tracking with heart rate monitor

Why buy? Keeping an eye on your ticker is just as important as keeping tabs on your activity. Thankfully, wrist-worn optical heart rate monitors make this much more convenient.

The Withings Steel HR takes the company’s activity tracking expertise and manages to add in heart rate monitoring, too, all the while maintaining a discreet watch-like form factor.

There’s also a new digital secondary display, which can be used for basic smartphone notifications, so you know when you get a phone call or an email. Other useful features include its silent alarm.

There are two different-sized models available, in 36mm or 40mm diameters, which is a first for Withings. This means it’s easier to find a watch more suitable for your wrist.

And what not? If you’re looking at the Withings Steel HR for its smartphone notifications, you might be a bit disappointed.

Richard says: “If you’re looking for a discreet tracker with heart rate measurements, the Steel HR gets plenty right, including a stylish design and strong companion app.”

Summary

What to look out for when shopping for a fitness tracker – and what they mean:

  • Accelerometer and gyroscope – used to track your movement and steps throughout the day, and to keep a record of your sleep at night.
  • Altimeter and barometer – can measure changes in altitude and atmospheric pressure, so the fitness tracker can then tell when you take the stairs instead of the elevator. These can also monitor the elevation of your workouts so you can keep a record of those tough hill sprints that leave you feeling like Rocky Balboa.
  • GPS sensor – just like in your car sat-nav, GPS can be used to map your route, such as when running, but also give you information on your distance and pace, important for those looking to improve their performance.
  • Heart rate monitor – used to measure your heart rate in beats per minute (BPM). This lets you know how hard you’re pushing yourself, useful for heart rate zone-based training, as well as keeping tabs on your resting heart rate. The fitter you get, the lower your resting heart rate will become.
  • Water-resistant – able to handle some water, such as doing the washing-up or the sweat that goes along with a workout as a bare minimum. Remember to check a tracker’s water-resistance rating, as some trackers can be completely submerged to varying depths, usually rated in ATM or atmospheric pressure. A tracker rated at 5ATM can go to depths of 50m, for example. Certain fitness trackers provide bonus swimming tracking, too.

We’ve pared back our list of fitness trackers considerably so that the list above is going to be the best starting point for the vast majority of people. That’s not to say they’ll be the best fit for everyone, though, and there were some great fitness trackers that didn’t quite make the main list for a number of reasons.

Here are a few of the others that are worth considering:

Fitbit Flex 2: The follow-up to the original Fitbit Flex added in water-resistance to depths of 50m – a first for Fitbit – and a new customisable design. It’s a decent choice if you only have basic fitness-tracking requirements, but it just can’t compete on value with the Moov Now. The ever-evolving Fitbit companion app is great, however.

Fitbit Alta HR: An update to the Fitbit Alta that adds in a heart rate monitor. Intriguingly, it's what the Alta HR does overnight using the HRM that makes it interesting. By pairing it with the accelerometer data, the Alta HR can more accurately tell you about your sleep stages during your slumber. You can then benchmark your time spent in light, deep and REM sleep phases against other people of your age. While this is all useful, its actual fitness tracking element is a little lacking compared to the Charge 2, which will soon be getting the Sleep Stages update.

Polar M400: The Polar M400 is slightly showing its age, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t got a lot going for it. There’s GPS, a heart rate monitor and multi-sport functionality. The Polar Flow companion app isn’t great, however.

Polar M600: An Android Wear-powered smartwatch with sports-tracking functionality thanks to included GPS and heart rate monitoring. This is a good choice if you want a hybrid device, but it’s just not as elegant or attractive as the Samsung Gear Fit2.

Misfit Phase: Misfit’s take on a discreet fitness tracking analogue watch. This does the usual activity and sleep tracking tucked away behind a traditional watch design. Unlike the Withings Steel HR, it doesn’t have a heart rate monitor and its smartphone notification implementation leaves a lot to be desired. It’s also rather thick.

Garmin Fenix 3: If you’re an advanced athlete, a simple fitness tracker won’t cut it. Enter the Garmin Fenix 3, which can track 13 different sports and activities ranging from cross-country skiing to trail running. This will be overkill for most people, but it's great at what it does.

Christopher Allen Peer

September 3, 2014, 6:12 pm

I have the polar loop. It's great because it's waterproof, but on very active days the battery last only at most 2 days.

fast_call

March 28, 2015, 11:58 pm

How about Fitbit Charge / Charge HR? They seem to be getting very positive reviews. The Nike Fuelband, which is in this list, has been described by some reviewers as "innacurate" (disclaimer: I own none of these devices so I don't speak from experience)

DigitalFury

March 29, 2015, 7:17 am

Agree, I own a Fitbit Charge HR, and it is a much better product than the old(er) Jawbone UP24.

The only advantage that the UP3 will have, when it actually goes on sale, is water resistance.

DigitalFury

March 29, 2015, 7:31 am

We will see how popular the Withings Activité is, because it's neither quite a smartwatch or a 'real' (i.e. mechanical movement) Swiss watch. It's quartz-based like all lowball watches, and unlike all the pictures we see will let one to believe, it's actually quite thick - i.e. not thin and refined.

Even if you put a leather strap and a sapphire crystal on it, it remains a glorified technology product, not a piece of jewellery and piece of craftsmanship like a complications-based chronograph is.

A. Mir

May 7, 2015, 5:35 pm

How does the Garmin stack up with these? Anyone?

I also thought Nike discontinued their FuelBand range?

shnatiw

May 7, 2015, 6:51 pm

Garmin are generally regarded as one of the best when it comes to fitness watches. Build and software is probably the best. And they hit a wide range of price points. I have had a 210 for the past three years with no issues.

A. Mir

May 8, 2015, 1:57 pm

I'm just surprised to see that the VivoFit isn't included here.

tengig

June 1, 2015, 10:16 pm

You need to update your review on the Jabra Sport Pulse. It's rubbish. Their most recent update (1.3.0) of the app broke heartrate monitoring and battery detection. It barely works after a full reset and reinstall and usually only once. It's complete garbage now.

roc

July 10, 2015, 7:57 am

Fitbit charge are crap there battery so called 10 days is false advertising. This is why I am now looking for a new type of watch . I have had two fitbits in a 4 month period and the service centre has a brick wall around it so don't even bother . they are full of reasons not to help. a great big waste of money I would never recommend.

Peace has no chance now

December 30, 2015, 8:32 am

For me, the Vivoactive wins this round. Especially with the new updates from Garmin fixing almost all nagging issues.

Mario Miniaci

February 7, 2016, 10:24 pm

It's hard to find something that has heart-rate, waterproof, more than a couple of days battery life and tells the time. Fitbit Charge HR needs a v2.0.

Fredrik Selvig

March 1, 2016, 9:22 pm

I got excited when Fitbit announced more products, but let down when none of them were that great. I have been looking at upgrading from Charge to Blaze, but I just don't see that it's worth the price upgrade. I like the Alta, but I wish it was waterproof and had HR.

cleanupcars

March 23, 2016, 7:38 pm

I have had a Moov Now Tracker for 4 months it performed brilliantly for both swimming and walking, although I have had to order 2 clasps for the wristband as they can get detached in normal use.

The battery has now run out. I and various friends of a diy bent have tried changing it. There is a tool supplied, a video on-line and a user manual. Can any of us prise the body apart? No. Moov Support just send me standard issue memos referencing the same video and user guide.

In my view, the battery change issue is a major design flaw in an otherwise excellent product. May have to pay a watchmaker to do it, assuming they can.

Please can reviewers try out such mundane tasks as changing the battery and also the security and longevity of the strap before arriving at a final score for these products.
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Update: Moov have offered to exchange the Core (ie the battery powered sensor) via post to California!
Good customer service,
Hopefully the exchange Moov Now will be easier to change the battery. Sending to CA for a battery swap every time is a little extreme!

Pradip J. Patil

March 24, 2016, 6:13 pm

Nice article, Fitness tracker is best device which keep track of your activity.

Noah Baudie

March 24, 2016, 6:15 pm

Nice article,I got one for my son.

AllanEllen Wexler

July 27, 2016, 12:30 pm

Fit bits are poorly made- I have had 3 that all fell apart in less than a year

Helen E Taylor

September 6, 2016, 2:34 pm

Does anyone have a Fitbit Alta. I have had one since they came out, however the wristband is recording totally different data to their app on the phone (when you manually activate an activity). It is supposed to automatically record from the wristband to the app without you having to trigger for example a walk. On walking and checking every mile, the wristband is recording a lot less than the activated app on the phone. Its is loosing over a 1/4 mile per mile and that builds up over a long walk! I can understand steps perhaps being different but not distance. Fitbit say that that is what happens but I bought it to accurately record my number of steps in a day from a wristband, not by having to run the walking app all day on my phone (cant the batttery wont last!) - anyone else have these problems?

Darkedge

December 1, 2016, 1:37 pm

Hmm interested to see the misfit shine 2 hasn't made the cut as alot of reviews rate it as excellent and compared to most of these fugly things it's quite attractive looking (apart from the withings obviously)

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