10 Great Christmas tech gifts for the more active people in your life
While you might be planning to eat through your own weight in tubes of Pringles and mince pies, there will no doubt be a member of your family who will be watching how much turkey they stomach on Christmas Day.
Whether you need to find the perfect Christmas present for a keen runner or to help out with a new year’s resolution to finally tackle that beer belly, here’s our top ten tech picks for sports and fitness fanatics to look out for.
Best Sports Headphones: Jabra Pulse Wireless
We’ve tested a lot of headphones this year all that claim to offer the complete package of sound quality, comfort and durability. The Jabra Pulse Wireless are the ones that tick those all important boxes and do a bit more.
The first big tick is that they are wireless using Bluetooth 4.0 to connect to iPhone and Android phones. Controls are well in reach so you don’t have to go back to your phone to skip tracks and there’s a Sport button to get vocal feedback on performance. Jabra sports headphones have in the past underwhelmed for sound quality but the Pulse are an entirely different proposition offering bassy, detailed audio.
There’s a great companion app that goes alongside it giving you the ability to track multiple sports and best of all is the inclusion of a heart rate monitor to track the intensity of workouts without having to wear one of those irritating chest strap ones.
They are expensive, so if you are on the lookout for something a little cheaper you can always consider Pioneer SE-E721 that offer similar qualities minus the app support and heart-rate tracking for £35.
Best Fitness Tracker: Jawbone UP24
2014 has officially been the year of the activity tracker. There’s been so many that it’s been difficult to keep track of them all. The one that remains around our wrist is the Jawbone UP24.
The elegantly designed wrist worn device is ideal for someone who prefers keeping their tracking discreet and can monitor step count, sleep activity and distance covered. The only disappointment is that it’s not waterproof so you can’t take it in the shower.
It’s compatible with iPhones and Android phones and the companion app is what separates it from the rest. As you collect data, the Jawbone team analyzes the information to help you make improvements whether that’s offering ways to improve sleep patterns or trivia on the healthiest foods to eat.
The latest firmware update has also boosted battery life to an impressive two weeks and with the arrival of the heart rate monitoring Jawbone UP3, you can get the Up24 for under £100 if you shop around.
Best Running Watch: TomTom Runner Cardio
There was a time when Polar and Garmin had the running watch market all sewn up but with the TomTom Runner Cardio, you benefit from the satnav-maker’s GPS technology to go with one of the easiest to use running watches available.
It’s slightly more bulky than the still impressive TomTom Runner, which can be bought for just £100, and now adds the same heart rate monitor techonology used in the Mio Alpha running watch so you can throw the chest strap away.
The Cardio is waterproof so you can take it swimming, but if you want to tracking pool activity you’ll need to go for the MultiSport Cardio watch. The companion app could do with a bit of work but overall this is a running watch that delivers where it matters.
Looking for something cheaper? Then you could always go for the Garmin Forerunner 15, which doesn’t have the heart rate tracking but does cost a much cheaper £120.
Best Health and Fitness App: Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker
Whether they are going to grab a new iPhone 6 or an Android phone like the Galaxy S5, the App Store and Google Play Store is awash with apps aiming to get you in shape. Apple and Google are also making a big push with its Google Fit and Health platforms to compile all of that data in one place.
Where many activity trackers and smartwatches lack is a great food tracker and with the Calories Counter & Diet Tracker, you have one of the best apps in the business that’s also free.
It has a huge database of products, a barcode scanner when that database doesn’t pick something up and a recipe calculator to break down the nutrients. Powered by MyFitnessPal it also tracks cardio and strength training to make it the all-in one health and fitness app.
Best Golf Gadget: Zepp Golf Sensor
If your long game needs work, this handy little device clips onto your golf glove and when synced with an iPhone or Android phone can help you make improvements. Capturing 1,000 data points per second using built-in accelerometer and gyrscope, the training tool for budding golfers can measure your swing tempo, track your hip rotation and the angle of the club.
There’s videos to pin point areas in your swing where you can make improvements and even see how you compare to the pros. It features flash storage to be able to store up to 2,000 golf swings with five hours of battery life to spend time analyzing your game.
Zepp also makes different apps for tennis and even baseball players if club swinging it not really your bag.
Best Sleep Monitoring Gadget: Withings Aura
can cycle as many miles as you like and make sure you pack away enough
fruit and veg but your body also needs to rest and recover as well. The
Aura is a dedicated smart sleep monitoring system that’s dedicated to
catching more Zzzs.
It uses a combination of bedside lamp, an
alarm clock and speaker with a monitoring mat you’ll need to put under
the sheet on your bed. The built-in sensors will detect both big and
small movements to generate accurate results about how much sleep you
get each night and judge when you are in the right state to be woken up.
wouldn’t be smart of course if it didn’t work with your phone so the
companion app will also let you see sleep activity in much greater
Best Sports Armband: TuneBand for iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5
The cheap option when you are out for run or in the gym is to stick your phone in your pocket, but if the thought of your iPhone flinging around doesn’t sit well with you, this is the best sports armband to keep it out of harm’s way.
Available for the new iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S5, the TuneBand includes two different sized Velcro straps to fit around the bicep, two screen protectors to add another layer of security, while the silicone plastic skin allows access to all the key ports and camera if you need to whip it off for a selfie.
Best Smoothie Maker: Nutribullet
It’s not all about getting out and exercising, you need to make sure you are eating right and the Nutribullet is one way to help you stick to that healthier regime.
It blends pretty much anything you can throw at it and has a built-in cup so it’s easy to blitz then drink the nutrient-packed concoction.
There’s no need to worry about getting a glass filled with pulp like you get with some juicers plus the 12-piece set comes with a cook book to make sure you are making the tastiest drinks.
Best Outdoor Clothing: OMsignal smartwear
If you don’t want to wear a tracker or a smartwatch or even wrap a heart rate monitor around your chest, OMsignal’s biometric clothing is the kind of wearable that’s less likely to draw so much attention. The range, which includes sleeveless shirts and a t-shirts packs a small sensor box that can rack heart rate, step count, monitor breathing and even calories burned. After a long wait, it’s finally going on sale but we should warn you, it’s not cheap.
Best Smartwatch: Withings Activite
If you can afford to spend big this Christmas, Withings has produced arguably the best-looking smartwatch you’d actually want to put on your wrist.
The Swiss-made Activite mixes traditional analogue styling with its stainless steel body and fitness monitoring skills inspired by its Withings Pulse O2 trackers.
The small report dials house in the watch face are capable of tracking steps, calories burn, walking/running and swim strokes.
It hooks up to your smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0 and best of all, battery life is a whopping full year via a standard coin cell watch battery.