Want to get fit? Of course you do. In order to do so, you’re going to have to change your diet and run around a bit. Sorry, there’s not much to be done about that.
One thing you can do to make things a little easier, however, is to invest in a decent fitness tracker. Over the past few months the rise in interest of Fitness trackers as an option to help keep you moving and increase your motivation through feedback, has been massive. The significant increase in popularity has been put down to not necessarily celebrity endorsements but simply the endorsements of those with huge online social followings. There are several considerations to keep in mind when you’re considering using these technologically based fitness gadgets and we know if you’re a Salescache reader you’ll not want to make a decision without being well informed.
The functions of these wristbands, bracelets, watches, and clip-ons will differ by the price of the device. Basic features may include counting steps and calories burned, some of the gadgets also measure heart rate, skin temperature, sleep, floors climbed, and distance traveled. They can track multiple types of workouts, such as yoga, hiking, bike riding and weightlifting.
Certain models can learn users’ baseline activity level and suggest appropriate personalised goals, depending on how fit you already are and how active you tend to be during your day to day life. Some will even alert users to when they’ve been idle for too long — usually after an hour, encouraging you to spring into action.
The trackers send data wirelessly to the company’s website or smartphone app where you can access your personal activity and progress. Some trackers have smart watch features and can alert you to incoming calls, texts, and emails. While this feature isn’t related to fitness, it is helpful in encourage you to wear the device at all times – which consequently provides a more accurate reading and analysis of your fitness goals and achievements.
Wearing Fitness Technology Is Not a New Idea
While a lot of people may think that wearing technology to help up lead fitter healthier lives is a revolutionary new idea, incorporating our new technology based lives with our day to day survival is not a new concept.
Dr. Yoshiro Hatano, a Japanese professor at the Kyushu University of Health and Welfare, theorised that taking 10,000 steps each day would help combat obesity in his country, a theory in which I’m sure most fitness fanatics will have heard. Following this in 1965 he introduced the Manpo-kei pedometer 4 named for his theory – which became largely popular in years to come.
The technology for a pedometer includes a mechanical sensor and software to count steps. Early forms used a mechanical switch to detect steps together with a simple counter. If you were to shake these devices, you would hear the lead ball sliding back and forth. Today, we have more compact and fashionable devices that help you achieve your fitness goals. This post looks into 2 very popular ones, their features, similarities and differences.
The Orb is Fitbug’s latest fitness gadget: a button-sized wireless fitness tracker that’s built for 24/7 duty (other than showers and rain) that can be worn around your wrist like a watch or simply just slipped into your pocket if you opt for an actual watch as well. On its own, the Orb weighs 0.009 kg (0.3 ounces). With the wristband, the weight increases to 0.03kg (0.95 ounces), and with the clip enabling you to wear the Orb in your pocket or on your shirt, the device goes up to 0.02kg (0.65 ounces). Available in white, black or pink, it has a somewhat playful look.
On its face, the Orb which is a plastic device, has a pink stripe, a small button and a multicoloured LED that’s invisible until you press the button. The device tracks your sleep, steps, estimates calories burned, and lets you enter other calories consumed and certain workouts that the device itself can’t recognise.
- Tracks calorie consumption
- Counts Steps
- Gives live reports on walking speeds
- Compatible with IOS and Android
- Tracks sleep
- Streams progress to smartphone app
- Battery life lasts approx. 6 months
- Assess your lifestyle before setting a goal
- Sends you week progress reports via email
The device, as mentioned, cannot accurately track activities such as cycling and yoga that’s why it does give you the option to manually log these in and foods you have eaten (and it then calculates the resulting calories consumed). The app also reports live feedback on your “walking zone” so you know whether to speed up or slow down to be in the right zone to experience the optimal health benefits from walking.
The Orb is compatible with most iOS and Android devices that have Bluetooth 4.0; that includes but isn’t limited to the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S4 mini, Galaxy Note 8, and iPhone 4s and higher models. As with most fitness bands, the setup for the Orb is relatively simple. After putting the circular watch battery in the device itself, you can either insert into the wristband or connect to the clip. Next up is to download the free Fitbug app to your smartphone, create a free account and pair your Orb with the app. The app will also ask you to enter the Orb’s serial number, which is printed on both the box and on the back of the Orb itself.
The Orb can transfer data to the app in one three ways: Push, Beacon or Stream. Push (pressing the on device button once) only sends data to the app when you press the button on the Orb. Beacon (activated via the app) will transmit data at 15, 30, 45 or 60-minute intervals, and Stream (pressing the button twice) will constantly send data to your phone.
You can also sync the Orb directly to your PC or Mac via Bluetooth; if your computer doesn’t have this technology, you can purchase a Bluetooth dongle from Fitbug’s site.
As mentioned before the Fitbug Orb also tracks your sleep, which is a feature you tend to only see on the slightly more expensive activity trackers. It will show the total hours you slept and the times when your sleep was interrupted, this can help you to create a healthy sleep pattern. You can track your sleep by pressing the button on the Orb three times before you go to bed. The LED will flash to let you know that the sleep mode has been activated. To turn off sleep mode, you hold down the button until the light flashes again or walk fifty steps.
The Fitbit Charge 2 is latest upgrade to the popular “charge” range since the Charge HR in early 2015. Fitbit specialises in easy to use accessible fitness trackers – instead of the more complicated running technology that we see today. The Fitbit tracks exercise, sleep patterns, heart rate and much more needed to give you accurate progress reports and keep you on track with your fitness goals. Design wise the Charge 2 is very similar to other Fitbit devices, it features a much larger screen than the one on the Charge HR along with the device itself being fair bit thicker than the previous model.
That said the screen is still relatively small so it is not too overbearing as a fitness device. Although not in colour the OLED display screen is easy to read, with touch screen capabilities, which is a first for device in the Charge range. There’s a discreet button on the left-hand side of the tracker that is used to skip through the menu options such as steps, time, heart rate, and calories; you can also hold the button down to activate certain features as well.
- Tracks sleep
- Silent alarm
- Tracks heart rate
- 5 day battery life
- Records steps taken and stairs climbed
- Breathing exercises
The tracker itself, as mentioned is relatively small, it comes with a two section strap. Each part of the strap can be detached by pulling the device out of the clips on either side of the tracker. If you want to swap-in a different strap for a style change, you can get the elastomer (basically rubber) strap in light blue, dark blue, black or purple, or opt for the two more premium options for the fashion-conscious featuring the colour schemes; lavender with rose gold and black with gunmetal. There are also premium luxe straps available for those that are wanting to wear the device on a more full time basis. Made of leather the colours for these straps include light pink, brown and indigo.
While the device isn’t fully waterproof like other devices in the Fitbit range it is water-resistant, meaning it can handle splashes while washing up and when out in the rain. Although you can’t wear the device in the shower, or while swimming (which would be a great idea) it does handle a lot more of the elements than the Orb.
The Fitbits standard settings will set you a goal of 10,000 steps a day, but you can adjust that in the app depending on your aims, and average exercise routines. A key feature in the Charge 2 is that it offers multi-sport tracking – you’re able to track outdoor running, treadmill running, walking and weight training, as well as bike, elliptical trainer and interval workouts.
The device tracks your exercise automatically – without needing to manually start a workout session. For example if you are about to start running the device will detect this and begin monitoring. It also lets you start, then pause a workout without actually ending the session.
A real highlight of the Charge 2 is the PurePulse heart rate tracking technology, which constantly takes a reading of your heartbeat without you having to wear an annoying chest strap. Since it launched, Fitbit has patched in a new heart rate zone visualisation feature, which allows you to actually see the heart rate zone and adjust your efforts from there.
There’s also a new Guided Breathing feature, which will monitor your heart rate for 30 seconds and then set you a specific breathing challenge which aims to help you improve your current condition. This particular feature is the first time Fitbit has offered such a service, and it’s interesting to see Fitbit focus on a feature that’s not entirely exercise-focused, and it’s a welcome addition to these fitness tech gadgets.
The two trackers while very similar have some unique differences meaning it’s easy to decide which device is best suited to you – depending on what personal preferences you have.
Let us know in the comments below which tracker you think is the best of the two!