Best Fitness Tracker: How to Choose + Rating
More and more people are joining sports and an active lifestyle, wanting to preserve youth, harmony, and beauty for a long time. That is why fitness gadgets are becoming a very popular product. They are a very good assistant in the formation of good habits. Among the wide variety of “smart” devices, it is especially worth paying attention to fitness bracelets, which are considered the most convenient and affordable device for counting your activity during the day. They are also called a fitness tracker or smart band/bracelet. So, let’s find out what is considered as the best fitness tracker.
A fitness bracelet (fitness tracker) is a device for monitoring indicators related to activity and health: the number of steps taken, heart rate, calories burned, sleep quality. The lightweight and compact band fits on your wrist and, using a special sensor, tracks your activity throughout the day. Fitness trackers have become a real boon for people who follow a healthy lifestyle or plan to start.
Fitness Tracker: Why Buy/Advantages
So what is the best fitness tracker? The device consists of a small sensor with an accelerometer (called a capsule) and a band that is worn around the hand.
With the help of a smart bracelet, you can not only track your physical activity (number of steps, distance traveled, calories burned), but also monitor your physical condition (pulse, sleep, and in some cases, even blood pressure and oxygen saturation).
Thanks to the improvement of technology, the data on the bracelet are provided quite accurate and close to real.
The main functions of the fitness tracker:
- Pulse measurement (heart rate);
- Distance counter;
- Calorie burn counter;
- Alarm clock;
- Sleep phase counter;
- Waterproof (can be used in the pool);
- Synchronization with a mobile phone;
- Wristband notifications for calls and messages.
Some smartphones also count the number of steps taken, but in this case, you will always need to hold the phone in your hands or pocket (not very convenient when doing cardio, agree).
Another option for tracking your physical activity is “smartwatch,” but they are not suitable for everyone due to their bulkiness and more expensive cost.
Fitness bands are the best alternative: they are compact and inexpensive (there are models even within $20).
The most popular manufacturer of smart bracelets is considered to be Xiaomi, which has released 5 models of the Mi Band family of trackers.
Advantages of Buying The Best Fitness Band
- With a pedometer, you will always be aware of your physical activity throughout the day. There is also a calorie counter function, which is especially relevant for those who want to keep fit;
- The heart rate monitor function in the fitness bracelet allows you to measure your heart rate in real-time, while the data obtained will be quite accurate;
- Low price. You can buy an excellent fitness bracelet with all the necessary functions for $20-35;
- There is a convenient synchronization with the phone, where all data on your activity is saved. Also, thanks to synchronization, you can set up an alert about calls and messages on the gadget;
- The fitness tracker is very comfortable and lightweight (about 20 g), it is convenient to sleep with it, play sports, walk, run and do any business. Most of the models are aesthetically thought out and go well with both a business suit and a casual style;
- You do not need to think about constantly charging the unit: the average battery life is 20 days (in particular for Xiaomi models). Sleep sensor and smart alarm function will help you monitor your sleep phases and establish rest;
- The smart bracelet works smoothly even in severe frost, which is especially important in our climatic conditions. The bracelet is very easy to operate, even a person far from technology can handle a simple interface;
- The fitness tracker is equally suitable for both men and women, both children and people of age. This multifunctional gadget is ideal for a gift. The bracelet is useful not only for exercising people but also for people with an inactive lifestyle;
- It is very easy to choose a model of a fitness band when buying: in 2019, most people stopped at Xiaomi Mi Band 4. This is the most popular model with the necessary set of functions, affordable prices, and ergonomic design. It was released in the summer of 2019.
Xiaomi – Fitness Tracker Giant
Before moving on to a selection of the best models, let’s focus on the most popular line of fitness trackers: Xiaomi Mi Band.
Simple, high quality, convenient, cheap, and useful – the creators of Xiaomi gadgets adhered to these principles when they released their first model in 2014.
At that time, smart trackers were not in wide demand, but after the release of Mi Band 2, users appreciated all the advantages of the new device.
The popularity of Xiaomi fitness trackers has skyrocketed. And already, the third model Mi Band 3 was expected with special excitement. As a result, the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 bracelet, released in the summer of 2018, just blew up sales. 2 weeks after the release of the new model, more than a million copies were sold!
Now the popularity of trackers is only growing. In June 2019, Xiaomi pleased us with the release of a new model of the Mi Band 4 fitness gadget, which has already surpassed last year’s model in terms of sales speed and has become a real hit.
A million gadgets have been sold in the first week after release! According to Xiaomi, they had to send 5,000 bracelets per hour. And this is not surprising. This fitness gadget combines many useful features, and its low price makes the bracelet an affordable accessory for everyone.
In June 2020, the Chinese company released the latest model – Mi Band 5.
At the moment, all four models are available for sale: Mi Band 2, Mi Band 3, Mi Band 4, and Mi Band 5.
Now Xiaomi has a lot of competitors. Quality fitness trackers at a similar price are produced, for example, by Huawei. However, Xiaomi is not giving up its leadership positions yet. With the release of popular fitness bracelets, Xiaomi has become the leader in terms of sales among wearable device manufacturers.
Xiaomi has a special Mi Fit app for Android and iOS, in which all the statistics you need will be available to you. The Mi Fit mobile app will track your activity, analyze your sleep quality, and assess your training progress.
Top Budget Fitness Trackers
Fitness bracelets are very popular. Among other things, they are purchased as a gift, because this simple and affordable device will be useful to absolutely everyone, regardless of age, gender, and even lifestyle. We have selected for you 14 of the best models of fitness bands: inexpensive in price, with good reviews, and in demand from customers.
The cost of the presented smart bracelets is $30. The selection offers several store options for one product, pay attention to discounts.
If you are not one of those who like to choose for a long time and carefully study the product before buying, then we recommend narrowing down the list to three options in the list and choosing one of these models: Xiaomi Mi Band 5, Xiaomi Mi Band 4, Huawei Honor Band 4. These fitness gadgets have proven themselves in the market, so you don’t have to worry about quality and convenience.
Note: the lower the generation of the tracker – the cheaper it is.
Xiaomi Mi Band 5 – Best Fitness Tracker on the Market
Mi Band 5 comes in a rather compact black box, which depicts the tracker itself and the number 5 so that you can immediately understand which generation of the device is in front of you. There is nothing extra inside: a fitness tracker, charger, and documentation.
In the design of the Mi Band 5, there is a sense of continuity in relation to previous versions of the device. It is still a black capsule, equipped with a display and a touch button below it, placed in a silicone strap. You can only distinguish the new product from the Mi Band 4 by direct comparison – a slightly longer display is noticeable.
On the back of the tracker, there is a BioTracker PPG sensor for tracking heart rate, as well as connectors for charging. The band is made of a material that is pleasant to the touch (not only black but also colored versions are available for sale).
A fitness bracelet can track your activity, monitor your heart rate, display notifications from your smartphone. But Xiaomi would not be itself if it had not added a number of new features.
To begin with, users now have over 100 sets of different watch faces that they can install on a 1.1 ”AMOLED display. But there are some nuances with the search for dials. The screen, by the way, has a resolution of 126×294 pixels and a peak brightness of 450 nits.
The number of sports modes has increased to 11 pieces. The fitness tracker can track outdoor and treadmill running, cycling and stationary cycling, jumping rope, yoga, walking, orbital track and rowing machine, swimming (5 ATM waterproof). For everything else, there’s a versatile Freestyle mode that counts exercise time, calories burned, and heart rate.
In general, it is convenient to play sports with Mi Band 5 – the device is hardly felt on the hand and does not interfere during exercise.
In the settings of the Mi Fit app, you can select the modes you use most often so that you have quick access to them. The device is able to automatically detect walking and running, as well as warn if the heart rate exceeds normal values.
Interestingly, during the first session on the treadmill, Mi Band 5 noticeably embellished my result, adding about half a kilometer on top. But after completing the exercise, the tracker asked to clarify the data, thereby calibrating.
Xiaomi Mi Band 4 (2019)
Functions: AMOLED color screen, protective glass, pedometer, heart rate measurement, calculating the distance traveled, and calories burned, running and swimming functions, moisture protection, sleep monitoring, smart alarm clock, call and message notifications, charge holds up to 20 days, the ability to control music on the phone (Honor Band 4 doesn’t have that).
Xiaomi Mi Band are the most popular fitness bracelets at the moment, and they have practically no flaws. The main advantage of the Mi Band 4 over previous models is the screen. Now it is color, informative, with better resolution, larger diagonal, and made of tempered glass.
Also, in this model, the accelerometer has been improved, which tracks steps, position in space, and movement speed.
Mi Band 4 looks more “expensive” and presentable than Mi Band 3.
- Firstly, due to the new screen made of protected glass;
- Secondly, due to the absence of a convex “home” button under the display, which so many did not like in previous models (the button remained, but now it is barely noticeable);
- And thirdly, due to the color of the screen and the ability to choose a ready-made theme from a variety of possible ones.
Now the fitness bracelet from Xiaomi has become a real golden mean between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch at a very competitive price. An additional convenience is the absolutely identical straps for Mi Band 3 and Mi Band 4, so if you still have a strap from the previous model, feel free to install it on a new one.
The fitness band is multilingual, but be sure to choose the Global Version (international version) when purchasing. On top of that, here are NFC versions of Mi Band 4 bracelets for sale.
Xiaomi Mi Band 3 (2018)
Features: monochrome screen, pedometer, heart rate measurement, calculating the distance traveled and calories burned, running and swimming functions, moisture protection, sleep monitoring, smart alarm, call and message notifications, charge holds up to 20 days.
Despite the fact that Xiaomi Mi Band 4 appeared on the market in 2019, the Mi Band 3 model still retains a strong position and remains in demand among buyers. In fact, the most significant difference between Mi Band 4 and Mi Band 3 is the screen. In the third model, it is monochrome.
In general, the functionality of the models of the last two years is almost the same, although using a gadget with a color screen is still more convenient and pleasant. However, the price of Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is lower than the fourth model. When purchasing Mi Band 3, select the Global Version.
Fitbit Charge 4
Functions: pedometer, sleep monitoring, calories burned, insufficient physical activity alerts, a full range of alerts – about messages, calls and events, heart rate and pressure monitoring + statistics and analysis, charge – 11 days.
The main advantage of the Fitbit Charge 4 fitness band is the ability to track blood pressure, heart rate, and ECG (and this happens literally with one-touch). Other nice features of the gadget: a touchscreen color display with an oleophobic coating and a clear reflection of indicators, analysis, and statistics of all fitness characteristics.
Xiaomi Mi Band 2 (2016)
Functions: non-touch monochrome screen, pedometer, heart rate measurement, calculating the distance traveled, and calories burned, sleep monitoring, smart alarm, notifications about calls and messages, charge – 20 days.
The model was released in 2016 and is gradually being ousted from the market by the third and fourth models. However, this fitness bracelet has all the necessary functionality. The only thing is that Xiaomi Mi Band 2 does not have a touch screen; control is held via a touch button. The straps are available in different colors, as in the later models.
Huawei Honor Band 4 (2018)
Functions: AMOLED color screen, protective glass, pedometer, heart rate measurement, counting distance traveled and calories burned, running and swimming functions, water-resistance up to 50 meters, sleep monitoring (using special TruSleep technology), smart alarm clock, call and message notifications, 30 days of work without recharging, tracking for daytime sleep (Mi Band does not have this).
Huawei Honor Band is a very high-quality fitness bracelet, which is an excellent alternative to Xiaomi Mi Band 4. The models Huawei Honor Band 4 and Xiaomi Mi Band 4 are very similar to each other: they are the same in size and weight, both bracelets have an AMOLED color screen and very similar functions. Interchangeable colored straps are available for both models. Huawei Honor Band 4 is slightly cheaper in terms of cost.
Design is a worth noting difference (Mi Band 4 is more concise), but the Huawei Honor Band 4 has more convenient charging. Mi Band 4 has more accurate data on the steps taken, but Huawei Honor Band 4 is more suitable for swimming (more statistics and more accurate data). Also, many users note that the Honor Band 4 has a more convenient mobile application, but the fitness functionality is generally better in the Xiaomi Mi Band 4.
Fitbit Charge 3
Functions: pedometer, heart rate measurement, calculating the distance traveled, and calories burned, running and swimming functions, water-resistance up to 50 meters, sleep monitoring (using special TruSleep technology), smart alarm clock, notifications about calls and messages, 30 days of work without recharging.
Fitbit Charge 3 is a quality fitness bracelet, but the model is already outdated. However, it has a low cost. Among the features of this tracker, it is worth noting a monochrome non-touch display screen (color and touch on new models), water resistance, an especially accurate sleep meter, and 30 days of operation without recharging. Available in orange, blue, and black.
Huawei Band 3 Pro
Functions: pedometer, heart rate measurement, calculating the distance traveled and calories burned, running and swimming functions, sleep monitoring (using special TruSleep technology), smart alarm clock, notifications about calls and messages, 18 days of work without recharging.
Unlike previous models, Huawei Band 3 Pro has a slightly larger display (0.96 “”), which is convenient for use. In general, the design of this device is somewhat different from Huawei Honor Band 4 and Xiaomi, you can see this in the image.
Best Fitness Trackers from Unpopular Brands
Now let’s move on to the less popular models that can be considered as an alternative if, for some reason, you do not want to acquire Xiaomi or Huawei, which are the market leaders. All functions of the presented models are mostly standard, as in Xiaomi.
CK11S SMART BAND
Fitness bracelet with the original design. In addition to the standard functions, this model also displays blood pressure and blood oxygen saturation. The display is not touch-sensitive; control is held via a button. Decent 110mAh battery.
Garmin Vivofit 4
An inexpensive fitness tracker with standard features. The bracelet is not waterproof, which means you can walk with it in the rain, but you cannot swim with it. Salt and hot water are also prohibited.
Garmin vívosmart 3
The fitness bracelet is waterproof, has the function of measuring blood pressure and blood oxygen saturation. Quite a lot of orders, positive feedback.
LETSCOM Fitness Tracker
Fitness Tracker Letscom a function of measuring blood pressure and blood oxygen saturation. The bracelet is not waterproof, which means you can walk with it in the rain, but you cannot swim with it. Salt and hot water are also prohibited. The strap is available in many colors.
Inexpensive fitness gadget with water and dust resistance, suitable for swimming. There is also a blood pressure measurement function. Nice classic design, available in 6 strap colors.
TPE Fitness Tracker
A cute fitness band with a standard set of functions. Waterproof and dustproof. The straps are available in five colors.
Best Fitness Tracker Buyer’s Guide
How to Choose the Best Fitness Tracker
If you want to get a more thorough approach to the choice of a fitness tracker and the obvious choice in the form of Xiaomi Mi Band 5 or Huawei Honor Band 4 does not suit you, then pay attention to the following characteristics when choosing a tracker:
- Screen. Here it is worth evaluating the size of the screen, the presence of a sensor, AMOLED technology for good visibility in the sun;
- Battery life. Usually, bands work without recharging for more than 10 days, but there are models with battery life for more than 20 days;
- Sleep function and smart alarm. A useful feature that will allow you to establish sleep and wake up at the right time;
- Design. Since you will have to wear the tracker all the time, think about what color and model will best match your everyday style;
- Trainer function. Most fitness bands allow you to set a specific activity. For example, walking or running. Some also recognize other types of activity: swimming, cycling, triathlon, etc.;
- Convenience. If you buy a fitness tracker from an online store, then you will probably find it difficult to fully experience the convenience of the bracelet. But the weight of the unit and, accordingly, its lightness is worth paying attention to (for comparison, the weight of the Xiaomi Mi Band is less than 20 g);
- The quality of the strap. Read fitness tracker reviews about the strength of the strap and the quality of the sensor attachment to it. You can also purchase a fitness band with a replaceable strap (it’s not hard to find them online);
- Waterproof. Those who like to swim in the pool should definitely get a smart bracelet with water resistance.
The fitness tracker is quite a versatile thing that will suit most people, regardless of gender and age. Even if you do not play sports and you do not need to lose weight, such a gadget will definitely be useful to you.
It is important not to forget about being active and walking regularly throughout the day, especially in our time when a sedentary lifestyle has become almost the norm.
This affects the work of both the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. The smart band will be a good reminder and additional motivation to increase physical activity and improve your health.
Fitness Tracker vs Smartwatch
The fitness tracker is a compact and inexpensive alternative to smartwatches (they are very similar in functionality). At the same time, the bracelet is lightweight, easy to wear and use, you can sleep, walk and run in it, practically not feeling it on your hand. Plus, fitness bracelets are sold at a very affordable price.
The smartwatch is a more powerful device with an expanded set of functions and settings. Smartwatches can even compete with smartphones. But they also have disadvantages: for example, bulky size. In such watches, it is not always convenient to sleep and play sports. They are not suitable for everyone in style. Plus, smartwatches are significantly more expensive than fitness trackers.
Fitness Tracker vs Pulsometer
A pulsometer, or heart rate monitor, is a device that allows you to calculate your heart rate during exercise and the total calories burned. Most often, the heart rate monitor is a set of a chest strap and a sensor, where data on heart rate and calories are sent (mobile phone can be used as a sensor).
A heart rate monitor should be purchased for those who exercise regularly and want to monitor their heart rate and energy consumption. This is especially true for lovers of running, aerobics, and other cardio activities. A heart rate monitor is more accurate in calculating training data than a fitness tracker, but it has narrower functionality.
Let’s summarize: why do you need a fitness tracker, how to choose and which models to pay attention to:
- The fitness band helps to measure and record important data on daily activity: the number of steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, heart rate, sleep quality;
- A number of additional functions are also offered: water resistance, blood pressure measurement, call and message notifications, recognition of special activities (swimming, cycling, certain sports);
- Smart bracelets are synchronized with the phone through a special application that saves complete statistics;
- You can also purchase smartwatches to measure physical activity. But unlike fitness trackers, they are larger and more expensive;
- The most popular model of a fitness bracelet today is the Xiaomi Mi Band 5. In general, it meets all the basic requirements and performs all the important functions of this type of device;
- Another popular alternative to smart bands, which is popular with users, is the Huawei Honor Band 4.
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