How to choose a fitness bracelet – reviews of experts

Fitness bracelet is a useful device not only for those who wants to track their activity, but for everyone just start moving more.

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  1. What is a fitness bracelet for?
  2. Fitness bracelet selection options
  3. How to choose a fitness bracelet with a heart rate monitor
  4. Which fitness bracelet to choose for iPhone
  5. Choosing a fitness bracelet on Android
  6. Choosing inexpensive fitness bracelets from China
  7. The best manufacturers of fitness bracelets
  8. Review of the best fitness bracelets
  9. Video for choosing a fitness bracelet

choose a fitness bracelet

What is a fitness bracelet for?

In fact, a fitness bracelet is a device for measuring and Tracking a person’s physical activity. Powerful models can also measure biometrics like heart rate, skin conductivity (to track emotional state), and also independently determine the type of exercise.

Fitness bracelets can be divided into three levels:

  1. Elementary. Devices such as Xiaomi belong to this level. Mi Band, Jawbone UP, etc. Similar devices can count steps, analyze some types of movement, work as smart alarm, etc.

  2. Amateur. Devices such as Fitbit Charge, Misfit shine , Withings Pulse, etc. Are able track many types of activity, not just steps and the like movement. The functionality of the bracelet expands due to application features;

  3. Professional. They are able to calculate the height, determine skin conduction, independently track the type of physical activity and distinguish, for example, running from volleyball. Examples – Microsoft Band, Garmin Vivoactive and others.

Structurally, the vast majority of fitness bracelets are nothing more than a “bunch of sensors with a battery,” and the whole “smart” functionality is determined by the capabilities of the application. Therefore, for example, Xiaomi Mi Band can only count steps and analyze sleep, and Fitbit Charge also calorie intake keep track of. True, the user will have to contribute to app foods he ate for breakfast or dinner.

The main task of fitness bracelets is as follows:

  1. For entry-level devices, user motivation. It is assumed that a man, frightened by his low physical activity, will begin to move more and more often;

  2. Amateur-level devices – help for beginners athletes. Fitness bracelet helps to exercise correctly, not overworking and burning just the extra calories;

  3. Professional-grade devices – activity tracking experienced athletes. Fitness bracelet collects information about all training, the state of the body and the environment during classes.

Thus, if you just want to move more (or find out how much do you walk around the house during the day), it is worth buying entry level fitness bracelet. To help with sports – amateur. And for serious training, extreme types hobbies like climbing or advanced activity tracking level – professional.

Fitness bracelet selection options

selection options

When choosing a fitness bracelet, in addition to the “level” of the device, it’s worth pay attention to its technical specifications. Among them:

  1. Types of installed sensors;

  2. Battery life;

  3. Frequency and type of information synchronization;

  4. Moisture protection of the case;

  5. Smart watch features;

  6. Compatible with the operating system;

  7. Device mount;

  8. The type and material of the strap, the presence on it of additional sensors.

  9. The device manufacturer is also important.

Types of installed sensors

The quantity directly depends on the installed sensors biometric and physical indicators that are capable track fitness bracelet. The most common are the following sensors:

  1. Gyroscope and accelerometer. Designed to track movement devices in space. Installed in all fitness bracelets. Most often used to count steps, hand movements, other user movements;

  2. Heart rate monitor. As the name implies, it is intended for counting heart rate. It is active and passive. Active heart rate monitor is constantly working, significantly reducing autonomy fitness bracelet (up to a couple of hours of work without recharging), passive is switched on manually through the application or automatically triggered upon detection of prolonged physical activity

  3. Altimeter. Height sensor Shows the number of passed floors (for urban residents) or the height of a conquered mountain (for climbers);

  4. GPS module. Designed for location user. Can be used for tracking jogging, hiking, crosses, marathons and other physical activity, which involves moving a long distance;

  5. GGR sensor (skin-galvanic reaction). Can be used for various purposes – from the detection of stressful conditions to monitoring the level of hydration of the body;

  6. Thermometer. It can measure both skin temperature and condition the environment;

  7. Light sensor. Helps the bracelet determine the time days;

  8. Bioimpedance sensors. They work similarly to the RAG sensor, determine the conductivity of the skin, but through this parameter analyze respiratory rate, electrolyte levels in the blood, even its composition (but not too accurate, therefore, for example, about a drop in sugar level is not will be warned). In general, they are designed to measure small changes in the body.

Most entry-level bracelets only have gyroscope, accelerometer and heart rate monitor. The remaining sensors are found in higher-end devices.

It should be noted that the accuracy of most sensors is very imperfect. For example, a heart rate monitor measures your heart rate contractions optically, that is, “shining through” the skin and determining the amount of blood in the veins by the amount of absorbed photoradiation. Therefore, his testimony may vary depending on the set parameters, among which – the composition and blood diseases, degree the fit of the bracelet to the skin, skin color, lighting level in indoors and others. The discrepancy between the measured and the real heart rate can be up to 10-20 beats per minute.

Other sensors work similarly. Accelerometer can count various hand movements as steps (e.g. set text on the keyboard, which was checked by the author of the article); RAG sensor shows different values ​​on dry and wet skin; the light sensor can confuse day and night if you cover it sleeve.

Devices with perfectly calibrated and balanced sensors does not exist, so do not relate to the readings sensors as to absolute truth.

Battery life

The battery life depends on three parameters – type heart rate monitor, display and synchronization frequency. Separately it is worth mentioning that it makes no sense to buy fitness bracelets that you will need to charge more often every few days.

The heart rate monitor, being an optical device, is very active consumes battery power. Therefore, the more often and longer it used, the less battery life of the bracelet. IN constantly active heart rate monitor is able to discharge the battery in just a couple of hours.

Therefore, for most users suitable Passive Heart Rate Fitness Wristbands – such as Xiaomi Mi Band 2 or Fitbit Charge HR . To measure heart rate in them, you will need open the companion application on the smartphone and click the corresponding button.

The screen is another resource-intensive design element. fitness bracelet. Therefore, it is advisable to choose models that they do not equipped with. And if you still need a display, you’ll have to get ready for the fact that the fitness bracelet will have to be charged once every couple of days.

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For comparison, Xiaomi Mi Band 2 with an OLED display “lives” on one charging up to several days, and Misfit Shine without a screen (however, in it uses a clock battery) – 2-3 months.

Timing frequency also determines autonomy devices, since the activity of the Bluetooth module depends on it. The lower it is, the longer the bracelet “lives”. So, in Jawbone UP2 without BT-module battery life is up to 10 days, but UP24 with this – already only up to 2 days.

If you plan to only periodically view statistics physical activity, it is worth choosing models with a low frequency synchronization (or even with forced synchronization). But for real-time motion tracking will require a device which would be constantly connected with the smartphone. But autonomy from you can not wait for him.

From the battery capacity, as is clear from the above, the autonomy of the fitness bracelet is almost independent.

Frequency and method of information synchronization

synchronization of fitness bracelet

The frequency of information synchronization between the fitness bracelet and the smartphone to which it is connected can be divided into several types – forced, background, constant on request and active.

  1. Forced synchronization is that the device records information about the user’s physical activity in their own memory, and then, if necessary, transfers them to companion app. This type of information exchange is implemented in first-generation Jawbone fitness bracelets and Fitbit Charge connecting them to a computer, not a smartphone. Provides greatest autonomy however determine how many steps were passed during a walk, without special manipulations impossible.

  2. Background synchronization is that fitness bracelet periodically (every few minutes or even hours) sends physical activity information to a companion application on a Bluetooth-connected smartphone. Implemented in the vast most of these devices, including Xiaomi Mi Band. Provides optimal autonomy and allows you to view statistics for short periods without special manipulations.

  3. Permanent on request is included manually. Most often works in entry-level and amateur fitness bracelets with active training mode or heart rate monitor. Leads to fast discharge battery, so you should not abuse it.

  4. Active is similar to constant on request, only sends real-time data regardless of actions user. Allows you to receive the most relevant information, however, it leads to a very fast discharge of the battery.

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The best solution is to buy a fitness bracelet with a background synchronization and the ability to turn on constant on request.

Most often used to synchronize information. Bluetooth wireless but some models fitness bracelets (like first generation jawbone) require “wired” connection. The latter is not very convenient.

Moisture protection of the case

Fitness bracelets designed for active use and regular wear should be well protected from the outside aggressive environment. Therefore, the best solution is models with a case, insulated to IP67 and above. IP68 even allows swim without removing the bracelet.

Smart Watch Features

criteria for choosing a fitness bracelet

Fitness bracelets equipped with a screen also have smartwatch functionality – for example, allow you to define time, view notifications and answer calls. Not less, such features lead to an increase in the cost of the device and reducing the battery life.

Therefore, choose fitness bracelets with the functions of “smart watches” (to These include, for example, Sony SmartBand SWR10 and Huawei TalkBand B2) is based on your needs and budget.

OS compatible

Some bracelets are compatible with all mobile and even desktop operating systems (e.g. Jawbone, Xiaomi Mi Band and Fitbit Charge), and others only with some. For example, Sony SmartBand only works with Android devices.

Therefore, when choosing a fitness bracelet, you should also check its compatibility with the operating system used.

Mount

Despite the name “fitness bracelet”, some models of such devices have a different design. For example, Jawbone Up Move is made in the form of a clip, which is attached to clothes, and Misfit Shine can turn into a pendant.

Strap features

The ideal strap material for fitness bracelets is silicone or silicone coated rubber. It is durable at the same time hypoallergenic and not deformed due to contact with moisture. Wet tissue can cause skin irritation.

In addition, premium fitness bracelets can used leather strap. It provides the best tactile sensations when worn everyday, but unpleasantly felt during playing sports and may become deformed in contact with moisture.

It is good if the fitness bracelet will support the replacement of the strap. However, multifunctional models are deprived of this opportunity. In them on additional sensors are placed on the strap replace it without disassembling the device does not seem possible.

Features of the choice of fitness bracelets

features of the choice of bracelet

When choosing fitness bracelets of various types and purposes It is worth considering different parameters.

How to choose a fitness bracelet with a heart rate monitor

The accuracy of the heart rate reading is affected by the following parameters:

  1. Density of contact with the skin – the bracelet should fit snugly (then have a small size and preferably a curved shape);

  2. Heart rate monitor height – preferably this sensor is not deepened into a bracelet and stood out a little from it;

  3. The ability to rotate the heart rate monitor on the back of the wrist for obtaining more accurate readings.

Which fitness bracelet to choose for iPhone

Almost all are compatible with iOS fitness bracelets including Xiaomi. Limited compatibility except for products from Sony and Microsoft.

Choosing a fitness bracelet on Android

Almost all are compatible with the Android operating system fitness bracelets. Limited compatibility is found only in Microsoft products.

Fitness bracelets themselves are not equipped with an operating system, therefore, if the specifications of the device indicate that it works on Android, this is not a fitness bracelet, but a smart watch.

Choosing inexpensive fitness bracelets from China

The best option for a budget fitness bracelet from China is Xiaomi Mi Band 2. If this option does not fit, then do not choose models that are equipped with a screen, SIM cards and others built-in TVs – they will not work for long, and the accuracy The evidence will be highly controversial.

Among the ultra-budget fitness bracelets from Chinese manufacturers can also highlight the products of Bong, THL and Teclast But in most cases they do not have interchangeable straps or Russified application.

The best manufacturers of fitness bracelets

Among the best manufacturers of fitness bracelets are: following companies:

  1. Xiaomi (ideal in its price segment);

  2. Fitbit, Misfit, Withings (excellent mid-priced devices segment);

  3. Jawbone (pioneers, there are both successful and failed models);

  4. Sony, Huawei (fitness bracelets with smart watches);

  5. Microsoft, Garmin (professional fitness bracelets);

  6. Teclast, THL, Bong (“China” with good functionality and low price).

  7. Samsung and Moov are also worth mentioning, but the assortment Fitness bracelets from them are very limited.

Review of the best fitness bracelets

Among the best fitness bracelets, Xiaomi Mi Band current version 2, Fitbit Charge HR, Misfit Shine and Withings Pulse.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2

Xiaomi Mi Band 2

Just the best in its price category “up to 2000 rubles.” Is able count the pulse, though not always very accurately (discrepancy up to 10-20 beats per minute), steps, calories, equipped smart alarm function and LCD screen that displays Clock and notification icons from a smartphone.

Fitbit Charge HR

Fitbit Charge HR

Quite expensive, but a fully autonomous fitness bracelet, which can be used without a smartphone. Compatible with computers, adapter included. Able to count the pulse and determine number of floors covered thanks to the integrated altimeter. All information is displayed. The application has a diary nutrition.

Misfit Shine

Misfit Shine

Bracelet that does not need recharging – works from a watch batteries. It can turn into a pendant. Has excellent water resistant, smart alarm mode, the application has food diary. There is no pulse sensor. There is a dial, and completely useless, but interestingly implemented.

Withings pulse o2

Withings Pulse O2

Stylish fitness bracelet with touch screen. There is a heart rate monitor and a sensor for measuring the level of oxygen in the blood. There is no alarm low autonomy with frequent forced synchronization by request, considers not too accurate, no moisture protection. Nevertheless, great device for geeks who just need more move. Well, the function of measuring the level of oxygen is found not in every such device.

In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose heart rate monitor and the secrets of choosing sticks for Nordic walking.

Video for choosing a fitness bracelet


Attention! This material is subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a buying guide.

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