Activity tracker bands—also known as wearables—are among the most dominant fitness trends of 2016. Designed for all types of endorphin enthusiasts, from the tech-savvy to the minimalist, the convenient and versatile gadgets perform numerous functions to accommodate a broad range of physical pursuits.
Given the diversity of brands, models, price points and capabilities, choosing the optimum wearable for your intended purpose could prove more difficult than you might expect. From monitoring heart rates and mapping distances to calculating footsteps and identifying personal records, the data scope within each device is staggering across the board. So how can you narrow the field of contenders?
A recent survey analyzed five major players on the market—Fitbit, Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, Xiaomi and Garmin. The survey found that each brand has its own benefit, whether it’s most affordable or designed better.
So, whether you’re an adrenaline chasing surfer, zen-centric yogi or trailblazing outdoorsman, this wearable roundup can point you toward the best tag-along for your epic adventures.
In this category, the undisputed winner is Xiaomi Mi Band 2, which retails for just $14.95. Manufactured by a Chinese electronics corporation headquartered in Beijing, it manages to pack an impressive amount of functions into a reasonable price bracket.
For example, the Mi Band 2 comes equipped with a touch panel and OLED-display which place statistics like training times, body temperature, vital signs and mileage at your fingertips. In addition, the updated pedometer algorithm tracks your movement progress and even reminds you of scheduled workouts.
In this category, the multi-functional virtuoso is Garmin VivoActive HR is best thanks to its GPS enabled software. You can use this to create and track individualized routes for swimming, running, cycling and hiking, among numerous outdoor activities.
The device’s 13 hours of sustained battery life and no required mobile connection will entice off-the-grid thrill seekers. Not to mention, its waterproof technology makes the VivoActive a preferable choice for surfers, paddle-boarders, freestylers and other “hydrosport” athletes. This device also motivates you to stay on course with apps that record both your goals and achievements.
In this category, the stylish frontrunner is the Fitbit Alta, which resembles a bracelet that you can accessorize with a trendy combination of colors and textures. From vibrant turquoise to metallic gold and rugged leather, the Alta combines physical exertion with personal expression—ideal for active fashionistas. In addition, the lightweight and streamlined configuration makes this wearable among the most comfortable options for all-day use.
In this category, the evenly matched titleholders are Samsung Gear S2 and Apple Watch, both of which combine the simplicity of a timepiece with the ingenuity of a smartphone. These wearables, produced by two industry leaders, feature touch sensitivity, voice recognition, Bluetooth hookups, WiFi compatibility and advanced operating systems.
Plus, each model provides access to its respective App Store, so you can utilize the exercise benefits of RunKeeper, Wahoo, GymAHolic, PocketYoga, 7MinuteWorkout, SHealth, Nike+Running and much more.
Based on this comprehensive breakdown, you should now have a better understanding of which wearable suits the needs of your active lifestyle. The options might seem endless, intimidating even, but when you find the right wearable, you can propel that adventurous spirit of yours to the next level.