The holiday season is upon us as many of us once again entered that period of the year when we shamelessly overeat and vow to make it all better after Christmas with a strict diet and a training regime. Of course, attaching future dates to life-changing decisions doesn't work out more often than not, so if you're really serious about being in shape next year, you should start working toward that goal right now instead of telling yourself it'll all be better once you suddenly develop willpower a few weeks and a couple dozen sumptuous meals from now. As it turns out, there's an excellent way to do just that at a minimal cost – getting a fitness tracker.
Fitness trackers have been around for a while now, having spent the majority of their history as relatively niche products, though they've finally entered the mainstream in recent years as manufacturers managed to deliver better devices at lower prices. The beauty of a fitness tracker is that it can help you get motivated to work out during the hardest period of doing so – the beginning. That initial phase when you still aren't seeing any physical results of your efforts and start second-guessing your commitment to getting fit is precisely the period when a contemporary wearable will pay back its price tag with interest; sure, you won't undergo a physical transformation after running for a week, but finding out you ran ten miles or 50,000 feet in that same period is something you'll still feel proud of and an achievement that will motivate you to push yourself further.
After that initial period is over and you successfully incorporate workouts into your everyday routine, owning a fitness tracker will help you exercise more efficiently as such devices are able to analyze your activity and provide you with suggestions in regards to the length, frequency, and contents of your training sessions. Digital fitness coaches developed by manufacturers like Samsung and Fitbit improved in an incredible manner in recent years and are extremely versatile and useful, regardless of whether you're looking to lose weight, bulk up in a gym, or just do some light cardio on a regular basis while paying attention to what you're eating. What's more, the fitness tracker market is currently astonishingly varied and is offering at least several great choices in all price segments, with contemporary wearables ranging from versatile gadgets to ones designed for highly specific use cases, so you should certainly be able to find something to suit your budget and expectations.
As far as the entry-level segment is concerned, there are two types of fitness trackers on offers – traditional bands and inconspicuous ones. The two devices that have been dominating sales and popularity charts in the latter category over the course of this year are the Moov Now and Amazfit Equator. With prices ranging from $20 to $40, these offerings are a perfect way to get into fitness trackers if you don't want to let the whole world now you got into fitness trackers. Being designed as random jewelry and offered in a plethora of colors, the Amazfit Equator and Moov Now are extremely affordable entry points into wearables that will help you understand how great contemporary fitness trackers are without breaking the bank. With no conventional displays to speak of, the batteries powering these gadgets will last for well over a week on a single charge.
The main shortcoming of such low-end devices is that you have to use them in a conjunction with a smartphone in order to access your analytics and use that data to tweak your training regime, so if you're looking for something a bit more versatile at the same or similar price point, wristbands like the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 and Huawei Band 2 Pro are the way to go. The latter even comes with built-in GPS which is an extremely rare feature in the sub-$70 segment but in overall, the advantage of having a traditional fitness tracker with a display is that you can easily access some of your basic metrics like steps taken and calories burned without taking out your smartphone. Naturally, being able to tell the time by looking at your wrist without sacrificing significant battery life is also a bonus convenience.
If you're looking for a sure bet and have some (more) disposable income, you can't go wrong with any offering from Fitbit, a company whose name essentially became synonymous with fitness trackers since the initial emergence of this device category. The Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Alta HR are two of the firm's latest and most frequently recommended fitness bands that offer an excellent quality-price ratio, being designed for just about any use case you'd need. Both come equipped with an accurate heart rate monitor and feature a rather minimalist aesthetic that can easily blend with any attire while making little to no functional sacrifices. The choice between the two basically comes down to whether you're looking for a maximally light wearable or a fitness tracker for a slightly larger screen that's capable of displaying real-time stats during your workouts and offer some extra features such as GPS route tracking and VO2max monitoring, i.e. identifying your maximal oxygen uptake at any given time. The smaller screen of the Alta HR also means it can last around seven days on a single charge as opposed to five, but charging won't be something you'll worry about with either of these two wearables.
If you're looking for everything Fitbit's new smart bands have to offer but want the added luxury of certified resistance to water submersion so that you're able to swim and shower with your wearable without worrying about killing it, Samsung's new Gear Fit2 Pro is one of the top devices to consider. For $50 more, you'll get an ultra-premium wearable that doesn't have to rely on a smartphone for most of its functionalities, including tracking and music playback. That's right, you can take the Gear Fit2 Pro on a run without a smartphone while still mapping your run using its built-in GPS and listening to tons of music you previously stored on its 4GB of internal flash memory. The case of the wearable was designed in accordance with the MIL-STD-810G military durability standard, whereas its aforementioned water resistance is of the 5ATM variety, meaning it's even suitable for diving at depths of up to 50 meters or 165 feet.
For those who want all of the capabilities of a fitness tracker but want them in the form of a traditional watch, the Korean company is also offering the Samsung Gear Sport, its latest and greatest wearable that blends the stylish form of the widely praised Gear S3 series with the tracking capabilities of the Gear Fit2 Pro. This particular offering can not just act as a standalone digital fitness coach that's highly personalized but can also be an extension of your smartphone, allowing you to easily make and receive calls and text messages with a turn of its premium bezel. The Gear Sport comes with the same 5ATM water resistance while simultaneously boasting NFC support, allowing you to easily make purchases with Samsung Pay. In overall, this wearable is much more than a fitness tracker, having been designed to serve you with various tasks for many years, so if you're serious about getting into shape but also want a contemporary watch, the Samsung's Gear Sport should be near the top of your list of potential purchases.
Other offerings in the premium end of the wearable spectrum that are widely touted as being worth every cent are the Fitbit Ionic and Garmin Vivoactive 3. Both are comparable to the Samsung Gear Sport in terms of price, (stellar) battery life, and other capabilities, with the choice between them coming down to your personal preferences in terms of hardware and software design. Despite packing a broad range of features, these wearables are extremely intuitive to use and even people who never encountered a fitness tracker or a smartwatch will have no issues with getting used to them, though purchasing a smart band is still the recommended course of action if you're only now getting into this product segment. Naturally, all of the aforementioned gadgets can also serve as excellent holiday gifts for the same reasons, but getting one for yourself should be a priority because as far as consumer electronics investments are concerned, fitness trackers are as long-term as they come.