Neglecting Your Health And Sleep? These 5 Activity Trackers Could Change Things Up

How much do you move, sleep or do nothing at all? In the 18th instalment of our weekly TECH TUESDAY column, the SAYS team presents to you a list of top five activity trackers that promises to collect data on your every move and offer new insights about your health.

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1. Jawbone UP24: Providing useful features with intelligent presentation of data, the Jawbone UP24 is an excellent tracker that tracks your steps, active time and sleep. A beautiful cross between gadget and jewelry, the bracelet has a slew of smartly designed features that subtly nudge you to better your habits.

What makes the Jawbone UP24 special: The best thing about the Jawbone UP24 is what happens when you miss your goal. If you miss a few days in a row, you’ll get a gentle reminder that hey, you might want to get up and get around a little bit extra today. Not only does it do everything it ought to, like tracking steps and sleep, it actually turns that data into something useful. Like the vibrating alarm clock, which wakes you up at the perfect point in your sleep cycle. Jawbone’s open platform also means that other apps can take advantage of its data.

What makes the Jawbone UP24 not so great: The Jawbone UP24 lacks a screen to quickly check your progress. If you’re looking for a serious scientific dietary- and exercise-tracking system here, the UP24 isn't what you seek. For instance, there’s no way to parse your personal performance in terms of all Up users, those in your age, sex, weight class, and so on. The Up24 also does not link to fancy Wi-Fi scales to provide real-time weight, BMI, and percentage of body fat data. For that, you’ll have to either jump on the Fitbit or Withings systems, which lean on the Aria and Body Scale, respectively.
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2. Garmin Vivosmart: One of the best fitness-focused activity trackers, the Vivosmart sports all the now-standard features of an activity tracker: pedometer, sleep tracker, calorie counter, and daily goal. It also connects to a bevy of Garmin fitness accessories like a heartrate monitor, bike cadence tracker and more.

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What makes the Vivosmart special: The Vivosmart is part activity tracker and part smartwatch. The casing is water resistant. The Vivosmart also displays smartphone notifications, can control media playback on a connected phone and connects to a bevy of Garmin fitness accessories like a heartrate monitor, bike cadence tracker and more. A hidden touchscreen is employed to control everything. It blends seamlessly into the band and is surprisingly large, able to display two lines of about 20 characters each.

What makes the Vivosmart not so great: It is overwhelming and convoluted. The setup process is needlessly complicated, as well. While it's comfortable to wear, he band’s clasp is a bit clumsy to secure. The Vivosmart is a touch thicker than a Jawbone UP. The display is a bit washed-out in direct sunlight. There are no buttons. Where Jawbone and Fitbit clearly strive to present the gathered information in a logical manner, Garmin seemingly employed the “randomly throw things at a wall” methodology.
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3. Fitbit Flex: One of the most recognisable sport bands, the Flex tracks your steps, distance traveled and can monitor your sleeping patterns. Lightweight and very comfortable, it presents everything in terms of a percentage toward a goal. It syncs over Bluetooth to either your laptop via a USB dongle or to your smartphone.

What makes the Fitbit Flex awesome: The pros of the Fitbit Flex compared with other fitness trackers include that it is lighter and flatter than others, it syncs wirelessly with your phone, and your daily progress is visible on the band itself. The Fitbit captures a good amount of data for you, and can track even more if you take the time to enter data about your meals, your weight and other such information, such as the amount of water you drink every day.

What lacks in Fitbix Flex: On the downside, it’s not very stylish and is beginning to show its age, having debuted way back in May 2013. The cons include the unusually high number of taps it takes to access certain features, as well as a lack of explanation and interpretation for some of the data it provides.

4. Basis B1: With the ability to automatically detect when you're sleeping, walking, running or biking and log the length of time, unlike other trackers that need you to push a button to turn "sleep mode" on and off, the B1's screen is always on. The B1, with most sensors crammed into it, mines more data than its competitors.

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What makes the Basis B1 special: Its heart rate monitor is ­extremely useful for cardio workouts. The innovation is underneath: Sensors on the back track heart rate, perspiration, and skin temperature; in addition, a standard accelerometer counts steps and monitors sleep patterns. While its model looks like Beta, the Basis is groundbreaking wearable technology.

What makes the Basis B1 not so great: The Basis looks like a clunky digital watch. The touch-sensitive face is so sensitive that shirt sleeves activate it. The battery lasts only a few days, making daily use difficult. To charge the watch, you need a cumbersome, proprietary USB docking cable, and it comes with just one. The watchband occasion­ally pops apart. And it doesn’t sync to an iPhone.
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5. Misfit Shine: Unlike other trackers, the beautifully designed Shine is powered by a watch battery, so there is no need to plug it in to recharge it every few days. Shine doesn't require to have to be worn on the wrist, and therefore, is more accurate in tracking true physical activity, and not just wrist or arm movements.

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What makes the Misfit Shine special: The Misfit Wearables Shine is a very unique and well-designed activity tracker that should attract a following by those who are looking for a way to track fitness without a plasticky device. Its water resistance and long battery life make it a winner in the activity tracking market. Whats more is that it comes with an incredible four-month battery life, no recharging required.

What makes the Misfit Shine not so great: The Misfit Shine might be a stylish fitness tracker, but there isn't enough substance behind it to make it stand out in a crowded field. Unfortunately, that minimalism means the tracker lacks a display, so you can't check your stats on the go. The Shine is also limited in a lot of other ways as well -- it only works with iOS, and even though it's wireless, CNET says it "needs to be held close to phone screen to sync."
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