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The Garmin vivosmart HR+ again is what we consider the best activity tracker 2017 at least in the high-end category. This is primarily due to one feature: built-in GPS. Consequently, the vivosmart HR+ is probably the best fitness tracker for runners because it’s basically a budget-tier Garmin GPS running watch. Beyond that, it tracks all of the basics (steps, calories, sleep, all-day HR, etc.) and has various smart features such as the ability to control music playing on your phone. It also relays your smartphone notifications and is water resistant. Additionally, it has a built-in wrist heart rate monitor, which is really convenient for working out and for your all-day calories burned numbers. If you plan to use GPS at all for phone-free workouts, the vivosmart HR+ is a killer option.
The Fitbit Charge 2 is for sure the most popular fitness tracker out there. People love this device. It’s in the sweet spot between looking great and having useful features. First off, it has detachable and interchangeable bands so you wear it to the office with one band and then swap out to a sport band for the gym. Also, it tracks steps, calories, sleep, etc. and relays all of this information to your smartphone in the Fitbit App (likely the best fitness app out there). It also has a built-in wrist heart rate monitor, which tracks your 24×7 HR and functions during workouts. The other nice thing about the Charge 2 is that it displays your calls, text messages, and calendar reminders right onto your wrist. We are big fans of the Charge 2 overall. Fun fact: this is the device that Jeff’s mom uses.
The Misfit Shine 2 is not only uber-cheap, but also pretty darn stylish. While it doesn’t look anything like a fitness tracker—mostly just looks like a fashionable accessory—it’s the real deal under the hood. It tracks all of the basic activity stats (sleep included) and has vibration alerts for call and text message notifications, move reminders, and daily alarms. Even more, it’s water resistant and the battery life is about 6 months! Misfit also has a pretty good mobile app now. Considering price and design, the Shine 2 is a pretty darn awesome activity monitor.
The Fitbit Alta HR is quite literally the Alta with a wrist heart rate monitor (and a watch-style locking system). That said, a lot of people were asking for it and we’ve seen a lot of interest in this device. Like the Charge 2, it tracks your steps, calories, distance, heart rate, and sleep. It also sends across those phone notifications (calls, text messages, calendar reminders). The only real downsides with the Alta HR is that it’s not approved for swimming, it has a somewhat low resolution display, and it doesn’t have as many sport features as other devices. Aside from that, it’s a really good device that looks nice and can pass as sporty as well as elegant.
The Garmin vivosmart 3 is a crazy-slim activity tracker that’s comfortable and sports a number of really neat features (it’s also water resistant). It has a matte touchscreen display as well as a wrist heart rate monitor and a watch-style locking system. On the sports side of things, it tracks steps, calories, distance, all-day heart rate, sleep, etc. as well as walking, running, and strength training. And speaking of strength training, the device will automatically detect certain exercises and count your reps, sets, and rest time, although this feature is fairly limited and in all honesty is only somewhat helpful at the end of the day. Beyond that, it has a stress graph that calculates your 24×7 stress levels, which is neat to know, however, we’re always consuming way too much caffeine so the graph says that we’re always stressed. Here’s something else that’s neat: it measures and estimates your VO2 Max (a feature mostly found on high-end running watches) and also interprets your fitness level on a scale of Poor to Superior.
The Fitbit Blaze had to be on this list even if we had to make up a category 🙂 The Blaze looks like a watch and can be both classy and sporty, which is a neat feature you won’t find with most fitness trackers. It has all of the basics like the Charge 2, including Connected GPS (which we didn’t mention above, but that’s also on the Charge 2). Connected GPS allows the Blaze to display to you the GPS data (distance, pace, etc.) from your phone during a run or bike ride. Of course, this means you need your phone during the workout, but we think a lot of folks bring it along anyways. While the Blaze is a little pricey, it’s a solid option for the office and it has some really neat features.