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The 11 Best Activity Trackers 2014: The best fitness trackers you can buy in the UK right now

Lose weight and get fit with these motivational gadgets

Best activity trackers

Activity trackers or fitness monitors are the hot new gadget to have in 2014. Like high-tech pedometers, they can count your steps and then estimate distance and calories burned, once you tell them your age, height and gender. Updated to include the latest activity trackers.

You can use them to monitor your activity, but the general idea is that they spur you on to exercise more, helping you to get fitter and / or lose weight.

Some, but not all, have a display which shows this information, and they’re either worn on your wrist like a watch or clipped onto your clothes.

The data they store is synchronised with your smartphone, tablet or PC which means you can do various things. First, you can see a more detailed view of your activity, such as when you were most active during the day. You might also be able to see extra information, including very active minutes and sleep patterns, depending on the particular tracker and software.

Second, you can use the app or website to compete with friends (not every tracker offers this, though). Pitting yourself against others is even more motivational than the data from the tracker itself, since you won’t want others to beat your steps tally.

Third, being able to see historical data means you can see how well you’re doing, and whether you’re improving or slacking off.

Best Activity Tracker: Features

A basic activity tracker will record your steps, distance covered, calories burned and active minutes. It might also have a clock so you can tell the time.

More advanced models add one or more of the following: sleep tracking, an altimeter, on-demand heart rate measurements, session recording (for running or other sports).

Few are completely waterproof (the Polar Loop being the best for swimmers), but virtually all will withstand sweat and rain.

Batteries last anywhere from a few days to several months depending on their power source.

Best Activity Tracker: Prices

The cheapest tracker – the Fitbit Zip – can be found for as little as £35, with the most expensive costing around £130.

The 11 Best Activity Trackers

NOTE: We removed the Fitbit Force from this chart due to it being recalled and taken off sale in the US. It never officially went on sale in the UK.

11. Archos Activity Tracker

Archos Activity Tracker
  • Reviewed on: 17 July 14
  • RRP: £50 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 5 out of 10

It may cost only £50, but that doesn’t make the Activity Tracker good value. It’s a glorified pedometer and lacks features you’ll find in other trackers such as the Fitbit One, Jawbone Up24 and Nike FuelBand SE. Its only saving grace is the handy clock.

10. TomTom Multi-Sport GPS Watch

TomTom Multi-Sport GPS Watch
  • Reviewed on: 10 October 13
  • RRP: £149.99 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The TomTom Multi-Sport GPS Watch is for the ever-increasing triathlon market. It's a great gizmo that lets athletes track everything they could want to know about their workouts on one convenient device.

9. Misfit Shine Activity Monitor

Misfit Shine Activity Monitor
  • Reviewed on: 15 January 14
  • RRP: £99 inc. VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

If you want a good-looking gadget to inspire you to do more, especially in the pool, the Misfit Shine is a good bet. Just don't expect it to accurately measure distance or calories burned, or to be able to compete against other Shine users. Things could improve with future updates, but this is currently an unrefined system.

8. Jawbone Up

Jawbone Up
  • Reviewed on: 22 January 14
  • RRP: £99.99 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

Simplicity is the UP’s greatest strength, but for some people it’s just too basic. The absence of a display and wireless synching is annoying, especially when the UP costs considerably more than monitors such as the Fitbit One which have many more features.

7. Nike+ FuelBand SE

Nike+ FuelBand SE
  • Reviewed on: 3 January 14
  • RRP: £130 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

The FuelBand SE is a reliable and motivational activity tracker with good battery life and handy automatic synching. However, it’s expensive, works only with iOS and lacks proper sleep tracking and movement reminders. If the list of missing features doesn’t worry you, it’s a great choice but for other people, it’s going to be worth waiting for the Fitbit Force to launch in the UK.

6. Polar Loop

Polar Loop
  • Reviewed on: 11 March 14
  • RRP: £79.50
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

The Polar Loop is a cool-looking activity tracker that’s lightweight and comfortable and gives you up-to-date stats right there on your wrist – something the comparably priced Fitbit Flex can’t do to the same degree. We didn’t like the fact that you have to cut the wristband to size and we found set up to be overly fiddly. Polar also needs to update the app as ours crashed frequently while syncing. It’s a shame as with a more intuitive strap setup we would recommend the Polar Loop as its display is better than that on the Fitbit Flex. If you want to go the extra fitness-tracking mile then the Polar Loop has the unique feature of working with the company’s £50 heart-rate sensors, which will excite the more serious sportsperson. With the heart-rate sensor option and the fact that it’s waterproof for swimming the Polar Loop should really appeal to the multi-sports crowd.

5. FitBit Zip

FitBit Zip
  • Reviewed on: 16 January 14
  • RRP: £49.99 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The FitBit Zip is ideal if you want to join the life-logging brigade but can't or won't spend £80 upwards on an activity tracker. It's basic, but unless you really want sleep tracking or the stair-tracking features of Fitbit's other trackers, it's a bargain.

4. Garmin Vivofit

Garmin Vivofit
  • Reviewed on: 15 April 14
  • RRP: £99 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

The Vivofit is a great activity tracker, but there's still some work to be done on the software side of things. Also consider the Polar Loop.

3. Fitbit Flex

Fitbit Flex
  • Reviewed on: 11 September 13
  • RRP: £79 inc. VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Fitbit Flex is a cool-looking, lightweight wristband that tracks and monitors your daily activity and sleep patterns. It syncs with a desktop dashboard and mobile app to give you up-to-date activity data in gorgeous graphs. You can compete with Fitbit-using friends and even upgrade to a premium Daily Trainer service. I found the Fitbit Flex gave me added motivation to walk or run that bit further, and keep an eye on my weight and fitness activities. It’s addictive and fun, and if that gets you moving more and generally fitter and leaner it’s better for you than most other computing or mobile devices.

2. Jawbone Up24

Jawbone Up24
  • Reviewed on: 20 May 14
  • RRP: £125 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

If you can afford it, the Jawbone UP24 is a great activity tracker. It doesn't have the most features - and the lack of a display is frustrating - but as a tool for motivating you to exercise and generally live a healthier lifestyle, it can be very effective. There's still strong competition from the cheaper Fitbit trackers, though, and these are better value overall.

1. Fitbit One

Fitbit One
  • Reviewed on: 22 January 14
  • RRP: £80 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The Fitbit One is accurate, has great battery life and tracks pretty much everything you'd want it to. The proprietary charging cable is a pain, but it's a minor quibble about what it otherwise an excellent activity tracker.

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