The 21 Best Activity Trackers 2015: The best fitness trackers you can buy in the UK right now
Lose weight and get fit with these motivational activity trackers. We reveal the best buys in the UK in 2015
By Jim Martin | PC Advisor | 12 May 15
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.
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.
The Samsung Gear Fit is a lightweight and good looking, but has too many drawbacks, including accuracy issues and the fact that it's only compatible with Samsung Galaxy devices.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Also consider the next step up: the Fitbit Charge also counts floors climed, and shows you your stats right there on your wrist.
The Withings Activité is a stunning watch, the most attractive we've seen by a long shot. The design and build is exquisite and you can quickly glance at your daily steps progress. Other information is provided by the app and we like the sound of an eight month battery life. While it's good to know Android support and tracking for swimming is on the way, the Activité isn't a sure buy. The price is high and there are a few things missing such as a heart rate monitor, elevation tracking and any form of backlight.
I've enjoyed my time with the Misfit Flash, and I'm going to continue using it, however I'd hesitate to recommend it over some of its rivals, including the Fitbit One, which sits at the top of our activity tracker chart.
For £50, though, it's got a decent set of features, a simple and intuitive app and the potential to get better over time if Misfit releases an update or two to include better analysis and calorie counting capabilities. Plus, being waterproof is a real boon, and the automatic sleep tracking is great for those who're interested in monitoring their sleeping patterns on a regular basis.
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.
For under £40, the Move is superb value. Although it doesn't track certain activities or height climbed, its great sleep tracking makes up for that. Soon you'll be able to buy the Up3 which will have considerably better sleep tracking but at this price, the Move is the best-value activity tracker around.
At £28.99 the Xiaomi Mi Band is an excellent-value, lightweight fitness band with outstanding battery life. It's as accurate as any other fitness band, and we particularly like its sleep monitoring, vibration alarm and phone call notifications. The Mi Band companion app is very easy to use, but falls down only in its integration with other fitness and social apps.
Overall, we think that the Basis Peak is a great fitness and sleep tracker. The amount of data it processes provides you with a holistic overview of your fitness and sleeping habits. The accuracy of the tracker itself is great – we tried to fool it into thinking we were walking by shaking our wrists, which is a trick that many fitness trackers fall for, but not the Basis Peak!
Sure, the optical heart rate sensor can become a bit irritating at times but that’s one small drop in an ocean of good features. If you’re looking for a comprehensive fitness and sleep tracker, the Basis Peak is a good – even if slightly expensive – option to take.
The Microsoft Band is the most Microsoft product imaginable. It does useful stuff. And mostly it does that stuff well. But it is ugly and uncomfortable and no-one is ever going to point at a Microsoft Band and say 'I want one of those'. Which is a shame, because having used it for a while - and despite issues with battery life and distance measurement - I like it and will probably keep using it. Whether that is enough to make people drop £169 inc VAT to get one when they can buy an Android Wear watch for an additional £100 is the key question. I suspect they won't.
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.
The Fitbit Charge is a superb activity tracker wristband that replaces the troubled Fitbit Force and adds some great new features to reward Fitbit fans’ patient waiting. It beats other fitness wristbands by showing the stats right there on your wrist, and – combined with the excellent Fitbit app and dashboard – offers real motivational tools to get you fitter, healthier and maybe a little lighter.
The Fitbit Surge is an activity tracker for the serious fitness enthusiast. We’re not saying a more casual user wouldn’t appreciate its good looks and features, but the level of functionality and price put it properly in the market for the power user. The larger, swipeable display is a revelation of on-wrist stats. If you wish to wear a tracker and your regular wristwatch then the Surge may be too large, and you should consider other more minimalist bands. The everyday user who wants a tracker to push them to exercise more is catered for with the Fitbit Flex and Charge. If you’re just interested in the heart-rate monitor you could consider the cheaper and very capable Fitbit Charge HR, but if you want to see dedicated heart-rate stats during performance-based workouts, and map your routes with built-in GPS the Fitbit Surge has it all.
The Fitbit Charge HR activity tracker wristband offers a lot of real-time fitness stats right there on your wrist, which is an advantage over the rival Jawbone Up24 that doesn’t have a display or the altimeter and heart-rate trackers of the Charge HR. The Charge HR is only £20 more than the Fitbit Charge, and offers both continuous heart-rate monitoring for the more active user and a better-designed strap and buckle. As such we think the Charge HR is a compelling option to its less expensive sibling – and a minimalist (and cheaper) alternative to its bigger brother, the Fitbit Surge.