I love the idea of using technology to stay healthier. I’ve already listed 10 terrific fitness tracking devices in addition to 100 ways tech can help keep you fit, but I haven’t yet written up my hands-on experience with an actual fitness tracker.
As far as fitness trackers go, I’ve used both the wearable kind (think FitBit) and the app-only kind that lives on your smartphone (think Moves). Recently, though, I’ve been putting the Withings Pulse O2 ($119.95) through it’s paces and I have to say I’m pretty impressed—impressed enough to call it my favorite wearable fitness tracker to-date.
I really like the band. It’s comfortable, light, fairly stylish and doesn’t cause a rash, if you know what I’m sayin…
For starters the tracking abilities are pretty robust. You’ve got all your basics from steps to calories burned but you’ve also got some fun extras. The ability to measure your resting heart rate is stellar as it’s a good overall indicator of a person’s health. You can also track elevation gained as well as how well you’re sleeping. The device also features a touchscreen which will allow you to scroll through previous days accomplishments for a quick look at how much progress you’re making. These features can all be found on various devices, but rarely all in one (and certainly not in a package that looks this nice).
How well does it work? Well, any fitness tracker isn’t going to be 100% accurate, that’s just the way it goes, but the Pulse O2 seems as accurate as any other device I’ve tried if not more so. Of course it’s always best to wear it on your least active arm (if you’re wearing the band as opposed to clipping it on) for best performance.
Speaking of the band, I really like it. It’s comfortable and light and doesn’t cause a rash, if you know what I’m sayin… The band, unlike most other fitness trackers, is more watch-like than it is Livestrong anti-cancer yellow band-like. I find it easier to get on/off than other bands (the FitBit bands tend to leave imprints on my wrist from needing to apply so much pressure to get the to latch).
The device itself features a small mini-USB charging port and a small button on the side for changing what’s on the display. Holding down the button for 3 seconds will force the device to sync with the app.
The app is pretty nice. I wouldn’t call it the prettiest fitness tracking interface I’ve seen, but it’s not bad at all. When you launch it you’ll see your steps and any badges you’ve earned for the day in the timeline view. It’s nice to see your steps as a percentage of your goal (default it 10,000 steps). Scrolling down you’ll see the previous day’s stats along with any BPM measurements you’ve taken to gauge your resting heart rate. The app also has a dashboard view with widgets for everything it tracks which are all able to be arranged in the order you prefer.
As mentioned the app lets you set goals. For instance you can set a target weight or target amount of daily steps. For extra motivation you can share on Facebook (nobody wants to not do something they said they would). Additionally, you can get some social motivation by challenging a friend and comparing who is winning by clicking on the leaderboard option in the menu.
At this point I prefer a wearable fitness tracker over an app-only tracker mainly because there are times when I don’t want to have my phone on me (like when I’m on the treadmill). Of the wearables I’ve tried so far, I like the Pulse O2 the best in terms of comfort and features. The style isn’t bad and the watch-mode is pretty nice: I like being able to see the time, date and steps taken at-a-glance on one screen.
If you’re looking for a capable wearable fitness tracker that’s comfortable and relatively stylish give the Withings Pulse O2 a serious look.