Over the last couple weeks we have looked at a handful of the top fitness trackers and smart watches both at and coming soon to a store near you. However, there is a new space popping up trying to bridge the gap between fitness tracker functions and smart watch functions. Here is a look at a couple of these hybrids.
MICROSOFT BAND $200
A fitness tracking wristband plus app and cloud-computing technology, edging it into the smart watch/fitness band hybrid market. Probably the most full-feature device on the market.
-Display shows texts, FB alerts, calendar items, and Sbux bar codes to pay for your morning americano
– Constant heart rate monitoring
– GPS for accurate run/cycling tracking WITHOUT having to have your phone with you
– All the standard calorie estimates, sleep and steps plus customizable screen
– Cross platform functionality with iPhone, Android or Windows
– Syncs third party apps like MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper and provides workouts from Gold’s Gym, Shape and Men’s fitness
– Microsoft Health platform is not yet integrated to other wearables (like Jawbone or Fitbit) but it is planning to be soon
– No way to interact with notifications coming from and iPhone or Android, but full functionality with Windows
– 48 hour battery life
– Water and dust resistant, but not water proof enough for the shower
– Not super attractive and band is a bit uncomfortable with strap around wrist and screen on top
SAMSUNG GEARFIT $150
Trying to be a perfect marriage between smart watch and fitness tracker, Samsung Gearfit gets mixed reviews.
– Comfortable to wear
– Beautiful display
– Super long battery life
– Tracks heart rate, exercise, calorie intake, etc.
– Inaccurate heart rate monitor and pedometer
– Narrow display and small proprietary charger
– No app ecosystem
– No GPS so distance is inaccurate
TIMEX IRONMAN ONE GPS+ $400 (fall 2014)
Looks like a smart watch, but calls itself a sports tracker. Only makes emergency calls, but does house music. Not sure exactly where this crossover lands, but it has got some solid features.
– Standalone device not needing your phone to connect to because it has its own cell signal and connects to AT&Ts wireless network
– Rugged and durable
– Can send alert messages in case you need help or are hurt, great for hikers and backwoods explorers
– Pairs with apps like RunKeeper, Strava and MyFitnessPal
– Water resistant up to 50 meters
– Touchscreen that looks similar to e-readers
– Not very pretty
– No heart rate monitor built in, but can connect via Bluetooth with an external chest strap
– After your first year it’s $40 to keep the AT&T features on
– 8 hour battery life with GPS, if you play music too its 4 hours
***DISCLAIMER: These opinions are based on public reviews and some trial with the devices. This is not meant to be the definitive word on hybrids, but rather a quick guide noting some of the key features to figure out what is best for you personally.