Technology Review - February/March 21
Track Your Outdoor Exercise
Great gadgets from simple trackers to the smartest smartwatches
One of the simplest and cheapest exercise trackers is the pedometer, which tells you how many steps you’ve walked in a given period. There are lots of them around for very little money: for example, the Omron Walking Style One Step Counter, a pocket-sized digital pedometer, is around £16.
However, if you’d like to track more than just steps, you’ll need to look at a dedicated fitness tracker. These aren’t necessarily much more expensive – you can get Huawei’s attractive and effective Huawei Band 4 for less than £30 – but they’re more useful, as they typically add heart rate monitoring, activity tracking, calories burned and other key data. Some also offer sleep tracking. Although they’re battery-powered they usually last much longer than smartwatches, typically going for over a week between charges and not needing long to recharge. There are versions designed for kids, too, such as the Fitbit Ace, which track activity but not calories.
The next step up from fitness trackers is the smart watch. Apple’s watch is the market leader here, but it’s also one of the most expensive, and you can get good smartwatches such as the Samsung Galaxy (£159) or the Huawei GT2e (£99) for a lot less. These devices offer a wider range of fitness tracking features and usually connect to your smartphone to share data with your health and/or fitness apps.
In many cases the line between fitness trackers is blurred. For example, the Fitbit Versa Lite is a smartwatch, but really it’s a super-powered fitness tracker and unlike more expensive devices you can’t install your own apps.
The latest generation of the Apple Watch is really impressive, both as a smartwatch and as a fitness tracker. It isn’t cheap – the latest model, the Series 6, starts at £379 – but the more affordable Apple Watch SE starts at £269. The older Apple Watch Series 3 is £199, although we think the SE is more capable and worth paying slightly more for.
Apple Watch SE
This is the current mid-range Apple Watch and it’s effectively a cut-down version of the range-topping Series 6. It’s packed with fitness features. £269, Apple.com
Fitbit Inspire HR
This Fitbit is cheap but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in features. It has a workout monitor and heart rate sensing as well as step and calorie counting, and it syncs nicely with Fitbit’s phone app. £59, Fitbit.com
Sigma ROX 7.0 Cycle Computer
If you prefer pedalling to pounding pavements, Sigma’s GPS cycle computer can track your performance on every ride and deliver every conceivable kind of statistic. £59, Wiggle.co.uk
Honor Band 5 Smart Fitness Tracker
A fully featured fitness tracker for under £30? That’s what this little marvel from Honor delivers. It’s a great little device available in a range of colours. £29.99, Amazon.co.uk
Omron Walking Style One 2.0 Step Counter
This pocket-sized device contains the same kind of 3D accelerometer sensor you’ll find in smartphones, enabling you to track your steps, kilometres and miles. £15.99, Argos.co.uk