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I’ve used every fitness band and wouldn’t recommend any

I’ve used every fitness band and wouldn’t recommend any

I've used every fitness band and wouldn't recommend any

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Every day a new person approaches me asking which fitness bracelet to buy. This isn’t entirely unexpected given that I work for a tech portal, but despite extensive use of nearly every major product in this category, it’s still hard to recommend a fitness accessory without hesitation. There’s a breaking flaw with every gadget we’ve reviewed so far, which leads us to believe that it might be best if you didn’t buy any of these devices, just yet.

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Whenever a new fitness band is unveiled, the question to ask is whether it does something your smartphone doesn’t. If you look at fitness wearables priced below Rs. 10,000, the answer is almost always no. You get basic activity tracking, which almost any smartphone can do very well. You get sleep tracking, which isn’t as essential as fitness band makers would have you believe.

Many fitness bands also require you to manually activate sleep and wake modes, which you will eventually forget to do. If you have trouble sleeping or feel restless after waking up, measuring your sleep patterns will help you quantify the problem, but it’s not a substitute for proper medical advice.

(Also see: Fitness gadgets and apps want to build a healthier India)

Since most people are going to buy fitness clothes in this price range, we feel compelled to advise against buying most of them. If you don’t carry your smartphone with you when you go for a walk or when you work out, then you will need one of these products. Even then, I suggest you get the cheapest one because there’s a good chance you’ll stop using them after a few months or even weeks or days.

There are apps that use your smartphone for activity tracking and we suggest using them rather than buying a gadget. Even though most of them can’t replace professional fitness trainers, they can still help you decide if you need a wearable fitness device or if the apps are good enough for your needs. A big part of your fitness is nutrition and apps like HealthifyMe try to help you eat healthy to stay fit. It may be better to invest in one of these services rather than buying a fitness accessory.

Above Rs. 10,000, you get the one feature your smartphone doesn’t have – a heart rate monitor. If it’s essential for you and you can spend that much money, you should probably get either a smartwatch like the Moto 360 or Apple Watch or a fitness-oriented watch like the Fitbit Surge. With these smartwatches, you get a host of features that basic activity-tracking fitness bands don’t, but the trade-off penalizes battery life. The Fitbit Surge hits the sweet spot between features and battery life (about five days), but it’s priced at Rs. 20,000, which is going to put most people off interested in these products.

An Apple Watch will tell you to stand up periodically, automatically adjust your fitness goals based on your activity, and motivate you to stay active. Apps such as Lark do this too, while the Fitbit app lets you challenge your friends to stay active. We think these are far more important features than just showing your fitness stats. That’s why, as with smartphones, we think it’s better to go for the best wearables for fitness than the cheapest ones. Or just find a good fitness trainer at your local gym to get in shape. It may be cheaper and much more effective.

Check out the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show on Gadgets 360, in our CES 2023 hub.

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