- BodyMedia: A+ in the winter, B+ any time you can’t wear sleeves
- FuelBand: A-, because the USB-adapter would be way too easy to forget
- FitBit: B+, for the same reason
During the winter, the armband would probably be pretty convenient, because you could put it on an forget about it. The same is true with the FuelBand. The FitBit, though, is a little harder to remember–I accidentally left it clipped to a bra that I didn’t bring with me over a long weekend, which was disappointing.
All three are easy to charge, too–and all three are testaments to the creativity of product developers. FitBit sits on a little stand, which is cool, while the FuelBand uses a USB adapter that plugs into the bracelet itself. That feature has wowed more than a few design nerds I know.
The BodyMedia wins the easiest charging, though; it uses the same micro USB that my phone uses, which means I don’t have to carry a separate charger like I do for the others. That feature alone makes it best for travel–assuming you’re traveling somewhere that you’ll be wearing a sweater or jacket. And while they all have long-lasting batteries, BodyMedia also re-charges the fastest, hands-down.
- BodyMedia: B-
- FuelBand: B+
- FitBit: A+
If you’re judging affordability on price alone, the FuelBand (which is about $150) is the most expensive. The BodyMedia armband that I used is about $120, while the Bluetooth enabled one is comparable to the FuelBand. The FitBit is the least expensive–it’s just $99.
But here’s the rub: The BodyMedia also requires, after three free months, a monthly fee to use its online interface. It’s just $7 per month, but over time, that makes it much more costly than the others. But if you don’t mind shelling out the price of two lattes (to put it in the public radio parlance) each month, the very-useful interface and “personal training” might be worth it.
All three of these trackers are great in their own way. The FitBit is tiny, easy-to-use, super-friendly, and very customizable. The FuelBand is perfect for serious athletes who like intense workouts, clear metrics, and aren’t that concerned about weight loss. The BodyMedia is good for data geeks who like the idea of an actual set of sensors monitoring their body, and for those who want to get serious about weight loss.
But, when factoring in affordability, appearance, and usability, I’d have to grade them as such:
- BodyMedia: B…though with a better method of use (i.e., not that armband), it could easily be bumped up to an A, due to convenience of charging.
- FuelBand: A-, but only because it didn’t also offer anything dietary.
- FitBit: A, because it’s the friendliest, least expensive, and (assuming you don’t forget it), easiest to wear.
In the end, the FitBit was still my favorite–but I don’t think it’s because of my previous bias. I was more than prepared for one of the other trackers to totally win me over, but neither was quite as complete-feeling as the FitBit. Though I’m pretty sure if BodyMedia could get the wearability issue ironed out (and make it a little more affordable), they’ve be an easy contender.
And really, even if you choose a super-basic pedometer, any kind of fitness tracker is going to help you get motivated and move more. Which, if your goal is to get healthy and be more active, any one of these fun toys can help you get there–because you’re already starting with the right attitude.
Images: Mine, or from the respective websites