My fitness band desire

I am currently tracking my steps with an app on my now rather old iPhone and finding that it is draining my battery big style. So I have been looking at getting an activity band to wear on my wrist [thereby making the app redundant so that I can a) stop using it and save battery life on my phone, and b) delete it from my phone and free up some space].

I did a bit of research on the various bands, reading reviews and recommendations. I wanted something to track two things [above all else]: steps and sleep! I also wanted the device that I chose to have a good length of time in use, in between each charge of its battery. From my research I narrowed it down to a few bands that were of interest. In a year’s time I think it would be good to remember why exactly I picked the band that I will be wearing (hopefully) still. With that in mind, this is a summary of the information that I gathered and the information from the review’s that I read [Click on the images for more information]:-

Garmin Vivosmart HR

This has good reviews for most functionality, but the heart rate monitor lets it down, in its accuracy. It is an accurate sleep tracker apparently, which really attracted me to it as a go-to purchase. The band is 25.3mm wide, has a battery life of up to 5 days and it is also waterproof up to 5 ATM. Then I found out about the HR+, so thought that I would probably rather have the next model up if it didn’t cost much more. That was this band out of the picture then!

Garmin Vivosmart HR+

I really thought this was the band for me! It has GPS and a sunlight readable touch screen, alongside the step tracking. It is available in purple (so far all the bands that I have looked have been available in a colour somewhat near purple, but this one is really purple!), which is my colour of choice. Like the previous model it can receive smartphone notifications for texts, emails, phone calls and social media. The band is 25.3mm wide, is waterproof to 5 ATM and has an advertised battery life of 5 days. What stopped me buying it? The fact that the band is non-interchangeable meant that it was not the band for me. I like to be able to extend the life of my watches by replacing straps as they wear out, and I anticipated that I would do the same with any activity band that I bought. The fact that this isn’t possible for this band, nor its predecessor, means that these Garmin bands are of no interest to me now.

Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch

This has a colour touchscreen, GPS and all the usual activity monitoring, as well as smartphone alerts and music control. It has a quoted battery life of 5 days from full charge, charges within 2 hours and has memory enough for 7 days worth of detailed activity tracking. It is also water resistant and has music control functions (if you have music on your phone – I don’t!) And, a big bonus (one of my requirements) is that Fitbit sell accessories and replacement bands for the Blaze. However, given that I want to track my sleep and the quoted dimensions for the watch face are 40mm wide, I didn’t think that I would be comfortable wearing this day AND night, so I excluded this one from the start. I also read in a review that ‘sweat’ stops the heart rate monitor working on some units, which seems to defeat the point in having a unit that has HR functionality, so for the price, I excluded this model.

Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity Tracker and Sleep Wristband

The Flex comes with TWO wristbands, an instant win there, and it’s battery is purported to last 5 days. It is 14mm wide and looks to fit neatly on the wrist regardless of body size or gender. it is also water resistant (including sweat, like the other water resistant bands). BUT, I don’t like that the only display it has is 5 lights to tell me how I’m doing. This band requires you to check your performance on the app. Sorry, that is not for me!

Fitbit Charge HR Heart Rate and Activity Wristband

The Charge HR tracks your heart rate, steps and sleep. The band is a neat 21mm wide and like other Fitbits is water resistant. This one had a lot of good reviews and seems accurate, though there are a lot of complaints about build quality, the battery and the heart rate monitor. I looked for replacement bands for this one and couldn’t find any, so once again that puts this model out of the picture for me.

Fitbit Alta

I am running out of options now! This one had better give me something!
The Alta band is 15mm wide, it is available in ‘Plum’, replacement bands are available (metal, leather and multi-coloured bands for a wide range of looks). It comes in 3 sizes, including one to fit my tiny wrists. The band is water resistant (sweat, rain and splash proof), it tracks 5 days of detailed motion data and totals for the previous 30 days. Battery life is up to 5 days, and it charges within 2 hours. Notifications can be received from smartphones for calls and text notifications (iPhone 4S and later and leading Android and Windows devices) as well as calendar alerts on the display. The Alta band track steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes and it has Auto Sleep Tracking and Silent Alarms.

I have deduced that if you want a heart rate monitor, for wrist-based versions, the straps are non-replaceable / non-interchangeable, and you would be better off purchasing a chest strap version for accuracy anyway.

Please note that I have not listed all the functionality for any of the bands mentioned, and I have only mentioned negative things that I have picked up from reading reviews made by other individuals. I have not (yet) tried any activity band, whether those mentioned, or other brands. Therefore this blog is just a lot of words taken from other people and the brand websites; and in no way is it a reflection on the products mentioned, whether positive or negative. It is entirely up to each individual to do their own research to determine which product is most appropriate for them (as I have done and noted here).


2 thoughts on “My fitness band desire

  1. Hi Julie, I’ve used a Fitbit Flex for 3 years, nearly 4 million steps logged! It’s battery does last 5 days (less if you use alarms). I check results on my mac when I want the info. It nows records sleep automatically after a software update about 6 months ago – before that you had to tap it when you got into and out of bed. Recent software update will be appreciated by people like me that still drive a desk 12 hours a day – it has a display widget online that shows if you’ve done at least 250 steps each hour, rather than just daily totals. It’s a great incentive to make yourself go for a quick walk around the garden etc every hour rather than just having a daily target. Drop me a line if you have any specific questions. I’m a happy user and don’t intend to upgrade despite being a gadget freak.

    1. Hi Chris,
      Thanks for the info, it does sound good (4 million steps – that sounds a lot). However, another reason I am considering a fitness band is that I broke the crown and stem on my trusty 20 year old watch. So really I would like to have a time display function too, which I guess puts the flex off my list.
      Therefore, in light of your experience with Fitbit products and based on my criteria, which one would you go for?
      Also, does the band/app show where you have actually been, or is GPS asking too much?

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