Pretty much every emerging fitness tracker now features wrist-based optical heart rate monitoring. Even companies who used to steer clear of optical HRMs, such as Garmin and Polar are now adding them to their new wearables.

If you are serious about heart rate training, then EKG chest straps still, and probably always will be more accurate. But, you don’t have to be training for the Olympics to benefit from a heart rate monitor, and with the general activity tracking trend through the roof, people of all fitness levels are getting involved and many don’t mind sacrificing a bit of accuracy for the comfort and ease of having a HRM on their wrists instead of around their chests.

It’s obviously early in 2016, so we will be updating this post as new devices are released in the coming year. Here’s the best of what’s on offer so far in 2016..

All the fitness trackers featured in this guide are in chronological order – newest at the top..

 

Best Fitness Trackers 2016 With Built-in HRMs

Fitbit Charge 2

best-heart-rate-fitness-trackers-fitbit-charge-2

The Fitbit Charge 2 offers all of the fitness tracking essentials and some more. It comes in a range of colors and the straps can be swapped, so it can be worn with all kinds of flavors.

The Charge 2 has an OLED touchsreen display which can be controlled with taps or using the button on the side. It has a built-in heart rate monitor, and other features include a move reminder, guided breathing exercises, cardio fitness level, and automatic recognition for activities such as cycling, running, and several other sports.

Main Features

Release Date: September 2016

Display: OLED Touchscreen

Tracking: Steps, Distance, Calories, Floors Climbed, Active Minutes, Continuous Heart Rate

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration

GPS: No

Water Resistant: Splash Proof

Smart Notifications: Calls, Text, Calendar Alerts

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Compatible with iOS / Android / Windows

Battery Life: Up to 5 Days

Fitbit Charge 2

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Samsung Gear Fit2

best-fitness-trackers-with-heart-rate-2016-samsung-gear-fit2

The Samsung Gear Fit2 has landed to rattle the cages of the Fitbit Blaze and Garmin Vivoactive HR, both of which have been ruling sales since their recent releases.

The Gear Fit2 is built for both indoor and outdoor activities, and with a 1GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of Ram, it has similar specs to a high-end smartwatch.

Setting the Gear Fit2 apart from the rest (except the TomTom Spark) is its standalone music player with 4GB of storage. This means you can load up to 1,000 MP3s onto your wrist, connect some Bluetooth headphones, and Jong-Kyun Shin’s your uncle..

Along with a standalone music player, heart rate monitoring and every fitness tracking feature under the sun, the Gear Fit2 features a built-in GPS which brings a whole load more possibilities for tracking outdoor activities.

There’s no need to manually input your activities, as the Gear Fit2 automatically recognizes them. There’s a total of 15 sports and activities, including: running, walking, cycling, treadmill, training bike, rowing machine, step machine, eliptical, pilates, yoga, crunches and squats.

Samsung’s hi-tech fitness tracker displays animations to illustrate the correct exercise techniques, provides feedback at set intervals during your workout, and plenty more. To round it off, your metrics, maps, etc, are displayed on an impressive Super AMOLED touchscreeen that curves around your wrist.

As far as HRM accuracy for high intensity workouts, the Gear Fit2 is probably just short of Fitbit and Garmin.

Main Features

Release Date: June 2016

4GB Standalone Music Player

Display: 1.5” 216 x 432 Color Super AMOLED Touchscreen

Tracking: Steps, Distance, Calories, Speed, Pace, Elevation, Active Minutes, Continuous Heart Rate

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration

GPS: Yes

Water Resistant: IP68 (Not for Swimming)

Smart Notifications: Calls, Text, Email, Social Media, Calendar Alerts

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Compatible with Android 4.4 + Devices With at Least 1.5GB of RAM

Battery Life: Up to 4 Days Depending on Usage / Up to 9 Hours GPS Tracking

Samsung Gear Fit2

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Garmin Vivoactive HR

best-fitness-tracker-2016-with-hrm-garmin-vivoactive-hr

The Garmin Vivoactive HR packs all the activity tracking essentials, GPS, heart rate monitoring, sports modes, weather reports, smart notifications, music control and more.

It has a 205 x 148 color touchscreen – more vibrant than the original model. Garmin wearables are suited for the outdoors so their displays generally respond well to sunlight.

Along with a pretty major design overhaul, the new Vivoactive HR features Garmin’s automatic exercise recognition technology, Move IQ. There are also new modes for tracking paddle boarding, rowing, skiing and snowboarding, along with a barometric altimeter and moderate and vigorous Intensity Minutes.

The sports modes onboard the Vivoactive HR include: running, walking, biking, swimming and golf. It’s compatible with Garmin Connect IQ so you can download apps, widgets, data fields, watch faces and more. As far as BPM accuracy, Garmin’s Elevate optical HRM is one of the best in the business.

Main Features

Release Date: May 20th 2016

Display: 0.80 x 1.13-inch 205 x 148 Color Touchscreen

Tracking: Steps, Distance, Calories Burned, Speed, Pace, Floors Climbed, Intensity Minutes, Continuous Heart Rate

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration

GPS: Yes (and GLONASS)

Water Resistant: 5 ATM (Features Advanced Swim Tracking)

Smart Notifications: Calls, Text, Email, Social Media, Calendar Alerts

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Compatible With  Android 4.3 + / iOS iPhone 4S + / Windows 10 +

Battery Life: Up to 8 days (HRM + Activity Tracking) / 13 Hours (GPS Mode)

Garmin Vivoactive HR

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Fitbit Blaze

best-heart-rate-monitor-fitness-trackers-2016-fitbit-blaze

The latest arrival from the world’s leading fitness tracker firm doesn’t feature a built-in GPS like last years Fitbit Surge, but it can connect to your smartphone’s GPS so you can still map your outdoor runs – obviously you’ll need to take your phone with you. One thing’s for sure, the new Fitbit Blaze is far more friendly on the eye than the Surge. The watch case is made from stainless steel and there are a decent selection of straps available, including leather and a stainless steel chain link to match the case.

The Blaze has a 240 x 180 color LCD touchscreen protected by Gorilla Glass 3, and for added style you can find color coordinated watch faces to match the different straps. Onboard is Fitbit’s SmartTrack feature which automatically recognizes activities, plus the Multi-Sport feature which enables you to choose from a list of 15 popular sports.

The Blaze has added calendar reminders to the incoming call and text message notifications found on last year’s Surge, and you can also use the stylish new fitness watch to reject incoming calls and control music on your smartphone.

The Fitbit app plays nicely with plenty of third-party apps, and with IFTTT intergration a world of possibilities for making new connections and controlling devices is opened up.

Only just released and the Fitbit Blaze is already the number 1 best seller on Amazon. Fitbit’s PurePulse heart rate monitoring technology is one of the most accurate wrist-worn solutions available.

Main Features

Release Date: March 2016

Display: 240 x 180 Color LCD touchscreen

Tracking: Steps, Distance, Calories, Floors Climbed, Active Minutes, Continuous Heart Rate

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration

GPS: No

Water Resistant: Splash proof Only

Smart Notifications: Calls, Text, Calendar Alerts

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Compatible With Android / iOS iPhone 4S + / Windows

Battery Life: Up to 5 Days

Fitbit Blaze

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Garmin Forerunner 235

best-hrm-fitness-trackers-2016-garmin-235

The Forerunner 235 replaces the FR225 as Garmin’s optical HRM watch. Unlike the 225 which uses HRM tech from Mio, the FR235 is installed with Garmin’s in-house Elevate tech.

The FR235 is a blend between GPS sports watch, activity tracker and smartwatch. It boasts some advanced features for running, such as VO2 max, race predictor, recovery advisor, auto lap, pace alert and audio prompts. It features automatic sleep monitoring, delivers smart notifications, and allows you to control your music playlist.

As far as HRM accuracy goes, the story is pretty much the same as the Vivosmart HR which also uses Elevate. It’s better for resting heart rate than high intensity workouts and takes a while to recalibrate when your intensity changes. It still remains to be seen whether the FR235 is as accurate as the FR225 which uses Mio tech. If it’s very important for you to have accurate heart rate data, the FR235 can be paired with ANT+ chest straps for those HIIT sessions.

The FR235 is compatible with Garmin Connect IQ which means watch faces, widgets, data fields and more can be downloaded to customize your experience. The bottom line is the FR235 is a top option..

Main Features

Release Date: December 2015

Display: 1.23″ 215 x 180 Color LCD (not touchscreen)

Tracking: Steps, Distance, Calories, Speed, Pace, Heart Rate, Intensity Minutes

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration

GPS: Yes (and GLONASS)

Water Resistant: 5 ATM (No Dedicated Swim Mode)

Smart Notifications: Calls, Text, Email, Social Media, Calendar Reminders

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Compatible With Android 4.3 + / iOS (iPhone 4S +) / Windows 10 +

Battery Life: Up to 9 Days in Watch Mode / 11 Hours in GPS Mode With HRM

Garmin Forerunner 235

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Garmin Vivosmart HR

best-fitness-trackers-2016-garmin-vivosmart-hr

The Vivosmart HR was Garmin’s second wrist-worn wearable to be released with a built-in HRM, but unlike the first – the FR225 which uses Mio HRM tech, the Vivosmart uses Garmin’s in-house Elevate tech. The original Vivosmart was one of the most popular fitness trackers of 2015, so adding optical HRM capabilities to it makes perfect sense.

The Vivosmart HR has a touchscreen display with a backlight for the dark, music control, Phone Finder, VIRB control and it can be used in the swimming pool. There’s an Autogoal feature that learns about your fitness level and auto assigns daily goals, and an Activity Intensity feature that measures your fitness against goals recommended by organizations such as the American Heart Association.

Obviously with the word “smart” in the title you would expect some smart notifications – the Vivosmart HR has you covered, including social media. I’m currently wearing the Vivosmart HR for our review and have to say it definitely deserves its place on this list. The HRM accuracy is better for resting heart rate than high intensity workouts and takes a while to recalibrate when your intensity changes.

Main Features

Release Date: November 2015

Display: 1 inch 160 x 168 LCD Touchscreen

Tracking: Steps, Distance, Calories, Floors Climbed, Activity Intensity, Continuous Heart Rate

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration

GPS: No

Water Resistant: 5 ATM (Okay for Swimming)

Smart Notifications: Calls, Text, Email, Social Media, Calendar Alerts

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Compatible With Android 4.3 + / iOS iPhone 4S + / Windows 10 +

Battery Life: Up to 5 Days

Garmin Vivosmart HR

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Polar A360

best-HRM-fitness-trackers-2016-polar-a360

Polar finally gave in to the temptation of adding a wrist-based HRM to one of their wearables. The Finnish firm are well-known for their GPS watches, but in the case of the A360 they’ve substituted the GPS for an optical HRM.

The first thing you notice about the Polar A360 is the vibrant color display, which is also touch-enabled. There’s onboard gesture control which means you can activate the display just by twisting your wrist, it can also be activated by pressing a button on the side.

It is quite a chunky wearable, but no more than many of its competitors. Despite its chunkiness, the A360 feels light and comfortable to wear and has soft, interchangeable straps. Although it looks like a smartwatch hybrid (like the Samsung Gear Fit2) it doesn’t really brandish many smartwatch features, apart from a few different watch faces that can be changed by holding down on the display, and notifications, or rather notification excerpts.

The Polar A360 joins a select few as one of the only fitness trackers with a built-in heart rate monitor that can be used in the pool. There’s an onboard training app with modes for strength training, crossfit, cycling, running, group exercise, walking, customizable/favorite indoor/outdoor activities and swimming – although it has no advanced swimming features you’ll be able to track your calorie burn in the pool. The A360 uses its Smart Calories feature and the HRM and to estimate calorie burn so it can more precisely attribute your swims and chosen activities with greater accuracy towards your daily goal.

The A360 only monitors your heart rate during workouts and is not continuous. As far as accuracy goes the A360 isn’t the best of the bunch – especially not great for high intensities. However, it can be paired with a Polar H7 HRM chest strap which is one of the best and includes VO2 Max.

Main Features

Release Date: November 2015

Display: Color LCD Touchscreen

Tracking: Steps, Distance, Calories, Heart Rate

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration

GPS: No

Water Resistant: 30 Meters (Safe For Swimming)

Smart Notifications: Calls, Text, Social Media, Calendar Reminders

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Compatible With Android 4.3 + / iOS 7 +

Battery Life: Around 10 Days

Polar A360

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Microsoft Band 2

best-fitness-trackers-2016-with-a-built-in-heart-rate-monitor-microsoft-band-2

If you’re looking for a fitness tracker with more features than Mark Henry’s dinner plate, look no further than the Microsoft Band 2. Unlike its Flat Earth predecessor, the MS Band 2 has a curved design and the Gorilla Glass 3 AMOLED touchscreen contours around your wrist – which makes it far less awkward to wear.

Onboard is a total of 11 sensors and some advanced features that you’d normally only find on devices twice the price, such as VO2 Max measurements, a golf shot detection feature, built-in GPS, galvanic skin response and a UV sensor.

The MS Band 2 also offers advanced sleep tracking, such as keeping tabs on your resting heart rate throughout the night and providing data about how well your mind and body recovered in relevance to your sleep quality.

There are notifications galore, remote control for music apps such as Spotify, a built-in microphone and Microsoft’s digital voice assistant Cortana lives on the band – ready for some rhetorical conversation, but she only speaks to people running Windows Phone 8.1 +.. Update: Cortana now works for Android users thanks to an update to the Microsoft Health Android app (U.S only for now).

The MS Band 2 works with the Microsoft Health app and plays nicely with some big-gun third-party apps, including: MyFitnessPal, Strava, Golf with TaylorMade, MapMyRide, MapMyRun and more. If you feel like a break from eating green beans and asparagus, you can also hook the Band up to some fast food apps like Subway and Starbucks, or even order yourself a ride with the Uber app.

Of course all these sensors and features packed into a little device with a full-color touchscreen weighs heavily on the battery.

When it comes to heart rate accuracy compared to the rest of the devices featured here, the Microsoft Band 2 sits somewhere around the middle. As we find with just about every other wrist-based HRM, the higher the intensity, the less accurate.

Main Features

Release Date: October 2015

Display: Color AMOLED Touchscreen

Tracking: Steps, Distance, Calories, UV, GSR, Skin Temperature, Elevation, Speed, Pace, VO2 Max, Continuous Heart Rate

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration, Resting Heart Rate

GPS: Yes

Water Resistant: Only Slightly (Not For Showering)

Smart Notifications: Calls, Text, Email, Social Media, Calendar Reminders

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Compatible With Android 4.3 + / iOS 7 (iPhone 4S +) / Windows Phone 8.1 +

Battery Life: 1 – 2 Days Depending on Usage

Microsoft Band 2

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TomTom Spark Cardio + Music

best-heart-rate-fitness-trackers-tomtom-spark

The TomTom Spark Cardio + Music is a versatile wearable suitable for outdoor and indoor activities with mulit-sport modes which including running, cycling, swimming, treadmill and training bike.

It features a standalone music player with 3GB of storage – enough for more than 500 tracks so you can connect a pair of Bluetooth headphones and head out for a run or to the gym and leave your smartphone at home.

The Spark has a full suite of activity tracking features, however, its lack of smartphone notifications for calls, emails, etc, may be a deal breaker for some. Also, it doesn’t give you remote control over your smartphone’s music apps, but I suppose the 3GB standalone music player makes up for it.

The TomTom Spark uses LifeQ heart rate technology, and as far as accuracy, it’s one of the best on the market – on par, or perhaps even better than Garmin and Fitbit. The Spark monitors your heart rate 24/7 and enables you to train using heart rate zones with voice prompts to keep you in the correct zones.

Main Features

Release Date: October 2015

3GB Standalone Music Player

Display: 22 x 25mm Monochrome LCD (Not Touchscreen)

Tracking: Steps, Distance, Calories, Speed, Pace, Elevation, Active Minutes, Heart Rate

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration

GPS: Yes

Water Resistant: 5 ATM (Features Advanced Swim Tracking)

Smart Notifications: No (Maybe Coming in the Future)

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Android 4.3 + / iOS 7.1 +

Battery Life: Up to 3 weeks (Activity Tracking), Up to 11 hours (GPS Mode), Up to 5 Hours (Activity Tracking + GPS + Music Playback)

TomTom Spark Cardio + Music

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Note: There are different versions of the TomTom Spark. If you want the music player and heart rate monitor, make sure you go for the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music.

ASUS VivoWatch

best-firness-trackers-2016-with-heart-rate-monitor-asus-vivowatch..

Asus came up with a great looking smartwatch in the ZenWatch, and now they’re looking to claim a slice of the fitness tracking pie with the VivoWatch that has inherited the aesthetics of its ZenWatch cousin.

Compared to the Android Wear ZenWatch and some other high-end fitness trackers, the VivoWatch is pretty basic, but what it does, it does well. It has a Gorilla Glass 3 touchscreen display and 4 watch faces to choose from. Onboard are some tidy features such as an overall Happiness Index and a flashing LED that changes color for different heart rate zones and alerts you of high UV levels. You can also sync activity data with Apple HealthKit and Google Fit.

The accuracy of the VivoWatch’s continuous heart rate monitor isn’t the best of the bunch but it’s also not the worst. If you’re looking to import data from existing fitness apps or integrate with other third-party apps – move on because the VivoWatch doesn’t do it.

Main Features

Release Date: May 2015

Display: 128 x 128 Memory LCD Touchscreen

Tracking: Steps, Calories, UV Index, VivoPulse Continuous Heart Rate

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Heart Rate, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration

GPS: No

Water Resistant: IP67 (Okay for Showering)

Smart Notifications: Incoming Calls, Texts

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Compatible With Android 4.3 + / iOS 8.1 +

Battery Life: 10 Days in Normal Mode / 24 Hours in HRM Fitness Mode

Asus VivoWatch

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Jawbone UP3

best fitness tracker 2016 jawbone up3

The Jawbone UP3 has is packed with more sensors per square inch than any other fitness tracker – maybe apart from the MS Band 2. Its tri-axis accelerometer and bioimpedence sensor monitors skin temperature, perspiration, respiration and fatigue, continuous and resting heart rate. All the quantified self essentials are onboard and there’s a Smart Coach feature that learns about you over time and offers tips on how to achieve a greater fitness level

When it comes to sleep monitoring, the Jawbone UP3 is one of the best. It automatically detects when your forty winks kick in and provides in-depth analysis, including, light vs deep sleep, REM sleep stages and resting heart rate during your night’s noddage. There’s also a vibrating alarm to wake you up in the morning and sleep improvement tips can be found in the UP app.

The UP3 is small, lightweight, comfortable and has a discrete look for those who don’t want to advertise their fitness tracking tech. As well as being a tidy fitness companion, the UP3 also brings smart notifications to your wrist. There’s no screen, instead it has LEDs that flash different colors: blue for activities, orange for sleep and white for notifications.

The UP app is very decent. It works with plenty of third-party apps, including Runkeeper and MapMyFitness and allows you to integrate data from your existing apps. It also works with IFTTT so you can cook up recipes to to control devices in your smart home.

Main Features

Release Date: April 2015

Display: LED

Tracking: Steps, Distance, Calories, Elevation, Speed, Pace, Respiration, Skin temperature, Ambient Temperature, Fatigue, Continuous Heart Rate

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration, REM Sleep, Resting Heart Rate

GPS: No

Water Resistant: 1 ATM (Not For Swimming)

Smart Notifications: Calls, Text, Email, Social Media

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Compatible With Android 4.3 + / iOS (iPhone 4S +) / Windows 10 +

Battery Life: Up To 7 days

Jawbone UP3

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Fitbit Charge HR

best-fitness-tracker-2016-fitbit-charge-hr

Without doubt the most popular fitness tracker of 2015, and the Fitbit Charge HR continues to dominate sales coming into 2016. However, with the recent release of the Garmin Vivosmart HR, Fitbit will be looking over their giant shoulder. The advantage that Fitbit will always have over Garmin is the fact that they are just more damn trendy.

The Fitbit Charge HR OLED display is activated by a button on the side, and then each press will show you a different statistic. The display can also be activated by giving it a couple of taps. Fitbit’s PurePulse HRM is one of the most accurate of the bunch, and we found the step count and distance to be very decent as well when comparing it to GPS measurements. There’s an onboard SmartTrack feature that auto records exercises, simplified heart rate zones and smartphone notifications for incoming calls.

The Fitbit app allows you to share your progress on social platforms, compete on the Fitbit Leaderboard, log your food and calorie intake and it works with plenty of third-party apps, including: MyFitnessPal, Endomondo, MapMyRun, Strava, Weightwatchers, and IFTTT which opens up more connection possibilities.

Main Features

Release Date: January 2015

Display: OLED

Tracking: Steps, Distance, Calories, Floors Climbed, Active Minutes, Continuous Heart Rate

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration

GPS: No

Water Resistant: 1 ATM (Not Recommended for Showering)

Smart Notifications: Calls

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Compatible With Android / iOS iPhone 4S + / Windows

Battery Life: Up to 5 Days

Fitbit Charge HR

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Fitbit Surge

top-hrm-fitness-trackers-2016-fitbit-surge

The Surge is Fitbit’s flagship wearable and is a step up from most of the others featured here. That’s because along with Fitbit’s PurPulse HRM it also has a built-in GPS and 15 sports and exercise modes, including: cycling, martial arts, yoga, weights and tennis.

Being a semi smartwatch, you’d expect some smartwatch features onboard. You can use the Fitbit Surge to control your smartphone’s music playlist – it uses an AVRCP Bluetooth profile to control music, so your music app needs to be compatible with AVRCP. It has a monochrome touchscreen LCD that looks good in sunlight, it also has a backlight so you can use it in the dark.

The Surge takes care of all the quantified self essentials with decent accuracy and the onboard GPS opens up a new dimension for outdoor fitness – definitely a winning feature. It also works with IFTTT which opens up a new realm of possibilities including controlling your smart home devices. The Surge is one of the most advanced fitness trackers out there.

Main Features

Release Date: January 2015

Display: Monochrome LCD Touchscreen

Tracking: Steps, Distance, Calories, Floors Climbed, Active Minutes, Continuous Heart Rate, Pace, Speed

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration

GPS: Yes

Water Resistant: 5 ATM (Not For Swimming Though)

Smart Notifications: Calls, Text

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Compatible With Android / iOS iPhone 4S + / Windows

Battery Life: 5 -7 Days (Without GPS) / 10 Hours (With GPS)

Fitbit Surge

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Basis Peak

best-fitness-tracker-2016-guide-basis-peak

The Intel owned Basis Peak is one of our favorite fitness trackers. Although it lacks a few features of the top devices, such as GPS, it makes up for it in other areas. The Basis Peak looks good and feels great to wear. It has the best build quality of all and a sexy Gorilla Glass 3 touchscreen with an available backlight and high contrast so it looks great outdoors. Separating the Basis Peak from most HRM fitness trackers is the fact that it can be used for swimming

It is one of the most advanced sleep tracking wearables available – tracking light vs deep sleep, and REM (rapid eye moment).. It uses a proprietary technology called Body IQ that automatically recognizes your activities (running, walking, cycling and sleep). It also features a vibrating alarm, smart notifications, social media sharing, and something called “Location” – a graphic showing you the general location where you have been active using coarse tracking which derives your location from cellphone/Wi-Fi towers.

One metric that was confusingly left out of the Basis Peak is Distance Travelled. However, Runtastic integration was bought to the BP making up for some of the missing features, such as distance, speed, pace, elevation and altitude. It also monitors galvanic skin response – temperature and perspiration and lays all your stats out in a tidy graph in the app.

The heart rate monitor is one of the more accurate of the wrist-worn devices, but it still lags behind dedicated EKG chest straps – which is where you should be looking if you want the best HRM accuracy.

It’s worth mentioning that customer support for the Basis Peak is second to none, and you can contact them through the app. Lastly, updates roll out frequently for the BP to keep it up with the times.

Main Features

Release Date: November 2014

Display: Monochrome LCD Touchscreen

Tracking: Steps, Calories, Continuous Heart Rate, Skin Temperature, Perspiration

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration, REM Sleep

GPS: No

Water Resistant: 5 ATM (Safe For Swimming)

Smart Notifications: Calls, Text, Email

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Compatible With Android 4.4.2 + / iOS 8 +

Battery Life: Around 4 Days

Basis Peak

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Jaybird Reign

best-fitness-trackers-2016-HRV-jaybird-reign

The Jaybird Reign offers something different to the majority of HRM fitness trackers as it monitors heart rate variability (HRV). Monitoring your HRV (interval time between heartbeats in milliseconds) helps the Jaybird to Reign understand your fatigue and recovery patterns.

Recovering properly is crucial if you want to continue improving and reach your optimal performance level. The Jaybird Reign is essentially a a recovery tool. Onboard is a feature called Go-Zone that learns your unique HRV signature and gives you a daily score which indicates how much you can push yourself for your upcoming workout.

HRV technology is used in professional, high intensity sports to monitor the recovery levels of athletes, helping better understand when and how hard they can push themselves in their next training session.

The Jaybird Reign a decent looking wearable and was quite a good seller in 2015 according to its popularity on UrbanWearables – obviously people are aware of the benefits of a HRV monitor. It features automatic sleep recognition and auto detects sports: running, cycling, walking and swimming.

The LED display tells the time in a strange kind of way and also shows your goal progress, but you don’t get any smartphone notifications or vibration alerts.

Main Features

Release Date: November 2014

Display: LED

Tracking: Steps, Distance, Calories, Heart Rate Variability

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration

GPS: No

Water Resistant: Yes (Safe for Swimming)

Smart Notifications: No

Vibration Alerts: No

Mobile App: Compatible With Android 4.3 + / iOS (iPhone 4S +)

Battery Life: Around 4 – 5 days

Jaybird Reign

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LifeTrak BRITE R450

LifeTrak-BRITE-R450-HRM-activity-trackers-2016

The LifeTrak BRITE R450 isn’t as beautiful as some of the others with their colour touchscreens but it does have a unique LightTrak feature which monitors your exposure to ambient and blue light levels. Balancing the light levels can apparently contribute to enhanced energy levels, better moods and higher quality sleep.

The R450 puts its own spin on sleep monitoring with LifeTrak’s SleepTrak 2.0 – an intelligent system that automatically wakes you up with a silent alarm after your optimal amount of sleep. Personally I’d prefer to rely on my God-given body clock to tell me whem I’m ready to emerge from my pit, but if your body clock’s gone Willy Wonker then I guess it’s worth a try..

The R450 can be used for swimming, it never needs charging thanks to a coin cell battery that lasts for 6 months, and it has interchangeable straps with a variety of colors.

The heart rate monitor is a little different to the rest as you need to press and hold a button to see wave reference and a percentage of your maximum heart rate. As far as accuracy goes, the LifeTrak BRITE R450 is one of the best.

Main Features

Release Date: October 2014

Display: Monochrome

Tracking: Steps, Distance, Calories, Ambient/Blue Light, Continuous Heart Rate

Sleep Tracking: Automatic, Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration

GPS: No

Water Resistant: 90 ft (Safe for Swimming)

Smart Notifications: Calls, Text, Email, Social Media, Calendar Reminders

Vibration Alerts: Yes

Mobile App: Compatible With Android 4.3 + / iOS 7 +8.1 +

Battery Life: 6 Months

LifeTrak BRITE R450

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