In Review

Best fitness bands and trackers: Fitbits, Samsung and more

New Fitbit Charge 2 is a 'great all-rounder'

On the surface, investing in a fitness tracker or band may seem like something only keen athletes or regular gym-goers would find useful. However, they're fast becoming essentials anyone looking to get a bit more active.

As a result, there's a lot of choice out there, with bands are tailored to different goals and tasks – some are designed for swimming, for example, while others may have heart-rate monitors, sleep-tracking modes or GPS to accurately log a run or bike ride.

Before taking the plunge, it's important to think about what you'll need so you're not paying for features you'll never use.

Here are the bands singled out by reviewers as the best ones out there.

Fitbit Charge 2

Fitbit's latest tracker is one of the best all-rounders you can buy. With a five-star rating from Alphr, it's strongly recommended and a worthy upgrade to the Charge HR.

The Charge 2 gets interchangeable bands and a much larger screen – a 1.5ins (38mm) OLED touch display for time, number of steps, heart rate, distance travelled, calories burned and stairs climbed, as well as summaries of your active minutes and hourly activity. Hit the button on the side and you can scroll through multiple exercises, with specific modes tailored to them.

While it doesn't have built in GPS, you can tether the Charge 2 to your smartphone via Bluetooth for location tracking and workout maps - although Alphr says tracking while untethered is still good enough to put your mind at ease and summaries are presented neatly on the Fitbit app. The lack of built-in GPS means you get an impressive five-day battery life.

In summary, "it has pretty much everything the casual fitness fan could possibly want in a streamlined, attractive package", says the site.

The Charge 2 starts from £129.99.

Fitbit Flex 2

If you want a Fitbit you can take swimming, the Flex 2 might be your best bet. Alongside the Charge 2 it's one of the brand's newest trackers, and comes with water resistance to a depth of 50 metres as well as the ability to count laps and lengths. It can detect different strokes too.

It's a discreet tracker with no screen, only a small pebble-like module that pops in and out easily. There's no GPS or heart rate monitor though, so you'll need to look elsewhere if these are features you need. Like the Charge 2, it has a five-day battery life. Prices start at £79.99.

Samsung Gear Fit 2

TechRadar says that the Gear Fit 2 is a "great choice for fitness newcomers and veterans alike", but it's only a choice you should really consider if you have an Android smartphone – there's no iOS support.

The device's standout feature is its large, curved Super AMOLED display. It's a bright, sharp, colourful screen with a pixel density of 322ppi, and this makes the Fit 2 an easy and robust fitness tracker to operate directly from your wrist. There's on board GPS, but the 3-4 day battery life isn't the best around. It's priced at £149.00.

Polar M400

People wanting to track fitness across multiple sports should opt for the Polar M400, "a nigh-on unbeatable combination of fitness band", according to Trusted Reviews. It monitors daily steps and sleep with GPS, heart-rate activity tracking and complex workout support. "The Polar M400's top-of-the-pile position may not be long-lived," says the website. "But it's unlikely even in the medium term, you'll get such a fully-functioning multisport fitness watch, from a fitness-focused company, at this price." It's priced at £119.50.

Xiaomi Mi Band Pulse

Wearable technology site Wareable picks out Xiaomi's cheap band as the best option for those on a tight budget, adding that it's "possibly the ultimate fitness tracker" given that it's not light on features.

This is a small, screenless band but it packs in a heart rate monitor, can track your steps and sleep, and has a silent alarm function, as well as incoming call alerts, once you've hooked it up to your smartphone. The Pulse starts from £25.

Moov Now

Alphr says the Moov Now like having a personal trainer on your wrist.

Basic features such as a companion app, a pedometer and swimming and cycling-tracking are included, but the Moov coaches you towards achieving your goals, giving audio instructions and encouragement. It may sound odd, but having the device tell you when to speed up, slow down or lengthen your stride should help you get through workouts easier.

Nor do you have to worry about recharging. The Moov Now is fitted with a genuine watch battery that will last around six months. It's competitively priced too, at around £60 with most retailers. 

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