NY Times Compares Fitness Trackers, Generic Pedometer Takes Second Place


12-26-2012 10-44-44 PM

The New York Times publishes a review of wearable fitness trackers, providing first impressions of the markets most popular devices. Trackers that were tested included: FitBit One, Jawbone’s Up, the BodyMedia FIT, Nike’s FuelBand, and, to keep things honest, a generic $30 Omron pedometer.

The major differentiating features came down to cost, comfort, software usability, and wireless vs. wired data transfer. Of the five devices, the winner was FitBit, due primarily to its comfort, the convenience of wireless data transfer, and software usability.

FitBit has all the bells and whistles one would expect out of something the size of a small thumb drive. It transfers user data via Bluetooth to smartphone devices. The accompanying software displays activity in a variety of supposedly useful graphs and trending data points. It sells for just under $100, which puts it in the middle of the pack from a cost perspective.

Surprisingly, the cheapo pedometer from Omron came in second, Author Farhad Manjoo did not see a broad enough functional spectrum between the other wearable trackers to justify a $149 investment in Nike’s FuelBand over the cheaper $30 Omron pedometer which, while it does not support a wireless upload, does deliver what it promises and ultimately allows the end user to accomplish the same overall goal: measuring daily activity, and converting that to a basic caloric output total.

Conclusion: wearable fitness trackers are exploding in popularity, perhaps for good reason, but if the pedometer in your sock drawer served you well during your last diet, maybe the $150 it will cost to upgrade would be better spent on gym fees or comfortable running shoes.

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