Our Must-Have Fitness Partner of the Year nominees all helped the ShinyShiny team get moving – and most importantly, keep moving – throughout 2014. Our shortlist was packed with our favourite fitness trackers and apps, ranging from the cheap and simple Fitbug Org right through to the heart rate monitoring Withings Pulse Ox.
The winner our panel here at ShinyShiny chose was the Fitbit Flex. (You can read our full review here). This fitness tracker is our favourite of the whole year because it ticks all of the boxes. Let’s start with looks: its slim wristband is subtle enough to wear pretty much anywhere (except if you’re deep sea diving, sorry guys), you can switch the colours out to match your outfit and it’s really comfortable for an always-on wristband.
The tech inside accurately tracks your steps and sleep throughout the day and night and it allows you to sync up with Fitbit’s brilliant app, which serves up your most important data in the most accessible and user-friendly way we’ve come across yet from a health, fitness and general wellbeing app. We found that the app’s food database is lacking a little, but you can sync your calorie tracking up with your Flex via MyFitnessPal and most recently, Weight Watchers, which will make the gadget even more of a must-have for all of those keen to lose weight and keep tabs on their eating.
The device that scooped up the Highly Commended accolade was the Misfit Shine. (Check out our full review here). This UFO-like, magnetic gadget laughs in the face of the plastic-y wristbands from Fitbit, Garmin and the like and instead provides consumers with much more choice about how they use and wear their wearable. You can choose from a standard wristband, a leather one, a belt clip, a sports band or a (rather lovely) Bloom necklace. Despite that, the Misfit app doesn’t cut it against the Fitbit’s ecosystem, which is why it couldn’t win in our eyes, but still deserves a mighty honourable mention for (quite literally) breaking the mould.
Well done, Fitbit and Misfit – we won’t blame you if you don’t track the calories in your Champagne.
In Nike+, Nike have set up an ecosystem that’s the envy of the wearable world. Comprising of the Fuelband, a running community, and some brilliantly-designed apps for running and training, it gives you stats and support in a no-nonsense package. Nike+ Running is one of our favourite apps of all time, providing distance, pace, GPS and more in a slickly simple yet comprehensive style.
OK, this one does look like a gadget. With a small, retro screen permanently displaying the time and your stats, it’s a love-hate bit of kit – not everyone wants their info on display all the time. We loved it, though: you just have to glance at your wrist to see your data, which kept us active. The step-counting is accurate, and although the app is a little disappointing in comparison to Fitbit and Jawbone’s, it’s a wearable we actually enjoyed wearing.
RunKeeper stands out among fitness apps because as well as tracking runs brilliantly, it can also accurately monitor hiking, swimming and cycling. Handy.
Withings Pulse Ox
Designed to help you make informed choices, the Withings Pulse Ox captures your steps, how far you’ve walked, how high you’ve climbed and how many calories you’ve burnt. It can handle sleep cycles, heart rate and blood oxygen too. A true multi-tasker.
The Fitbug Orb is one of the cheapest activity trackers on the market, but it still gets the job done, providing you with data about your activity throughout the day and even serving up a series of coaching programmes depending on what you’re aiming for. The design may not be as slick as some of the more high-end devices, but it’s small and discreet nonetheless.
Samsung Gear Fit
Samsung’s Gear Fit device has all of the activity tracking credentials of other wearables on the market, like the Misfit Shine, but also notifies you of calls and activity on your mobile.