From our numerous activity tracker reviews we are very familiar with various fitness and sports bands, which are becoming more and more versatile and modern. From these reviews we have compiled the best activity trackers. An activity tracker comparison shows the modern wearables in a clearly arranged table and shows which activity tracker might be suitable for you.
A guide rounds off the article and helps to decide whether an activity tracker or sports band is the right device at all. Here you will find the latest and best activity trackers that are currently available on the market. We have reviewed them ourselves and are convinced of their qualities. Among other things:
- Activity trackers for runners
- Activity trackers with GPS
- Waterproof activity trackers for swimming
- Sports bands
- and more…
Find your personal activity tracker review winner in the following article! Here we go….
- 1 Activity Tracker – Overview
- 2 Activity Tracker – Guide
- 3 Activity Tracker Review – The Sporty One
- 4 Activity Tracker: All-Rounder
- 5 Activity Tracker: Running
- 6 Activity Tracker: It Should Be Simple
- 7 Activity Tracker – Conclusion
Activity Tracker – Overview
To get you started, we have summarized the best activity trackers from our activity trackers reviews, depending on the purpose of use
|Product||Garmin Vivosmart HR+||Fitbit Charge 2||Polar A370||Huawei Band 2 Pro|
|Activity Tracker with GPS & running functions||Activity Tracker – allrounder||Activity Tracker with very good heart rate sensor||Activity Tracker – good price performance ratio|
|Availability||2016 (May)||2016 (March)||2017 (Jun)||2017 (Sept.)|
|Battery (up to)||5 days|
GPS: 8 hours
|5 days||12 days|
(24×7 Activity Tracking
+ 1 hours training per day)
GPS: 3,5 h
(steps, sleep, calories
WR30 (30 meter)
|Resting heart rate||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Accuracy of heart rate measurement for running units||Good||Ok||Very good||Not so good|
|Warning leaving HR zone||Visual|
|Rating Display & Readability|| Good|| Good||Very good||Not so good|
|App Evaluation||Good|| Very good|| Ok||Ok|
|Compatibility|| || || || |
|Our Activity Tracker Review||Vivosmart HR+||Fitbit Charge 2||Polar A370||Huawei Band 2 Pro|
Activity Tracker – Guide
Learn here everything you need to know to choose a suitable activity tracker and which activity tracker types you will find on this page.
Prerequisites: At gadget.fitness we usually look at modern activity trackers and sports bands. This means that the devices can be connected to the smartphone and are enriched by an activity tracker app. This allows you to evaluate activities and personal workout statistics using a smartphone. The device is connected to a mobile phone, computer or app, but can be worn independently on the wrist. A smartphone, tablet or computer is therefore necessary for optimal functionality. The collected fitness data usually ends up on the servers of the manufacturers or app vendors.
The activity trackers featured here usually have more than the above-mentioned features, often additional helpful features such as a sports mode or automatic activity detection. Activity trackers with a heart rate monitor are as much a focus of our reviews as activity trackers with sleep monitoring or smartphone notifications.
When is an Activity Tracker the Right Choice for Me?
A activity tracker is the right choice for you if you want a device that requires little attention and still provides many health functions. Furthermore, if additional functions of a Smartwatch are not so important to you. This handy device is perfect for daily recording and evaluation of your personal health data. Mobility and health-specific functions are the focus here.
You can expect an activity tracker to evaluate your activities and sleep stages, calculate calories burned based on your personal daily activity, or record various types of fitness workouts in a special sport mode. All data can be digitally stored and read out via app. In the app, trends can then be seen for several days and weeks, so that you can counteract them if you notice that you are not moving enough or sleeping.
Activity trackers motivate people to exercise more in their daily lives, earn points and rewards, and some of them even adorn their wrists to match the outfit.
Here is a activity tracker (centered) compared to the Smartwatch (left) and GPS watch (right):
All three wearables offer activity tracking. The activity tracker, however, is the device of your choice, for everyday life and sport. It is discreet, inconspicuous and delivers data via app.
If you need fewer functions, we advise you to consult our Step Trackers reviews and advice. These devices usually offer a little less functionality, but are smaller and easier to use.
If you are looking for devices that can record your heart rate without a chest strap, we recommend that you check our heart rate monitors without a chest strap article. It contains heart rate monitors, sports and fitness watches suitable for everyday life or sport.
Activity Tracker Functionality
An activity tracker or sports band is basically an electronic band that records your activity during the day and at night by means of sensors. You just wear it on your wrist, just like a classic wristwatch. It communicates with the smartphone via a Bluetooth connection and exchanges data. Direct contact with your wrist – especially for activity trackers with a heart rate monitor – is necessary for the device to function optimally.
All activity tracker feature an acceleration sensor that detects accelerations or movement patterns. Therefore, steps, rest periods or the type of sport performed can be recorded automatically. The acceleration sensors and other sensors and components can collect and record various data.
The settings of the device are conveniently made in the App. When you connect your device to your app, current data is displayed and can be evaluated by you. Apps for activity trackers are provided by their respective manufacturers and are available for popular operating systems such as Android or Apple iOS. Some manufacturers also provide small programs for the desktop PC. However, a current browser is sufficient to operate the training platform of a manufacturer.
Many activity trackers have high-contrast or colorful (touch) displays to show the current status. The display can also be used to navigate through the device’s own menu. Differences in display and layout depend on the respective manufacturer. The display shows the number of steps, distances and calories burned during the day. An integrated heart rate monitor can improve the calorie calculation. Most devices alert you to incoming smartphone notifications via vibration alarms or display message snippets directly on the display.
Depending on the battery life, the activity tracker automatically records all necessary data. Some offer a sport or training mode to improve calorie calculation and clearly indicate activity in the app, separating it from other activities. Activities include running, hiking, indoor running, swimming and much more.
The small wearables are usually charged via a supplied micro-USB cable.
The most important features of a activity tracker and sports band include:
- Step counter: measures distances traveled and number of steps.
- Time and date
- Calculation of calories: The activity tracker calculates the calorie consumption based on individual health data and daily activities. An activity tracker with integrated heart rate monitor is able to calculate calorie consumption even more precisely.
- Daily goals: define goals you want to achieve every day. Depending on the model, these can be, for example, steps, calorie consumption or sleep times. The goals can be used to collect motivating points and rewards.
- Movement reminder: if you rest or sit for a longer period of time, the activity tracker usually reminds you to move again by means of an inconspicuous vibration alarm. This can stimulate the blood circulation in the office, for example, if you sit in front of the monitor for too long.
- Heart Rate Measurement: some models can measure the heart rate directly on the wrist. In sports mode, usually every second, in normal mode, dynamically or at fixed minute intervals.
- Training and workouts: Most activity trackers offer a sports mode with different sports profiles. These improve the calculation of calorie consumption and allow a clear separation between activities in the app. In the review, we also have equipment that supports the user in sports mode when performing exercises and records even more profile-specific data. For example, the GPS route while running.
- GPS Routes: GPS routes covered during training, distances and speed.
- Sleep Tracker: All activity trackers in the review record sleep times and phases. This is now working quite well for all manufacturers. If you wear the device regularly at night, trends can be seen. These trends can be used to build more structure into sleep patterns, so that you can be fitter and more energized in the morning.
Activity Trackers – Pros & Cons
Below we explain the advantages and disadvantages of an activity tracker.
- Price: The activity tracker is inexpensive compared to a Smartwatch or GPS sports watch. Depending on the model and equipment, the price of a fully developed activity tracker is between 75 and 200 dollars. If you are interested in following nutrition, workout and rest, then an activity tracker is the right choice for you!
- Dimensions and weight: The activity trackers from our reviews are very light and compact. They weigh only a fraction of a Smartwatch or GPS sports watch. With good comfort, you won’t even notice after a short time that there is a fitness band on your wrist. This device is ideal for daily monitoring of your activities due to its dimensions and weight.
- Inconspicuous and simple: An activity tracker contains a lot of technology and sensors. Nevertheless, its appearance is unobtrusive and simple, so you can wear it on any occasion.
- Functionality: Modern activity trackers have the function to monitor personal activity data. However, they need not hide from more complex wearables in our reviews, because they also support important Smartwatch functions and sports profiles.
- Battery life: Where most Smartwatches need to be charged daily, the battery of an activity tracker lasts much longer. As a rule, a tracker needs to be charged once a week. Some devices can last more than 12 days without having to forego the most important functions.
- Smartphone integration via app: An activity tracker synchronizes most health and training data with the manufacturer’s app. This means that the data also ends up on the manufacturer’s servers. The app visualizes the data, provides a clear overview, provides helpful health tips and helps you achieve your goals.
- Dependency on mobile phone and computer: A smartphone with an appropriate app or a computer is required for data evaluation. Without it, an activity tracker is useless because you can’t access your data.
- Waterproofing: Make sure that an activity tracker is waterproof if you care about it. Some devices are only resistant to sweat or water splashes. Depending on the type of sport and the field of activity, this is of course not enough. Manufacturers often display this characteristic prominently. Examples: Garmin activity trackers are generally waterproof up to 5 ATM (approximately 50 meters). Polar activity trackers up to WR30 (Water resistant 30 meters). However, you should not dive with the waterproof activity trackers. The information does not refer to how deep the device could be submerged, but rather to the water pressure at a certain depth. This water pressure can also occur on the surface of the water, for example when you jump from the edge of the pool into the water.
Activity Tracker Accuracy
Most of the activity trackers presented here are similarly accurate in measuring the steps as we know from our numerous activity trackers reviews. Although manufacturers often use their own algorithms to calculate the steps and distances, the result for all manufacturers – depending on the intensity of the carrier’s activity – is just as good with +/- a few hundred steps per day.
It is important to know that an activity tracker with an acceleration sensor, independent of the manufacturer, can also interpret, for example, the arm movements during the brushing of teeth as steps. If you cycle or push a shopping cart in front of you, however, many manufacturers count almost no steps because the arm movement is missing. Some activity trackers with heart rate monitors, such as the Polar A370, are able to detect an increased heart rate and include such activities in the daily movement statistics.
It is important that an activity tracker should motivate. And that works best with daily goals. For example, you define 10000 steps per day. Once you have reached your goal, you know that you have moved sufficiently or not. It is not only the actual steps that count, but also other movements. One can imagine the measured number of steps as a general unit for activities carried out over the day.
If you want to be a bit more precise, make sure that the activity tracker has a heart rate monitor and uses it 24/7 for the detection of general activities. For example, the Polar A370 mentioned above has an intelligent 24/7 heart rate measurement and also recognizes activities in which the arms are moved less, but the heart rate increases. These include cycling, pushing shopping cart or chairs and so on.
Activity Tracker Review – The Sporty One
One of the most popular and trendy wearable is the activity tracker, which is especially suitable for sports. This band is characterized by its water resistance, an integrated heart rate monitor and, at best, a GPS receiver. In our activity tracker reviews, the majority of devices have a heart rate monitor that has become practically standard.
Activity Tracker Heart Rate Monitor
The following is the best activity tracker with heart rate monitor in our opinion for the sport, because it scores particularly well in the accuracy of heart rate measurement, but is also very versatile in other respects:
Size: three sizes: S, M, L | Weight: 31.7g | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Battery: 12 days | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
The successor of the A360 also has an integrated heart rate monitor and supports many sports profiles, fully automatic sleep analysis, steps, calories, distance and daily goals as well as helpful hints on training benefits and tips on how to achieve your goals. The A370 can now also use the GPS receiver of the smartphone for route tracking and 24/7 heart rate measurement.
For runners, the new option of transferring individual running programs from Polar Flow to the activity tracker is an interesting one, in order to prepare for a competition. It also supports smartphone notifications such as incoming calls, various messages and calendar entries of the smartphone. Another highlight is the high-resolution colour display with support for typing and swiping gestures.
The accuracy of the heart rate measurement was particularly convincing in our Polar A370 single review. At least with constant running units, it held up equally well with a heart rate chest strap:
Polar A370 Overview
Read our detailed A370 review, or take a look at the Polar A370 product page:
Other Recommended Activity Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor
- Activity Tracker with the best app: Fitbit Charge 2 (our Charge 2 review)
- The successor to the popular Charge HR has been significantly improved and equipped with additional features. Highlights include integrated heart rate monitoring, cardio fitness level functions and various sports profiles. For runners, there are also options available: the GPS of the smartphone can be used to record distance, speed and average speed. Furthermore, the Charge 2 offers motion reminders, smartphone alerts and interchangeable bands.
- Versatile Activity Tracker: Garmin Vivosmart HR (our Vivosmart HR individual review)
- The waterproof Vivosmart HR has an integrated heart rate monitor that can be used in many sports profiles. A floors climbed counter is also built in. The Vivosmart HR also offers a 24×7 activity tracker (heart rate, sleep, steps, calories, distance, floors and daily targets) and can forward the heart rate sensor data via ANT+ to compatible devices, such as a bike computer. It supports smartphone notifications such as incoming calls, various messages and calendar entries of the smartphone. The software (web platform and App) is very good.
Activity Tracker Heart Rate
|Fitbit Charge 2||Product page|
|Garmin Vivosmart HR||Product page|
|Polar A370||Product page|
Activity Tracker GPS
We can currently recommend the following activity tracker with GPS for various reasons:
- Activity Tracker with GPS: Garmin Vivosmart HR+ (our Vivosmart HR+ review)
- The waterproof Vivosmart HR+ has an integrated heart rate monitor, a GPS receiver, Move IQ for automatic activity detection and advanced running functions. A Virtual Pacer and Run/Walk-Timer completes the extended running functions. A floors climbed counter is also built in. The Vivosmart HR+ also offers a 24×7 activity tracker (heart rate, sleep, steps, calories, distance, floors and daily targets) and can forward the heart rate sensor’s data to compatible devices such as a bike computer via ANT+. It supports smartphone notifications such as incoming calls, various messages and calendar entries of the smartphone. The software (web platform and App) is very good.
- Activity Tracker with GPS: Huawei Band 2 Pro (our Huawei Band 2 Pro Review)
- The Huawei Band 2 Pro, which is waterproof and suitable for swimming, has many highlights for a particularly attractive price: Among them are an integrated 24/7 heart rate sensor, and of course an activity tracker for recording steps, distances, calorie consumption and sleep. The GPS receiver keeps track of running tracks and records speed, movement and distance. It is also possible to create individual or predefined training plans for the preparation of competitions (5 km, half marathon, marathon,…) and an added value.
Activity Tracker GPS
|Garmin Vivosmart HR+||Product Page|
|Huawei Band 2 Pro||Product Page|
Activity Tracker: All-Rounder
The following is the best all-rounder in our opinion from our activity tracker reviews, because it is versatile and convinces with a very good app. The activity tracker that’s convinced in almost every way is this:
Fitbit Charge 2
Size: two sizes: S, L | Weight: 34g | Compatibility: Android, iOS, Windows Phone | Battery: 5 days | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
The successor to the popular Charge HR has been significantly improved and equipped with additional features. Highlights include integrated heart rate measurement, cardio fitness level functions and various sports profiles. For runners, there are also options available: the GPS of the smartphone can be used to record distance, speed and average speed. Furthermore, the Charge offers 2 motion reminders, smartphone alerts and interchangeable bands.
Fitbit Charge 2 Overview
Read our detailed Fitbit Charge 2 review. Or take a look at the Fitbit Charge 2 product page:
Activity Tracker: Running
We can currently recommend three specific activity trackers and sports bands especially for runners. We know all three from our activity tracker reviews and they all offer advanced running functions.
- Activity Tracker Running: Garmin Vivosmart HR+ (our Vivosmart HR+ Review)
- The waterproof Vivosmart HR+ has an integrated heart rate monitor, a GPS receiver, Move IQ for automatic activity detection and advanced running functions. A Virtual Pacer and Run/Walk-Timer completes the extended running functions. A floors climbed counter is also built in. The Vivosmart HR+ also offers a 24/7 activity tracker (heart rate, sleep, steps, calories, distance, floors and daily targets) and can forward the heart rate sensor data via ANT+ to compatible devices such as a bike computer. It supports smartphone notifications such as incoming calls, various messages and calendar entries of the smartphone. The software (web platform and app) is good. If you want to be completely independent from your smartphone while running (keyword GPS) choose this activity tracker.
- Activity Tracker Running: Polar A370 (our A370 single review)
- The successor to the A360 also has an integrated heart rate monitor and supports many sports profiles, fully automatic sleep analysis, steps, calories, distance and daily goals in training mode. However, it can now also use the smartphone’s GPS receiver for route tracking and measure the heart rate 24/7. For runners, it is even more interesting to transfer the new option of transferring individual running programs from Polar Flow to the activity tracker in order to prepare for a competition. It also supports smartphone notifications such as incoming calls, various messages and calendar entries of the smartphone. Another highlight is the high-resolution colour display with support for typing and swiping gestures. If you don’t mind taking your smartphone with you to record a GPS track and follow training plans, choose this activity tracker.
- Activity Tracker Running: Huawei Band 2 Pro (our Huawei Band 2 Pro single review)
- The particularly attractively priced activity tracker is also interesting for runners and those who want to become one. It has a GPS receiver and 24/7 heart rate monitor and is waterproof. The run algorithm is provided by Firstbeat. Huawei Firstbeat features in the tracker make it possible to offer more advanced statements about training load and suggestions for recovery time after the sport. Firstbeat is a specialist for heart rate analysis, which can be found in trackers such as Garmin, Samsung, Suunto or Sony. It analyzes the running style and offers a tailor-made training to increase endurance and distance as well as to calculate the VO2 maximum. However, the running programs can only be started via the app, so the smartphone has to be included. If you pay attention to the price, but still want to have many running features like running programs (unfortunately only with a smartphone), choose this activity tracker.
Activity Tracker for Runners
|Garmin Vivosmart HR+||Product Page|
|Huawei Band 2 Pro||Product Page|
|Polar A370||Product Page|
Activity Tracker: It Should Be Simple
If you only need the basics of an activity tracker, you have a closer look at the following trackers. Especially the simplicity and very good app is convincing.
Fitbit Alta HR
Size: three sizes: S, L, XL | Weight: 29g | Compatibility: Android, iOS, Windows Phone | Battery: 7 days | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
The activity tracker Alta HR from Fitbit shows the manufacturer’s many years of experience in the fitness sector. Not only in the hardware, but also in the software. Alta HR 24/7 not only records your heart rate, but also all the steps and automatically recognizes many things, such as some of the sports activities you have performed, like running. In the well-done Fitbit App you get a clear overview of all recorded data and many tips and hints for the daily achievement of your goals.
This activity tracker is very well rounded. It measures calories, steps, distances, fully automatic sleep tracking, activity detection, daily goals, smartphone notifications such as incoming calls, calendar entries, SMS and detailed information about sleep patterns.
Fitbit Alta HR Overview
Take a look at the Fitbit Alta HR product page:
Activity Tracker – Conclusion
These were the best devices from our activity tracker reviews in comparison. As you can see, there is something for everyone. Whether a sports tracker, activity tracker with heart rate monitor, GPS or an activity tracker suitable for swimming, the perfect activity tracker does not (yet) exist from our point of view. We hope, however, that with the help of the guide we have supported you in your decision. The content of this page will be updated when new sports bands and activity trackers are introduced. Feel free to drop by again and follow us on our social media channels to stay up to date.
Reviews for further reading
If you are not sure yet whether you have the right device for you or are looking for a device with more or less functions, we recommend the following articles for further reading: