wearable fitness devices

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Today, many people favor wearable fitness devices to help motivate them during workouts and collect data on their lifestyle. A new paper examined four of the top ten fitness trackers to determine which devices performed the best. 

Wearable fitness devices have a variety of applications, including monitoring fitness metrics, counting calories, measuring heart rate and tracking sleep. Often synced to a computer or smartphone, these devices tend to be wearable in the form of watches, wristbands, clips or glasses.

Providing real time information in a comfortable and convenient way is the aim of these devices, but with so many available and no objective reviewing system, the market can be confusing for consumers. A new paper, published in BioMed Central Public Health, summarized the satisfaction, user friendliness, and accuracy of 4 of the top 10 current popular wearable fitness devices according to reviews.

The four devices randomly chosen were the Fitbt Flex (Fitbit Inc, San Francisco, California, USA), Withings Pulse (Withings SA, Issy led Moulineaux, France), Misfit Shine (Misfit Inc., Apple Inc., Apple, Mitten Rd., Burlingame, California USA) and Jawbone Up24 (Jawbone, San Francisco, California, USA).

The devices differ in calculation algorithms, interfaces and applications. This paper reviewed the overall specifications of the devices, a comparison of the user satisfaction scores, the users’ opinions, reviews of the devices by user posts on the Internet, and the accuracy and repeatability of activity tracking for each device. The people who participated in these trials were graduate students in South Korea, and consisted of six men and one woman, between the ages of 27 and 50 years. Subjects graded their satisfaction after using each device for a week.

The participants scored the devices and reported back with their comments on their functions. The Misfit Shine and Fitbit Flex earned low scores due to the reason that they did not track when the participants climbed or descended stairs.

Withings had the highest satisfaction score, and the highest repeatability and accuracy. Additionally, it was considered to have the most friendly user interface.

Overall, the Withings was the highest scoring device of the four, followed by Jawbone, Fitbit and Misfit. The devices all had different advantages and disadvantages, but verifying the quality and the claims of the devices both objectively and subjectively can help users determine which model is the best for their personal needs.

Written By: Sarah Kassenaar, BSc (Hons)

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