What activity based tracking devices are available right now in the UK?
Tracking your physical performance was one only practiced by professional athletes. Some areas of self-tracking still are, but for the average Joe, there are plenty of consumer friendly devices now in the market for us to make use of and track how we’re getting on in being healthy and keeping fit.
I’ve pulled together the following run down of the current state of consumer products to aid the quantified self. Hopefully this will help aid you in your decision on which device to go for and which ecosystem you may be signing up to.
There are a couple of devices available from FitBit. First is the Zip. This is a mid-range product that essentially tracks steps. With a low cost, long battery life and being waterproof, it is a fairly decent product to give a try. For those who want more, try out the FitBit One. The One tracks steps, elevation, sleep and can even wake you during a light sleep cycle with slight vibrations. It costs more, but does more. Find out more about the FitBit range in my post here.
(£50 – £80)
KiFit / BodyMedia
The KiFit is a device worn on the left arm to track levels of activity, with more detail than other products such as the FitBit. By incorporating sensors to track heat, moisture and movement, it doesn’t just rely on steps but will track any physical activity. This comes at a premium and online dashboard required to analyze your data comes with a monthly fee. Find out more in my review here.
(from £100 with monthly fees)
The Fuelband by Nike is much like the FitBit Zip. It essentially tracks steps and then converts this into a measure reated by Nike, ‘fuel’. This is the currency you will use to see how much activity you have done and measure against pas performance and friends through the online dashboard. However, your data is trapped within Nike’s ecosystem and ‘fuel’ isn’t something you can transfer to other systems. But it is a popular product and if you want to compete against friends, this is a suitable option. I’ve not reviewed the Fuelband, so check out this review on Bionic.ly for more info.
Yes, don’t forget your trusty iPod. The iPod Nano is one of the most popular MP3 players around and as well as playing all of your music it will also count your steps. Now a pedometer doesn’t sound much, until you realise that is all that most of the devices above are tracking. iPods use Nike+ integration for this, yet another reason why Nike is a good ecosystem to go for, as you will be perfectly in sync. Just remember this is less open data. As a more hardcore tracker since the get go, I’ve not used the iPod Nano for tracking steps, but you can read this review on ArsTechnica here.
While the Garmin Forerunner range are not devices that will continuously track throughout the day, they are the perfect tool for tracking when you are doing physical activity. For those of you who don’t care how many steps or how active you are in the office (and there is a limit to how useful that information is) then this is the one for you. There are a few devices available in the Forerunner range, some solely focused on running while others are perfect for triathletes. As they run on GPS, you are getting incredibly accurate data, and you can easily hack a running device to work for other sports too – i.e. cycling. The most basic device will do this for you, check out Engadget’s hands on review here.
(£90 – £300)
Coming Soon: Basis
While the device may not be available just yet, and will be launching in the US first. I believe it is worth a special mention. Basis is a wrist watch which makes it the ideal tracking device – wearing a watch is normal, wearing an armband 24/7 is not, nor is it ideal to have a tracker attached to your clothes. It also tracks your heartrate without the use of a chest strap and without the need to place your fingers on two points; it just keeps on tracking as you wear it. Also tracking steps and sleep, it seems to be the holy grail of self tracking, so I cannot wait for it to launch. Find out more about Basis on their site.
($199 when launched, GBP price & UK shipping unknown)
There are plenty more devices out there and not to mention apps, however this round up of the more popular tools available in the UK right now (other than Basis) should be a great place to start. Happy tracking!