Fitness bracelet is familiar gadget as a smartphone. These devices help you monitor your activity during the day, monitor your heart rate, calculate calories spent and receive notifications from apps. The price of most models is relatively low, but because of the huge range of products on the market it is difficult to understand which fitness bracelet you can buy.
Measuring health indicators
The main function that attracts the buyers of smart bracelets is monitoring of heart rate. With the built-in sensor, the device checks how often the user’s heart beats and displays it on the bracelet screen or on a smartphone with a preinstalled and synchronized application. The heart rate sensor is mounted on the back of the gadget.
Optical sensors of well-known brands of devices are slightly inferior to medical devices in terms of accuracy of indication. However, some models (and, regardless of their price), the heart rate monitor may give out values that do not correspond to reality. The only thing that such a bracelet can do is to show when the heartbeat increases compared to normal levels.
Heart rate indications are also used to calculate calories spent – although the discrepancy is high enough. At the same time, blood glucose levels in the bracelet are not yet determined. It is also not worth relying on the bracelet to measure pressure if necessary. Even if there is a tonometer among the functions, its pressure is determined by the calculation and can not be considered reliable.
The accuracy of monitoring the heart rate of a particular bracelet can only be determined in practice – even with the same models it may differ. However, in new devices that have been released over the past couple of years, the error is much lower than that of the pioneers of technology. If you are not going to use a fitness bracelet for medical purposes, take one of the new models and do not worry about the accuracy of measurements. To make sure you don’t make the wrong choice, it’s worth taking a look at the gadget reviews and user feedback on heart rate control accuracy before buying.
All fitness bracelets know how to count your steps and are suitable for athletics and simple jogging. This basic function allows you to monitor your activity level during training or a daily activity, and an application synchronized with the bracelet can signal when a specific target has been reached – for example, 8,000 or 10,000 steps per day.
More advanced models not only count steps, but are also suitable for cycling, gym training, open water swimming or pool lanes. For example, the new Xiaomi Mi Band 4 in swimming mode knows how to determine style, pace and even the number of rowing.
The final choice depends only on what kind of sport you practice. If, for example, you’re only interested in counting your steps while running, you can easily take the simple model without supporting other activities.
Smart alarm clock
The most functional devices allow monitoring the quality of sleep based on sensor indications. This is how it works:
1.Bracelet detects the sleep phase.
2.An application on your smartphone analyzes the data and stores it in memory.
3.When the deep phase nearest to the selected time is over, a smart alarm clock activates.
Thus, the user who set the alarm to 7-00 will be wake up at 6-40 if the application finds this time optimal for waking up. In this case, signal is triggered by vibration.
It is assumed that a correctly selected moment allows a person to sleep more easily and feel better during the whole day. This function will be useful for anyone who is going to sleep with a bracelet on his arm. If you are used to use gadget only during daytime, presence of smart alarm clock will not matter for you.
Screen and controls
The availability of the display is an important part of the fitness bracelet. There are models that have only a few LEDs instead of the screen, and all data is sent directly to the phone. It is uncomfortable to use them, but such gadgets weigh less and work without recharging several times longer.
The screen can be used for displaying information or controlling the bracelet. For better convenience, buttons can be placed on the case. The most functional models are those with touch screen displays.
Important features of the screen:
- brightness and backlighting that affect readability;
- durable glass for protection against scratches or cracks;
It is desirable that the display should be colorful and have a diagonal of at least 0.8″. The best screens are AMOLED or OLED; these are bright matrices that allow reading even in sunlight.
Modern fitness bracelets use Bluetooth to synchronize with your smartphone. It’s important to pay attention to the wireless version – the higher it is, the less battery power is used for data transfer. The best option is Bluetooth 5.0, although today you can find many more models with Bluetooth 4.0 and 4.2 support.
The built-in GPS module is a useful feature, but it consumes the gadget’s battery faster. The gadget with a geolocation sensor is useful for those who want to save jogging routes without synchronization of the bracelet to your smartphone. In addition, models with a GPS tracker, such as the HUAWEI Band 3 Pro, are better able to determine the distance traveled.
Another important feature is the notification function from your phone. Most models have it, but it differs in the type of messages and the ability to view them. Many bracelets do not receive notifications from all applications, but only about the weather, text messages or calls. More advanced gadgets can display messages from social networking sites.
Depending on the model, you may only be able to see a portion of the message or read it in full. It’s difficult to tell in advance how the feature works on a particular bracelet – only a review of user and feedback on the internet will help.
Notification support will be useful for users who don’t want to be disturbed by their workout or important meeting by getting their smartphone out after each beep.
Almost all fitness bracelets only work together with a smartphone. Without synchronization with the application, most devices can be clocks, heartbeats or pedometers, but not smart gadgets. The basic features of the bracelet are provided by the app on your phone.
The choice will be easier for owners of gadgets on Android, which works with almost all models. If you have an iPhone, you should make sure that the bracelet supports synchronization with iOS.
With the apps, you can access:
- training information with a comparison of results;
- progress in achieving your goals;
- measuring exercise effectiveness;
- data on sleep phases.
Some applications allow you to update the software or even install additional software on the equipment. For example, in the application for Garmin Vivosmart 4 you can send the results of your training to the sports social network. Only gadgets with their own operating system have such features. Their cost is usually higher, and overpayment is not always justified for those who are satisfied with the basic functionality of the bracelet.
Multimedia features of gadgets are noticeably less than those of smart watches. Most models cannot even receive phone calls, allowing you to reset incoming calls at best. There are bracelets that turn on music on your smartphone or control its cameras to make selfies over long distances.
More expensive devices like the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro can replace an MP3 player. The price of such bracelets is already comparable to a smart watch with more serious features. It’s not worth buying them just for sports – you won’t be able to manage most functions without a smartphone.
An important criteria when choosing a fitness bracelet is how long it will run without recharging. It depends on the built-in rechargeable battery and charging mode. If the gadget only counts steps and heart rate, and the screen rarely turns on, the operating time can reach 7-10 days. If the bracelet is actively used, its battery power should be sufficient for at least 3-4 training sessions. In standby mode, most devices work for up to 2 weeks.
It is also necessary to pay attention to the way the bracelet is recharged. The best option is to support wireless chargers or a standard microUSB connector. The use of branded cables and chargers often makes it almost impossible to find a replacement if they fail.
It is not the main, but still a feature that matters to many people – the appearance of the bracelet. When choosing a design, you should be guided by your own preferences. Universal color – gray, blue, black. In the model range of some brands you can find a greater variety of colors.
When buying, pay attention to such parameters:
- case material and bracelet – it should be hypoallergenic, without causing skin irritation;
- the possibility to replace the bracelet with a new one and to adjust its length;
- the presence of a vibration sensor that allows you to know when you are notified or to wake up.
For swimmers, it is recommended that you choose a waterproof gadget. You can dive or swim with most models having IP68 protection class. Less protected models can only withstand rain or water while washing your hands.