CES 2015: Fitness Trackers Roundup: AmpStrip, Activité Pop, Polar A300, VIBE Band VB10, and More
With the New Year ushering in a rush of resolutions to get back on the fitness track, technology companies are capitalizing on the need for better solutions to help people monitor their health and track their progress towards their fitness goals.
At this year's International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), various fitness trackers have earned a spotlight for themselves as their makers show off new features and attractive prices to convince the hard-core fitness buff and the amateur toying with the idea of fitness tracking to get one for himself.
Here are the latest fitness trackers to keep an eye on:
Most fitness trackers are designed as bands that go around the user's wrist. Not FitLinxx' AmStrip, a Band-Aid-like device that is placed on the left abdomen and sticks to the skin via an adhesive, much like a nicotine patch would for an entirely different sort of market.
FitLinxx director Steven Schwartz says the waterproof AmpStrip is designed for competitive athletes, such as swimmers, who need to monitor their heart rate. He also says company testing has had the AmpStrip's results compared to an electrocardiograph to make sure results are accurate. The AmpStrip also tracks things such as the user's movements and skin temperature.
Made to be worn 24/7, the AmpStrip can last up to seven days on a single charge. FitLinxx will be making the device officially available in July.
Like the $450 Activité, the Activité Pop by French company Withings is a stylish analog smartwatch designed for discreet fitness tracking. Like its more expensive older brother, this new smartwatch can track the user's steps, tell the difference between swimming and running, and track the user's sleep cycles while providing gentle vibrations as a sleep alarm. It also runs on the standard eight-month battery that powers the Activité.
The main difference between the $150 Activité Pop and the premium version is the use of cheaper materials, such as the PVD-coated metal and the silicone band, which comes in blue, beige and gray, as opposed to the leather band.
The Polar A300 is a remarkable device for anyone looking to buy his first fitness tracker. At $140, Polar's latest waterproof fitness band can track the user's steps, calories burned, distance traveled and sleep cycles. The device can also give its user a gentle vibration to nudge him into getting up and moving if it thinks the user has been idle for quite some time.
Serious runners, however, might want to look elsewhere, though, because the Polar A300 lacks the GPS tracking available in the more expensive Polar M400 to track the user's pace and duration.
VIBE Band VB10
Lenovo's VIBE Band VB10 may very well be the most attractive of all fitness trackers at CES 2015, at least when it comes to the price. The $89 e-ink fitness band will not likely make it to the American market but will give Lenovo a hand in opening the fitness tracking industry in foreign markets.
The VIBE Band VB10 measures all of the usual things, such as steps taken, calories burned, distance walked and hours of sleep, but it also pushes basic notifications from the user's smartphone, including calls, text messages and social notifications.
The low-cost smartband comes with a low-power Snapdragon 410 processor from Qualcomm and can last up to a week before needing a recharge.
Garmin's second-generation fitness tracker is a stylish new device that motivates its wearer to get up from his chair once the device detects that he has been sitting unmoving for a certain amount of time. The Vivofit 2 features a visual bar that fills up during the time the user stays sedentary and only empties back to zero when he gets up to move.
Like its predecessor, the Vivofit 2 is designed to be worn 24/7 and can last an entire year on its battery. It also comes with Garmin's Style Collection, which includes "chic and classic" bands made from materials such as stainless steel and leather.
For the fashionable fitness buff, Misfit has taken a page out of Samsung and LG's playbook and asked Swarovski to lavish its newest fitness tracker in Swarovski crystals. It's not just any ordinary crystal, though. Misfit's Swarovski Shine Collection features a giant crystal that can be used as a watch face for a bracelet, a pendant and seven other jewelry designs.
The smart jewelry will feature two versions, one that uses a clear crystal that integrates with the activity and sleep tracking sensors and a purple crystal that is as functional as it is luxurious. Misfit says the purple crystal can be used as solar charger that will keep the device running as long as it is exposed to some 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight or longer times to indoor LED or halogen lights.
The Shine Collection's starter kits start at a price of $170, with additional accessories costing $70 to $150. Misfit will make these sparkly new fitness trackers available this spring.
Measuring body composition is said to be a more accurate means of tracking one's health than stepping on the scales. This is what InBody is counting on with the introduction of the InBody Band, which sends electric pulses through the user's body to measure bioelectrical impedance. In short, the InBody Band can measure how much of its user's body is fat and how much is hard muscle.
Aside from that, this device can also track all the usual metrics, such as heart rate, activity, and sleep. The InBody Band will be available in the United States in March for a retail price of $180.
Like the InBody Band, the HealBe GoBe uses electrical impedance, but it measures a different thing. The $300 device claims to track how many calories its user is consuming by measuring the glucose levels produced right after eating. The claim is that GoBe uses high- and low-frequency signals to measure the fluids inside the user's body and automatically creates a nutrition profile, including a calorie count and the amount proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, using "advanced algorithms."
HealBe claims its device has a not-too-impressive 85 percent accuracy. However, since manual calorie counting is only 40 to 70 percent accurate as HealBe says, the 85 percent accuracy should be a good pitch for all obsessive calorie trackers out there.
The Zensorium Being takes into account all other fitness trackers measure, such as activity, heart rate and sleep cycles. However, it differentiates itself by taking a holistic approach at health and incorporating the user's feelings into the mix.
This is accomplished by measuring the user's pulse pressure, or the difference between one's blood pressure as it pumps and refills, combined with the heart rate. Apparently, this can tell the device how its wearer is feeling at the moment. Red dots on the face of the device tells the user when he is stressed, and green dots on the other end of the spectrum indicate he is calm. Yellow says he is feeling excited and blue means his mood is neutral.