Best fitness and sleep tracking bands
Fitness bands have become increasingly popular over the past few years, with prices going down as features go up. You may want to track your sleep schedule, heart rate, your workouts, or just wear something light that conveniently delivers your smartphone's notifications to your wrist, while also serving as an attractive watch replacement.
There are fitness bands suitable for everyone out there, in terms of pricing, features and design, and we'll take a look at some of the best ones, starting with one of the most affordable and popular options.
Best fitness bands and trackers on this list:
- Xiaomi Mi Band 4
- Fitbit Charge 4
- Huawei Band 3 Pro
- Garmin Vivosport
- Samsung Galaxy Fit
- Fitbit Inspire HR
Xiaomi Mi Band 4
The Mi Band 4 has a bright, colorful 0.95-inch AMOLED touch display which can show you the time, date, your current heart rate, and steps taken, at a glance. Scrolling down from the main screen shows recent notifications, heart rate, weather information for today and the next four days, and general status, including steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned.
In addition, the Mi Band 4 can set alarms, daily or monthly notifications, timers, and has the welcome bonus feature of being able to control the music (or certain video apps) playing on your smartphone. The Band itself doesn't have a speaker, but it does vibrate for notifications and alarms.
In my experience, it has been very comfortable to wear due to its lightweight design, and is accurate in its heart beat tracking, while less reliable, but good enough for sleep tracking. I've been able to shower and swim with it, with no issues whatsoever due to its water resistance, and battery life has been great, with less than a 20% drop for 3 days.
The Mi Band requires the Mi Fit app to be set up, or for additional watch faces to be installed, though after set up one can choose to use the Google Fit app instead, by linking it to Mi Fit.
Fitbit Charge 4
If price isn't an issue, the new Fitbit Charge 4 goes a step further by including a built-in GPS location tracker. In addition, it comes with a 90-day free trial of Fitbit Premium, which is the company's own paid subscription service featuring guided programs, workout videos and detailed health insights.
Similarly to the popular Fitbit Charge 3, the 4 provides activity and heart rate tracking, and alerts for calls and texts. It can also control the Spotify app by playing songs and playlists, and can be used for making Fitbit Pay purchases via NFC.
It features a reasonable battery life of up to a week, as long as its internal GPS is off, with a only up to 5 hours of battery life when GPS is on. On its face, it has a 1-inch grayscale touch display.
Huawei Band 3 Pro
The Huawei Band 3 Pro is a great middle-ground option, with all the basics covered, while also including a built-in GPS tracker. Its sleep tracking was notably developed in collaboration with Harvard medical school, and the Band can identify 6 common sleep-related issues, and suggest ways to improve one's sleep.
It features a 0.95-inch AMOLED touch display, which can also show time, date, steps and more at a glance. Also, there is a handy camera shutter feature available, for taking smartphone selfies from a distance. That is technically also possible on the Mi Band 4 too, but through a clumsy third-party app.
The Huawei Band 3 also boasts a premium glass and metal design, which is seldom seen in smart bands at this price. A downside is its limited number of watch faces available to choose from, only three.
The Vivosport is another popular option that is suitable for tracking most types of exercise, even swimming, and includes stress tracking, alerting its user when it's time to relieve physical or emotional stress.
It has a 0.38 by 0.76-inch color touchscreen display, which is still enough to show cardio information, notifications, or playback controls for your smartphone. The company behind it has its own Garmin Connect app, which, along with the usual personal health data, has a social aspect to it, allowing for connecting with other users and taking on challenges.
Note that unlike with the Mi Band 4 for example, the band here is not replaceable, which may be a dealbreaker for some.
Samsung Galaxy Fit
A solid competitor to the Mi Band 4, the Samsung Galaxy Fit features a 0.95-inch color AMOLED display, an ultra-lightweight design, and all the fitness tracking features we can expect. It's explicitly described as dust and rain resistant, alongside its 50-meter water resistance which we have on all trackers on this list.
In addition to also being able to receive notifications from a paired smartphone though, it notably includes the ability to reply directly from the fitness tracker, with several preset messages available to choose from.
Other handy features are its automatic sleep tracking, and suggestions on breathing exercises to relieve stress when needed. The Fit also automatically starts tracking activities such as running or biking, while about 90 different activities can be triggered manually via the Samsung Health app.
Built-in widgets don't include anything more than what we've come to expect from most fitness bands. Available is an alarm function, timer and stopwatch, a calendar and weather info.
Fitbit Inspire HR
Resistance: Water up to 50 meters
Battery life: Up to 5 days
In addition, Fitbit HR comes with a 90-day trial of Fitbit Premium, which is a subscription service that provides guided programs, personalized insights, thousands of workouts and advanced sleep tools.
The HR comes in three color options - black, lilac and white, with its band made of a flexible and durable elastomer material. It has a touchscreen OLED display that can show smartphone notifications, calls and other alerts, much like the previous trackers on this list, but unlike many, it also has a physical button on its side.