2014’s Biggest Fitness Trackers

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You may have heard of the activity-tracking wearables major fitness brands such as Nike, FitBit and Garmin are creating, but a slew of new contenders are poised to hit the court in full force. The interesting part is that they’re all the same tech giants who have been producing your home electronics, smartphones and more over the last decade. Here are the newest fitness trackers to look out for from the guys known for everything but their athletic tech—and if they’re worth copping.

 

Samsung Galaxy Fit
The pros: Sleek, heart rate monitor, smartwatch capabilities, sleep tracking

The cons: Only use with Samsung Galaxy smartphones
 

Building on its inaugural line of Galaxy Gear smartwatches, Samsung has announced that it will be releasing three new wearables in the near future. While two are basically just updated versions, the Samsung Galaxy Fit caught our eye. This watch features a gorgeous curved 1.84-inch touch screen attached to a sleek band. In addition to giving email alerts and monitoring phone calls, the Gear Fit will also track various fitness metrics such as exercise and sleep quality using its on-board Gyroscope, accelerometer and pedometer. It lasts three to four days on one charge, and very few all-in-one fitness trackers also include a heart rate monitor like this one. The downside is that it appears to only work with Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone. But did we mention it’s gorgeous?

 
 

Sony SmartBand
The pros: Records absolutely everything, discrete, sleep tracking

The cons: Records absolutely everything, leans heavily on mobile app
 

The PlayStation 4 manufacturer—and, if we’re not dating ourselves, the company behind the original Walkman—is dropping its SmartBand in March. It’s designed to be worn either on a wrist strap or to be carried discreetly in your pocket. Sony is calling the SmartBand a “life tracker,” as it measures most everything and stores it in its accompanying Lifelog app. It’s got the usual fitness and sleep data, but it also constantly keeps track of where you go, who you communicate with, games you play, music you listen to… you get the idea. It looks sleek and vibrates to alert you to emails and tweets. However, what we’ve seen thus far leads us to believe it leans heavily on the smartphone part for its storage, computing and tracking. Only cop if you don’t mind having to carry two devices to do the job of one.

 
 

Epson Pulsense PS-500
The pros: Two models to choose from, heart rate monitor

The cons: Dated screen, chunky design
 

Yes, the same guys who make that diabolical copy machine that keeps jamming in your office. The Epson Pulsense PS-500 features a rare heart rate monitor much like the Gear Fit, but it gives you two choices: a band and a smartwatch. Both models look equally futuristic (by the chunky standards of 1993’s Demolition Man), but the watch has a screen and the band gives feedback with LEDs. The usual suspects measure activity levels and feed it to Epson’s companion app via BlueTooth 4.0. Unfortunately, the Pulsense is massive compared to the devices of other tech giants just now getting into the game. However, it will likely retail for a lot less than the other guys, making it great for smaller budgets.

 
 

LG Lifeband Touch
The pros: Altimeter, gesture control, large screen, smartwatch capabilities

The cons: Accessories, i.e. heart rate monitor expensive
 

This one looks and acts a lot like a cross between the FitBit fitness tracker and the Samsung Gear Fit—a smartwatch built with athletes in mind. It measures calories, activity and heart rate (interestingly, only when hooked up to a special pair of LG headphones), but it doesn’t include a sleep tracker. Unlike Nike’s FuelBand, it also has a three-axis accelerometer and altimeter. Heart rate alerts can be set to notify you if you’re reaching your max, but the real draw are the $180 device’s touch-free gesture controls. In addition to its base functions, LG has a line of BlueTooth peripherals that can connect to the Lifeband, including the aforementioned headphones (retailing for an additional $180) and a wireless headset for phone calls. Who said any of these features would come cheap?

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