The last time I looked for sportsband was back in 2009 when I was training to be the fastest man (i.e. the fastest marathon runner). In order to use the sports band, you had to have a Nike+ sensor in your shoe. Nike shoes had cavities to insert the sensor but Nike shoes were not suitable for me. Unfortunately, I lost the chip sensor 2 weeks after I purchased the set. I continued to use the sports band as a watch but the quality of the LED was lacking. After a few accidental pressure of the display, the display was no longer usable - most of the display turned black.
Recently, I noticed my colleague using BitFit Flex. I decided to check the number of sports band (now known as fitness band) that are now available. The new generation of sportsband uses the sensors similar to the ones in smart phone. They do not need the additional chip sensor and are able to track activities beyond running. I looked at the alternatives and found the following:
- Nike Fuel
- BitFit Flex
- Jawbone Up
- Basis Band
- Misfit Wearable
Based on what I found, BitFit Flex is the least expensive of the lot. However, there is a new product from Fitbit called BitFit Force. It has a few new features compared to Flex - time display and altimeter. It is also slightly more expensive compared to Flex.
The latest product that looks promising is Amiigo. The company managed to raise $580K funding, exceeding their goal of $90K. With all the options, I am still undecided and here is why:
I am able to do all the measurements using apps on my Android phone. I use Nike+ free app to track my running. There is an app by Azimio to measure my sleep. This is easily achievable since the sensors used in the band are similar to the ones used in the smart phones.
I see a few benefits of the band over my phone:
- Battery life. Using the phone to track my sleep uses more than 50% of my phone battery.
- Automatic recording. Using multiple apps means the information is scattered in multiple places. Nike+ stores the information in their website but sleep information is stored on my phone.
- Tracking other activities. Only my runs are tracked with Nike+. The bands will track more but it will still not track everything, some activities like push ups would not be tracked.
So is it worth paying between US$100 to US$500 for the convenience?
Another interesting gadget being developed is the Push Fitness Band.currently seeking funds in Indiegogo.