Wearable technology seems to really be making a mark in the tech industry these days. Smartwatches, smartglasses, wearable cameras, and fitness trackers all seem to be hitting shelves lately - and hard. It feels like nary a week goes by without another company coming out with another wearable.
I’ve sort of been on the fence about smartwatches lately, but I haven’t really discussed my stance on fitness trackers. That’s because, for the most part, I haven’t had much of a desire to look into it until recently. Now that I’ve had some time to properly research trackers, I feel like I have a better grasp on what they do and whether or not they’re worth the purchase price (at least for me).
Here’s what I’ve gathered so far: Fitness trackers are, first and foremost, pretty expensive for what they can do. Even the cheaper models like the FitBit Zip ($59.99) don’t do much other than track your steps taken, calories burned, and distance. This information can then be sent to your phone and computer, and from there you can log your food for the day, your weight, and your workouts. The Zip also works as a personal cheerleader that celebrates when you’ve met your goals - cute! While I wouldn’t say any of this is completely worthless, $60 does seem like a steep price for such a simple gadget. It’s cute and it’s flashy, but in reality I would probably peg something like that at maybe half the price that it sells for. I would rather purchase a cheap walk odometer and log the progress myself. And then cheer for myself.
If you really want a cheap fitness tracker, you get a better deal out of the Jawbone UP move, which costs $10 less than the Zip and includes a sleep tracker - which would cost you $50 more with FitBit if you wanted to track your sleep. Oh yeah, and the battery lasts for half a year.
When it comes to getting more out of your fitness tracker, you’re looking at spending $30-$60 more for just one or two more features and a slightly altered design - and some of these features don’t even have anything to do with fitness. For example, with FitBit you can purchase the FitBit Charge for $129.95, and it includes three things over the $60 Zip: a sleep tracker, a wrist watch, and Caller ID. I can’t justify the price jump here. Sorry, but if I want to know who is calling I’ll probably just check my $500 smartphone instead.
I keep looking at different fitness trackers in different price ranges, and overall I just can’t see myself ever wanting to spend that much money on one. I don’t think that fitness trackers are a bad idea for everybody, but personally I am not motivated by the idea whatsoever. I am certainly not motivated to spend that much money on a fitness tracker, especially because I realize that I could put better use of that money towards a gym membership if I really wanted to get in better shape. Which I apparently don’t. Maybe that’s what my problem is: pure, unadulterated laziness.
I don’t think that fitness trackers are a waste of money for everybody. For people who are already dedicated to fitness or are actually motivated and willing to pay any attention to one of these gadgets, they could certainly prove to be useful for people who are very goal-oriented. But for people who buy them hoping that they’ll melt the fat off of you like hot butter, guess again. It can’t make you any less healthy, but it does take some level of motivation for a fitness tracker to work as it is intended to - and if you don’t have the motivation, you’re probably wasting your time and money.
Readers, when it comes to fitness trackers, what are your thoughts? Do you think that they’re worth the money? Do you use a fitness tracker? Let us know your experiences and opinions in the comments below!