Best Android Fitness Trackers Reviewed
For the most part, a fitness tracker will work with either iOS or Android, but not both. The Apple watch was the first fitness watch to take activity tracking and data metrics to the level people now expect, but was there life after it? There was, and still is. With Android, you are not limited to just one brand name or watch manufacturer. Garmin, LetsCom, LetsFit, and Kalinco are all known and not so known companies that make decent watches to pair with your Android device.
Garmin is far from the only decent one. With the fitness tracker's rise in popularity and the ever-shrinking components of wearable computers, dozens of companies have entered the field. In this buying guide, we help you sift through all the information and make a decision about the best watch for you.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 20 hours of research
Can work with or without chest strap
Easy to read display
Auto counting of net caloric intake/burn
Small band, unobtrusive design
Top 10 Picks
1. Garmin VivoFit 2
Can work with or without chest strap
Easy to read display
Auto counting of net caloric intake/burn
Small band, unobtrusive design
Less accurate without the chest strap
A secure locking mechanism keeps the watch snug on your wrist without causing discomfort. After a few days, you won’t even notice the VivoFit is there. You can see the screen in all lighting conditions, thanks to a backlight.
Customization options are enhanced over the ones available for the previous version of VivoFit. You can create groups of customized settings and save them for different activities.
Battery life is superb, at a rated 12 months. The watch is water resistant up to 50 meters, so you can swim in a pool with it on and won’t need to take it off before your post workout shower. There is a manual sleep tracking mode, but it does not give the detailed reports you would get with a dedicated sleep monitor watch. The VivoFit uses an algorithm to track and display your caloric intake after adjusting for calories burned through activity. Partner this feature with some disciplined food tracking, and you can just about predict how much weight you will lose over a set period.
The VivoFit won’t autosync with the other device or devices you let it talk to. You have to push a button to start the sync process. This is not a big deal, but most of us are used to devices that auto sync so you will have to get in the habit of pushing the button each day if you want timely information.
2. LetsCom Fitness Tracker
Phone and social media notifications
GPS outdoor exercise monitoring
Aerodynamic touch screen
Screen can be hard to read in bright light/sunlight
The watch will track your heart rate without a separate chest strap. You can also set reminders to keep yourself on target for consistent workouts. The Multi Sport Management system lets you track 14 different exercises, including walking, running, cycling and more. The watch provides real time stats and can record your outdoor workout path with GPS and the onboard mapping feature.
The watch works in tandem with an app, VeryFitPro, for your mobile device. VFP is compatible with Android 4.4 and later. There is a calendar feature in the app to remind you of scheduled workouts and other appointments. The watch also has caller ID and can let you read text messages and social media notifications when connected to your phone.
The watch is IP67 (ingress protection) rated for water and debris resistance. This means it is impervious to sand, dust, and dirt, and will continue working for a half hour in water that is no deeper than 3 meters, or about 3 feet. IP67 is the industry standard for dust and waterproof electronics. You can sweat to your heart’s content with this watch and never worry about damage or corrosion.
To charge the watch, you can remove the tracker from the band and use the USB port. It charges in about an hour, and a charge will last up to ten days. The watch features a touch screen. Functions include a pedometer, heart rate sensor, and sleep monitor.
3. Garmin VivoSmart HR
Garmin Connect app is quite useful
Can control some media players
Great for cycling and running
Optional accountability reminders
Battery life is short
HR is the second gen version of Garmin's popular VivoSmart, with Bluetooth compatibility and an onboard heart rate monitor.Read more
At just five days, the battery life leaves a bit to be desired. Sources tell us the batter will last longer with the heart rate feature turned off. The watch autosyncs with a free app. The display is cozy, not compact, making it easy to read. A backlight lets you use the watch in low light conditions, and the display is visible in sunlight, too. A single button controls all the various settings and modes for streamlining and efficiency.
The easy wear band features an old school locking mechanism. The heart rate sensor sits on bottom of the watch body. The heart monitor is most accurate with cycling and running. Crossfit, not so much, which will be a deal breaker for many users. Continuous heart rate data (while it it turned on and you are wearing the watch) uploads to the Garmin Connect mobile app constantly.
Other metrics include calories burned, steps, distance walked, and the equivalent number of floors climbed per day. There are built in motivational and accountability tools, to help you stay on track, but they are not unobtrusive and are easy to turn off.
Rounding out the special features, the Garmin VivoSmart HR can find your phone and let you control music on your media player.
4. LetsFit Fitness Tracker
Easy wear silicone strap
Bright display with big numbers
14 different physical activities
Screen won't always swipe easily
This slim, minimalist, barely there fitness tracker combines activity tracking, sleep monitoring, and heart rate data all in a slimline package.Read more
The watch is GPS equipped for your outdoor activities. The LetsFit tracks 14 different types of physical activity including several outdoor sports. The silicone strap features a strong metal buckle that is lightweight and won’t push into or irritate your skin. The rectangular streamlined face displays large digits that are easy to read and not too blocky. Overall, the watch is thin enough to fit comfortably under clothing so you can forget about it until it’s time to look at the day’s stats.
Smart notifications on the screen include calls, calendar appointments, and SMS data. The LetsFit will sync to your mobile device with the VeryFitPro app. An industry standard IP67 water resistance rating means you can wear the watch in the rain, but not for a swim. Dust, dirt, and sand don’t stand a chance of getting in or scratching the screen surface.
This watch is exceptionally user friendly, comfortable, and richly featured total activity tracker in a compact package.
5. Microtella Fitness Tracker
Easy to afford
Heart rate monitor
Outdoor route mapping
Social media push notifications
Heart rate monitoring not 100% accurate
The Microtella is a decent entry level offering that can help you decide if a more full featured tracker is right for you, before you spend a lot of money on one.Read more
Microtella is a startup and their newness shows in their ability to sell their watches at a lower than average price. Ease of use and helpful metrics are the focus here. You are able to set step and calorie goals, and the watch will give you your heart rate, sleep data, distance, and elapsed exercise time as well. 14 sport/activity modes are available. They include such diverse activities as hiking, cycling, and even dancing, so you can get accurate calorie burn information no matter what your workout looks like.
The watch has GPS functionality, too, with route mapping. You get the standard notifications from your phone, including all the social media platforms. The watch will remind you when you have been sitting still too long, according to the parameters you program in. You can control some cameras and media players with this watch, too.
Standard IP67 applies. You will need the VeryFitPro app. The watch charges in under an hour, and a charge will last seven days or so.
6. Kalinco Fitness Tracker
Great for kids
Plenty of colors
No phone or social media push notifications
The LCD screen on this watch is less than a tenth of an inch long, so it is compact while still being easy to read.Read more
This watch is for everyone, but Kalinco kept it simple and put an emphasis on kids being able to use the tracker. Tools for building your fitness include heart rate and full sleep monitoring, with sleep patterns including your deepest and weakest sleep periods. Other metrics are total steps, calories, distance moved, and even your minutes of activity each day.
GPS works, but only when the watch is paired with a GPS enabled smart phone. When you do use the GPS, the Kalinco gives you real time distance and speed. Kalinco does not say if their watch gives route mapping; at this price, chances are it does not.
The watch is water and debris resistant, with a scratch proof screen. The battery charges through a USB port. Kalinco stands behind this product with a thirty day money back guarantee and two year warranty. The watch comes in an array of colors to please the eye of any woman, man, or child who wants to wear it.
7. Lintelek Fitness Tracker
Remote camera shooting
Easy to use
No social media alerts
Lintelek offers this decently priced activity tracker with remote camera operation and a sedentary reminder to help keep you moving.Read more
Other features include a pedometer that gives you both steps and elapsed distance. The watch will give you calorie burn information. There is a heart rate monitor, impressive for a watch at this price, and you can keep track of your sleep activity if you activate that feature.
There is GPS functionality, and you can track sports and movement in 14 different modes. You get alerts for phone calls and messages, but no social media. Lintelek’s main selling point, with this tracker, is a full color screen. Instead of a USB port, the watch has a USB plug, like you would find on the end of a USB cord facing away from the wall. It makes charging a little awkward, and we worry about the USB chip getting damaged if you drop the watch or wear it during tough activity.
The watch comes with three sports modes. You are able to download the other 11 after downloading the VeryFitPro app.
8. L8Star Fitness Tracker and Heart Monitor
Basic water resistance
Simple user interface
Heart rate/blood pressure not accurate
This is the lowest priced fitness tracker watch we could find and, amazingly, it does have heart rate monitoring.Read more
This is a typical activity and workout tracker, with a pedometer, calorie counter, and odometer. The watch syncs with an app called Wearfit that downloads onto your mobile device.
The L8Star will measure your blood pressure as well as your heart rate. We do not recommend using this as your only blood pressure measuring device. It is not medical quality. L8Star even states, in its ad copy, that pressure and pulse are for "reference." The sensor is mounted on the bottom of the watch, and works when it is touching your skin.
The L8Star is water resistant for half an hour at a depth of one meter or less. Sweat, rain, and debris will not affect the watch. The battery will go a few days on a charge, less than the industry average of seven days.
9. EpochAir Fitness Tracker and Smart Watch
Can hang up phone
Large, secure band
Water and dust resistant
Not the most accurate
An enormous 1.3 inch screen is the most memorable feature of this cute and decently featured fitness tracking watch.Read more
When you purchase the watch new, you get a free backup replacement band. Metrics include steps, calories, and distance for walking. Call and message alerts keep you from having to check your phone while you wear the watch, and you can decide what's worth digging out the phone and responding to. You can also hang up on a call you don't want to answer by pressing on the watch screen alert.
The watch tracks your heart rate, and can also read your blood pressure. As usual with lower end watches, we suggest not using the Epochair as your sole reference for blood pressure. It can let you know if you drop too low or too high, though, if you have hypertension or hypotension.
The watch will track a few different sports and exercises, in addition to the pedometer tracker. The watch is bluetooth enabled. To use all the features of the watch, you will need to install an app called WearHealth on your mobile device.
10. Teslasz Fitness Tracker
Decent battery life
Goal completion notice
Bulky band and design
You get some basic but useful features with this watch. The easy wear band is quite thin, and closes with a peg and hole system. It's not the tightest or most secure fit, but the watch is slim and discreet enough to wear under your clothes and not irritate you. More than likely, you will forget the watch is there until you are ready to review your data or start a workout.
You do get sleep monitoring with this watch. Calls and message alerts from your phone will show up on the watch screen. That screen is the long and narrow type, with anything more than two digits stacking on top of each other. You can set an alarm to wake you up after sleep, and there is also a goal alarm feature to give you a simple reward for meeting an activity goal. The LED display is easy to read and bright.
Charging is through a USB port. A charge takes about 45 minutes and will last up to 10 days. The watch pairs with a mobile app to sync your data for easy review.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The more time you have to spend charging the watch, the less it is tracking your activity.
We decided battery life was the most important consideration, because people who buy fitness watches typically plan on wearing them all the time. It isn't like a tablet or portable blender, that you can plug in to a charger and then leave it for several hours or a whole day. If you are going to out in the work to set goals and then monitor your progress, you don't need to be worrieda bout whether the battery will hold out.
The maximum life of a charge, for fitness watches, is 10 hours. The average is 7, and 5 hours was the shortest we found. Counterintuitively, the watches that cost the most and have all the advanced features do not always have the longest battery life. This is because all those features drain the battery. Sometimes you can alleviate this by not using the heart rate monitor, but that isn't very helpful if heart rate was your main reason for buying the watch.
A fitness watch should be so comfy that you don't notice it's there after a while.
We do not believe that comfort is a luxury feature or an afterthought. One of the main reasons for the rise of fitness trackers was in response to the shortcomings of heart rate monitors and other tracking devices. We can remember a time when cyclists had to attach wires and sensors to several points on their bike just to get speed data while riding. Now, you can wear a computer that will give you the same information and wasn't even made exclusively for cyclists.
Band size, material, and closure systems are important for comfort. Some users like a nice thick band, something that feels secure. Others will want a thin band, similar to a bracelet. We have included examples of several different bands, within the different price scaffolds, so that you can find the combination of comfort and usefulness that will be right for you.
Watch out for apps that only work with one watch.
There are a few apps that most people who know about fitness watches will recognize. Garmin connect is one of them. Nearly every watch you could buy will need to pair with a mobile app. This is so they can send data, help you track progress and, in some cases, unlock all the features of the watch.
Bluetooth connectivity is important, too. This is so you can play media and control it from the watch. We consider Bluetooth an advanced feature, so we gave priority points to watches that can connect to Bluetooth.
Ease of Use
When you're ready to work out, the last thing you need is a watch with complicated operation.
Ease of use includes screen navigation and access to settings. If you have to search very long for the setting you need, this is a reflection on the care that went into the watch design. There are only so many settings a watch can have.
Screen size is an ease of use factor. You may be more comfortable with a chunky screen, with side by side numbers. A narrow screen that you have to squint at will not be easy for you to use.
Other factors we considered for the ease of use scores were buttons, touch screens, and band closures. If any of these are finicky or overly difficult, you will not enjoy using the watch as much and may not want to wear it all the time.
Some features are standard, some are special.
Any fitness watch can give you step data. In the old days, analog or early digital pedometers could do this. Often, you had to measure your stride length and set the pedometer for accurate steps and distance.
Pedometers have fallen by the wayside, because fitness watches can do so much more. We did not give extra points to units that could track your steps. It would be like giving a car a top rating just because it had a radio. To score high in the features slot, watches had to wow us with Bluetooth connectivity, extra data metrics, rugged design, or exceptionally streamlined design and operation.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Your fitness tracker is not perfect.
Typically, though, university studies and lab tests agree that your metrics are accurate within 10 percent, meaning the number will see will not be more than 10 percent off from your actual numbers.
This is true for your step numbers, sleep, activity, and pulse. But we did say "typically" for a reason. That reason? Across the board, fitness trackers are out to lunch when it comes to calorie burn.
One Chinese study found that the calorie counts were up to 44 percent off. This is because the device has to consider and crunch the user's gender, race, weight, and level of activity over time. It's a lot, and your activity level won't always be consistent.
Even though you should take calorie counts with a grain of salt, we wouldn't advise throwing out your fitness tracker. Ultimately, unless you are using precision medical or lab equipment, fitness trackers are a guide and planning tool, not something that will give you perfect data.
Sometimes, when reading manufacturer's descriptions or third party reviews, a fitness watch will say it has IP67 protection. This sounds high tech, but what does it mean and how can it help you make a purchase decision?
IP stands for ingress protection. It refers to how susceptible the watch is to dust and fine particles of sand, as well as how water resistant it is. Few fitness watches are waterproof. Water resistance always stops at a certain depth or a certain volume of water, so this is vital information for the well being of your fitness watch.
Ingress protection is an international standard used to rate safety and effectiveness of any enclosure that will be exposed to water and and small debris during normal use. For fitness watches, the 6 means the watch has the highest level of dust protection. The 7 means the device can be submerged in water up to 3.3 feet deep for up to a half hour. This is the second highest level of water resistance.
It is vital to understand the IP ratings, especially since the 7 means the fitness tracker will start to sustain damage after a half hour of submergence.
Other Factors to Consider
We have said it before, but it bears repeating that the least expensive fitness watch is not always the one that offers the best value. Does the manufacturer stand behind their product? Is there a warranty? Does it pair with an app that is easy to use and won't glitch? Is the band strong enough to hold up to your intense workouts without breaking?
These are important things to consider. You do not have to get the most expensive watch you can find, either. With research and patience, you can find a watch that has the features you need the most, at a price you are happy to pay, and that will come with the full attention and great service of the company that made the watch.
There is not much to this one. A fitness watch face should be scratchproof. Backlighting is a great feature, especially if you go for walks or runs at night. You should be able to read your watch in bright sunlight.
In addition, the screen should be easy to read. This may not mean the same thing to every user. You may prefer a skinny screen, with room for just two digits per line, because that style of screen means a thinner band. Or you may prefer a more old school face, with big numbers and a protective plastic perimeter. Either way, the screen has to be bright, legible, easy to navigate, and easy to keep clean. It is the one way you have of interacting with your data without looking at your phone.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What if I can't afford a fitness tracker?
Then you can get in shape without one! Fitness trackers were not available to the general public for many years, and even professional athletes didn't always have ones they could wear. The watches will help you establish healthy habits and give you tangible evidence of your progress. But you can count calories and check your pulse on your own. You can track your distance by running on a treadmill, or even with your car odometer if you run on a decently long road route. And if you have a smartphone, you can set a destination for your run and, if it has a physical address your phone will tell you how far away your destination is.
q: Will the watch know if I'm doing a planned workout?
Maybe, but not necessarily. With an activity tracker, the watch will know when you are moving and will track your steps automatically. But if you lift weights, run on a treadmill, ride a bike, do step aerobics, etc., you should set the watch to that mode for the best results. If you want to do an exercise that isn't included on the watch--capoeira, anyone?--you can still approximate your calories burned and other data by choosing a similar exercise or just using the activity tracker.
q: Do I need all that data?
You may not. Sleep tracking is optional, and nobody would have even thought to measure their sleep until fitness trackers made it possible. Heart rate and blood pressure are important, but you don't need to know what they are at all times. If you're just running for recreation and general health, you may not care about distance every time.
If you are trying to lose weight, then the calorie feature will be more important than the others. You can look at as many metrics as you would like, but it may help to know that it's okay to just focus on the ones that have the most application to you.
q: Can a tracker keep up if I'm moving fast?
Actually, no, and that's a good question. If you do a sport that involves speed drills, you cannot always rely on a fitness tracker. With football, for instance, you may be better off getting a friend to time you with a stopwatch after measuring the distance of your sprints. This will give you much better guidance in where to focus your training runs. The same principle applies if you run super fast intervals on a treadmill or track.
q: Will my fitness watch help me get in shape?
It certainly can, but it is important to remember that the watch is a tool and not a cure all. If you have trouble getting yourself to exercise every day, the watch will not make you do that. And if you do not use the data the watch gives you, or forget to even check the data regularly, it will not help much. Having a watch can set you up for success, if you use it consistently, but it is not a shortcut to health and fitness.
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- Could a Fitness Tracker Boost Your Heart Health, Medical Institution Website ,
- New study finds benefits of fitness trackers, apps depend on motivation and customization, University Website ,