Fitbit Force Activity Tracker

Fitbit Force Activity TrackerWant to know what’s at the top of my Christmas list this year? The Fitbit Force activity and sleep tracker.

Yes, there are numerous such devices on the market currently, and I’ve written about some on this blog in the past. However, I’ve never bought one because I always feel like something better will be released immediately after I pull the trigger. This is how it is with all technology though, and if you want something, just buy it. There’s always going to be something new around the bend.

The Fitbit Force is essentially an upgraded version of the Fitbit Flex. The Force is a little wider than the Flex, but it has a small OLED display on the front of it compared to the tiny illuminated dots that were on the Flex. The Force can actually show you the time along with stats as you go about your day. Or, you can choose sync the device with your smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0 without taking the device off your wrist. These Android and iPhone apps will let you view your progress and compare it to previous days.

So what exactly can the Fitbit Force do for you? It can visualize your activity, showing you exactly how active you are. It counts your steps, distance, stairs climbed, calories burned, and active minutes. It will show you when you’re not being active compared to previous days, allowing you to adjust your routine to boost your activity. There are some days when I know I should be doing more, but it will be hard to ignore and not feel guilty when it’s presented to me on my phone through an attractive interface with pie charts and bar graphs.

The nice thing about the Fitbit Flex is that you can keep it on all the time and will rarely have to take it off. You can wash dishes with it on, take a shower, and do other activities where it might get splashed or a little bit wet. But unlike the Misfit Wearable, you can’t take it swimming. You’re also encouraged to wear it while you sleep, and after putting the device in sleep mode, it will monitor your sleep and present you with the data when you wake up. Speaking of which, you can even set an alarm and have the Force wake you with vibrations that you will feel but your partner won’t.

There are lots of great things about the Fitbit Force, but as I mentioned, there are some features found on other devices that the Force lacks. But after comparing a number of these fitness trackers, I found that the Force had the combination of features that appealed to me and my lifestyle the most. That’s why I’m hoping there’s one sitting under my tree on Christmas morning.

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Misfit Wearables Shine Activity Tracker

Misfit Wearables Shine Activity TrackerLast week I wrote about the iPhone 5 and why I was buying it. I currently have an iPhone 4S and the improved motion tracking capabilities of the new iPhone definitely piqued my interest, as it could replace those activity trackers like the Nike Fuel Band and FitBit. But then I discovered something else. Another activity tracker I hadn’t seen before: Shine.

Shine is an activity tracker by a company called Misfit Wearables. It looks nothing like what you think an activity tracker would look like, yet it looks exactly like what you think an activity tracker would look like if Apple designed it. The Shine is a shiny metallic miniature UFO-looking device about the size of a quarter and about as tall as a few of them stacked up, though it tapers at the edge. It also has lights that illuminate to tell you your progress or to display the time.

Though having an iPhone 5S with an activity tracker app cuts down on carrying any additional gear when you’re exercising, the miniscule size and weight of the Shine almost makes that a moot point. Plus there are a variety of ways you can attach the Shine to your body when you’re exercising, either with a clip or by attaching it to a (sold seperately, of course) wristband or necklace. On the other hand, because the device is so small and light it is possible to lose it, and from what I hear, rather easily.

But, there are times when you want to keep track of your activities without having your phone on you. Like sleeping, for example. The Shine can easily be clipped to you without affecting your sleep. The Shine is also waterproof, so you can keep track of your activity while you’re swimming, something else you won’t be able to do with an iPhone.

As you can see I’m on the fence about which way to go. Opting for the Misfit Shine is certainly the more economical choice, though I do love an excuse to buy a new phone. Maybe some of my readers who’ve tried activity trackers could chime in with their thoughts? Leave me a comment below and let me know how you keep track of your daily activities!

Why I’m Buying the iPhone 5S

Why I'm Buying the iPhone 5SBy now I’m sure that everyone has heard about the new iPhones that were announced yesterday. Even if you’re not an Apple fanboy, it’s hard to avoid the onslaught of news whenever the company releases a new product. I typically hold on to my cell phones and computers until they become so old and slow I have to upgrade, but with the introduction of the iPhone 5S, I think I’ll be upgrading my iPhone 4S before I really need to.

While the iPhone 5S isn’t an incredible advancement beyond the iPhone 5, it does pack a few noteworthy new features. The fingerprint scanner in the home button; the new camera that can record video in slow motion and take pictures in burst mode. There’s also the new A7 processor along with an M7 motion-sensing co-processor, the latter of which appeals to me the most.

Motion sensing capabilities are not new in modern technology. Even my Roku 3 has it built into the remote control. But the M7 co-processor is a huge leap compared to those, as it can continuously and efficiently measure motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and the compass.

But what does that all mean, and why am I writing about it on this blog? The new advanced motion-sensing capabilities of the iPhone 5S will replace your FitBit, Nike Fuel Band, or other activity tracker, eliminating the need to carry an extra piece of hardware all while keeping track of your steps, how far you’ve walked, how many calories you’ve burned, etc. Of course, this will all depend on the fitness apps that make use of the new M7 co-processor, so we’ll have to wait until the iPhone 5S is released to see its full potential, but as of right now I’m pretty excited by the possibilities!