I’M DEADSET FOND of activity trackers – they’re great for motivating you to move (especially if you’re competing against friends and family), for keeping a log of your physical activities (so you can see when you’ve had slow weeks) and for tracking your health (particularly the devices that are able to record heart rates). However, as a lifelong fidgeter, I’ve been looking out for something that had all the features, but was small and light enough that I wouldn’t be taking it on and off, playing with buttons or mucking about with it too much. The Garmin vivosmart HR kind of hits the spot. It might not be the sleekest band on the market, but it’s only 30g, and it’s got a low profile on your wrist, and has a more secure clasp than some other larger counterparts, so it doesn’t snag on your sleeves or get in the way.
The wide range of features, while not revolutionary, is very useful. It monitors daily steps (against a tailored goal based on previous performance), stairs climbed, sleep length and quality, as well as heart rate. It can also be set to record and track specific activities, such as running home. You can connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth, which means you have an easy record of your history. The related app, Garmin Connect, lets you keep a thorough fitness diary, and links in with other apps if you want to track other data, such as diet.
The Bluetooth connection also feeds through your notifications, the weather forecast and allows you to control your music or accept calls, so you can carry your phone in a backpack rather than in a pocket, and still listen to music by feeding headphones through the top of your pack.
The trade-off in accuracy between using a strapped heart-rate monitor and this wrist-mounted one is worth it, for me personally, in comfort. It’s an easy device to get accustomed to – the touch screen (10 x 25.5mm) is responsive, customisable and backlit so you can check your data in a flash. It also shows more data than some of its larger counterparts. I particularly like the move bar feature – if you’re inactive for an hour, it chirps and reminds you to get up – which is great for keeping you moving on work days as well as weekends.