Rating the latest wearable fitness gadgets

10/28/2013 6:00 AM

10/28/2013 5:57 AM

A spate of new fitness devices use modern mobile technology to better motivate you. These are our current favorites.

Fitbit Force

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The Fitbit Force makes it easy to track steps, sleep and calories. Its wrist strap design is lightweight and comfortable to wear, and lets it functions as a watch. The Force syncs wirelessly over Bluetooth, and Fitbit provides plenty of ways to sift through fitness data.

The bad: Closing the Fitbit Force’s strap shut is a challenge. Direct syncing is only available with newer iPhones, and the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, and Note 2 handsets.

The cost: $129.99

The bottom line: The Fitbit Force leaps to the top of the fitness tracker heap, with a bright screen, a comfortable fit and a bevy of slick features.

Withings Pulse

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The Withings Pulse packs a pedometer, heart rate monitor and sleep tracker into a tiny little black slab that syncs wirelessly with Android devices and iPhones. It also supports lots of connected apps.

The bad: Can’t read screen in direct sunlight; no Windows or Mac syncing; not water-resistant.

The cost: $99.95

The bottom line: Despite a few design quibbles, the Withings Pulse is one of the best wireless pedometers to date.

Fitbit Flex

CNET rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (Very good)

The good: The Fitbit Flex is a simple way to track steps, sleep and calories. The Flex’s strap design makes it light and comfortable to wear. It also offers handy Bluetooth syncing, and Fitbit’s platform gives plenty of ways to analyze your stats.

The bad: Clasping the Fitbit Flex’s strap shut is tricky. Direct syncing is only available with the iPhone, the Samsung GS3, and the Galaxy Note handsets.

The cost: $99.95 to $112.74

The bottom line: A long list of features and a comfortable fit made Fitbit’s new Flex the best fitness tracker available at the time of its review.

Misfit Shine

CNET rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (Very good)

The good: The Misfit Shine fitness tracker has a sharp design, is compatible with a variety of wearable accessories, and lasts four months on a single battery; it’s also waterproof and can be used for swimming.

The bad: Minimal design doesn’t display detailed data on the device; needs to be held close to phone screen to sync; at the time of review, only works with iOS and has a closed app ecosystem.

The cost: $99.95 to $119.95

The bottom line: The Shine is one of the most stylish and futuristic-looking wireless fitness trackers out there, but you’re trading in extra versatility for minimalist style.

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