fitness trackers

Ultrahuman Ring tracks metabolism through movement, sleep and other metrics

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The Ultrahuman Ring tracks metrics for your health.
The Ultrahuman Ring tracks metrics for your health.
Photo: Ultrahuman

Ultrahuman, which runs an advanced metabolic fitness platform of the same name, introduced its new Ultrahuman Ring Friday. The metabolism-tracking wearable is available via a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.

The company said it “seeks to engage the creator community and innovate with biohackers all around the world.” The campaign runs through October 27.

Get in your best shape with this blood oxygen-level-monitoring smartwatch

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Gain deep insights into your health with this smartwatch.
This smartwatch monitors your blood-oxygen levels (and costs much less than an Apple Watch).
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

The Letsfit IW2 LCD smartwatch costs just a fraction of an Apple Watch, but it’s an innovative all-in-one solution for your fitness and your health. While your beloved Apple Watch can do it all, fitness trackers like this one earned a reputation for a more singular focus. They can deliver insights specifically related to your health and fitness. And some pack other features Apple Watch doesn’t.

$40 fitness watch offers 15 different health-tracking features

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fitness watch
This robust fitness watch is an affordable Apple Watch alternative.
Photo: Smart Fit

If there’s one thing you should get a handle on, it’s your overall wellness. An Apple Watch works great for that, but you don’t necessarily need to spend the same amount of cash to get a robust fitness tracker. The Smart Fit Multi-Functional Wellness & Fitness Watch offers 15 high-tech features to help you monitor stats that will help you meet your fitness goals.

Why Apple Watch Series 5 is a welcome surprise

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Apple Watch Series 5 adds an always-on display. Just what I always wanted.
Always-on display. Just what I always wanted
Photo: Apple

I wasn’t expecting much from the Apple Watch Series 5 refresh. The rumor mill only predicted new ceramic and titanium finishes, plus maybe sleep tracking. That was all for this year.

But it turns out Apple had three big surprises hidden up its sleeves — new features that look set to make Apple Watch Series 5 the best smartwatch money can buy.

Samsung steps up fitness game with two new wearables

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While Galaxy Watch Active functions more like Apple Watch, Galaxy Fit looks more like a straight-up fitness tracker.
While Galaxy Watch Active functions more like Apple Watch, Galaxy Fit looks more like a straight-up fitness tracker.
Photo: Samsung

Samsung really wants to compete with Apple Watch on the fitness front, as shown by a pair of new wearables the Korean company unveiled Wednesday. The Galaxy Watch Active offers a “full smartwatch experience,” the company said, while the Galaxy Fit works more like a stripped-down fitness tracker.

Framing both new devices as essential for health in the modern world, Samsung ripped a page from Cupertino’s successful health-centric marketing of Apple Watch. But it also dunked on Cupertino with some features that will make Apple Watch owners drool.

New Fitbit Versa takes aim at Apple Watch

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Fitbit Versa
Fitbit Versa is likely to become a top competitor for Apple Watch.
Photo: Fitbit

Fitbit is stepping up to compete better with the Apple Watch with the Versa smartwatch. The new wearable looks similar to Apple’s watch, and offers music playback and other capabilities. Plus, it arrives at a lower price point — just under $200.

The Versa’s unveiling comes just after Apple surpassed Fitbit in the wearables market. Apparently, people want much more from their devices than just counting steps.

Why Apple should make a cheap activity band (and what it might look like)

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A no-frills Apple fitness tracker could get new users hooked on the Activity app.
A no-frills Apple fitness tracker could get new users hooked on the Activity app.
Image: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The Activity app is one of Apple’s most important and powerful products. Its three brightly colored rings are changing people’s lives around the world, inspiring individuals to make healthier choices throughout their day.

The trouble is, if you want to use the Activity app, your only option right now is to buy an Apple Watch — and Apple Watches are expensive.

With this kind of game-changing product, Apple usually wants to reach as big an audience as possible. Take the iPod, for example. It was too expensive for some consumers. so Apple released a no-frills, sub-$99 version called the iPod Shuffle. Could a similar strategy work for the Activity app? An affordable activity band from Apple could be a Fitbit killer.

As fitness trackers converge, everyone’s sprinting toward confusion

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Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker GG
Is it an activity tracker, a sport watch, a smartwatch or all three?
Photo: Fitbit

2016 has been a tough year for fitness trackers, with scientists questioning their effectiveness and headlines boldly proclaiming that “fitness trackers don’t work.”

And yet, sales of fitness trackers are healthier than ever, while struggling smartwatch makers are desperately trying to reposition their gadgets to muscle into the fitness market. So what is going on? If fitness trackers really don’t work, why are consumers still buying them?

Fitbit surges as Apple Watch stumbles

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Simple fitness trackers from Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin outsold Apple Watch during the third quarter.
Simple fitness trackers from Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin outsold Apple Watch during the third quarter.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch may be the most recognizable product in the wearables space, but it isn’t the best-selling.

Sales of Apple Watch are down more than 70 percent, according to IDC Research, which cites third-quarter sales figures of the wearables market.

Are smartwatches doomed?

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swimmer wearing apple watch
Is fitness really all that Apple Watch is fit for?
Photo: Apple

The writing has been on the wall for smartwatches ever since Cupertino chose to focus on sports and fitness features for Apple Watch Series 2. Smartwatch sales are plummeting, and fitness seems to be the only profitable area remaining in the wearables sector.

More evidence of this trend emerged this week, with smartwatch trailblazer Pebble reportedly being acquired by fitness wearables specialist Fitbit. We might very well be witnessing the demise of the smartwatch as we know it.

So how did we get here? Is Apple Watch really only fit for fitness, or could it still one day fulfill its destiny and become a true wrist-based computing platform?

Black Friday deals on health and fitness: A Withings gift guide

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Withings Black Friday gift guide
Great Black Friday deals slash up to 70 percent off Withings fitness and health gear.
Photos: Withings

This post is brought to you by Withings.

Don’t let shopping stress you out and spoil the holiday spirit. Gifts that are useful and beautiful are always a safe bet, and these Black Friday deals on health and fitness products from Withings — one of our favorite purveyors of quality gear — mean you can save up to 70 percent on the perfect gifts for 2016.

But don’t delay: These excellent deals on Withings fitness trackers, home health gadgets and smart scales won’t last forever. Prices go back up Tuesday!

Apple Watch Nike+ will launch October 28

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Apple-Watch-Nike
The wait for Apple Watch Nike+ is almost over.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s website confirms that Apple Watch Nike+ will become available October 28. Customers can preorder all four models of the device now, with prices starting at $369 for the 38mm variant and $399 for the 42mm.

Will Fitbit’s ‘magic number’ really step up your fitness game?

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Where will Fitbit’s 10,000 steps a day lead you?
Where will Fitbit’s 10,000 steps a day lead you?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Fitbit reported its best-ever holiday sales this week, but investors are fretting because the wearable maker’s guidance for the current quarter is lower than expected. Some analysts are questioning whether Fitbit can hold its own against competition from Cupertino.

Apple Watch has proved to be a fantastic fitness tracker for many Cult of Mac readers. So I was curious to find out how Fitbit’s trackers compare. They may be cheaper than Apple Watch, but are they as effective at promoting healthy habits?

Why it’s impossible to keep up with the Apple Watch Activity app

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Time to take the stairs, not the elevator.
Time to take the stairs, not the elevator.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The Activity app on your Apple Watch suggests new “Move goals” each week, based on how many calories you burned the previous week. To test how this works in practice, I accepted every new goal my Watch suggested during the past 10 weeks.

The Move goals became progressively more challenging as the test went on. They nearly doubled, from 950 to 1,840 calories, and I could no longer keep up. I realized that Apple is following the Peter Principle, and that’s why I was always destined to fail.

6 lessons Apple Watch could learn from rival fitness trackers

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Apple Watch Activity
What would it take for Apple Watch to lap competing fitness trackers?
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

I’ve started cheating on my Apple Watch. It’s not that I don’t love it. It’s amazingly beautiful. It does stuff I didn’t even know I’d like. But when it comes to running wild in the outdoors, I’ve found a smartwatch that satisfies me more than Jony Ive’s wearable does.

For the past week I’ve been testing the Garmin Fenix 3, a top-of-the-line smartwatch from a company that’s made a name for itself by providing runners and outdoorsmen with some of the best wrist-worn fitness tech. I hate wearing the Fenix 3. While Apple Watch gently caresses my wrist, the Fenix 3 feels like I’ve strapped a tank to it. Yet it boasts features Apple Watch doesn’t have that I’m starting to think I can’t live without on runs and hikes.

I don’t plan to completely break up with the Apple Watch anytime soon, but I’m ditching it during my four-day trek through the Grand Canyon this weekend because there are still a couple things it needs to learn before it can truly be the best all-around fitness tracker.

How gadgets helped me go from dad bod to six pack

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Third-party fitness apps will finally become fully fledged Watch apps.
Fitness gadgets saved my life. Sort of.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

I used to live the classic geek lifestyle, forever hunched over a MacBook, munching on comfort food. Until one day cancer forced me to take my health more seriously.

Now I run marathons and lift weights for fun. But the geek is still strong in me. From GPS watches to bioelectrical impedance analyzers, I’ve used pretty much every kind of fitness gadget.

Here’s the story of how fitness gear helped me get in shape for the first time in my life and swap my middle-aged dad bod for a six pack.

What does ‘fitness’ mean and why does it matter?

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Apple Watch Activity
What exactly are fitness trackers tracking?
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Many people say they want to get fit, but what does this actually mean? Fit for what?

The websites of leading fitness trackers, like Apple Watch, Fitbit, Microsoft Band and Jawbone Up don’t shed much light on this question. They talk a lot about the things that their devices measure, and even suggest changes in how we go about our day, but they rarely explain why this matters or what the actual benefits are.

Fitbit lists Apple Watch as risk to investors in IPO filing

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Apple Watch Activity
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Fitbit is looking to make a splash on Wall Street by filing to go public. The company behind the Flex activity trackers announced it is looking to raise $100 million in an initial public offering later this year.

Fitbit sold 10.2 million devices last year, and is the first wearable technology company to go public. But now that Apple Watch is available to the public, Fibit is warning investors in its filing that it could potentially be “more competitive than our products and services.”

Full quote below:

Can Apple Watch really help you get fit?

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Swatch has an answer for Apple Watch. Photo: Apple
Swatch has an answer for Apple Watch. Photo: Apple

With Apple Watch about to become a reality, recent reports have questioned the benefits of fitness trackers, highlighting their inaccuracy and even claiming they make you fat.

So can wearables like Apple Watch really help you get fit? From my experience, what’s in your heart is more important than what’s on your wrist — but gadgets still have a role to play.

FDA is taking a ‘hands-off approach’ to Apple Watch

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Apple Watch isn't being too closely, err, watched. Photo: Apple
Apple Watch isn't being too closely, err, watched. Photo: Apple

The Food and Drug Administration is in a tough spot when it comes to health-tracking wearables. As the U.S. government agency in charge of regulating medical devices, it can’t promote health-oriented technology that doesn’t do what it claims, but it also doesn’t want to stifle innovation at a time when Silicon Valley is finally turning its attention to the field.

That’s why, according to a new report, the FDA is giving the tech industry, and particularly tech giants like Apple, leeway to develop new products without aggressive regulation.

Survival of the fittest: Apple Watch versus fitness trackers

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Will Apple Watch win the fitness-tracking race? Photo: Nathan Rupert/Flickr CC
Will Apple Watch win the fitness-tracking race? Photo: Nathan Rupert/Flickr CC

Apple Watch is entering the race to become the leader in wearable tech. And dedicated fitness trackers like the Nike+ FuelBand, Fitbit and Jawbone Up may struggle to keep up with Cupertino’s pace.

Few people remember the MP3 players that iPod left in its wake. Smartphones overtaken by iPhone shared a similar dismal fate. Could fitness wearables be next on the endangered list?

Withings’ new Activité Pop is a smartwatch you’ll actually want to wear

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Withings smart watch is one of the best looking wearables around. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Withings smart watch is one of the best looking wearables around. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo:

LAS VEGAS — The problem with the state of smartwatches, beyond the sucky software, is that they’re all ugly. The Apple Watch might very well be the first wearable that not only works, but looks good too, although we won’t know for sure until the finished product is on our wrists this spring.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 There were dozens and dozens of smartwatches displayed on the sprawling show floor at International CES last week, but the only one that looked good enough to adorn my wrist was the new Withings Activité Pop.

It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of fancier watches like the Samsung Galaxy Gear, but it’s not your average dumb watch either. And for now, just a smidgen smarter is smart enough.