Testing The Accuracy Of Fitness Trackers
Devices helping you reach your fitness goals are growing in popularity with the wearable tech industry now worth £14bn. For this week’s Swipe, the team headed to Tromso in Norway to take part in the Polar Night Half Marathon where we tested six of the latest fitness trackers.
Swipe reporter Angela Barnes downloaded the free apps for each device on her smartphone ahead of the race so the data could be synced after the activity.
The devices she tested included the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music, Fitbit Surge, Misfit Flash, Jawbone UP3, Microsoft Band, and the Garmin Vivosmart HR.
The set-up for each of these devices took less than five minutes to do.
However, to set up the TomTom, you need to sync the watch to a PC or Mac before you can see the data on the app – this only needs to be done once.
The trackers all come with lots of different functions, including sleep monitoring, but on this occasion they were all tested specifically for running.
All of the devices have built-in display screens so you can monitor activity as you run, except the Jawbone UP3 and the Misfit Flash.
The sensors on these two devices relay the data back to your smartphone so you can see how you performed after the race.
Technology journalist, Stuart Miles, compared the data for all six devices.
The trackers offered a close estimation of activity but were not entirely accurate.
“It is not necessarily about improving your peak performance on a half marathon, it is more about tracking whether you are walking enough during the day or sleeping, and that’s kind of where fitness trackers are at,” Stuart said.
“So a half marathon is probably putting them to the test, more than they were designed to do.”