East End Tech: Fitness Gadgets – Taking Technology Off the Couch

Fitness technology by Polar and Jawbone
Fitness technology by Polar and Jawbone, Background Photo: svedoliver/iStock/Thinkstock

If you’re looking for a high-tech solution to getting in shape and keeping track of various fitness goals, there’s bound to be a fitness gadget that appeals to you.

Like the pedometers of yesteryear, these gadgets help you keep track of your activity level during the day, but with the advancements of technology, they can do a lot more than tell you how many steps you’ve walked. With the upcoming integration of fitness data in both Apple and Android phones, fitness tracking devices are bound to become ubiquitous, and the sheer amount of options available can be a bit overwhelming. Whether you’re looking for something minimal to pair with your phone, or something a bit more complex that gives you up-to-the-second information on your heart rate, distance traveled or myriad other data sources, there’s bound to be something out there to help you get the most out of your daily fitness routine.

The fine folks over at Polar have come out with an extensive line of fitness gadgets for all levels of dedication. Whether you’re a fitness amateur who is only interested in basic information about your heart rate, or you’re in training for an ultra marathon and need detailed information on the sort of thing ultra marathon runners need to know—whatever that is—Polar has got something for you.

Polar’s Loop Activity Tracker is their current hot product. Designed as a simple wristband, it features an LED display that can tell you the time, your steps taken, how close you are to achieving your fitness goals for the day or— when paired with an optional H7 heart rate sensor (or any other Bluetooth Smart heart sensor)—your heart rate. Polar has apps for both your smartphone and your PC or Mac that allow for in-depth fitness tracking using the Loop. Best of all, if you order it online, you can get really gorgeous looking colors like Misty Blue or Blackcurrant! The Loop retails for $109.95

Taking it to the next level is Polar’s RC3 GPS Sports Watch. With a built in GPS unit as well as optional internal heart-rate monitoring, the RC3 GPS can keep track of the route you’re taking, how fast you’re running (or biking!) and the distance you’ve travelled, displaying it all on a large and easy to read watch screen. Currently available for $279.95 without heart rate monitoring (black and orange) or $349.95 with an internal heart rate monitor (black, orange or blue).

At the top of the Polar lineup is the V800, a stylish and sporty activity monitor that features 24/7 activity tracking, a heart-rate tracker with alerts based on your own custom presets, and other features packed into a stylish and attractive watch. Basically the ultimate in sports tracking accessories, the V800 is available in blue and black, and retails at $519.95.

The Jawbone UP24 is on the minimalist end of fitness accessories. Designed to look like a simple (yet stylish) wristband, it has no real interface of its own, but instead relies on simple Bluetooth syncing with your smartphone in order to get the data it gathers, which includes steps taken and a detailed analysis of your sleeping patterns. The UP24 goes so far as to determine whether you are lightly or soundly sleeping (how it does this, who knows? Must be magic). It also has a small vibrator that can be used for custom alarms—whether you want a silent reminder when it’s time to hit the gym, or you want to be alerted when you’ve been sitting around too much. The UP24 uses an app that is stylish and intuitive, with a lot of options. Even when it falls flat (on calorie counting, for instance) it supports other apps fairly well, giving you an all around look at your health, fitness and sleeping goals. The downside to the UP24 is that it’s only compatible with smartphones, so you won’t be able to sync it directly with your computer. The Jawbone UP24 retails for $149.99 and comes in Onyx (black) and Persimmon (red-orange).

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