Experts recommend the Fitbit Flex (Est. $100) for users wanting a bracelet-style tracker that is simple and slender. In comparison to more expensive trackers, "the Flex tracks less data and does less with it, but its wireless syncing -- to either your phone or your computer -- is a beautiful thing that makes a world of difference," explains David Pogue with The New York Times. Along with the ability to automatically upload data using either Bluetooth or a wireless dongle, the Flex monitors steps, distance, calories and sleep. "To keep the price at the $99 mark, the Flex lost a few of the features of the Fitbit One, including the altimeter and OLED display," says Duffy. A row of LED lights indicates how your daily activity measures up to your goal, which you can set using the Fitbit website. The design appears very similar to the Force, but the removable Flex tracker gives users the ability to change the look of their tracker. In addition to offering seven different band colors, Fitbit is working with fashion designer Tory Burch to create a collection of stylish accessories for the Flex. Optional pendants, wristbands and bracelets will give users more options to customize their look and integrate the Flex stylishly into their wardrobe.
The Misfit Shine (Est. $120) offers both a wristband and clip-on style holder. There's even a necklace accessory (Est. $50) available. This "makes it a more fashionable alternative to other trackers," explains Tia Ghose of LiveScience.com. In his comparison of 26 fitness trackers, Time magazine's Ben Taylor says the Shine "boasts the most elegant design of the lot, with sharp minimalist sensibilities and a simple radial interface."
The Shine isn't a perfect activity tracker, but has a couple of excellent features worth noting. The Shine can be worn in the water -- it's waterproof to a depth of 150 feet -- and has a long battery life.
Currently, the Shine is only compatible with iOS platforms. "If you're an iPhone user who cares about design and simplicity and aren't interested in third-party fitness apps or an alarm, the Misfit Shine is the activity monitor for you," says Andrea Smith of Techlicious.com. Experts have mixed feelings toward Misfit's fitness app. At TheNextWeb.com, Paul Sawers calls it "lovely," but Tia Ghose notes, "The Shine's smartphone app was bare-bones, and not very intuitive to use."
Armband activity trackers are worn securely around the bicep, keeping the device off the wrist, out of the way and snugly in contact with skin for a more accurate reading. Reviews say the BodyMedia FIT Link Armband (Est. $120) is one of the most accurate health monitors available. It takes thousands of readings each minute, monitoring skin temperature, perspiration and heat flux -- all key indicators to tracking activity levels and calories burned. The Link uploads data using a Bluetooth connection or USB cable. BodyMedia gives you a free three-month subscription to its fitness web account; after the trial period it costs $6.95 per month. Danny Sullivan with CNET found some features of the site helpful for achieving fitness goals: "I really appreciated what felt like were sensible weight loss goals that the device's Activity Manager allows to be set. In a few steps, it outlined what I needed to cut my calories to and increase my burn to, in order to lose that weight." BodyMedia includes a one-year limited warranty for the Link armband.