Guide to Healthy Apps: Garmin Vivosmart, Jawbone UP24 & Magellan Echo
Wearable tech gives you a jump start in your efforts to stay healthy. There are many devices on the market to help you track your exercise, make sure you keep moving, and let you know whether you're getting enough rest to keep you ready for your next day of exercise. These three popular devices are sure to keep you moving toward your goals.
Garmin Vivosmart ($169.99)
Capabilities: The Garmin Vivosmart is an activity tracker that does everything you'd expect from your wearable device. Its display alerts you to the number of steps taken, distance covered, and calories burned, and it gives you the time like an old-school wristwatch, too. Like the new smart watches, it also tells you when you have a phone call, text, or email, but that's just an added bonus. Devices like this one are all about the health benefits, so it makes sure you always have your day's statistics with you and even gives you an irritating buzz when it senses you've been a little too complacent and need to get up and move. Make sure to move around for a few minutes at least once an hour to keep its reminder at bay.
Extras & Apps: Wearable tech only works when you wear it, and it's easy to forget to put it on if you have to remove it when you shower. The Garmin Vivosmart eliminates that excuse because it's fully waterproof. Not only can you wear it when showering, but you can also take it along when you're doing laps in the pool. Expect it to last about seven days between charges.
Garmin has its own site, Garmin Connect, where you can easily track your progress via the big picture. The device lets you set goals and track your progress at achieving them. It automatically syncs via Bluetooth with compatible devices. It also works with apps like MyFitnessPal, where you can add in other components, like your eating habits, and make use of the robust community to give you support on your journey to good heath.
Considerations: The one component that's big in 2015 but missing from the Garmin Vivosmart is a built-in heart rate monitor. However, you can use a separate monitor with chest strap to add heart rate to your tracked stats. It comes in four colors to add a bit of variety.
Jawbone UP24 ($129.99)
Capabilities: The Jawbone UP24 is wearable tech that's also pretty stylish for a fitness device, with a sleek design in your choice of six different colors. While it does tell time like larger devices with displays, it alerts you to the number of steps taken, calories burned, and distance walked. It lets you track your food, set and track goals, and it even tells you how well you slept and if you're been idle too long and need to get yourself moving.
Extras & Apps: The Jawbone UP24 has its own app to let you keep track of your progress easily on your choice of device. One of its handiest features is letting you scan bar codes to automatically log food instead of having to enter everything manually. Another big convenience is its ability to go a full 14 days between charges.
Considerations: The only two big Jawbone UP24 limitations are not having a built-in heart rate monitor like some of the newer devices and not being waterproof. It can hold up to splashes, but beware of wearing it in the shower, and never take it in the pool. Other than those precautions, the Jawbone UP24 is an all-around useful and stylish tracker to keep you on a healthy path.
Magellan Echo ($99.99)
Capabilities: The Magellan Echo adds a component that's notably absent from most other wearable fitness devices. It eliminates the need to juggle apps like MapMyRun because it works in tandem with your smart phone to stream data and use the phone's GPS capabilities to let you know where you've been, how far away it was, and how quickly you got there. Control your favorite sports apps right from the Echo instead of using your phone screen, and use it to select your music, too.
Extras: The Magellan Echo looks very much like a traditional wristwatch, despite its wide range of functionality. It comes in four colors to add a bit of style. Not only does it track the standard exercise numbers, but it also tracks your sleep quantity and quality. You never even have to charge it, as it comes with a long-lasting replaceable battery that eliminates those annoying and often all-too-frequent "charge me" reminders.
Considerations: The only big feature it's missing is built-in heart rate monitoring, but otherwise it covers pretty much every area you could want in wearable health tech.