For many people, Fitbit is synonymous with fitness trackers, but the company has faced new challenges from smartwatches in recent years. The Fitbit Charge 4 signifies a change, even if it doesn't look too different from its predecessor. The tracker packs everything you could want from a fitness tracker, and you get basic smartwatch capabilities like notification management, Spotify controls, NFC payments, alarms, and more. However, its $150 price tag may make it a tough sell when a smartwatch like Fitbit's own Versa 2 often goes on sale for the same price.
If you ask my friends what I'm really into, they'll definitely mention fitness. As surprisingly as it sounds, this wasn't the case about ten years ago, until I decided I wanted to lose weight and start training more seriously. I've been able to achieve my goals and understand what I was doing thanks to a bunch of apps, and I wanted to share a some of them with you to help you get in shape or track your objectives in a way that matches your lifestyle.
I've compiled a list of apps with the help of our team, and organized them into categories, as not everybody has the same needs and ambition.
In the world of activity trackers, nothing comes close to the Mi Band's value. Cheaper than any Garmin or Fitbit tracker, even the most basic vivofit4 and Inspire, but still packing enough functionality, it also benefits from Xiaomi's name recognition and is considered a serious choice, not a cheap knock-off no-name tracker.
The most recent Mi Band 4 pushes the value-for-money envelop even further thanks to a colored AMOLED screen, swim tracking, and music controls, which get added on top of the previous generation's all-day activity, sleep, and heart rate tracking. Overall, the package is very attractive, but cracks are inevitably hiding below the surface, especially if you like spending your time in a pool.
Nike+ Run Club, or NRC for short, is a popular running companion app that tracks your runs and and compares your data with that of other users (get it? Run Club?). With its latest update, NRC has become considerably nicer to use for owners of compatible Wear OS devices, who can now leave their phones at home during workouts.
Location games' Run An Empire is a brand new augmented reality app that ingeniously gamifies walking, jogging, and running. Similar apps already exist on the Play Store, though Run an Empire takes the AR gameplay into a whole new direction. Instead of running away from zombies or defending Earth against alien invaders, you will be tasked with building an empire through the ages. It's like someone combined the 4X game Civilization with an exercise app.
An update to Google Fit began rolling out to both phones and Android Wear this week. In terms of changes, watches took the lead on this release with a short list of fairly significant additions, including audio alerts during runs, updates to the workout mode, a new screen for workout history, and even automatic heart rate tracking for some recent models. While phones weren't left out entirely, the only notable addition is a new app shortcut for handsets running Nougat and above.
The Strava Android app has been available on Android Wear for a while now, giving users access to activity stats on their wrists and letting them start and stop tracking without having to pull their phone out of their pocket. But that companion Wear app was still tethered to the phone in two ways. One, you had to have the Strava app on your phone to get it on your watch, and two, even if you could track activities through your watch without a phone nearby, you couldn't upload them directly to your account, you had to sync them to your phone first and then let the latter do the uploading.
I've never been much of a runner, so I've only taken my phone with me for a lap around the neighborhood a handful of times. When I did, it felt Runtastic. But the Nike+ Running app has been another option for people looking to set goals and track their progress.