This past year, I’ve really gotten into fitness tracking (for better or for worse). I used to use an Apple Watch Series 3 a few years ago, but I got rid of it because of the distractions it caused for me. I always felt like I was looking down at my wrist when I got notifications, and it was causing me to get distracted easily.
However, what got me looking again at fitness trackers were products like the Oura Ring and the Whoop. (However, after reading reviews on this device, I realized quickly that the Oura Ring wasn’t for me.)
The Whoop was a lot more attractive to me compared to a product like the Fitbit or Apple Watch. I really liked the fact that it wasn’t a watch and was a fitness tracker with no distractions. The biggest problem I had was that it had a subscription model.
I decided to try a Whoop 4.0, a Fitbit Inspire 3, and finally, an Apple Watch Series 8.
Trying the Whoop 4.0
I started with the Whoop 4.0, and I was immediately impressed by the features it offered. It provided me with real-time heart rate data, a comprehensive sleep analysis, and an easy-to-use interface. I really loved the simplicity of the Activity, Recovery, and Sleep.
The most useful thing I found was sleep tracking. I liked understanding my sleep patterns and seeing if I was actually getting any sleep.
The part I didn’t like was the Recovery. I didn’t understand this metric, and it wasn’t intuitive to me. I tried looking into Whoop’s articles about how it works, but it still didn’t make a lot of sense to me. On some days I was in the red for recovery I felt great, but sometimes when I was green, then I didn’t feel as good.
I did not like the fact that it did not count steps. While I know steps can be cheated, it’s still a measurable data point that can help you understand if you are walking more or less than you did yesterday.
Finally, I did not like the reoccurring subscription model. Over the course of a year, I could pay upfront instead of month to month. It would STILL be 240$ for a year. Over the course of 3 years, that is 720$!
Trying the Fitbit Inspire 3
Next, I tried the Fitbit Inspire 3. It had a lot of the same features as the Whoop, but I found that the interface was a bit clunky and the heart rate monitoring was not as precise Furthermore, the sleep tracking was not as detailed or in-depth as the Whoop's.
It also did not tie well into an iPhone. The data didn’t sync correctly with the Apple Health application, which made it hard for other apps to read the data correctly (unless they had direct FitBit integration). You had to use 3rd party apps to get Data to sync between Fitbit and Apple Health.
I did like how small this device was, which made it not very bulky on your wrist.
It did count steps (obviously) as opposed to the Whoop. However, its calorie estimation for me always seemed a bit too high, and I didn’t like how much it tied into Heart Rate, as this isn’t the best metric for calculating calorie expenditure.
The most attractive thing to me was the price of the Fitbit and the battery life. I got mine for 80$, which is the cheapest for any of the fitness trackers I tried. It also EASILY lasted me a full week on a single charge (and could have gone to 10 days probably). While this device wasn’t for me, it is the best bang for your buck and would probably be a great choice if you are on Android or want to save some money.
However, Fitbit premium, which offers sleep cycle insights and extra features also costs a monthly fee (I believe like 6$ a month) so if you want all the advanced features long-term, you will also have to pay for a subscription (you do get 6 months free when you buy a device).
I also started using this device as an alarm to wake me up in the morning instead of my phone alarm. Read more about my experience with that here:
Finally, the Apple Watch Series 8
Finally, I tried the Apple Watch. The reason this one was last for me is that I wanted to avoid the distractions I experienced the last time I owned this device. To do this, I decided to mute ALL notifications except for phone calls.
I was also worried about battery life, as this wasn’t the Apple Watch Ultra.
The biggest advantage of this device is obvious: it’s an Apple Product. As such, you get several additional integration options that the other apps just don’t have.
The heart rate and sleep tracking were incredibly accurate and reliable, and I found that I liked the options I had when running workouts on this device. The advantages to this device are obvious, but the biggest one for me was how accurate this device is compared to the others. I found this video very helpful in understanding which fitness tracker is the most useful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVhmzxpw5Gg
Battery life hasn’t been a problem for me yet, as I wear it to bed while I sleep, and then charge it first thing in the morning while I’m getting ready for work (this also gives my wrist a break).
I use AutoSleep on the AppStore to measure my Sleep insights on the Apple Watch:
AutoSleep Track Sleep on Watch
Automatically track your sleep from your Apple Watch*. No buttons to press. Even the Watch app is optional! Just sleep! Total Privacy. ------------- AutoSleep has no user analytics tracking. No advertising plugins. No 3rd party code. No data upload. Ask your "free" sleep app if they can say the sam...
I also like being able to use the Fitness rings, because I like to track my exertion for the day and compare it to my previous days. This helps me keep pushing forward and working harder than last time (@Coach Greg Douchette). It counted my steps very well too, just like the Fitbit.
After comparing the three devices, I was confident that the Apple Watch was the best choice for me.
In the end, I decided to switch to the Apple Watch, and I'm glad I did. (I actually returned my Apple Watch Series 8 and got a Series 7 to save some money) It's been the perfect fitness device for me, providing me with detailed and accurate tracking data, allowing me to track my progress and stay motivated in my fitness journey. While I do think that the other fitness trackers on this list are useful, having the direct link to Apple, having accurate results, log step counts, and no subscriptions are the biggest selling points to me.
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