Wearable tech is all the rage now and fitness-tracking devices are leading the way
By Samantha Francis
(Photo: Fitbit; Swarovski)
Weekender pits two newly-launched tech devices, the stylish Fitbit Blaze (left) and the bejewelled Swarovski Activity Tracking Jewellery (SATJ), and tells you if they make great workout buddies.
Fitbit Blaze: Sleek, with a bright screen that lights up upon a gentle touch of the finger, the fairly unisex design of the Fitbit Blaze ($318) looks like it could give the Apple Watch a run for its money.
SATJ: When a jewellery brand like Swarovski hops onto the fitness tracking bandwagon, you expect nothing less than an iconic crystal to be its centrepiece. Classy and elegant, the SATJ ($280 for the Activity Crystal and two bracelets) looks more like a bejewelled timepiece than a fitness tracker.
The Fitbit Blaze doubles as your personal fitness trainer. (Photo: Fitbit)
Fitbit Blaze: Made for the go-getter who will likely take the watch from the boardroom to the gym, it comes with a stylish collection of premium accessory bands and frames.
Choose between classic high-performance elastomer bands available in black, blue and plum, genuine leather bands and more.
SATJ: Targeted at the ladies, the SATJ’s Activity Crystal centrepiece doubles as a beautiful piece of jewellery. It comes with a sports band for your sweaty workouts and a glamorous, crystal-studded Slake bracelet to switch to.
While the sports band fitted comfortably, the Slake bracelet was way too loose for my wrist — even after wrapping it around twice.
Fitbit Blaze: It linked seamlessly with the Fitbit app on my iPhone and offered a power -packed combination of fitness tracking and smartphone features.
Highlights include all-day activity tracking; sleep tracking, real-time performance stats, heart rate tracking and even a snazzy SmartTrack automatic exercise recognition function.
The Blaze also doubled as my personal trainer with on-screen workouts in the FitStar mode. Busy bees will be happy to know that calls, texts and calendar notifications will be delivered to the watch, keeping you connected.
SATJ: As the SATJ doesn’t have a screen — it’s basically an Activity Crystal that lights up — the tracking stats have to be viewed on its corresponding Misfit app.
Nonetheless, the expert tracking tech-nology embedded within the crystal does a good job logging my physical activity throughout the day and is even water resistant up to 50m.
To review activity, the crystal synchronized wirelessly with the iPhone, allowing me to set activity goals, log a food diary and share progress with my friends.
When touched, tiny lights indicated both the time and status of activity accomplished. It took me a bit of practice to get used to reading the lights but, once I got the hang of it, it was a breeze.
The SATJ is a bejewelled and elegant fitness tracker. (Photo: Swarovski)
Fitbit Blaze: The FitStar Personal Trainer was, hands down, my favourite feature. On days when I’d felt too lazy to visit the gym or head outdoors for a run, it offered a fuss-free option for exercise.
All I had to do was find a space, switch to the FitStar mode and choose between three workouts: Warm It Up, 7 Minute Workout, and 10 Minute Abs.
The 10 Minute Abs Workout had me performing bicycle kicks, elbow planks, straight leg lifts and more, guided by animated images and instructions on the watch screen. It left me with a satisfying burn in my core!
SATJ: If setting goals motivates your fitness journey, then the SATJ is perfect for you. Each day, I enter a score — typically 300 points — into the Misfit app before going about my daily activities.
A tap on the Activity Crystal shows me how many points I’ve attained so far. If lights fill half the screen, I know I’m halfway there.
At the end of a week, it gives me immense satisfaction to view a breakdown chart of my activity and sleep levels, allowing me to tweak my lifestyle choices accordingly for better fitness.
Fitbit Blaze: The fact that the Blaze looks like a watch makes it extremely wearable for all occasions. Plus, its intuitive touchscreen and power packed features make it a breeze to use. The downside is that a single charge lasts only five days.
If you’re looking for an all-rounder fitness smart watch, it is certainly worth the buy.
SATJ: Probably the prettiest fitness tracker in the market, the SATJ will appeal to ladies who fancy a blinged-out bracelet that also tracks your daily activity.
Most of all, I loved that I could shower and swim with it. Buy it if you want a fitness watch that will take you easily from gym to a night out with the girls.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of Weekender, Issue 153, May 27 – June 9, 2016, with the headline ‘Fashionably fit’.