7/10/2017

The Next Frontier of Fitness Gadgets Is Here, and I Tested All of Them

Two years ago, I met my wife. The time I’ve spent with her has been the most blissful 23 months of my life. It’s also been the most fattening. We got married in January, and by March, I was nine pounds heavier than when I was single and at my leanest.

As a technology journalist, the first thing I turned to was, of course, tech. I had been the proud owner of half a dozen wearables over the years, only to grow bored with them after a few weeks. Yet my optimism persisted. So I bought one of Fitbit’s activity trackers and then requested review copies of others I found interesting. Before I knew it, I had accumulated 17 devices.

Think of the Fitbits of the world as Wearables 1.0. At first, they tracked steps. And then, as better motion sensors in smartphones brought us free step-counting apps, the industry moved on to fancier things such as heart rate monitoring. I even had a watch that measured my sweat. But all they did was record this data and package them into pretty charts. What were you supposed to do with that?

There’s a new generation of wearables just starting to reach consumers, and they take their predecessors’ approach to the natural next step. Based on the data they collect, these devices actually tell you what to do—while you’re exercising or afterward. One of them even calls itself an “AI personal trainer.” Some delivered on this promise far more than others, but one thing's for sure: These wearables are a big step above what has previously been available....more