Fad or gadgets with actual value?

There is a ton of wearable tech available to John and Jane Doe these days. Gadgets to monitor your health, monitor your pets, gadgets to monitor your home and Google Glass which monitors everything.

Nike Fuelband, FitBit Force and the Jawbone Up

In my world these three are the most common. I see a ton of people walking around with these on their wrists. They seem like a very simple and probably pretty accurate way to track your activity. The FitBit can also track your sleeping which at first just seems to be a “throw in” feature, but if you’re having trouble sleeping this just might be something useful.

Important note for cyclists: Because all three units are worn on the wrist they don’t actually track your cycling. Unfortunately, but if your wrist is stuck on the handlebars steering there isn’t much ability to track.

Difference Makers

The FitBit and Nike Fuelband have similar features (sans the sleep tracking), but the really differentiators here are:

  • Display – The FitBit displays a lot more data than the Fuelband is capable of
  • Mobile App – My understanding is that the Nike Fuel mobile app is more feature rich
  • Website – Here, the advantage goes to the FitBit as they have a really nice website with a TON of features
  • Integration with Shoes – Yes, advantage Nike

You’ll notice I didn’t mention the Jawbone Up here. Why? Because I had a bad experience with the up. Couldn’t get it to sync… couldn’t get it to work. I have to give the Jawbone and incomplete. I read decent things about the units, but unfortunately can’t report on them.


On a personal level I like the styling of the Nike Fuelband, but the price and features give FitBit the nod in my book.

Keep in mind there are other options that have things like heart rate monitors, GPS or are worn differently to facilitate tracking activity on a bicycle. These are just the most popular and the ones that friends own. Many other great products available… you just have to do your research.