The 5 best Fitbit trackers and smartwatches to improve your health and fitness

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • All of Fitbit’s fitness wearables track steps, workouts, and sleep patterns, often automatically.
  • Its devices also give insight into stress levels, health habits, and routines.
  • We compared every current Fitbit for the best in the lineup, from smartwatches to basic trackers.
  • Our top pick, the Versa 3, has all the smartwatch basics plus built-in GPS, a huge display, and a long battery life.

A fitness tracker or smartwatch is an incredible tool to help you pay more attention to patterns in your health, get serious about fitness training, or even just increase your daily step count.

One of the brands at the forefront of the industry is Fitbit, a company whose wearables track everything from daily steps and workout pace, to sleep patterns and stress levels. A Fitbit can help you better understand when you to push yourself more in a workout, when your stress levels are too high and you need to take a moment to decompress, or when that fatigue or irritability you feel is actually the result of poor sleep quality.

As an avid runner, personal trainer, and fitness journalist, I’ve tested more fitness trackers than I can count, even before they became a staple on most people’s wrists. My first tracker, the Fitbit Flex, would light up with just a few red dots to notify me that I’d hit my step goal for the day. At the time, this was revolutionary information – and I loved it. Since, I’ve tried countless smartwatches and fitness trackers from brands like Apple, Garmin, and Polar.

Over the past several months, I’ve tested out the latest in Fitbit’s current lineup. My experience using them on runs, hikes, running errands around town, and even sleeping can hopefully help you decide what fits best with your lifestyle and which may be able to help you reach your own fitness and health goals.

At the bottom of this guide, I’ve also included some helpful insight into how to shop for a Fitbit, as well as the testing methodology I used for narrowing down which models ultimately made the cut.

If you’re deciding which is the best Fitbit to buy, here’s a quick breakdown of the most mainstream contenders:

Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 2

Fitbit Inspire 2

Our review

Best overall

Best budget smartwatch

Best for the basics

Average price

$230

$180

$100

Battery Life

6 days

6 days

10 days

Features

  • Automatic activity tracking
  • 20 exercise modes
  • Sleep tracking
  • Water-resistant up to 50m
  • Built-in GPS
  • Built-in music storage
  • Large display for mindful minutes
  • Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant connection
  • Automatic activity tracking
  • 15 exercise modes
  • Sleep tracking
  • Water-resistant up to 50m
  • Large display for mindful minutes
  • Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant connection
  • Automatic activity tracking
  • 20 exercise modes
  • Sleep tracking
  • Water-resistant up to 50m

Drawbacks

  • Watch band can stick
  • Phone sync can take time
  • No built-in GPS or music storage
  • Slightly less modern display compared to Versa 3
  • No built-in GPS or music storage
  • Smaller screen

Still have questions about which Fitbit you should buy? Check out the more in-depth reviews below, along with a few other options for different needs.

Which is the best Fitbit to buy?

Best Fitbit overall

Fitbit Versa

With automatic activity tracking and a huge screen for both mid-run stats and the relax app, the Versa 3 has nearly all the perks of the Fitbit line at a not-totally-absurd price point and with a stylish design. 

Pros: Automatic activity and sleep tracking, in-depth exercise and sleep stats, 24/7 heart rate tracking, heart rate zones, built-in GPS, water resistant up to 50 meters, oxygen saturation reading, mindful minutes, battery life

Cons: Occasionally uncomfortable, sometimes needs to be manually synced

The Versa 3 stands out for its bright, colorful face and big display that clearly shows any stats. There are a lot of pros to this watch:

During a run or bike ride, the large display is especially great for quick glances at your pace in real time as you move. You can also easily check other stats — total time, average pace, heart rate zones — just by tapping the watch face, even mid-activity. The device buzzes to let you know when you’ve switched between fat burn, cardio, or peak zones. 

In the Fitbit app, you can see the complete overview of your cardio numbers, including time spent in those various heart rate zones, active zone minutes, average, minimum, and maximum heart rate, calories burned, and steps taken. With all this data, the Fitbit also determines your VO2max, the top marker of fitness level.

The Versa 3 has built-in GPS, so you can also go for a run or walk without your phone, which I particularly love to unplug and focus on your steps without losing the data behind how many I got in today.

The Versa 3 also has automatic activity tracking, which is such a nice feature when you forget to hit start on your runs. In addition to straight cardio workouts, you also have easy shortcuts to tracking bootcamp, Pilates, yoga, circuit training, and weight workouts. 

The sleep tracking on the Versa 3 also stands out among other devices in the line, as it reveals your time awake, in REM, deep sleep, and light sleep, plus the percent of time you spend below resting heart rate (aka “restoration”). All these stats lead to an overall sleep score that makes it easy to see the quality of your sleep.

You also get health-promoting tips based on sleep and activity, like when the watch told me I spend more minutes in deep sleep on days my step count hits more than 11,000 (fascinating!).

The final thing worth mentioning about Fitbit, in general, is the Relax app. This comes on each watch, but it’s best on the Versa 3 because you just have to press play and it gives you a pretty visual the Versa’s large screen. You then just follow along for deep inhales and exhales. You can check the mindfulness tap on the Fitbit phone app to see what your starting and ending heart rate is, as well as log how you’re feeling from very calm to very stressed.

The Versa 3 (as well as the Sense) will connect to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to help you check off errands or set reminders, without your computer or phone. You can even pay through the watch.

Lastly, you can control music from Spotify, Pandora, or Deezer, and even answer calls right on the watch face. If you have an Android, you can send voice-to-text responses, too. 

The only big downfall to the Versa (and the Sense) is that sometimes the watch band stuck to my skin — especially at night or when I didn’t dry it off after a workout. I do have sensitive skin, but it left a mark at one point, which went away quickly.

Also, because I close all the apps on my phone pretty often, sometimes I’d need to manually sync the watch to the phone app to see my full list of stats. This sometimes took longer than I wanted it to, especially after software updates.

Lastly, this is certainly not the cheapest watch on our list, but it still comes in below competitor models like the Apple Watch.

Best for monitoring health

Fitbit Sense

The Sense smartwatch has a ton of added features, focusing on heart health and stress management, giving you a more holistic look at your well-being. 

Pros: Automatic activity and sleep tracking, in-depth exercise and sleep stats, 24/7 heart rate tracking, heart rate zones, built-in GPS, water resistant up to 50 meters, oxygen saturation reading, mindful minutes, EDA scan, ECG readings, stress management score

Cons: Expensive

The Sense offers a more complete picture of your health, tracking not just your physical activity but also your mental state. 

For starters, the Sense offers automatic exercise and sleep tracking, and the stats that come with those readings. 

More excitingly, this smartwatch offers electrodermal activity (EDA) readings. This is a measurement of tiny electrical changes on the skin which is meant to indicate your stress levels. To get a reading, you open the EDA scan app on the watch, hold your palm on the screen, and then do a mindfulness session as it reads your EDA. After, the watch will tell you how many EDA responses it calculated (fewer means you were calm), plus your starting and ending heart rate. It gives you an option to log how you’re feeling (calm or stressed), too. 

Using those EDA readings, heart rate data, sleep patterns, and your exercise for the day, the Sense will also give you a stress management score. I was surprised by how low my score was when I actually felt stressed, but I chalk that up to a balance of physical activity and healthy amount of sleep. 

Lastly, the Sense also reads your blood oxygen levels at night and can act as an electrocardiogram (ECG) reader with the accompanying app. This means with the touch of the screen, the watch analyzes your heart rate and looks for atrial fibrillation (or AFib, which shows an irregular heart contraction and can signal a major health issue).  

The less flashy but super useful features including the ability to answer calls via Bluetooth, sync your calendar, pair the watch with Alexa or Google Assistant, and pay through your watch.

To get all these features, you do have to pay a rather hefty price, and it can take some time to add things like EDA scanning to your regular health routine. But if you’re trying to seriously clean up your overall health or want accountability to stay on track, the Sense’s many features are worth the price.

Best for tracking fitness

Fitbit Charge 4

The Charge 4 hits a budget-friendly price point while offering stellar activity tracking in a smaller footprint than a smartwatch. 

Pros: Automatic activity and sleep tracking, in-depth exercise and sleep stats, 24/7 heart rate tracking, heart rate zones, built-in GPS, water resistant up to 50 meters, mindful minutes, slim design, long battery life

Cons: Black-and-white display, smaller screen, no music storage

If you want a tracker to record your workouts and daily movement with a few nice-to-haves, but you don’t care about fancy features like a big, colorful screen; answering calls via your watch; or connecting with Alexa or Google Assistant, then the Charge 4 is your match. 

This tracker records and displays you all the stats you want from your workout: current and average exercise pace, distance, heart rate zones, total time, steps taken, and calories burned. Within the Fitbit app, you can also see a map of your run, complete with intensity zones showing where your heart rate climbed highest and dipped lowest. 

The Charge 4 has built-in GPS, so you can run without your smartphone if you want your hands free or the battery is low, which is rarer for a tracker this small.

You also still have the option to sync your calendar and get alerts on events, plus you can read text messages and see when you’re getting calls. The Charge 4 also comes with access to the Relax app for two minutes of deep breathing with dots to follow for each inhale and exhale instead of a video. This device also has Fitbit’s in-depth sleep tracking.

The battery life on the Charge 4 is longer than either Versas or the Sense. The design is smaller and takes up less space around your wrist, which is nice for more petite people. 

However, that also makes the screen smaller for reading and navigating, which can be a huge drawback for some. 

Best budget Fitbit

Fitbit Inspire 2

If you want a straightforward activity tracker to tell you how much you’ve moved today and how good of a workout you got, the Inspire 2 offers the best of Fitbit’s basic features at under $100.

Pros: Automatic activity and sleep tracking, in-depth exercise and sleep stats, 24/7 heart rate tracking, heart rate zones, water resistant up to 50 meters, mindful minutes, slim design, battery life

Cons: No built-in GPS, smaller screen

This mini-sized watch has the best of Fitbit’s signature features, including automatic sleep and activity tracking, constant heart rate tracking, and mindfulness encouragement via the Relax app. Better yet, it has the longest battery life of all the Fitbits — and it’s under $100. 

On the Inspire 2, you can get smartphone notifications like calendar alerts, texts, and calls (though you can’t answer the phone on the watch).

The slim design is nice for people who aren’t used to something on their wrist, and the minimalist display, while small and harder to read for some people, makes it easy to see what’s important without being inundated with stats and info.

The biggest downfall is that you need your phone every time you head out for a walk or run in order to track mileage and other stats. But that’s not even a huge concession for most people.

Best budget smartwatch

Fitbit Versa 2

If you want the bigger screen of the Versa 3 and the Sense but don’t need to answer calls from your watch or have a built-in GPS, the Versa 2 is a fabulous option to save a little money ($50).

Pros: Cheaper than the Versa 3 or Sense, automatic activity and sleep tracking, in-depth exercise and sleep stats, 24/7 heart rate tracking, heart rate zones, water resistant up to 50 meters, mindful minutes, long battery life

Cons: no built-in GPS, music storage only works with Deezer and Pandora’s premium service

The Versa 2 has the big, bright screen of Fitbit’s leading smartwatch models (i.g., Versa 3 and Sense), albeit with a little less modern-looking display (though the clock face and straps are all customizable).

It automatically tracks activity and sleep, offers a sleep score, has 24/7 heart rate tracking, and offers guided breathing exercises. It displays real-time pace and distance when you’re on the move. The Versa 2 has 15 exercise modes to record, which is 5 less than the newer models, but still includes all the biggies like running, biking, hiking, swimming, weights, and bootcamp. 

You can connect the watch to Amazon Alexa and control music via apps like Spotify. You also get phone notifications like texts and calls (you can’t answer calls through the watch, though you can use voice replies to texts) and can pay with the watch.

The major thing you’re giving up by opting for the older model is built-in GPS. That means you’ll need your phone with you when you go out for a run, walk, bike ride, or hike. But realistically, most of us take our phones with us running for safety or communication, so this might not be as big of a deal-breaker as it sounds. Plus, built-in GPS drains your battery faster, so you’ll score a longer battery life.

What we’re looking forward to testing

Fitbit Luxe: Fitbit recently announced a new fashion-forward fitness tracker to its lineup, the Luxe. The device is about the size of the Charge 4, but with sleek metal finishes and luxe wrist bands, and the more advanced features of the Versa 3. The device is currently on pre-order and will ship this spring. Our tech team will be testing the device, so check back for updates on how it compares to its predescessors.

How to shop for a Fitbit

Fitbit was one of the first brands in the fitness tracking-space when it came out with its step counter. Since then, its devices have evolved with the needs of its customer base, allowing it to maintain one of the top spots in a growing market of fitness trackers and smartwatches. There are good options from other brands like Suunto, Apple, and Garmin but Fitbit continues to deliver high-quality products that excel in a few key areas:

User-friendly features

Ease-of-use is everything when it comes to any technology, but especially a device you intend to use every day. Fitbit’s found success as a brand thanks to its easy-to-use interfaces and superior activity and sleep tracking. 

What makes Fitbit such a successful brand — and one worth the money — is that all its devices, no matter the price point or type (tracker versus smartwatch), come with all the foundational features you want in a health and fitness tracker. This includes the ability to automatically track sleep and activity, which is the best thing about the brand, in my opinion.

Then, all the models track pace, distance, and calories burned during your workouts, and calculate your heart rate training zones, including fat burn, cardio, and peak. For sleep, you not only get the total hours you slept, but the time you spent in deep and REM sleep, plus the percentage of time you spent below your resting heart rate. 

With some models, these stats are easier to access than others — namely, the Sense, Versa 2, and Versa and 3 because their larger screens are easier to read at a glance. But even with the smaller, more narrow faces of the Charge 4, the numbers are very large which is really nice to have. The Inspire 2 is definitely the hardest to glace stats quickly off of.

The Fitbit app itself, accessed via your phone, is easy to navigate and clearly displays steps, miles, active zone minutes, daily calorie burn, mindfulness days, exercise, and activity per hour. It also reminders you to take 250 steps per hour. Additionally, you can track your menstrual cycle, food and water intake, and weight (though these require more manual entries). 

Easy-access add-on features

Fitbit now also offers a Premium membership, through which you get access to guided meditations, video workouts, goal setting and challenges, and more in-depth health insights, particularly for your blood oxygen level readings, heart rate variability, and breathing rate. 

All of these features are accessed through the Fitbit app, so this is mostly just a plus for Fitbit as a brand. However, most of the new Fitbit devices come with a complimentary free trial, after which it’s $10/month or $80/year, and the upgrade unlocks special features for some devices. The Sense, for example, includes a six-month free trial of Premium, which also offers special mindfulness and mediation features through the watch’s special electrodermal activity sensor. The Inspire 2 comes with a year-long free trial. The Versa 3, Versa 2, and Charge 4 all come with a 3-month free trial.

Superior battery life

Each Fitbit in the line has top-notch battery life, lasting days even with auto-activity and auto-sleep tracking turned on, so you don’t have to worry about charging it every night. 

Officially, the battery for all Fitbits featured last from six days up to 10 days, depending on the device and your usage. In my experience, the Versa 2, Versa 3, and Sense last an average of six days on one charge, the Charge 4 for seven days, and the Inspire 2 a whopping 10 days.

Versatile customization options

For starters, there’s the devices themselves: the Fitbit line is a range of smartwatches and other wearables, all with different features and price points, so you can choose the one that best fits your style and health goals. 

Then, Fitbit offers plenty of options to customize the look of your device. Each watch or tracker comes with a basic band, but all have different colors and material bands you can purchase for customization, from stainless steel mesh for a professional look to expressive prints to more breathable sports bands. The only watch on our list that doesn’t offer a sport-specific band is the Inspire 2.

You can also customize the watch faces, both for aesthetics and readability, and to personalize shortcuts on the devices and what’s displayed on the main app page. The Sense and Versa 3 have the most options for watch faces; you can even download third-party designs or use your own photos, which you can’t do with the other models.

How I tested

In addition to testing past iterations of Fitbit trackers and smartwatches when they were launched, I tested each on the list below for several days (some weeks, even) wearing them 24/7 in most cases. I wore each during different types of workouts, from runs and walks to strength sets and yoga. I also wore the trackers to bed and for mindfulness sessions. Here are the key features I looked for when testing:

Workout tracking

To successfully record stats during a workout and easily check these as you go, it’s important that a watch clearly displays numbers, and quickly and continuously connects to the GPS, particularly if it’s built into the watch. I judged the trackers and watches on whether I could easily see my current pace, distance, and time, and if I had quick access to see other metrics like average pace and heart rate. 

Additionally, I ran another fitness tracking app on my phone to test the accuracy of the watch’s distance and pace. For every Fitbit featured, the numbers were always relatively close (and within the normal range you’d find if you compared almost any other fitness tracker). 

Because Fitbit offers automatic tracking, I also did a few workouts without manually pressing the start button to confirm that it picked up my movement, which it almost always did. 

Tracking and comfort while sleeping

I wore each of these watches and trackers to bed to test the automatic sleep tracking. I checked these stats in the morning to make sure it recorded my time in bed and wake-up times throughout the night. I also wore the devices when occasionally taking naps throughout the day, which they also picked up on. 

The devices needed to be comfortable enough to wear all night in order to get those stats, too. While the bands occasionally stuck to my skin if I got sweaty at night, it never disturbed my sleep — I only ever noticed this after waking up. 

Battery life

I tested the battery life of each Fitbit by charging it to 100% battery and wearing it through workouts, nights of sleep, and throughout the day to see how long each would last. They all surprised me, too — the life lasted even after several workouts, including those using the built-in GPS (which typically drains batteries quickly). The Inspire 2 was the most impressive for battery life. 

App usability

One huge perk of Fitbit is the built-in stress-reducing apps, so how easy these were to use was a key part of testing. I tried Fitbit’s mindfulness program, the Relax app, on all devices, and the EDA scan app on the Sense, which contributes to stress management numbers. I looked for ease of use, visuals, and the stats provided after recording a mindfulness session, like changes in heart rate. 

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Fitbit just launched a new model that looks more like jewelry than a fitness tracker, but doesn’t compromise on health features

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Fitbit Luxe Side

  • Fitbit’s new Luxe tracker is meant to be a fashion-forward fitness tracker.
  • It comes with core health features like heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring in a stylish design.
  • The Luxe is available for preorder now before shipping this spring and starts at $149.95.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Luxe (small)

Fitbit announced the Fitbit Luxe on Monday, the company’s latest effort to make a wrist-worn fitness tracking device that looks more elegant than a traditional fitness band.

The Luxe, which starts at $149.95, is sleeker than its popular Charge 4 tracker but still includes some of the more advanced features found in pricier smartwatches like the Versa 3.

That’s significant because many wearable devices that prioritize style don’t come with as many health and fitness-oriented features.

The Luxe comes at a time when many companies are attempting to make their devices more appealing to style enthusiasts. Earlier this year, Garmin released the Lily, a fashion-forward smartwatch designed with women in mind.

Fitbit Luxe price and availability

  • The Fitbit Luxe is available to preorder on April 19 and will ship later this spring.
  • The base model with a silicone band costs $149.95
  • The special edition that comes with the Gorjana Soft Gold Stainless Steel Parker Link bracelet is available for $199.95 and also launches this spring.

What is different about the Fitbit Luxe

Fitbit Luxe Silicone

Physically, the Luxe has more in common with the Charge 4 than with the Versa 3. It lacks the large round face of a traditional smartwatch, instead featuring a thinner and longer look like Fitbit’s other trackers. Yet, like the Versa 3, the Luxe offers a full-color touch display while the Charge 4 is stuck in greyscale.

Like the Versa 3 and Charge 4, the Luxe offers a heart rate sensor, sleep tracking, and blood oxygen monitoring, but that last feature won’t be available at launch. Luxe owners can also get access to their stress management score, although this wristband does not have an EDA sensor for additional insights about how your body reacts to stress like the Fitbit Sense.

Instead, the Luxe examine metrics like activity levels, sleep, and heart rate to determine stress. The Luxe also comes with a six month trial of Fitbit’s $9.99-per-month premium service.

Fitbit is also bringing its health metrics dashboard, which was only previously available on smartwatches, to the Luxe and other trackers. This dashboard tracks metrics like breathing rate, heart rate variability, resting heart rate, skin temperature variation, and blood oxygen monitoring.

Both the Versa 3 and Charge 4 offer stand alone GPS, while the Luxe needs to be paired to a phone to track distance and pace. The Luxe has shorter battery life than the Versa 3 even though it lacks a battery-sucking GPS. Fitbit claims the Luxe gets up to five days of battery life, while the Charge 4 gets up to a full week and the Versa 3 lasts for six days.

Fitbit sells woven, sport, and leather bands for the Charge 4 and Versa 3. But only the Luxe is compatible with stainless steel mesh or linked bracelet bands in addition to leather, silicone, and woven bands. Fitbit partnered with the jewelry company Gorjana to create the $99.95 Parker Link bracelet band exclusively for the Luxe.

Should you preorder the Fitbit Luxe?

Fitbit Luxe Parker Link

The Fitbit Luxe could be appealing to those who prefer wristbands over smartwatches but don’t want a device that has a sporty look like most fitness trackers. It lacks an onboard GPS, which might be a downside for avid runners, but offers many other fitness features.

The addition of high-end bands could make Fitbit stand out in the fitness tracker market. That’s especially true considering there’s less selection in this space as many tech companies have focused more on smartwatches than fitness bands in recent years.

Wearables that emphasize style and design also don’t typically come with as many health capabilities. The Bellabeat Time, for example, is a sleek watch that can monitor sleep, activity, and stress. But it doesn’t come with advanced features like blood oxygen saturation measurements, which is coming to the Fitbit Luxe in a later update, and skin temperature variation.

Luxe (button)

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The Fitbit Sense is an excellent smartwatch and fitness tracker, but the cheaper Versa 3 is still the best choice

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Fitbit Sense lead image
  • The Fitbit Sense packs most of the latest technology into a fairly-priced $299.95 smartwatch.
  • Unlike some of its competitors, The Sense has an EDA and skin temperature sensor to track stress.
  • The Versa 3 offers a similar experience to the Sense, but is $70 cheaper.
  • Check out our guide to the best smartwatches for more buying advice.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Sense (small)Versa 3 (small)

Health and fitness has always been at the core of Fitbit’s products, and the company is taking that one step further with the Fitbit Sense.

The Fitbit Sense was originally released in September at $330. But it’s now priced at $299.95, making it Fitbit’s most expensive – and most sophisticated – smartwatch.

What makes the Fitbit Sense unique is its ability to sense your body’s reaction to stress, a capability that rivals like the Apple Watch lack. The Sense can also monitor your blood oxygen levels (SpO2) and take an electrocardiogram (ECG), features that are starting to become standard on premium health watches from Apple, Fitbit, and Samsung.

Fitbit’s high-end smartwatch succeeds at giving users an incredibly detailed look at their fitness, health, and sleep. However, other Fitbit models like the $229.95 Versa 3 also offer many of the same features for less money. If you’re not concerned with taking an ECG from your wrist or getting an understanding of how your body reacts to stress, it’s hard to recommend the Sense over the Versa 3.

Fitbit Sense Specifications:

Fitbit Sense Specs
Display 1.59 inches, 336 x 336 resolution AMOLED screen
Battery Estimated at 6 days
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
Sensors Heart rate monitor, accelerometer, GPS and GLONASS, SpO2 sensor, electrical sensors for EDA and ECG apps
Durability Water resistant up to 50 meters
Compatibility iOS and Android

Design and display

Fitbit Sense Design and Display

The Fitbit Sense isn’t exactly a high fashion accessory, but it’s comfortable enough and has a nice, crisp screen.

The watch comes in a 40 millimeter square-shaped aluminum watch case with a silicone strap, which is easy to put on and adjust. The AMOLED display is bright and vibrant, and the always-on display also makes it easy to glance at my wrist to check the time, even in direct sunlight.

The watch has one haptic-only button on the side that acts as a home button and felt intuitive to use. Press it once to illuminate the screen, double press it for shortcuts, and long press it for either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

The watch holds up to five watch faces in an app on the device, and to add more you must use the Fitbit app on your phone. Luckily, there are many free options that allow users to pick from a huge range of digital and analog faces. Fitbit offers some customization, but doesn’t support the level of personalization you’d get with the Apple Watch’s complications.

Overall, Fitbit’s accompanying smartphone app is straightforward and easy to use. Fitbit’s $9.99 Premium service, which you get a six-month free trial of when purchasing a Sense watch, is a big part of the overall experience. But non-premium members can certainly still benefit from the plethora of data provided by the watch and the occasional free session.

The Sense also does all of the many things one would expect a premium smartwatch to do. It answers phone calls if your phone is nearby, sends alerts when you get a text or an email, supports mobile payments through Fitbit Pay, and is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

These options all work as they should with minimal fuss. I particularly enjoy using the smart alarm that vibrates in the morning when the watch senses that I’m lightly sleeping, which is less jarring than waking up to a traditional alarm.

There are a handful of third-party alarm and timer apps on the Fitbit app store, but don’t expect much more. Uber, Starbucks, Pandora, Walgreens, United Airlines and the New York Times have apps available. But the store’s offerings seem barren compared to Apple’s App Store.

Stress Management

Fitbit Sense stress management

The Sense, unlike other smartwatches, comes with an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor that helps measure your overall stress levels. This sensor detects small, electrical changes to your skin; the fewer electrodermal responses you get, the less stressed you are, according to Fitbit.

An app allows you to do a quick scan by placing your hand over the watch and staying still for two minutes. The watch vibrates to let you know when your scan is done, and prompts you to manually record how you feel. The sensor only works if your hand is completely still while touching the outside of the watch casing, so I found it difficult to truly relax while simultaneously keeping one hand glued to my wrist.

But my stillness clearly paid off when the app showed that I had zero EDA responses after my session and that my heart rate had dropped from 81 to 78 beats per minute. This was nice to see, but I honestly did not feel any less stressed than I had before.

These measurements are then compiled by the app into a Stress Management score, which ranges from one to 100. A higher number means that your body is showing less stress. The score looks at metrics like responsiveness (based on heart rate data and electrodermal activity), exertion balance (activity), and sleep patterns.

In addition to taking scans and issuing a Stress Management score, Fitbit also offers guided meditation sessions in the Fitbit app for Premium members that utilize this EDA sensor. A few introductory sessions are available for free.

Although I didn’t personally find the stress management feature to be all that helpful, bringing EDA sensors to smartwatches can be useful since you can’t really buy a standalone device to measure this type of metric. That’s according to Tanzeem Choudhury, professor in integrated health and technology at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, who spoke to Insider.

The EDA integration is certainly nice to have, but I understand why the technology hasn’t been sold as a standalone device. Until Fitbit explores new ways to make EDA scans feel more natural, it’s an interesting but only marginally useful statistic.

Blood oxygen readings

Fitbit Sense blood oxygen reading

The Sense, like the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, comes equipped with a blood oxygen (SpO2) monitor. Unlike its competitors, Fitbit only allows SpO2 monitoring during sleep, meaning you cannot use the watch to get an on-demand SpO2 reading.

Fitbit says this enables the watch to establish a baseline of oxygen saturation that’s probably more consistent than a spot check.

Traditional pulse oximeters clip to the end of the finger and take measurements by passing light through the skin and tissue, as the Yale School of Medicine explains. Pulse oximeters on smartwatches can produce similar readings, but use a different technique to get their data. Smartwatches like the Fitbit Sense use LED lights to shine through the skin on the wrist and measure the reflection of the light instead of its transmission through the skin.

Choudhury says smartwatch blood oxygen sensors should work as accurately as their clip-on counterparts. While there isn’t enough data showing how smartwatch sensors compare to traditional pulse oximeters, she still thinks making this type of data more accessible is valuable.

“Tracking these continuously at home, you can flag when something is different and have someone look at it,” she said.

Fitbit also says its SpO2 feature shouldn’t be used for medical purposes and is only intended for general wellness. Apple has made similar remarks about the Apple Watch Series 6‘s blood oxygen sensor.

As for the lack of on-demand SpO2 data, some might find this to be a drawback, but I disagree. I feel that my watch sometimes offers too much information, which can lead to excess stress.

After months of use, I barely glance at my SpO2 data. My levels stay consistent, which means it’s not a metric that I need to check regularly like other frequently changing measurements such as heart rate and sleep quality.

Fitbit is currently working on a feature that notifies users when their SpO2 levels fluctuate, though there is no indication of when users might see that update.

Health and fitness

Fitbit Sense Health and Fitness

The Fitbit Sense is a solid fitness tracker, although it lacks some useful features of its competitors.

The onboard GPS is fairly accurate and only takes about 30 seconds to a minute to connect – the same amount of time it takes the Strava app on my phone to connect.

The watch consistently tracks my location, pace, steps, and heart rate while exercising around my neighborhood. There are also specific exercise modes for biking, bootcamp, circuit training, elliptical, golf, martial arts, yoga and many others.

Like the Apple Watch, you can set specific goals for your workouts – for distance, time, active zone minutes, or calories – and the watch will give you haptic feedback when you complete them.

This is a great feature, but unlike Garmin and Apple, the Sense does not allow for pace alarms. This means that there is no way to get a notification for when my pace is too slow. Also, unlike the Apple Watch, the Sense lacks the ability to quickly switch between exercise types mid-workout, which some might find helpful.

The Sense also allows users to take an electrocardiogram (ECG) by opening an app on the watch and placing their index finger and thumb on the metal corners of the watch casing. The readings are then stored on the Fitbit app where they can be viewed or exported as a PDF. I found this feature nice to have, but not one I used often.

Both the Versa 3 and the Sense have a Spotify app, but it’s only available for Spotify Premium users, and does not offer the ability to download songs directly to the watch. I found this disappointing, as it meant that I needed to bring my phone with me on workouts in order to listen to music. Premium users of both Deezer and Pandora can download some of their music directly to their Fitbit watch, while Spotify members cannot.

Fitbit says that it is continually working on their music offerings and hopes to eventually support the ability to use Spotify offline.

Sleep tracking and battery life

Fitbit Sense Sleep tracking

Without a doubt, the Sense shines its brightest when tracking sleep.

All Fitbit users get a sleep score that is based on time asleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep, and restoration – which includes sleeping heart rate and restlessness.

In Fitbit’s free tier, users get access to graphs breaking down the time spent in various sleep stages, as well as the estimated oxygen-level variations throughout the night. They can also see their 30-day average, as well as benchmark ranges for people in their particular age bracket and gender.

The premium membership unlocks the full spectrum of the Sense‘s sleep tracking capabilities. This includes detailed readings from the blood oxygen sensor, sleeping resting heart rate, and skin temperature readings. Premium users can also dive into looking more closely at the different stages of sleep, the time asleep, and sleeping heart rate.

The sleep tracking feels surprisingly accurate, and my sleep score often correlates to how rested I am feeling the next day. Even the temperature readings feel accurate – I can remember feeling warm the night before, and lo and behold, my app tells me that I was one degree above my baseline.

As cool as this glut of information is, I’m not exactly sure what to do with it or how I can use it to improve my sleep. The Fitbit app has a two-week program called “Habits for Restful Sleep,” which walks users through ways to get rid of bad sleep habits and start new ones. This sounds great, but in reality it’s just a screen with tasks for you to check off at the end of the day for two weeks.

Fitbit claims that the Sense gets up to six days of battery life on a single charge. Of course, battery life varies by use, and I found that it reliably gets close to four days with the SpO2 sensor turned on and the always-on display turned off.

The Sense also charges quickly. Fitbit says that you can get a full day of juice in a 12-minute charge, a claim that I found to be accurate.

Should you buy it?

Fitbit Sense should you buy it?

Ultimately, the Fitbit Sense is a premium smartwatch that does almost everything right. The problem is that many of the Sense’s most useful features, like its long battery life and in-depth sleep metrics, are also found on the cheaper Fitbit Versa 3. That watch, which sells for $229.95, only lacks the nighttime temperature monitoring, the ability to take an ECG, and the EDA sensor, none of which are vital to the overall Fitbit experience.

That watch, which sells for $229.95, only lacks the ability to take an ECG as well as the EDA sensor, none of which are vital to the overall Fitbit experience. While the Sense includes a dedicated skin temperature sensor, the Versa 3 uses existing sensors to track changes in temperature but requires a premium membership.

Here are the biggest differences between the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3

Fitbit Sense Fitbit Versa 3
Always on display: Yes Yes
Built-in GPS: Yes Yes
Automatic workout detection: Yes Yes
Heart rate monitor: Yes Yes
EDA sensor: Yes No
SpO2 tracking: Yes Yes
Ability to take ECG: Yes No
Battery life: Up to 6 days Up to 6 days
Price: $299.95 $229.95

What are your alternatives?

Apple users interested in more advanced health metrics like SpO2 measurements and fall detection might benefit from the seamless iPhone integration and rich app store of the Apple Watch Series 6.

However, Apple’s smartwatch is more expensive than Fitbit’s since it starts at $399, and it’s lacking when it comes to battery life and sleep tracking compared to Fitbit.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is also a premium smartwatch and fitness tracker that features a blood oxygen sensor. Starting at $299.99, the Galaxy Watch 3 has solid fitness tracking features, good battery life, and the ability to download music from Spotify. But it doesn’t have the Google Assistant, is plain-looking, and the operating system can be un-intuitive.

Smartwatches from Apple and Samsung also come in an LTE compatible variant for those who are interested in getting calls, texts, and alerts when their phone isn’t nearby.

Watch Series 6 (40mm, GPS) (small)Galaxy Watch 3 (41mm, GPS, Bluetooth) (small)

The bottom line

Fitbit is wonderful at offering its users the most insight into their exercise and sleep habits. The Sense‘s new lower price as well as its long battery life make it a great choice for those who consider sleep tracking a priority. But unless you are dying for an EDA sensor and the ability to take an ECG, skip the Sense and get the Versa 3 instead.

Pros: Good battery life, Great fitness and sleep features, Comfortable

Cons: Small app store, No offline Spotify

Sense (button)

Read the original article on Business Insider

Peloton, Oura, and Whoop: High-performance apps become a lifestyle and status symbol in quarantine

Oura ring on finger
The Oura Ring.

  • During quarantine, people with means have turned to obsessive health tracking as a hobby.
  • Fitness tech startups raised a record $2.3B in 2020, per CB Insights, and connected fitness raised nearly $900M.
  • As people learn more about their bodies, they’re letting the apps make lifestyle choices for them. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

When Adeline Cheng wakes up, she checks the app on her phone that’s synced with the chunky titanium Oura ring she wears to bed. While she slept, the ring measured her breathing, heart rate, body temperature, sleep quality, and movement.  

The Oura app displays her “readiness” score, meant to indicate how prepared her body is for activity that day. Combined with her “sleep” score and her “activity” score, Cheng is hoping for what’s called a triple crown, meaning all three scores are above 85. Sometimes she gets it, she said.

“I do work out quite a bit, so sometimes my body says I’m not ready,” she said. “And I’m not the greatest sleeper. That’s why I got the ring.”

This data-heavy morning routine is a relatively new one for the 40-something Toronto bank executive. In the last year, she said she was looking for a way to redirect the energy she previously focused on office life and social gatherings. Like more than 4 million other people, Cheng also picked up a Peloton habit.

“I think for a lot of people, health and wellness have become an important aspect of how they see themselves,” Cheng said.

The practice of tracking health metrics this closely, and purchasing the accessories to do so, has moved from locker rooms to living rooms over the last year. A category of apps, wearables, content, and workout equipment make up what’s known as the high-performance lifestyle (HPL) market, which has seen a boom during the pandemic as people with disposable income increasingly turned to tech to optimize their performance.

The last year has upended the the fitness industry’s status quo. Companies scrambled to keep up with the surge in at-home fitness, using artificial intelligence (AI) to offer personalized workouts and real-time feedback.

Fitness tech startups got the chance to snag a permanent foothold in the market. In 2020, they raised a record $2.3 billion, per CB Insights, a 30% increase from 2019. Several companies, such as fitness tracking app ​Strava​ and virtual training app Swift, hit unicorn status. The connected fitness equipment category has been one of the main drivers behind this boom, raising nearly $900 million in 2020 alone, Jake Matthews, senior intelligence analyst at CB Insights, told Insider.

Peloton
Visits to Peloton’s US website skyrocketed during the pandemic, via BofA Research.

Consider the popularity of Peloton, which saw monthly visits to its US site soar from two million in March 2020 to 10 million in November 2020, per Bank of America Research. An Oura spokesperson told Insider that ring sales doubled in the last year to a total of 300,000 since the company’s launch in 2018.

“Looking forward, as these devices, along with wearables and fitness apps, collect more data on consumers’ health and wellness, those that can use that data to create a more personalized, engaging, and effective fitness experience will be positioned to win,” he said.

This vast array of fitness companies collectively comprises the HPL sector. It spans several markets, according to Anthony and Joe Vennare, who are brothers, investors, and cofounders of Fitt Insider: The $13.5 billion self-improvement market, the $60 billion wearables market, the sports medicine market which is expected to surpass $9 billion by 2024, and the alternative medicine market which is poised to reach $296 billion by 2027. 

Companies benefitting from this boom include health wearable providers such as Whoop, FitBit, Apple Watch, and the Oura Ring; quantified fitness equipment such as Peloton, Row, and Mirror; meditation apps including Headspace and Calm; and accessories like the self-cleaning Larq water bottle.

Once the purview of professional athletes and elite tech circles, products like these have merged with the realities of quarantine over the past year, bringing many people face-to-face with tech’s ability to measure our minds and bodies in new ways – and it can be addictive.

Addictive and competitive

Patrick Schneider Sikorsky
In addition to his Oura ring, Patrick Schneider-Sikorsky wears a Keyto breath meter, an Apple watch, and an Abbott continuous glucose monitor.

Patrick Schneider-Sikorsky, 39, who works in venture capital in London, said his group of friends shares screenshots of sleep scores with each other in a WhatsApp group.

“Getting competitive about sleep is a bit ridiculous,” he said. He catches flak for getting better sleep than his friends, despite going to bed later. “According to the Oura, I’m getting three hours of deep sleep every night,” he said. “And they’re like, ‘How is that possible? You’re going to bed after midnight, and I go to bed at like 11:00.'”

Though Wanfang Wu, 28, said he uses the Oura mainly to track his sleep quality, he originally bought it to detect early signs of COVID. While working from home in San Diego, he read it was being used in a trial at Stanford University. Oura has also received a boost from high-profile fans including Prince Harry, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey, and the NBA

“In my research for choosing a sleep tracker, the Oura ring was already on my radar,” Wu said. “But then once I heard about the COVID detection, and work-from-home happened, that’s what made me pull the trigger.”

Since purchasing the Oura, Wu has been focused on improving his sleep score, but he said progress has stalled. “I hover around 70%. I’ve been trying to increase that, to limited success.”

Wanfang Wu
Wanfang Wu bought the Oura ring to detect early signs of COVID, but now he mostly uses it to track sleep.

Using health data to change habits

In addition to watching out for a life-threatening virus, many people have learned what lifestyle factors affect their sleep, and are tweaking their diet, alcohol consumption, and bedtime routines. 

“My current hypothesis is I need a more comfortable bed and probably a more standardized sleep schedule,” said Wu, who created an Excel spreadsheet to track how certain behavior changes affected his sleep. So far, he’s tried dimming his lights after sunset, wearing blue light-blocking glasses for two hours before bed, using blackout curtains, drinking Yogi bedtime tea, and, most recently, a new mattress topper. 

“The glasses have helped me fall asleep faster,” he said. “The curtains help me stay asleep longer, but my sleep efficiency has stayed the same – at 70. I am waiting to see if there are durable results from the mattress topper.”

Schneider-Sikorsky, who in addition to his Oura ring wears a Keyto breath meter, an Apple Watch, and an Abbott continuous glucose monitor, said he’s noticed the days-long domino effect one evening of drinking alcohol has on his glucose levels, which in turn increases his hunger. Sushi, he noticed, also makes his glucose levels fluctuate.

Justin Flowers, a 33-year-old biotech manager in San Diego, said he bought an Oura and a Whoop and took up running during the pandemic. 

Justin Flowers.JPG
Justin Flowers bought an Oura and a Whoop and took up running during the pandemic.

“I’ve learned a lot about my body from both devices,” he said, citing the impact of late-night exercise, blue light glasses, melatonin supplements, hydration, and the effects of alcohol. “These are all things that my Series 5 Apple Watch, which I also wear, can’t tell me.”

Back in Toronto, Cheng considers her readiness score before having a glass of wine in the evenings. She’s noticed it boosts her heart rate, which disrupts her sleep, and hurts her readiness score the next morning. 

“I didn’t make those connections in normal real time, because I wasn’t getting a hangover,” she said. “I was ready for work the next day.” Now, she said, the Oura data will tell her that even though she may feel okay, her body is still struggling to recover.

“My ring told me this morning that I was delayed in readiness. And it said, ‘Did you have a late meal?’ I did. “It allows me to see how certain activities help me or hinder me for the day ahead,” she said. 

The quantified self as a status symbol

Optimizing health through tech has unwittingly become a pandemic status symbol.

Tech-health hobbies are something a small number of fortunate people have been able to do, said Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, author of “The Sum of Small Things,” which charts the rise of inconspicuous consumption among the aspirational class.

She told Insider that while many people have been under enormous anxiety and stress during the pandemic, turning to the Calm App to meditate during this time is very different than a grocery store worker not being paid enough and risking their life on an hourly job, without the time to zen out for 20 minutes a day.

“Weirdly, even those things that we’ve taken for granted as just simply keeping us sane in this time are still luxuries of being well off,” she said. “They’re very discreet pandemic-focused lifestyle choices, to be in your best health.”

It’s a trend Currid-Halkett doesn’t see going anywhere post-pandemic. “Those are things that people have turned to that will remain helpful in our lives,” she said.

Cheng, the Canadian bank executive, recognizes this and admits she’s self-conscious about the Peloton bike, Oura ring, and Larq bottle she bought during the pandemic. “I do feel privilege guilt,” she said. “I appreciate that I’ve become a walking cliche for upper-middle-class people.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Health and fitness wearables have boomed during the pandemic – and they’re changing the way we eat, sleep, exercise and drink alcohol

Oura ring on finger
The Oura Ring.

  • During quarantine, people with means have turned to obsessive health tracking as a hobby.
  • Fitness tech startups raised a record $2.3B in 2020, per CB Insights, and connected fitness raised nearly $900M.
  • As people learn more about their bodies, they’re letting the apps make lifestyle choices for them. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

When Adeline Cheng wakes up, she checks the app on her phone that’s synced with the chunky titanium Oura ring she wears to bed. While she slept, the ring measured her breathing, heart rate, body temperature, sleep quality, and movement.  

The Oura app displays her “readiness” score, meant to indicate how prepared her body is for activity that day. Combined with her “sleep” score and her “activity” score, Cheng is hoping for what’s called a triple crown, meaning all three scores are above 85. Sometimes she gets it, she said.

“I do work out quite a bit, so sometimes my body says I’m not ready,” she said. “And I’m not the greatest sleeper. That’s why I got the ring.”

This data-heavy morning routine is a relatively new one for the 40-something Toronto bank executive. In the last year, she said she was looking for a way to redirect the energy she previously focused on office life and social gatherings. Like more than 4 million other people, Cheng also picked up a Peloton habit.

“I think for a lot of people, health and wellness have become an important aspect of how they see themselves,” Cheng said.

The practice of tracking health metrics this closely, and purchasing the accessories to do so, has moved from locker rooms to living rooms over the last year. A category of apps, wearables, content, and workout equipment make up what’s known as the high-performance lifestyle (HPL) market, which has seen a boom during the pandemic as people with disposable income increasingly turned to tech to optimize their performance.

The last year has upended the the fitness industry’s status quo. Companies scrambled to keep up with the surge in at-home fitness, using artificial intelligence (AI) to offer personalized workouts and real-time feedback.

Fitness tech startups got the chance to snag a permanent foothold in the market. In 2020, they raised a record $2.3 billion, per CB Insights, a 30% increase from 2019. Several companies, such as fitness tracking app ​Strava​ and virtual training app Swift, hit unicorn status. The connected fitness equipment category has been one of the main drivers behind this boom, raising nearly $900 million in 2020 alone, Jake Matthews, senior intelligence analyst at CB Insights, told Insider.

Peloton
Visits to Peloton’s US website skyrocketed during the pandemic.

Consider the popularity of Peloton, which saw monthly visits to its US site soar from two million in March 2020 to 10 million in November 2020, per Bank of America Research. An Oura spokesperson told Insider that ring sales doubled in the last year to a total of 300,000 since the company’s launch in 2018.

“Looking forward, as these devices, along with wearables and fitness apps, collect more data on consumers’ health and wellness, those that can use that data to create a more personalized, engaging, and effective fitness experience will be positioned to win,” he said.

This vast array of fitness companies collectively comprises the HPL sector. It spans several markets, according to Anthony and Joe Vennare, who are brothers, investors, and cofounders of Fitt Insider: The $13.5 billion self-improvement market, the $60 billion wearables market, the sports medicine market which is expected to surpass $9 billion by 2024, and the alternative medicine market which is poised to reach $296 billion by 2027. 

Companies benefitting from this boom include health wearable providers such as Whoop, FitBit, Apple Watch, and the Oura Ring; quantified fitness equipment such as Peloton, Row, and Mirror; meditation apps including Headspace and Calm; and accessories like the self-cleaning Larq water bottle.

Once the purview of professional athletes and elite tech circles, products like these have merged with the realities of quarantine over the past year, bringing many people face-to-face with tech’s ability to measure our minds and bodies in new ways – and it can be addictive.

Addictive and competitive

Patrick Schneider Sikorsky
In addition to his Oura ring, Patrick Schneider-Sikorsky wears a Keyto breath meter, an Apple watch, and an Abbott continuous glucose monitor.

Patrick Schneider-Sikorsky, 39, who works in venture capital in London, said his group of friends shares screenshots of sleep scores with each other in a WhatsApp group.

“Getting competitive about sleep is a bit ridiculous,” he said. He catches flak for getting better sleep than his friends, despite going to bed later. “According to the Oura, I’m getting three hours of deep sleep every night,” he said. “And they’re like, ‘How is that possible? You’re going to bed after midnight, and I go to bed at like 11:00.'”

Though Wanfang Wu, 28, said he uses the Oura mainly to track his sleep quality, he originally bought it to detect early signs of COVID. While working from home in San Diego, he read it was being used in a trial at Stanford University. Oura has also received a boost from high-profile fans including Prince Harry, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey, and the NBA

“In my research for choosing a sleep tracker, the Oura ring was already on my radar,” Wu said. “But then once I heard about the COVID detection, and work-from-home happened, that’s what made me pull the trigger.”

Since purchasing the Oura, Wu has been focused on improving his sleep score, but he said progress has stalled. “I hover around 70%. I’ve been trying to increase that, to limited success.”

Wanfang Wu
Wanfang Wu bought the Oura ring to detect early signs of COVID, but now he mostly uses it to track sleep.

Using health data to change habits

In addition to watching out for a life-threatening virus, many people have learned what lifestyle factors affect their sleep, and are tweaking their diet, alcohol consumption, and bedtime routines. 

“My current hypothesis is I need a more comfortable bed and probably a more standardized sleep schedule,” said Wu, who created an Excel spreadsheet to track how certain behavior changes affected his sleep. So far, he’s tried dimming his lights after sunset, wearing blue light-blocking glasses for two hours before bed, using blackout curtains, drinking Yogi bedtime tea, and, most recently, a new mattress topper. 

“The glasses have helped me fall asleep faster,” he said. “The curtains help me stay asleep longer, but my sleep efficiency has stayed the same – at 70. I am waiting to see if there are durable results from the mattress topper.”

Schneider-Sikorsky, who in addition to his Oura ring wears a Keyto breath meter, an Apple Watch, and an Abbott continuous glucose monitor, said he’s noticed the days-long domino effect one evening of drinking alcohol has on his glucose levels, which in turn increases his hunger. Sushi, he noticed, also makes his glucose levels fluctuate.

Justin Flowers, a 33-year-old biotech manager in San Diego, said he bought an Oura and a Whoop and took up running during the pandemic. 

Justin Flowers.JPG
Justin Flowers bought an Oura and a Whoop and took up running during the pandemic.

“I’ve learned a lot about my body from both devices,” he said, citing the impact of late-night exercise, blue light glasses, melatonin supplements, hydration, and the effects of alcohol. “These are all things that my Series 5 Apple Watch, which I also wear, can’t tell me.”

Back in Toronto, Cheng considers her readiness score before having a glass of wine in the evenings. She’s noticed it boosts her heart rate, which disrupts her sleep, and hurts her readiness score the next morning. 

“I didn’t make those connections in normal real time, because I wasn’t getting a hangover,” she said. “I was ready for work the next day.” Now, she said, the Oura data will tell her that even though she may feel okay, her body is still struggling to recover.

“My ring told me this morning that I was delayed in readiness. And it said, ‘Did you have a late meal?’ I did. “It allows me to see how certain activities help me or hinder me for the day ahead,” she said. 

The quantified self as a status symbol

Optimizing health through tech has unwittingly become a pandemic status symbol.

Tech-health hobbies are something a small number of fortunate people have been able to do, said Elizabeth Currid-Halket, author of “The Sum of Small Things,” which charts the rise of inconspicuous consumption among the aspirational class.

She told Insider that while many people have been under enormous anxiety and stress during the pandemic, turning to the Calm App to meditate during this time is very different than a grocery store worker not being paid enough and risking their life on an hourly job, without the time to zen out for 20 minutes a day.

“Weirdly, even those things that we’ve taken for granted as just simply keeping us sane in this time are still luxuries of being well off,” she said. “They’re very discreet pandemic-focused lifestyle choices, to be in your best health.”

It’s a trend Currid-Halkett doesn’t see going anywhere post-pandemic. “Those are things that people have turned to that will remain helpful in our lives,” she said.

Cheng, the Canadian bank executive, recognizes this and admits she’s self-conscious about the Peloton bike, Oura ring, and Larq bottle she bought during the pandemic. “I do feel privilege guilt,” she said. “I appreciate that I’ve become a walking cliche for upper-middle-class people.”

Read the original article on Business Insider