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Tammy Rogers

This Black Friday, I don't want a new MacBook, or new AirPods — I'm looking for a fitness tracker

Apple Fitness Plus trainers in studio.

Every year, when Black Friday comes around, I tend to get really excited about all the usual suspects. The reductions on laptops, headphones, and cell phones are what I look out for. But here’s the thing this year — I don’t care for any of that. I don’t want a new phone, don’t want new headphones, no new laptop, I want just one thing: A new fitness tracker.

Not even an Apple Watch — I like my Apple Watch, but it doesn’t quite fit my style, and the litany of features and flashing lights and screens feel overwhelming while I go out and about. So, instead, I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of price drops I can see on some very focused devices.

Why do I need a fitness tracker?

(Image credit: Apple)

Ok, so it’s important to be upfront — I’m not very healthy. I live a relatively sedentary lifestyle, spending most of the day sitting at my desk for hours on end and then shifting to a sofa to play video games and watch telly. I don’t eat very well, and I have to puff on an inhaler twice a day to keep my lungs going. While I am relatively young, I understand that my body needs looking after, and I am not doing a particularly good job at it. 

The other problem is that I struggle with distractions. I tried going for a walk with my Apple Watch, but I got far too into the ins and outs of the thing before I’d even left the door, by which time a massive chunk of my midday walk time had been swallowed up by my fiddling. There is always the Apple Watch Ultra, which allows you to start an exercise with a click of the Action button, but that is way out of my price range — and retains that distracting screen.

I want to get fitter. I want to do more exercise, and I want to get out and about more to do it. But I also need something simple, that I don’t need to fiddle with to get working — just press a button, and go. Thankfully, there are some great options out there that might help me out with that.

The options

Ok, so I’ve already said I don’t want to go with an Apple Watch, which pretty much completely puts a kibosh on any kind of smartwatch. They all make it just that little bit too fiddly for my attention-defecited brain to handle, and stop me from making any reasonable progress in wanting to get fit and healthy. There are, however, some wrist-mounted options that are a great deal simpler.

(Image credit: Withings)

The first is the Withings ScanWatch 2, a kind of smartwatch that keeps things simple. On the surface, it’s a normal-looking analog watch, albeit one with a small screen with a readout of heart rate and O2 tracking. By its very nature, it’s a whole simpler than a traditional smartwatch, and would let me press one button to start tracking my exercise, and then give me details when I actually need them. It’s not cheap — the Withings ScanWatch 2 costs $299 when Black Friday isn’t around — but with any luck we’ll see a dropped price over Black Friday.

(Image credit: FitBit)

Then there’s something like the classic Fitbit Charge 5. It’s small and mighty, giving you all your data whilst keeping things super simple on its small screen. That’s a $130 device, and hopefully I’ll be able to find some deals over the Black Friday period.

(Image credit: Oura)

Then there are the less traditional trackers, stuff like smart rings. The Oura Ring is just one example, and it really makes everything more simple. It will track heart rate, Blood oxygen, and other data, giving it all to me at the end of the day in an App. That’s a $299 device, so saving money on it would make for an end-of-year miracle.

The good news for me is that there are alternatives to the Apple Watch that I can use to help me get fitter — although I’ll still have to take that first step out of the front door. No matter how much I might want it too, no fitness tracker is going to take it for me.

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