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    With Microsoft launching their fitness smartband, we look at the other big players and their latest gadgets

    Mind-1aIt’s only been a few years since digital bands started appearing on people’s wrists—counting steps and telling you how many calories you’ve burned. Now with ever-more wearable gizmos in the market, we find that not everyone’s a fan. “I used one for a couple of weeks, but it was chunky and I stopped wearing it when people kept asking me what it was,” says Arun Murugappa, MD of Parry Enterprises, who says he might buy a sleeker one just for when he exercises. According to marathon runner Neville Billimoria, smartbands are a beginners’ favourite. “When you start running, you want to know how many steps you’ve taken. But more experienced runners lose interest in that, and quite often, in the band too,” he says. However, he admits that he’s been a Garmin user for four years. “I only use it when I run and that too as a tool to motivate me, to compute which kilometre I slow down at.” On that note, we look at the new players who are offering more than jsut the regular features.
    —Surya Praphulla Kumar

    Microsoft Band
    The latest gadget helping you leave your phone behind and miss nothing is the Microsoft Band. The wrist-worn fitness device monitors heart rate and sleep quality. It also has a display that will show text messages, Facebook and calendar alerts. Unlike many of its competition, the Microsoft Band has GPS satellite tracking, so runners can
    track distances.
    Monitors: Steps, calories burnt, sleep, heart rate, sun exposure
    Add on: Voice activated notes and reminders. It also works in sync with the online service, Microsoft Health, to analyse data and set fitness goals
    Compatible: iOS, Android and Windows Price: Rs.12,282 Details: microsoftstore.com/store

    Striiv Fusion
    Mind-8The maker of the popular Striiv Band has announced their next—Striiv Fusion, an activity tracker with smartwatch capabilities. Besides monitoring your active moments and sleep quality, it receives call and text alerts.
    It also has upgradeable apps to provide notifications for Facebook, Skype and a variety of games.Monitors: Steps, calories
    burnt, sleep, active time
    Add on: It is water resistant and comes with three interchangeable bands—in Graphite, Blue Denham and Red Ember
    Price: Rs.6,141 Details: striiv.com

    Celeb moment
    Will.i.am, of Black Eyed Peas, wants his share of the wearable tech pie. He’s announced i.amPULS, a smart band with a fitness tracker (tracks steps, weight and calories burnt), that can make calls and send texts, has a GPS map system and a music player, besides access to social network sites like Facebook and Twitter. With 1 GB of memory and 16 GB of storage and Bluetooth connectivity, it promises to be functional and fashionable. Pre-order at iampuls.com.

    Readiband
    Catching your 40 winks is crucial to performing your best. Fatigue Science, a startup from Vancouver, has come up with a solution to track sleep, fatigue and reaction time. Readiband uses the biomathematical fatigue model created by the US Military, called SAFTE (Sleep, Activity, Fatigue, Task, Effectiveness), to collect your sleep data and calculate your fatigue levels. The makers promise this would be a great way to calculate mental effectiveness at the workplace and analyse personal accident/fatigue risk.
    Monitors: Sleep and fatigue levels
    Compatible: iOS and Android Price: Rs.15,353
    Details: fatiguescience.com/readiband

    Runtastic Orbit
    Building on its popular suite of fitness and health apps, Runtastic has launched its fitness band, Runtastic Orbit. Waterproof (and with a week’s worth of battery life), it comes with all the regular features, and also has an ambient light sensor that measures sunlight exposure.
    Monitors: Steps, calories burnt, sleep, active time, sun exposure
    Add on: The Runtastic Me app will sync with your device and help you integrate your band with the Runtastic ‘ecosystem’, thus displaying duration, distance, pace, speed and more, while you are doing an activity
    Compatible: iOS, Android Price: Rs.7,370 Details: runtastic.com

    Moov
    A ‘wearable coach’, it uses 3D sensors—a nine-axis motion-sensing system—to not only track the type of movement you’re doing, but how you’re doing it (its accelerometer and gyroscope detect movement in space and force of motion, and its magnetometer measures rotation). Then the voice-enabled device teaches you how to exercise properly. Currently it covers running, boxing, swimming (yes, its waterproof), cycling and body weight.
    Monitors: All your movements—from G-force to cadence–
    with 3D Motion Capture Add on: Plans to incorporate martial arts and a physical therapy app soon.
    Compatible: iOS, with Android to be added this month
    Price: `4,913 Details: moov.cc/pre-order

    Withings Activité
    It may look like a regular watch, but this one blends time and activity tracking. Swiss made (with a French design), it monitors swimming (50 m water resistance) and your sleep patterns, besides all the regular functions. The watch connects with the Withings Health Mate app to help you plan your activities, customise your fitness goals and even set an alarm.
    Monitors: Steps, calories burnt, sleep
    Add on: Connects to your smartphone to automatically change time zones. Another plus, its battery lasts an entire year
    Price: Rs.30,705 Details: withings.com/activite

    GOQii
    Besides the basics, this home-grown band (launched earlier this year) connects you to a fitness coach who will help you convert the data it captures into usable information to incorporate into your daily routine. So you can set goals, tweak your diet and get advice on how to stay more active.
    Monitors: Steps, distance, calories burnt, sleep, active time
    Add on: It offers a Karma points system. Meet your daily goals, accumulate points and use them to donate to a good cause (they have tied up with Oxfam India) Compatible: iOS and Android Price: It comes with a six month plan, with a coach (Rs.5,999). You can also opt for their one-year subscription (Rs.9,999) Details: goqii.com

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