2016 Spring Tech Guide
Whether you're in the market for the perfect fitness tracker, a completely synced up health package or a GPS-enabled watch, we've reviewed the latest and greatest in the tech world.
Here's what made our list.
Under Armour HealthBox$400 1 of 19
Everyone loves a good package deal, right?
If you're in the market for an activity tracker, heart rate monitor and smart scale, the Under Armour HealthBox is for you.
The 3-in-1 package deal groups together three popular fitness accessories: the UA Band, which is worn on your wrist and measures sleep, steps, resting heart rate and workout intensity; the UA Scale, which measures body weight and body fat percentage; and the UA Heart Rate Monitor, which is worn as a chest strap and helps you track your training zones during exercise.
Together, the three comprise an all-encompassing health monitoring system.
We tried the HealthBox over a span of several weeks, and found the holistic health experience (all three products sync with the UA Record app) to be pretty revolutionary. Is it worth $400, though?
Read the full review here.
- Hunter Hewitt
Fitbit Alta$129.95 2 of 19
The Alta is Fitbit's attempt at creating a fitness tracker you'll be proud to flaunt. It's slimmer than the Charge (about half the width) and gives you the ability to buy accessory bands in metal, leather or other classic colors.
The all-day activity tracker has the features we've grown to love from Fitbit—steps taken and sleep and activity tracking—while adding new possibilities. For example, the Alta reminds you to move when you've been sitting too long and lets you customize your display with different layouts.
- Samantha Guzman
Marc Pro$650 3 of 19
Recovery is one of the most important—and most overlooked—aspects of endurance sports. While classic tactics like ice baths, foam rolling and compression are important, sometimes athletes need a more comprehensive recovery solution.
The Marc Pro helps athletes recover faster by stimulating sore and fatigued muscles in order to improve muscle performance.
While electrotherapy may sound intimidating, Marc Pro has already been widely used in the endurance sports scene (and even the NBA and NFL) by reputable trainers and athletes. With regular use, the Marc Pro can improve your vascular system's capacity, which means your body can deliver more oxygenated blood to your muscles—increasing power and longevity.
The intensity can be adjusted by simply spinning the dial. It ranges from 1 to 10, depending on whether you're looking to recover fatigued muscles or target weak areas.
- Michael Nystrom
nuyu EcosystemPrices vary by product 4 of 19
The nuyu Ecosystem by Healthometer is actually three individual products that work together to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
Activity Monitor ($49.99): nuyu's Activity Monitor counts steps and measures distance and calories burned. The Monitor can also be worn as a watch or clipped to a piece of clothing, and the battery lasts up to four months so you don't have to recharge it every few days.
Wireless Scale ($49.99): If you want to be held accountable for your health goals, look no further. This wireless scale measures your weight and BMI and automatically sends each weigh-in's results to the nuyu app on your smartphone to help you track your progress over time.
Sleep System ($499.99)—You won't be losing sleep over the price of the nuyu Sleep System once you try it out. Just place the mat under your fitted mattress sheet, fill the tank with water and activate with the nuyu app on your smartphone.
The tank circulates water through small tubes in the mat and warms at first (you can control the temperature with the app) to help you fall asleep, while later cooling down to keep your body temperature comfortable throughout the night. It also warms back up at the time you choose to wake up.
nuyu App (Free)—The nuyu app (available on iPhone and Android) is what ties the whole Ecosystem together. It pulls the data from all three devices into an easy-to-read dashboard so users can track every aspect of their health and fitness goals.
- Scott Brown
Polar M400$229.95 with heart rate strap and sensor; $179.95 watch only 5 of 19
The POLAR M400 tracks all the crucial stats during a run, including time, pace, distance, heart rate and calories burned. Plus, a handy "Back to Start" feature ensures you never have to worry about getting lost in a new city or unfamiliar area.
The watch also has various workout modes perfect for cross-training days, including cycling, strength training and swimming. We loved syncing our activity to the Polar Flow app and desktop platform, which we found super easy to use and allowed us to quickly identify victories or areas that needed improvement.
Use Bluetooth technology to sync the watch to your phone and receive call, text and calendar notifications on the go. The super soft band and uncomplicated design make this watch easy to fall in love with.
- Erica Schuckies
Solos Smart Eyewear for Cyclists$499; Available Summer 2016 6 of 19
If Google Glass and Strava had a baby, it would be Solos, the ultra-lightweight smart eyewear that allows cyclists to wirelessly access and share performance data in real-time.
The key element of the aerodynamic design is the Vista virtual screen, which measures only 4mm in height, but allows see-through/see-around vision, while showcasing a large 5-inch virtual display with high-resolution color graphics. Solos monitors performance metrics such as heart rate, speed, power, pace, cadence, distance, duration and other Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible data.
Display settings like caller ID, notifications and social media are all voice-controlled, and a promised 10-hour battery life should ensure continued access on long rides. And as if your Strava-obsessed buddies needed another reason to mention their recent KOMs, Solos' integration technology allows users to download GPS routes and upload recorded activity to share with friends.
- Melanie Clancy
UNICEF Kid Power Bands$39.99 7 of 19
The UNICEF Kid Power Band is an activity tracker with an educational twist.
Kids learn about new cultures as they complete missions in the companion app. Celebrity athlete team members like Alex Morgan, Tyson Chandler and David Ortiz lead the missions as users earn points by completing activities and challenges.
The points unlock therapeutic food packets that UNICEF delivers to needy children around the world, allowing kids to make a positive change in the world while improving their personal well-being at the same time.
- Scott Brown
Fitbit Blaze$199.95 8 of 19
The Fitbit Blaze, possibly the most anticipated tracker of the spring season, is a new model from Fitbit that differs slightly from the Surge.
The Blaze puts a greater emphasis on everyday wearability, selling not just the device but also numerous interchangeable straps so your watch always matches the occasion. The Blaze is designed for someone who's looking to take their fitness to the next level and get a bit more serious about it, whereas the Surge is more ideal for users in the performance category (runners training for a marathon or serious cyclists).
The Blaze still tracks all the Fitbit basics like steps, calories, resting heart rate and sleep, but its connected GPS (via Bluetooth) is one of the main areas where it differs from the Surge, which features on-device GPS. The Blaze has numerous sports modes, including on-screen workouts from FitStar (featured in ACTIVE's 16 Best Health and Fitness Apps of 2016 list)that are available right on your wrist. It can auto-recognize activity once you start moving, so you don't have to select what you're doing every time.
With a sleek design and new features, it holds its own against the Apple Watch. The Blaze allows you to read texts, see incoming phone calls and view your calendar, while still maintaining five days of battery life and getting a break on the price. Still, the company's goal is not to compete with Apple, as Fitbit is more geared toward health and fitness than toward everyday practicality and convenience like Apple.
- Jackie Veling
Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini Lantern$59.99 9 of 19
With all the equipment you've got to pack and lug along the trails, smaller is often better for outdoor enthusiasts. Say goodbye to that heavy liquid fuel lantern and hello to the modern way of bringing light to your campground: the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini Lantern.
At a mere eight ounces, the Lighthouse Mini Lantern offers up to 500 hours of light, solar recharge, awesome light dispersion and a USB power port to charge phones and other gear and gadgets.
You can leave your dog at home—this is a camper's best friend.
- Brian Kendall
Hidrate Spark$59.95 10 of 19
If you have trouble hitting the recommended eight glasses of water a day, it might be time to invest in a smart water bottle. Yes, even water bottles have gone tech.
Here's how it works: The Hidrate Spark water bottle pairs with an app on your smart phone. The sensor in the bottle automatically tracks how much water you're drinking and sends it to the app, which glows as a friendly reminder when you need to drink more
It's made from BPA-free plastic, is dishwater safe, and has a battery life of one year. If you're prone to misplace water bottles, the app can also help you find it by telling you the last place you synced.
- Samantha Guzman
Bell Super 2R with 360flyPrice TBD; Available Fall 2016 11 of 19
Venerable helmet maker Bell announced in January the addition of a new 360-degree video integrated smart helmet to its performance mountain bike line. Created in partnership with camera innovators 360fly, the new Bell Super 2R will offer an integrated camera and helmet that allows 360-degree 4K video capture and mobile editing and sharing.
The integrated camera, which can also shoot conventional 16x9 video, includes a built-in GPS sensor to tag locations, a barometer/altimeter and accelerometer. Like the original 360fly camera, it comes standard with Bluetooth, built-in Wi-Fi and a promised two-hour battery life.
The video capabilities are driven by 360fly's mobile app, which allows users to instantly edit and share content to social platforms such as Facebook or YouTube. And because the camera is also detachable, you'll be able to catch the apr?s-ride rabble rousing, too.
Bell promises the new product is lightweight and will preserve the Super 2R's ventilation and integrity for impact protection, while adding an enhanced footage field view and eliminating the hassle of camera mounts and hardware.
- Melanie Clancy
Under Armour SpeedForm Gemini 2 Record-Equipped$149.99 12 of 19
Under Armour has been making impressive strides this year in incorporating wearable technology into its products, and these "smart shoes" do not disappoint.
The shoes are your regular SpeedForm Gemini 2's, an everyday cushioned trainer perfect for weekly runs, but with one exciting feature added: a light-weight chip, embedded in the right shoe, that can track all your running metrics without a phone or watch in sight. In order for the chip to record, all you have to do is run faster than an 11-minute mile pace.
The chip actually has the capability to store five workouts at a time, before eventually syncing them to the MapMyRun app, also owned by Under Armour. The app will then show your distance, time, pace, splits and calories burned. Added bonus: it also shows how many miles you've run in the shoes total and gives you an alert when it's time to buy a new pair.
For an avid tracker it can feel a little risky going out for a run with no other measuring device, but sure enough, when you get back and grab your phone, all your data will be right there. If you've ever wanted to run truly free—but still get important feedback—these are for you.
ZwiftFree 14 Day/50KM trial; $10 a month 13 of 19
While trainer sessions are a great way to build fitness, they can become painfully monotonous.
Zwift has disrupted this once-dreaded form of training by making indoor spins social and engaging. Simply connect your power meter or speed sensor to your computer through the ANT+ dongle, download Zwift, customize your avatar, and pedal away with fellow cyclists across the globe.
To get the most immersive experience, pair a smart trainer (we used the Wahoo Kickr) to your computer for real-time resistance as you travel through the course. You'll actually feel it get harder as you approach a hill, and you'll spin out as you descend.
The real-time stats are impressive, and when paired with the Zwift mobile app, you can control the direction of your avatar, wave at fellow cyclists and see your current MPH, wattage, rpm and more on your smartphone screen.
- Michael Nystrom
Moov Now$79.95 14 of 19
With so many fitness trackers currently on the market, it's impressive that Moov Now found a way to stand out. Unlike other trackers that simply measure activity and sleep, this one provides personalized feedback and coaching, in addition to measuring all the basics.
Moov, which connects via Bluetooth to your iPhone or Android, will actually talk to you on your weekly three-mile run or during that brisk walk, giving you tips to run more efficiently or burn more calories. Even if you're strength training, it can keep track of your reps and your form.
But we thought the most exciting part of the device was its cardio boxing feature. Though it requires you purchase two trackers (one for each wrist), the extra expense is well worth it to get access to one of the most exciting virtually-powered workouts on the market.
The tracker also has an actual battery in it, so you don't need to worry about ever charging the device (though you will need to change the battery once it dies).
Are you an ACTIVE Advantage member? You're in luck, as members receive a special 25% discount on this product.
- Jackie Veling
Stages Power Meter (Shimano Dura-Ace 9000)$650 15 of 19
From the weekend warrior to Tour de France winner Chris Froome, Stages Cycling has flooded the market with their affordable and accurate power meters. The Dura-Ace 9000 model is built on a non-drive FC-9000 crank arm, designed specifically for a Dura-Ace 9000 crank.
This second-generation edition is slimmer, sleeker and stronger, and features a better battery door interface. According to Stages, the Dura-Ace 9000 power meter is accurate to +/- 2%, only adds 20g to the base crank arm and has a battery life of over 200 hours.
Feel like sprinting alongside Andre Griepel? This power meter can handle up to 2,500 watts and is available in seven different lengths.
- Michael Nystrom
ROXs$129 16 of 19
The ROXs off-screen activity console by A-Champs isn't available for purchase until summer of 2016, but it's a game system active families are sure to love.
A ROXs box comes with three wireless pods (or ROXs) with sensors, speakers and lights, as well as a main console used to select games, register new players, track playtime and keep score. The idea is to spread the three devices anywhere within a 3,000 square foot play area (indoors or outside) and play pre-programmed games like Crazy Chicken or Memory that force players to run around from pod to pod to win.
Up to 50 players can be added to a console, so kids can play on their own or the whole neighborhood can get in on the competition.
- Scott Brown
Polar V800$500 17 of 19
Seen on the wrist of IRONMAN World Champion Frederik Van Lierde and Paris-Roubaix winner John Degenkolb, the Polar V800 is the ultimate training tool for multisport and endurance athletes.
One of the less bulky GPS watches on the market, the Polar V800 has a high contrast/ high-resolution display enclosed in a sleek aluminum and stainless steel shell.
Internally, the V800 includes a barometer, accelerometer and a rechargeable lithium battery with a 13-hour duration in GPS mode. The integrated GPS service allows you to see your speed, distance and route, and the sport-specific profiles allow the user to create and customize screens with preferred stats and data.
Not just for training sessions, the V800 can be used as a daily activity tracker to optimize the balance between training and rest.
- Michael Nystom
Casio WSD-F10$500 18 of 19
Casio's G-Shock watches have long been a favorite for their rugged durability. Now, the brand finally enters the smartwatch fray, and—unsurprisingly—the company synonymous with department-store watches and nifty calculators has hit it out of the park.
The WSD-F10 gives outdoor enthusiasts all the information they could possibly want, packed in an intuitive interface on a big, rugged wrist tank.
Features include water resistance, a battery that lasts an entire month (take that, Apple Watch), a pressure sensor, compass and accelerometer. It costs a pretty penny, but this piece of high-tech gear fit for Sir Edmund Hillary comes with the kitchen sink.
- Brian Kendall