For all of you tracker fanatics out there, I have great news: Fitbit just announced the second generation to their Charge and Flex (Charge 2 and Flex 2 respectively) that is bound to make keeping tabs on your daily movement even easier. Lucky me, I got my hands on both wearables last week, ahead of their release, kicking off a week-long testing period with a 20-minute circuit workout from non other than former pro volleyball player Gabrielle “Gabby” Reece. (For the record, she was intense, and the workout was no joke!). Soreness-inducing circuit aside, here is what you should know if you are in the market for a new activity monitor:
Fitbit Charge 2, $150 ($180 for the limited edition model); nordstrom.com
The look: Right away, you'll notice that this model's display is four times larger than its predecessor (the easier to see you with my dear!). And you can choose from seven clock faces for a more customized look. Band wise, you can go classic with the rubber one or opt for the more stylish leather version-for a price, of course.
New standout features: GPS-enabled, this device not only has multi-sport modes, allowing for the ability to track up to 19 different activities (think running, biking, tennis, weight-lifting), but if you are engaging in one of these activities for 15 minutes (the default time, but you can change this), this wearable will automatically recognize that you are exercising. This is a pretty big deal considering I, like may others I suspect, often forget to put their current wearables into exercise mode. (And if you didn't track it, didn't it really happen?) Also handy: an interval timer will make HIIT lovers happy. And for the more mindful folks, or those who need an extra nudge to get grounded, there is a guided breathing functionality. Choose from two- or five-minute get-zen sessions.
The most intriguing feature for me is this tracker's ability to use your heart rate and exercise stats to give you a cardio fitness score (which you can view on the app). This score shows how you compare to others of your same gender and age range. (Mine said, I was average… I'm not buying that!)
The bottom line: The water-resistant Charge 2 has all of the features you know and love from the original Charge HR plus a few extra bells and whistles that the more tech savvy crowd (read: those who want to go beyond fitness tracking) will enjoy, such as call, text and calendar notifications on your wrist.
Fitbit Flex 2, $100; nordstrom.com
The look: While the Charge 2 got bigger, the Flex 2 seems to have gotten much slimmer and sleeker. For those of you who like your wearables to be as discreet as possible, you can pop the tracker out of your classic rubber band (there are seven colors) and into one of the more luxe options: a silver, gold, or rose gold bangle or a silver or gold pendant. Not to mention the designer collections-Tory Burch, Public School, and Vera Wang for Kohl's-which also offer much more modern takes on tracker holders.
New standout features: First of all the big win for this model, in my opinion, is that it is swim-proof up to 50 meters. And while I haven't jumped into the pool or ocean with it just yet, at the unveiling event, I did watch several synchronized swimmers sport the device while wading through a rather complicated water routine. I was impressed-with how well the Flex 2 handled the water and how easy those women made synchronized swimming. (FYI: It's not, I tried it once). Like the Charge 2, the Flex 2 also has auto exercise notification (even for swimming!) as well as call and text notification, which you'll be alerted to by various color patterns on the LED display.
The bottom line: As someone who like to always wear a tracker, I appreciate the more stylish carriers for this version. Seriously, who wants to be the girl in a cocktail dress sporting an obvious fitness tracker? (I have been known to try and stuff one in my evening bag, so I can still rack up steps on the dance floor. Hey, leave no step behind!)
I do have a bit of bad news about the Flex 2: You'll have to wait until October to get your hands on it. I do, however, think it's worth the wait, especially for those of you who want a functional device with a bit of fashionable flair. You can preorder both now at nordstrom.com at the links above.