Amazon launched an entire section dedicated to wearable electronics and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the growing (and confusing) new industry for health gadgets.
The online retailer is arguably the richest source of consumer electronics data on the planet. So we mined it for some useful info.
Whether you’re a crazy quantified-paleo-dieting-crossfitting health nut or someone who just wants to get some solid daily cardio, we’ve got some data for you here.
1. Fitbit dominates the field
Fitbit is on its way to becoming the Kleenex of wearables. It’s damn near synonymous with the brand-neutral “pedometer.” It holds most of the top slots when you sort health trackers by popularity, which correlates to sales on Amazon.
When you sort by average customer review, Fitbit is the top of the top two rows there, too, with the leading activity tracker, the Fitbit Zip, sporting 2,700 reviews. It also has a near perfect rating (4.3 stars).
“Finally, a perfect fitness motivator that changed my lifestyle,” reads one featured review, in what is apparently not a paid opinion.
It’s no surprise then that Fitbit enjoys nearly 58 percent of the market share for fitness gadgets, with the closest competitor, Jawbone, at 21 percent. No wonder Nike seems to be getting out of this game.
2. If you go sophisticated, expect some disappointment
Fitbits that attach at the waist are great for tracking steps, since their sensors don’t get confused if you hold a smartphone or hold a purse.
But they’re not as sophisticated at tracking sleep or exercise. Basis, my favorite tracker, is the only wrist-based device to measure all the stages of sleep as well as your resting heart rate (which allows users to track all sorts of fun things).
Unfortunately, the most advanced measures are still in their infancy. The Basis tracker can’t measure exercise heart rate. So runners will still need a bra-like heart-rate chest strap. I work at at a treadmill desk, and none of the fancier devices from Nike, Jawbone, or Fibit’s wrist devices account for when I’m upright at a keyboard.
Indeed, Fitbit’s sleep tracking, calorie-counting device, the Flex, is a half point lower on satisfaction ratings than the hip-mounted versions.
3. You can find a lot of great deals
Sorting by “price” reveals some pretty impressive deals. The Jawbone Up is available for as low as $87, compared to the $147 newer Bluetooth version.
All in all, the Amazon store is useful, but it still lacks a good side-by-side comparison tool.
Other websites, such at Bioniq, do a much better job of comparing trackers. But given Amazon’s size, it’ll always have some data that no one else does — and that’s a reason to return.