Value for money
Does the FuelBand SE justify its high price? No it does not – the lack of an Android app makes sure of that, though even before that horrific discovery it didn't exactly have a big lead over the others.
The Flex performs just as well as the others, so has to be considered best value, though we're big fans of the Up24, which offers a glimpse into a wider world of third-party apps and integration with other connected gadgets.
In theory we could set it up so that some Philips Hue lights go crazy when we reach our daily goal. Banal, yes, but the possibilities of this kind of connectivity are vast.
The Shine, meanwhile, is easily the most discreet, and can be worn on a pair of trousers or shoes for months at a time and synced whenever you want. For the more casual users out there, the Shine is hugely appealing.
Our winner is the Jawbone Up24 – by a squeak – simply because it's both easy to use and incredibly well thought out. A lot of its success is down to the 'news feed' style of its smartphone app, but there are other characteristics that make it the best tracker available.
Probably the most useful is the device's only button, which puts it to sleep and wakes it up each morning, complete with lit-up icons that let you know exactly what it's doing.
The FuelBand SE largely fails on its lack of an Android app and its uncomfortable fit, while Flex is uninspiring and Shine is unresponsive and has a very basic app.
The Up24 is not perfect. it looks very child-like and the need for a recharge via a proprietary cable is a bit of a letdown.
No, what sees the Up24 grace our wrist is its integration with other apps and gadgets. We managed to feed in data from some Withings Wi-Fi scales and link it to (a growing list of) apps like Sleepio, RunKeeper and even If This Then That (IFTTT) to get involved with the rest of the household gadgets.
It's a small start, but it points the way for the future of wearables.
It's this open-platform idea that we think is crucial to the success of these 'self quantifiers' going forward because as more and more movement and other data is collected, it needs to go into one single app. Having two fitness apps to check, in our experience, invariably means that you'll forget about one of them.
By importing data from other services and letting those services access the data from the Up24 bracelet, Jawbone is onto something – let's hope we see more of this from wearable devices in the months to come.
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Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and Space.com. He also edits two of his own websites, TravGear.com and WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),