High-End Activity Trackers That Are Worth the Price

For $150-plus, You Get Plenty of Specialized Features.


You don’t need to spend a lot to get a great activity-tracking device — there are plenty of great options for $50 or less, and even more under $100. If you do have the cash to spare, though, spending a bit more will get you a veritable fitness powerhouse capable of tracking every step and much, much more. Some of the wearables below even approach smartwatches when it comes to functionality, giving you extra bang for your buck. (And, as you’ll note, one device actually is a smartwatch, but it makes this list due to its impressive fitness-tracking features.)

Mio Alpha 2 ($169)

Priced just north of $150, the Mio Alpha 2 band is focused on delivering EKG-accurate heart-rate readings directly from your wrist. Throughout your workouts, the device displays your current heart rate on the screen, and you can configure heart-rate zones corresponding with different colors for a quick way of tracking your status. The Mio Alpha 2 sends all its data — including speed, distance and calories — to workout apps such as Endomondo, MapMyRun and Strava. If there's a downside, it's that this gadget is a little clunky, but it's definitely not billed as a fashionable device in the first place!

Basis Peak ($200)

This option has you covered on multiple fronts: It provides a heart-rate monitor; tracks your quality and duration of sleep; and automatically logs biking, running and walking activity. The companion app lets you specify which habits you'd like to improve, such as getting more sleep, burning more calories or logging more active minutes per day. You can also work toward goals that the Peak sets based on your performance. The Basis Peak doesn't sport a color display, but you can view notifications from your smartphone such as new texts, emails and calls.

Fitbit Surge ($250)

Like any activity tracker worth its salt, the Fitbit Surge monitors steps taken, distance traveled and floors climbed. (It also tracks calories burned and how many minutes per day you're active.) Higher-end features include GPS for recording your routes for running, biking and other sports; multi-sport mode for analyzing all types of workouts; and smartwatch-style text and call notifications that work when the device is paired with your phone.

Garmin Vivoactive ($250)

Garmin's a huge name in the specialized sports-watch space, and the Vivoactive is a good choice for the serious exerciser who enjoys a variety of activities. Via the wearable's color touchscreen, you can choose between "apps" for GPS-assisted running, cycling, golfing and activity tracking. You can also pair your phone with the tracker to receive vibration alerts for new messages.

Apple Watch Sport ($349)

Yes, this is a smartwatch first and an activity tracker second, but if you're interested in both types of devices, the Apple Watch Sport is a solid choice. The wearable measures and tracks all your daily activity, showing your progress toward daily goals, and it also prompts you to get moving if you've been sitting for too long. The Sport Band on the entry-level of the Apple Watch makes it a great choice for active types — you won't want to take a leather strap along with you on your run.