Technology

The best sport trackers

Fitness trackers are fairly straightforward when you’re running or working out at the gym. You put the device on your wrist, sync it to your phone, and before you know it, you instantly have access to metrics on heart rate, distance, calories, and other exercise stats. But what about when you’re playing sports? Each type of activity features its own unique set of motions and metrics to track that one singular device won’t be totally comprehensive.

For instance, if you’re playing soccer, you may want to monitor your position on the field whereas if you’re swimming you may want to track how many laps you’ve logged. Then there are sports like basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, and boxing which all require a completely different kind of tracking. We’ve taken a look at the latest smart technology available for various sports to determine which are the best sport trackers for each activity.


The best for basketball

Blast Motion Jump Tracker ($149)

Capable of meticulously analyzing jump shots, layups, dunks, and other courtside activities, Blast Motion’s Smart Video Capture technology records a variety of video highlights while you’re playing. After recording, it integrates these videos with personal stats to help users identify strengths and weaknesses in their game.

The technology works via a small sensor which attaches to the back of a user’s waistband, capturing info and sending it to a smartphone via Bluetooth, offering real-time feedback as well as post-game summaries. The companion app, which links to social media, features training videos, drills, and tips to help anyone be like Mike.

Buy it now at:

Amazon Blast

The best for soccer
PlayerTek ($199+)

Using high-tech GPS heat mapping, PlayerTek’s innovative tracker monitors movement on the pitch to allow wearers to see exactly how they moved during a game. This lets them analyze how plays were executed, chalk up how much time was spent in various positions, and also lets them compare actual performance to their intended game plan.

Aside from tracking field position, the device showcases a built-in accelerometer which shows how fast players run and what their average pace was. It also allows users to create soccer-specific workout programs, track overall fitness, and compete with their friends. PlayerTek offers teams the ability to purchase packages of devices which integrate with one another to chart and document everyone’s performance statistics.

Buy it now at:

Amazon

The best for boxing
Hykso Punch Trackers ($149)

Be it sparring with a workout partner or training with a punching bag, these clever trackers from Hyks provide ultra detailed metrics that are unprecedented from any other device. The units, which come in sets of two and are worn under wrist tape, are capable of tracking punch count, punch type, and punch velocity — the latter with precision down to the millisecond. Additionally, they log intensity and can discern the difference between jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, and power punches.

Its water-resistant design allows the next Rocky Marciano to sweat as hard as their workout demands, without it affecting the data. Hykso also includes special LED lights alerting wearers as to which tracker goes on which wrist. By logging progression over time, it also allows for the customization of training programs, along with the ability to compare results to other users.

Buy it now at:

Amazon

The best for swimming
Fitbit Ionic ($299)

Fitbit Ionic Review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

From swimming laps at a pool to tackling open water outdoors, Fitbit’s brand new Ionic is up to the task. Water-resistant up to 50 meters, this smartwatch features a specialized Swim Exercise mode which records laps in real-time as wearers move through the water. It also recognizes the different type of strokes used, distance covered, and number of calories burned.

Although water prevents the device from tracking heart rate while submerged in manual mode, it does feature automatic swim detection which does log HR. With an extra bright display, users can easily see the device underwater — Fitbit even designed it to work in salt water. In addition to its water-friendly features, the Ionic tracks sleep patterns, offers workout coaching, and sends smartphone alerts and notifications.

Buy it now at:

Fitbit Amazon

The best for tennis
Pulse Play ($129)

Developed by three-time Grand Slam doubles champion Andy Ram, this slender, bulk-free sports watch keeps track of scores in real-time during tennis matches, calculating rankings and crunching match statistics. With links to social media and an online community, it allows users to connect with tennis buddies in their area and to maintain their match history over time. Not only that, the one-button touch device also determines rankings among strangers playing throughout the world. As a bonus, Pulse Play serves as an announcer, audibly announcing the score as the match progresses.

Buy it now at:

Pulse

The best for golf
Garmin Approach S60

Garmin’s Approach S60 accurately pinpoints location on the links via built-in GPS and creates full-color course maps with real-time alerts and statistics including yardages to greens, as well as hazards and doglegs. Its AutoShot game tracking technology features a bundle of hyper-accurate sensors which record distances for post-game analysis. Plus, it offers access to more than 41,000 preloaded courses across the globe.

The easy-read color touchscreen display is user-friendly and users won’t have to worry about it losing juice midway through a game — the device lasts ten straight hours in golf mode or ten full days in normal watch mode. Like other Garmin devices, the Approach has a QuickFit band making it easy to swap out for different styles and colors.

Buy it now at:

Garmin Amazon

The best for kayaking
Polar M600 ($329)

This fully waterproof smartwatch is perfect for kayaking, standup paddle boarding, or any other watersport that involves splashing around in rivers or lakes. With optical sensors that monitor the blood pumping through a wearer’s veins, it estimates heart rate so they can track how hard they work with each stroke. It features integrated GPS functionality so users won’t feel lost even after wandering up a canal or meandering into hidden channels — it lets them see exactly where they went and tracks the distance and pace logged.

Outfit with a handy voice control function, the M600 lets users keep the paddle in their hands at all times and even works well during the event of a tumble in the water. Thankfully,  it’s also fully submergible up to 50 meters. When not on the water, this device is an excellent tool for running as it’s complete with structured programs and motivational feedback.

Buy it now at:

Polar Amazon

The best for baseball
Blast Motion Baseball ($150)

With a high-end motion capture sensor, this device attaches to the end of a baseball bat, recording swing and ball flight metrics for every ball hit. The technology utilizes Smart Video Capture to record and auto-edit videos, offering tips, analysis, and insights. It also features a 3D Swing Tracer that allows users to see swing stats in real time — or they can save it to watch later with a coach. Over time, it identifies trends and better understands the areas where a hitter could use improvement.

Buy it now at:

Amazon

The best for hiking
Suunto Spartan HR Baro ($549)

Suunto’s Spartan HR Baro features 80 different sports modes, making it a superb tracker for a variety of activities. However, its barometric altimeter makes it an exceptionally awesome choice for hikers. Whether it’s for trekking through lowland wilderness or for mountaineering alpine vistas, Suunto’s FusedAlti technology captures barometric pressure measurements, eclipsing any elevation data capabilities that barometer-less devices provide.

Its water-resistant (aka rain safe) and syncs with its companion heatmaps to scout well-known trails and access live navigation while on-the-go. Suunto also equipped the Sparton HR Baro with up-to-date sunrise and sunset times, along with inclement weather alerts, allowing wearers to avoid getting stuck in a storm or staying out after dark. For serious hikers, its Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) is a vital statistic to keep tabs on and the device’s 20 hours of battery life (40 hours with its power save features) makes it a viable option for multi-day trips, too.

Buy it now at:

 Amazon


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