The Stiftung Warentest (German consumer organisation and foundation involved in investigating and comparing goods and services in an unbiased way) also tested Fitness Tracker in January 2016. The results were not very satisfying. Of twelve different products, only two were graded with "Good". Three Fitness Wristlets could reach a satisfactory result, five received the grade "sufficient" and two others failed.
The winner of the test is the Vivofit Wristlet by Garmin, and the second place is also held by a Garmin product. The last positions are held by the UP2 and UP3 by Jawbone. The overall degree was calculated considering these criteria: Fitness functions (35%), handling (25%), App- and computer use (20%), durability (15%) and contaminants (5%).
The Fitness Trackers were worn during sleeping, running, walking, vacuum cleaning, stair climbing and cleaning on both wrists. Special attention was paid to whether they counted too many steps or interpreted other movements as steps mistakenly. Ten out of the twelve Trackers were counting the steps well. Wearing the Fitness Tracker during housework falsified the results a little bit, depending on which brand was used.
The individual stride length can be adjusted on four models. But only the Garmin wristbands are really convincing. The accuracy of the calorie consumption was also determined as well as the heart rate measurement, if available. No product could show a really exact calorie consumption. A total of eight devices were therefore rated "Sufficient". The Medisana Vifit connect bracelet scored worst in the functional test. Both steps and calorie consumption are only measured with sufficient accuracy.
For the handling of the straps, the instructions for use and the capacity, as well as the charging time of the battery, were evaluated. The manual of the Xiaomi Mi Band was in Chinese only. The Samsung Gear Fit had the shortest battery life. In terms of everyday use, the testers rated comfort, readability and intuitive operation. The Mio Fuse pressed too hard on the wrist in some places and the Jawbone straps often opened unintentionally. The results were satisfactory throughout, only the test winner could score with a good result.
The handling of the apps was judged by two experts. They examined the duration of the initial setup and the synchronization with the iOS and Android apps and the PC software. The versatility of the apps and the mobile website was also evaluated. Seven devices display the most important information on a display or an LED matrix. Nevertheless, the app is still needed on the smartphone for further evaluations. The apps from Xiaomi and Medisana were hardly convincing, they had weaknesses and did not provide much information. The PC software is satisfactory for all devices, if available at all. The apps from Garmin, Fitbit and Jawbone are the best. The mobile website of six wristbands could only be rated sufficient or inadequate. Overall, the Fitbit and Garmin trackers perform best. They are quick and easy to set up and provide a good overview.
To assess their durability, the fitness watch straps have undergone numerous rigorous tests. The water resistance was tested by immersion, scratch resistance, temperature sensitivity at +45°C and -20°C and the fall from 80 cm height on stone floor. The tapes passed the tests on average with a very good result. Only in terms of scratch resistance did eight devices reach their limits.
Finally, the products were tested for harmful substances. In the case of Jawbone belts, increased quantities of DEHP plasticizer were discovered, which are very harmful to health. As a result, the devices could not be better classified as "deficient".
As the fitness boom has been growing unstoppably for years, fitness gimmicks are also becoming more modern. This can also be seen in comparison with our test colleagues. The equipment from 2016 is no longer up to date so that our test only includes successor models from the Stiftung Warentest test. So also the Fitbit Charge 3 bracelet. However, the problems with synchronization still seem to exist. We also chose a device from the Garmin Vivosmart series as the test winner. The Vivosmart 4 Fitness Bracelet convinces with an even wider range of functions than the predecessor of its time did.