Fitness tracking gadgets are rapidly going from luxury item to absolutely standard. Even gadgets that nominally have nothing to do with your fitness level are tracking how many steps you take, how you’re sleeping, and have an app so you can plug in all the tacos you’ve been eating and feel shame. And the new grand marshal of this shame parade might be the Withings Pulse.
It’s actually a fairly compact and elaborate fitness tracker. Designed to be clipped onto your pocket or shirt, or even tossed into a backpack or fanny pack, it starts as a tracking device for your steps. It also will track the elevation you’ve climbed, the total distance you’ve gone, and how many calories you’ve burned, although really they should just change the last indicator to “Not nearly as many as you think.”
Need to check your pulse? Just press your finger to the back of the device, and it’ll tell you what your pulse is. A touch of a button also tracks speed and distance while jogging.
To measure sleep, you strap it to your wrist using a provided band, and it analyzes how deep your sleep is, how long you slept, and keeps that data over time. For nutrition, you can log your meals with MyFitnessPal, which has a partner app with the device. It’s also effective with a fairly large number of devices: It’ll work with anything Android 2.3.3 or above, or any iPhone 3GS or above, and syncs via Bluetooth with both. Needless to say, it charges with USB and one charge will last for two weeks.
So now really the only question is whether you want to live in blissful ignorance of your health, or pay $100 to find out you could do a lot better. That, we can’t decide for you.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.