Best cheap fitness trackers 2016 - reviewed

The Misfit Ray throws down the style gauntlet to our favourite budget fitness wearables

If you go for a run and you forget to track it, did you ever actually run?

OK, sure, Neanderthals didn’t need little clip-on critters to track their every step, snooze and snack but, well, we’re better than them. In a world where decent pedometer pals can be picked up for under 6000 there’s really no excuse not to strap one on and get pounding on the pavement.

That is, of course, provided you select the right smarts for your stride. Like a cash-strapped model at a glamour convention, the current crop of clip-ons is replete with cheap silicone as garish as your Grandma’s clogs. Thankfully, we’ve sifted through the low-end layabouts to select the best budget offerings of the activity tracking troupe.

Jawbone Up Move (₹3999)

From the makers of the marvellous Up3, Jawbone’s Up Move is a back-to-basics clip-on you can pick up for under ₹5000.

Whilst you can slap it on your wrist with the bundled strap should you so desire, it’s happiest when slotted into its rubber clip housing and attached to a belt, bra or anywhere else you feel happy having a pebble-like piece of plastic dangling from your person.

It’s about as svelte as a fluorescent children’s toy, but it feels pretty robust when holstered on the hip – which also happens to be the most accurate step-tracking position.

Talking of tracking, the Move is generally a spot on surveyor of strides. Sure, it detects a few phantom paces here and there, but it’s reliable enough to make it useful for everyday monitoring.

Is it a motivator? Well, yes and no. So much of what cash-conscious trackers have to offer depends on their physical interfaces and companion apps – and the Up Move does deliver on both fronts.

Its smartphone companion is a colour-pop stat-fest that instantly illustrates your latest step tally and sleep data in handy vertical bars. You also get a timeline of your previous activities and the option to input food for the full Smart Coach experience – complete with goal setting and get-fit tips. It’s so clear even your Nan could use it.

The trickiest thing about living with the Move is its similarity to a dozy puppy. It’ll stay awake and be your best friend if you pat it constantly, but forget to fondle its face and it’ll soon lose interest.

Double click the Up for progress; double click and hold to begin tracking an activity (which you specify later in the app); triple click and the Move will follow you to the land of nod. It’s all very straightforward and the bold, light-up bars on its round frontage make it easy to see what it’s up to.

But that’s also the problem: it’s just a tracker. Syncing is manual and you have to seek out progress updates, which, yes, means it has a battery life measured in months, but also severely limited motivational abilities.

Stuff says: ★★★★✩

As a penny-saving pedestrian package, the Up Move has appeal, but it’s hard to get away from the feeling that it’s essentially a glorified pedometer.

Buy the Jawbone Up Move here