fitness tracker
With features like heart rate monitoring and sleep scores, fitness trackers are incredibly powerful tools. Image Credit: Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto

Every time I’m tempted to sleep in and skip gym day, I’ve done it guilt-free, with my Fitbit strapped to my wrist. Sounds counter-productive? Quite the opposite, really. The Versa 3 pushes me to my limits but also alerts me when it’s time for a break, crunching sleep, heart rate and activity numbers to see if my body’s ready for that extra Pilates class. Get your own fitness tracker by today or tomorrow, with Amazon Prime.

Something called the Daily Readiness Score on the Versa 3 has helped me understand my body better. If I score low on a particular day, I know that’s my cue to rest. I spoke to Jamie Bassi, owner of the personal training company Fit Squad DXB in Dubai and a personal trainer himself, about the importance of recovery. He said: “If your body doesn't get enough time to recover, it'll slow down your progress and affect your results. A fitness tracker lets you check your quality of sleep, which can explain why you're tired, and why you won't be able to deliver a good performance. Recovery is just as crucial as all the other parts of fitness, like nutrition”.

Bassi has been true to his Fitbit for six years. Initially, I was drawn to Versa 3’s large AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diodes) display – a bigger screen means easier readings on the treadmill, under the barbell, on a sunny day, you name it. The Fitbit feels very light on my wrist, thanks to the soft, flexible sports band that supports it. So far, sleeping with the watch on hasn’t been an issue.

And, it tracks everything related to health and fitness. The Versa 3 goes above and beyond the basic step count and sleep score features – I’ve seen my skin temperature stats, snore alerts (if any), irregular heart rhythms, and my active zone minutes. This is where the tracker buzzes to let me know my training is paying off, and I can add in more reps to stay in the zone for a bit longer.

On the days I choose outdoor exercise, the built-in GPS has been a massive help. I don’t need my phone to track runs, rides and hikes. Once I’m home, I review the workout map on the Fitbit app, which shows at what point in my route I sweat it out the most. The tracker is also water-resistant at up to 50 metres of depth.

One of my favourite things about the Versa 3 is its very convenient ‘Do not Disturb’ mode. Honestly, I was wary of investing in a gadget that pretty much did what my smartwatch could do. So, I asked our fitness expert Bassi and realised what I needed was a streamlined activity buddy, removed from the distractions of texts and calls. He told me: “The purpose of a fitness tracker should be to solely track your activity; answering a phone call or checking texts is not exactly a necessity for fitness trackers. You should be looking at four main features: the step count, heart rate monitor, calorie burn count and sleep monitor”.

With the GPS and other battery-draining apps, though, I’ve noticed the charge lasts me less than the six days stated. But I just need 12 minutes to get the Versa 3 going for a full day. It’s quite stunning, too, with four colours in the range.

You can browse more fitness trackers below for budget-friendly options and other expert picks:

2. Best for Heart Rate Monitoring: MyZone Heart Rate Monitor MZ Switch


  • Can be worn in three ways
  • Works without a smartphone
  • Syncs with gym equipment
  • Three to six months of battery life
  • Swimproof


  • Only monitors heart rate

Sanja Velimirovic, a personal trainer at DubaiPT Personal Trainers, with 15 years of experience, recommends the MyZone Switch as one of the best wearable heart rate monitors in the market. Having the heart rate on display helps you stick to the fat-burning zone during exercise. "You have to increase your heart rate to burn calories, if weight loss is the goal," said Velimirovic. "The zone that you will burn fat in is 60 to 75 per cent of your maximum heart rate." Without the distraction and fuss of a smartphone, the tracker reads your heartbeat and displays the zone it is in using easy-to-read colour indicators. It's a best buy in every sense for the versatility it offers - the Switch can be worn in three different ways, on your arm, around the chest and on the wrist, and even in the pool. Sync the device with Peloton bikes and other cardio equipment, so that you know when to push yourself when you hit the fat-burning zone. Since it only monitors heart rate, you're getting up to six months of battery life!

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh50.37 for 12 months with select banks.

3. Best for Samsung Users: Samsung Galaxy Fit2


  • Water resistant in up to 50 metres of depth
  • Hand wash reminders
  • Up to 15 days of battery life
  • Reply to texts with pre-set messages
  • Easy to use


  • Does not measure blood oxygen levels
  • Does not sync steps with the Samsung Health app

Weighing only 21 grams, the Samsung Fit2 is as discreet as a fitness tracker can get. Don't be fooled by the lightweight design, for it still packs a punch with a slim 1.1-inch AMOLED screen that tells you whether you're stressed or not, your step count, sleep quality, burned calories and much more. When you're on the run or walking, the Fit2 automatically detects the type of exercise. It even reminds you to wash hands at set intervals with a countdown for a thorough cleanse. Once you pair it with your Galaxy smartphone, you can tap into a range of smart features like pausing music and checking notifications.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh12 and two years for Dh19.

4. Best Budget: Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 7


  • Idle alerts to get up and moving
  • Up to 50 metres of water resistance
  • 120 fitness modes
  • Works with Alexa devices
  • 14 days of battery life


  • Battery life is less than stated

With more than 100 built-in display faces and a 1.62-inch screen, the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 7 is great value for money. The fitness tracker auto-detects 120 different activities and sports modes. It can even be worn while swimming, in up to a depth of 50 metres. The band also features sleep, heart rate and SpO2 (or blood oxygen level) tracking and the solid performance of a 14-day battery life. If you have an Alexa device around the house, activate voice control to check the weather, set alarms and control smart home devices. Reviews say it's a solid upgrade from the Mi Smart Band 6, but do note that the battery life lasts a lot less than stated.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh12 and two years for Dh19.

5. Best Multi-Purpose Tracker: Huawei Talkband B6


  • Detachable Bluetooth earbud
  • Seven workout modes
  • Movement reminders
  • Up to eight hours of talk time


  • Some features are not iOS compatible
  • Best performance with Huawei smartphone and health app

Huawei takes the basic fitness tracker to a whole new level by introducing the TalkBand range. The TalkBand B6 functions like your regular activity tracker, except this one has a screen that comes off and turns into a Bluetooth earpiece. Take on long work calls, for up to eight hours, without interrupting your workout flow and expect high-quality audio, thanks to its dual-mic noise cancellation. As for fitness, it does a fantastic job of tracking your blood oxygen levels, real-time heart rate, sleep, stress and monthly menstruation cycle. The TalkBand nudges you to walk around when it senses you've been idle for too long. Some reviewers have had the watch for over five years and report back with five stars. They find the earpiece an igenious solution to taking calls on walks.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh58.25 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh40 and two years for Dh66.

6. Best for Fitness Beginners: Fitbit Charge 5 Activity Tracker


  • Water-resistant in up to 50 metres of depth
  • Tells you when to exercise
  • Free premium membership for six months
  • Built-in GPS
  • Tracks emotional well-being


  • Bulky design
  • Reviewers say battery drains faster than stated

The latest Fitbit Charge on the market, this fitness tracker is compatible with iOS 13 or higher, and Android OS 8.0 or higher. When you’ve been sitting for too long, Charge 5 tells you to get kicking with exercise reminders. There are 20 workout modes that you don’t have to painstakingly choose from – Fitbit automatically detects the activity for you. The best part is the addition of Daily Readiness Score, which lets you know the intensity of the workout your body is prepared to tackle, based on heart rate, stress levels and sleep. With this purchase comes a six-month Fitbit Premium membership that gives you access to detailed reports and analytics on the Fitbit application.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh29 and a two-year extended warranty for Dh41.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.