This is by far the most underrated part of a fitness tracker

garmin venu review garmin connect app on pixel 3

Opinion post by
Jimmy Westenberg

I’ve learned a few bits of important info while reviewing
at Android Authority over the past few years.

Pricey fitness products are well worth the investment. People
usually fall into two camps: Those who need a

built-in GPS
, and those who couldn’t care less. And, perhaps
most importantly, the most underrated part of a fitness tracker is
a decent smartphone app to back it up.

This isn’t really an issue with big-name brands like Fitbit,

, or Apple, but it’s an issue with less-established
companies in the fitness space.

If you care about what you’re spending your money on, you
absolutely need to pay attention to the fitness app that comes with
that fitness product. Here’s why.

Fitness apps should do more than show your step count

A lot goes into making a fitness product that’s worth
people’s time. You need a good, comfortable design, accurate
sensors, and you need to nail the price point. Those are all things
we expect from fitness products. The smartphone app is oftentimes
an afterthought, but it shouldn’t be.

A fitness tracker can be as accurate as ever with its data
collection, but what good is it if you can’t do anything with
that information? The device on your wrist collects data, which is
obviously important, but fitness tracker and smartwatch
screens are so small that they can’t display much information.
Most of the time they’ll display your daily stats and maybe some
activity history, but not much more than that. You need an
“overflow” product that’s able to display the stats that the
wearable can’t.

Also read: Everything
you need to know about Google Fit

A good fitness app will take the information provided from the
tracker and turn it into something useful. If
you haven’t been sleeping well
, a fitness app should not only
tell you that you’re not sleeping well, but also what you should
do about it. Maybe don’t drink that cup of coffee after dinner,
or maybe try going to bed around the same time every night. Garmin
Connect, Samsung Health, the Fitbit app, and more
recently Google
all provide useful insights like this.

Social features help more than you know

fitbit community on google pixel 3

While simple activity insights are becoming standard across most
of the major fitness apps, social features are still few and far
between. Fitbit’s app has an entire social network built into it,
allowing like-minded users to chat with each other and post about
things they’re going through. For example, I’m part of the
running community in the Fitbit app. If I ran (ha) into any issues,
I could post about it. All the people in that community would see
my post, and I’d likely get some responses from people who might
know more than me. If you’re looking to improve your fitness,
this is a great way to do so.

Unfortunately, not many other “default” fitness apps have
these features. Strava is another app that does social really well,
but Garmin Connect could improve in this area, and Google Fit’s
social features are nonexistent.

Related: Garmin
Venu review
| Fitbit
Versa 2 review

Some of the more robust fitness apps also provide training
plans, guides, and additional resources for people who want to
focus on certain areas. When you buy
a newer Garmin watch
, you can utilize the built-in Garmin Coach
training plans to help you run your first 5K, 10K, or half marathon.

Samsung Health
provides detailed articles on how to improve
your training. Fitbit also now has Fitbit Premium, which creates
custom-built training programs for a monthly fee.

Good fitness apps show companies are invested in the product

google fit app icon on google pixel 3

See also
down, this is the best Wear OS smartwatch you can buy

Fossil is one of the last remaining watchmakers to stay
committed to Google’s Wear OS platform. The company launches
multiple smartwatches each year, and they’re some of the best
looking Wear OS watches in the …

Don’t get me wrong, all of these extra fitness features
aren’t a necessity. You don’t need custom
training programs to improve your health. And many people buy
fitness trackers simply to
keep a better eye on their activity
. That’s great! But
companies that spend the time and resources on fitness apps are
showing users that they’re invested in the platform. That’s why
I’m happy to recommend fitness products from Garmin and
over, say, a fitness-focused Wear
watch. I just can’t be as confident in Google’s focus on
Google Fit as I am with another company that’s proven they’re
in it for the long haul.

If you’re looking to invest in your next fitness product and
want to make sure you’re getting a solid software experience,
I’d personally recommend a Garmin, Fitbit, or
Samsung device
issues aside
). More specialized products from companies like
Suunto and Polar will obviously be suited for more serious
athletes. In my opinion, Wear OS watches are entirely saved by the
fact that Wear OS is compatible with so many
third-party fitness apps
. It really makes up for Google Fit’s

I’m not saying you shouldn’t go out and buy that
Xiaomi Mi Band 4
or Huawei Band
3 Pro
— if these products work for you and fit your budget,
you should absolutely consider them. Just keep in mind that there
are other devices out there with apps that can tell you more than
how many steps you’ve taken.

More posts about fitness trackers

Source: FS – Android
This is by far the most underrated part of a fitness tracker