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A mirror will tell you how you look, but it won’t tell you what’s going on under your skin. These gadgets will help you monitor your inner health, so the contents match the wrapper.
1. Garmin Forerunner 110
The newest Forerunner is small enough to fit under the cuff of a dress shirt and yet it still talks to satellites. It’s also a great example of a company listening to its customers: Garmin users have been clamoring for a less expensive watch that records where they go and how fast they get there. The 110 does just that.
WIRED Small, affordable, accurate. Lets you use Garmin’s Connect Web site, where you can save and track all your workouts.
TIRED Clip-on USB adapter can be flaky. Getting a lock on the satellites can take a minute or two, so leave time to do some quality stretching before you take off.
2. Zeo Personal Sleep Coach
Strap on the headband before you nod off and in the morning you’ll have a quantified picture of your night’s sleep. Zeo takes an EEG of your nappytime brain waves, so it knows how you doze. And it goes deeper too: By identifying “sleep stealers,” the device helps you find out how, for example, the light from your TV increases the time it takes to fall asleep.
WIRED Opt for detailed information or a single number—your “ZQ”—that measures quality of slumber. Can use your brain signals to determine the best time to wake you up.
TIRED You might sleep better without a transmitter strapped to your head. No wireless uploading.
3. Tanita BC-350
Your scale only measures your weight? Please. The BC-350 not only tracks your pounds but measures body fat, bone mass, metabolic age, and hydration level. Using a mild electric current (too small to feel), the scale measures the impedance of your body to analyze the nitty-gritty details.
WIRED If you can read standing up, you can use this thing. Allows multiple profiles, so you can see how you stack up against friends and family (eek).
TIRED No way to store data, so get comfy with Excel if you want to track your stats. Don’t expect any advice, either: Though it serves up lots of info, the scale offers no action plan or system for setting goals.
4. GoWear Fit
Who knew so many sensors could fit into a single armband? The GoWearFit packs an accelerometer, a temperature monitor, and a galvanic skin detector. These three electronic superheroes join forces to provide an insanely accurate accounting of how many calories you burn in a given day.
WIRED Fits unobtrusively under clothes. Data uploads to an easy-to-navigate Web site.
TIRED Not waterproof, so it can’t crunch how many calories you burn in the pool (or the shower). Elastic armband gets a little ripe, snuggled up next to your armpit and all. Ugly display sold separately. The Web site has only basic goal setting, like “I want to get more active.”
5. Philips DirectLife
Toss the DirectLife in your pocket or dangle it around your neck and its accelerometers keep tabs on how much you move. USB-sync it with a Web site account to track activity levels, identify trends, and set fitness goals. Wow, that was easy.
WIRED Online training coaches are just an email away; their periodic friendly reminders help you stay focused.
TIRED Do you really burn the same number of calories lifting weights as you do sitting on the sofa? (No.) There’s no display except some LED dots that show how much of your daily goal you’ve accomplished. No wireless data transfer. $12.50 monthly fee. Boo.