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10 of the best fitness trackers for monitoring heart rate

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Pump up the cardio and strength training. We’re here to help you choose the right fitness tracker for observing your heart rate and improving your exercise routine.

All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

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Wellness is a buzzy word lately. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a surge in all things health, wellness, and spirituality. Juice bars are popping up, boutique studios are becoming more accessible, and essential oils are chilling us out. Self-care is becoming more of the norm too, but amidst all this hype, it can be challenging to find the right routine that promotes good exercise, sleep, vitals, and mindset. 

Fortunately, there is a potential solution to the wellness madness. If you’re determined to make your #healthgoals happen, fitness trackers with heart rate monitors can be a major help. These wearable devices are game changes for keeping tabs on physical and mental wellbeing. While some feature basic tracking, others come with advanced features like mileage reports and smartphone compatibility. 

Finding the right fitness tracker can be challenging with so many options. You might be an avid athlete or more of an occasional gym rat, but regardless of what your activities are, there is a fitness tracker out there for your health needs. Before your drop major bucks on a fitness tracker, there are few things to you might want to consider. 

Physical activity: What are your daily workout needs? Consider how a fitness tracker can benefit your exercise regimen. If you engage in activities like pilates, yoga, or walking, opt for a basic fitness tracker for heart rate monitoring and sleep data. On the other hand, if high-intensity workouts, including running and swimming,  are more of your thing, choose a fitness tracker that can give you vital reads and remember your mileage. 

Design: Wearables are meant to make our lives easier, yet some can be super clunky and uncomfortable. Invest in a fitness tracker that’s not an eyesore and fits nicely on your wrist. You don’t want to cut off your circulation or have it slip off while you’re on the move. Look for models that come in different colors too, so you can have one that goes with your activewear, casual, and work outfits. 

Wellness features: A fitness tracker might already monitor heart rate, but what are its other wellness features? Some trackers give you stats on your sleep patterns, daily movement, and distance after workouts. Even though fitness trackers are not meant to cure or prevent any diseases, they can give valuable insights on your physical and mental state. 

Smartphone compatibility: Your smartphone is probably one of the most important tech devices, so it might be helpful to find a fitness tracker that connects with it. If that’s the case, you can receive call and text notifications when you’re commuting, exercising, or moving around the house. This is a major plus if you’re prone to miss phone calls from coworkers, family members, and friends. Plus, some trackers come with smartphone apps, so you can store all your data in one convenient place. 

Power: Most fitness trackers run on batteries or need to be charged regularly. Check to see the power life of a tracker first before buying it. If it doesn’t last long, skip it and opt for another model. You don’t want to have a tracker that can’t keep up with your physical activity needs. 

Warranty: Some fitness trackers might come with a guarantee or warranty. See what their policies are on defects in materials or workmanship. If they don’t come with either, consider how often you’ll need to replace or repair them. 

Here are our top picks for the best heart rate fitness trackers, and the ones will be watching most closely come Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Prime Day, and all those other shopping days — make sure to hit the grey arrow at the top of each box to expand our full write-up on every product below. 


Potentially life-saving ECG feature • Endless face and band colors • Digital crown with haptic feedback • The street cred that comes with Apple • Siri voice commands
Priciest of the bunch • Competitors have better sleep tracking
The Series 4 Apple Watch goes further than any fitness tracker has gone before with a one-touch ECG app and FDA-cleared precision.

1. Apple Watch Series 4

Take heart monitoring to the next level with the Apple Watch Series 4’s amazing EKG feature and FDA-cleared precision.

  • Warranty:
    90 days with Apple Care+
  • Smartphone compatibility:
    Yes
  • Battery life:
    22 hours
  • Weight:
    1.06 oz
  • What you’ll get:
    A case, band, 1m magnetic charging cable, and 5W USB Power Adapter
No one does it quite like Apple.
When your heart health goes past casual monitoring and requires hospital-grade tracking you can depend on, the new Apple Watch Series 4 is the sidekick you’ve been waiting for. Just released in the fall of 2018, the Series 4 was blessed with numerous updates — one of the most impressive being an exclusive ECG app for heart rate monitoring. A haptic touch digital crown is also among new features, which enables 30-second one-touch heart rate monitoring as well as easier navigation through apps. You can even share digital heartbeats.
After the AFib-detecting KardiaBand garnered so much attention, Apple cut out the middle man and armed the newest Apple Watch with an insanely accurate irregular heartbeat monitor that even impressed the American Heart Association in preclinical studies. If the watch detects something unsettling, it’s obviously up to the user to see a doctor — but even getting a warning like this from your watch could potentially save lives.
Aside from heart stuff, the new Apple Watch sees faster performance and more advanced fitness tracking than its predecessors, a convenient Walkie-Talkie app, water resistance up to 50 meters, a nearly bezel-less high-res display, and as always, all of your apps, music, and smartphone notifications.
Amazon customer Keith G. Fergel writes:

“Poker players beware. I just bluffed and a huge part of my chip stack was suddenly at risk. With the tournament on the line, I was looking straight forward as stoically as possible as my opponent tried to figure out what cards I could possibly be holding. At that moment my wrist tingled. My watch told me that I had been sitting still for a while and my heart rate suddenly spiked. So the heart rate monitor does work well. Sometimes maybe too well. I’m a big fan of the purchase and a big fan of the watch.”


All-in-one hub for observing wellness stats • Connects to your smartphone for GPS assistance • Polar Flow app helps you analyze performance and plan fitness schedule
Battery life depends on how many notifications you get
Make all the #fitnessgoals happen with Polar’s A370 Fitness Tracker, which is our top pick for health observing, GPS assistance, and valuable training feedback.

2. Polar A370 Fitness Tracker

Smartphone compatibility and a variety of wellness features makes Polar’s A370 Fitness Tracker our top choice for health management.

  • Warranty:
    2 years
  • Smartphone Compatibility:
    Yes
  • Battery life:
    4 days
  • Weight:
    13.8 ounces
  • What you’ll get:
    A Polar A370 Fitness Tracker, a band, a charging cable, and a manual
Wellness versatility and smartphone compatibility make Polar’s A370 Fitness Tracker our top pick for keeping tabs on health stats. 
This fitness tracker is a heart rate monitor, calorie counter, sleep observer, and exercise logger in one convenient wearable. It provides you with your lowest and highest heart rate, calorie burn data, and a Sleep Plus feature for REM insight, so you can stay on top of your wellness game. 
Smartphone compatibility is another perk of this fitness tracker. If you’re walking, running, or cycling, it uses your smartphone’s GPS signal to help you track your route, speed, and distance. Can’t miss notifications? This fitness tracker has you covered. It works with the Polar Flow app, where you can analyze your progress, schedule workouts, and receive coaching tips right on its screen. And, you can access all your Polar Flow app activity on your mobile device. It’s that simple. 
A limited two-year warranty comes with this fitness tracker and it covers defects in materials and workmanship. It does not cover the battery, or damage caused by normal wear-and-tear. You can contact Polar if you have concerns or questions about the tracker’s warranty status. 
Amazon customer CJ says: 

“Absolutely love this! FINALLY upgraded from the Polar FT4 and I am soooo happy that I did! So far, I’ve used this in a Zumba, BodyPump, and CXWorx class in addition to a normal weight training session. It doesn’t get in the way doing clean and presses etc like my FT4 did and it still gives accurate info without the strap. Screen quality is great although I feel like I will definitely need to purchase a screen protector. 10/10 hands down. I researched for days and compared compared compared. My only regret is that I didn’t buy this sooner. Surprisingly enough, I was also able to figure out the Polar Flow fairly quickly which is super beneficial to understanding my workouts!”


Easy dashboard access for daily health progress • Comes with 15 different exercise modes • Connects with smartphone for call and text alerts
Font size on screen could be small • You’ll need to buy extra wristbands if you want to switch up your look
The new Charge 3 provides no-fuss wellness features to take your daily sleep, workouts, and vitals to the next level.

3. Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker

The new Charge 3 provides no-fuss wellness features to take your daily sleep, workouts, and vitals to the next level.

  • Warranty:
    45-day guarantee and 1 year warranty
  • Smartphone compatibility:
    Yes
  • Battery life:
    7 days
  • Weight:
    4.8 ounces
  • What you’ll get:
    A Fitbit Charge 3, classic wristbands (both small & large), and a charging cable
Ease-of-use is a major factor in the wearable equation and Fitbit’s Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker makes wellness monitoring a breeze.
It’s personal dashboard makes navigation seamless, because you can see an integrated view of your health data. You’ll get up-to-date information on your heart rate, calories burned, steps taken, REM sleep rate, and reminders to move throughout the day. 
While you’re working out, you can select one of 15 exercise modes, including circuit training, biking, running, yoga, and more. If you’re a swimmer, this fitness tracker is waterproof up to 50 meters, so you can track your laps in the pool. 
This fitness tracker conveniently connects to your smartphone too. Access the Fitbit Health and Fitness App to improve sleeping habits and receive workout guidance. Plus, you can receive call and text notifications right on the tracker’s screen. 
Fitbit provides a 45-day guarantee and one-year limited warranty for this fitness tracker. If you’re not happy with your purchase, you can return it and request a refund. The one-year limited warranty is valid for certain cases and you’ll need to contact Fitbit to see if your model is eligible for repairs. 
J. Thomas Noble Jr., an Amazon reviewer, writes: 

“This is my first Fitbit and for six whole days and nights I’ve been very impressed. I got it mainly for pulse and sleep issues. Someone wrote it is off 20 bpm but others say they tested it against devices and it is pretty spot on. Hope so. Love the sleep tracking! I have to agree with another reviewer who complained about font size and my 73-year-old eyes could sure use bigger, brighter figures…..but I can manage. I am a non-techy guy and feel the whole process these past 6 days as been easy and pretty intuitive. For $150 I get to know my pulse and have great sleep tracking that the $500 Apple Watch would not give me.”


Athlete-friendly training feedback for races • Built-in activity profiles for accurate exercise stats • Garmin Connect app is smartphone-friendly • Get notifications on your screen
You’ll have to buy a heart rate strap separately for recovery advisor
Garmin’s Forerunner 735XT Smartwatch offers advanced training feedback, built-in activity profiles for sports, and wrist-based heart monitoring for athletes.

4. Garmin Forerunner 735XT Smartwatch

With sport-specific settings, advanced training feedback, and a connected app, Garmin’s Forerunner 735XT Smartwatch is the perfect fitness companion for athletes.

  • Warranty:
    1 year
  • Smartphone compatibility:
    Yes
  • Battery life:
    1 day
  • Weight:
    1.4 ounces
  • What you’ll get:
    A Garmin Forerunner 735XT Smartwatch, a charging/data clip, and a manual
Athletes can’t have the conventional wearable setup and Garmin’s Forerunner 735XT Smartwatch is the ultimate fitness companion for not-so-basic workouts. 
Whether you’re biking, running, sprinting, or strength training, this fitness tracker gives you dialed-in data to help you perform your best. It comes with a comfy strap that’s durable enough for whatever your workout flow is, so no need to worry about it falling off. 
In addition to wrist-based heart monitoring, this tracker provides ground contact time balance, vertical ratio, and stride length for next-level training feedback. There are built-in activity profiles for various workouts, so you’ll know your performance stats are genuinely based on real-time conditions. Download the Garmin Connect app too if you want to work on your personal record or connect with other users in the greater fitness community. 
It’s compatible with Android and iPhone models, so you can receive notifications on your screen when you’re working out and store exercise insights on the Garmin Connect app as well. 
When you buy this fitness tracker, you’ll get a one-year consumer limited warranty. Contact Garmin directly if you have any questions about tech support and registering your tracker. 
Best Buy customer TPar writes: 

“I am very happy with my Garmin 735xt. It gives me more stats and info than all the other fitness watch I’ve tried. I got it for the multi-sport functions for triathlon training. It could be a little complicated if your not very tech savvy, but once you figure out the menus it’s amazing!!! I have not taken it off other than to charge a few times in two weeks. The sleep data is very good info to have each morning. Battery life is amazing in normal watch mode, and GPS mode seems to drain battery as stated by Garmin about 12 to 14 hours. This is the ultimate fitness watch for the person that does a lot of multi-sport exercise.“


Monitors heart rates with three modes • Alexa integration for all the smart home feels • Long battery life • Looks like a real watch
You’ll have to eventually replace the battery
Add some tech to your exercise regimen with the Nokia’s Steel HR Hybrid with Alexa integration and three different heart monitor modes.

5. Nokia Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch

Add some tech to your exercise regimen with the Nokia’s Steel HR Hybrid with Alexa integration and three different heart monitor modes.

  • Warranty:
    1 year
  • Smartphone compatibility:
    Yes
  • Battery life:
    25 days
  • Weight:
    8.2 ounces
  • What you’ll get:
    A Nokia Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch and a CR2 battery
Nokia’s Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch is a sweet hybrid of style, functionality, and cutting-edge wellness tracking. 
As a smartwatch and fitness tracker in-one, this sleek model tracks your heart rate in workout mode and monitors day and night heart rate for improved stats. It’s around the clock fitness tracking automatically notes your walk, run, and swim distance, plus the number of calories burned in each workout. Plus, you can analyze your sleep patterns with this tracker, which has a Smart Wake-Up feature to help you better your cycle. 
But, that’s not all. Unlike other models, this fitness tracker goes above the typical smartphone compatibility. It’s Alexa-friendly, meaning you can enable the virtual voice assistant to give you fitness stats with a few voice commands. 
The battery life is also important to point out, because you’ll get 25 days (No kidding!) of battery use. That’s way more than similar models on the market. 
This fitness tracker comes with a one-year limited warranty. It does not cover normal wear-and-tear and you’ll have to contact Nokia if you need help filing a warranty claim. 
Daniela, an Amazon customer, writes: 

“I simply love this product. It fits around my wrist just right, and I feel comfortable at all times. I’ve always liked to wear watches that look classy and simple. I get to have the best of both worlds between a fitness tracker and a classic watch. The wristband is silicon but the watch itself is made with sturdy materials such as stainless steel and thick glass. I also love that the battery lasts a long time. I charge it once every few weeks. I haven’t taken it off ever since I bought it. I simply love it. I’m thinking about buying another one just to have it as a backup in case I lose or break this one, years down the road. I really feel like this product will last beyond the one year mark.”


Water-friendly design for swimming and other pool sports • Wrist-based heart monitoring technology for HRV and VO2 max • Easy-to-read display for fast navigation • Works with smartphones for analyzing health stats
You’ll have to pay extra for screen protectors
Headed to the pool? Garmin’s vivoactive 3 is a great fitness tracker that’s water-friendly and includes a preloaded data app for swimming workouts.

6. Garmin vívoactive 3

  • Warranty:
    1 year
  • Smartphone compatibility:
    Yes
  • Battery life:
    10 days
  • Weight:
    1.44 ounces
  • What you’ll get:
    A vívoactive 3 Fitness Tracker, a charging/data cable, and manuals
Love swimming? Garmin’s viívoactive 3 is a great fitness tracker for your water-friendly workouts. 
In between laps, you can use its wrist-based heart monitoring to observe heart rate variability (HRV) and estimate your VO2 max. There’s 15 preloaded sports apps on the tracker, including swimming, so you can track your physical activity and improve personal records every time. Plus, you can use the Garmin Connect app on your smartphone to analyze your daily swim exercise. 
Unlike other fitness trackers, this model is safe for the pool and showers, so you don’t have to worry about it getting ruined in water environments. Plus, the Garmin Chroma Display on the tracker is easy to read and features a Side-Swipe interface for quick scrolling and navigation. 
Garmin includes a one-year warranty with this fitness tracker. You can contact Garmin if you have questions about what’s covered and how to file a warranty claim. 
Amazon reviewer J.Johnson says: 

“I love this watch! Very light weight. Water resistant. I hardly ever take it off. Battery lasts a long time and charges very quickly.”


Functional and stylish design • Try out ring size beforehand with Motiv Sizing Set • Provides most fitness tracking perks
Doesn’t come with screen notifications
Stay on trend and enjoy wellness monitoring benefits with the Motiv Ring, a stylish upgrade from the conventional fitness tracker.

7. Motiv Ring

  • Warranty:
    45-day guarantee and 1-year warranty
  • Smartphone compatibility:
    Yes
  • Battery life:
    3 days
  • Weight:
    1.6 ounces
  • What you’ll get:
    A Motiv Ring, sizing set, and two slim charging docks
Wearable can be super clunky at times, so why not opt for the fashionable and functional Motive Ring
First, let’s talk about the design. It comes wrapped in a titanium shell that’s durable, waterproof, and has a shade that pretty much goes with every outfit. Whether you’re going to cycling class or late brunch, this fitness tracker is versatile enough to wear to multiple occasions. 
On the tech side, it has many of the same benefits as other models: heart rate monitoring, calorie counting, and sleep tracking. Plus, you’ll have access to the Motiv app that displays your exercise activity, distance traveled, and fitness goal progress, 
Ordering this ring is really easy too. Motiv will first send you a sizing set, so you can order the right fit. When you’re done, add your size to Motiv.com, and you’ll get your customized ring in as little as two business days. 
Motiv’s ring comes with a 45-day warranty where you can exchange or return it and after that period, the model is eligible for a one-year warranty. Contact Motiv for tech troubleshooting and warranty inquiries. 
Amazon reviewer Marc says: 

“I bought a Motiv Ring to replace a Fitbit that unfortunately broke after it went through the washing machine. I wanted something that was unobtrusive but fully functional in terms of fitness tracking for my elliptical exercises, didn’t need to be recharged everyday like most smartwatches, and could hopefully do things like sleep tracking. Motiv checked all the boxes, and you don’t look like a fitness buff or tech geek when you wear it. The app answers all your main questions with cards that summarize what your activity has been, and battery life lasted about four days.”


Basic tracking features at an affordable price • 14 exercise modes for your various fitness activities • Veryfit Pro app keeps your fitness data in one place • Receive calls, text, and social media alerts with the tracker
No warranty
If you don’t feel like forking over a lot of cash, Microtella’s Fitness Tracker is budget-friendly and packs in all the wellness insight perks.

8. Microtella Fitness Tracker

Microtella’s Fitness Tracker is affordable, monitors your heart rate, and comes with 14 different fitness settings for personalized workout stats.

  • Warranty:
    None
  • Smartphone Compatibility:
    Yes
  • Battery life:
    7 days
  • Weight:
    4 ounces
  • What you’ll get:
    A Microtella Fitness Tracker, a band, and a USB charger
Wearables don’t always come cheap, but Microtella’s Fitness Tracker will give you great heart monitoring, sleep stats, and more helpful health insights.
Basic features include a 23-hour heart rate monitor, a calorie counter, a sleep tracker, a sedentary reminder, and daily distance stats. 
For fitness, this tracker comes with 14 different exercise modes that vary from football to tennis. You can specifically monitor your activity by sport and use your smartphone’s GPS to map out your workout routes. This tracker will share the duration of your workouts too, so you can work on your personal record every time. For additional help, the VeryfitPro app keeps all your workout insights in one convenient place. 
Can’t miss notifications? Just connect your smartphone to this tracker for incoming call and text alerts. This tracker also accepts notifications from other social media platforms, including Facebook Messenger and Twitter. 
Alejandro Mendez, an Amazon reviewer, says:

“Microtella fitness band is the best smart band I have owned. I’ve tried other fitness trackers in the past, but this one is definitely on top. The packaging was very professional and explains very well the features of the fitness band. I like the design and how easy it is to charge. No cables are needed. The app integration is so seamless and using the fitness tracker requires no effort at all. It automatically starts working once you put it on. It keeps track of your steps, calories and sleeping patterns, and shows it on a graph.”


Fitness tracking • Effective heart rate monitoring • Daily life management features
Small screen for texts and calendar updates
Right in between the Apple Watch and Fitbit, the Samsung Galaxy Fit is great for tracking your workouts and managing your daily life without complication.

9. Samsung Galaxy Fit

The perfect midpoint between the Fitbit and Apple Watch, the Samsung Galaxy Fit is great for tracking your high-intensity activities and for managing your daily life.

  • Warranty:
    1 year
  • Smartphone Compatibility:
    Yes
  • Battery Life:
    7 days
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • What you’ll get:
    Samsung Galaxy Fit, charging cable, manuals
Sitting somewhere right in between the Fitbit and the Apple Watch, the Samsung Galaxy Fit is at a comfortable price point for the features it offers.
Take it with you on all your activities — walking, running, cycling, and swimming are all part of the deal. What’s more is that the Galaxy Fit can sense which workout you’re participating in, and track it accordingly (borderline spooky, huh?).
Get real-time information at a glance from the Samsung’s AMLOED display, including heart rate monitoring, text messages, calendar updates, and reminders. It’ll also keep track of your daily steps, calories burned, water and caffeine intake, and sleep patterns.
One Amazon reviewer writes: 

“Upon reading reviews before I purchased, I was skeptical.. but i am so pleased with my purchase. You can change the clock options, there is quite the variety of watch faces you can mess with in the wearable app, as well as add or remove widgets you swipe through on the watch. It does count steps when you mow the yard, so take the watch off, and the first day it tracked my highway travels to work as a bicycle exercise. If I had to do it again, I would still purchase this watch. Only thing that could be better is if it had interchangeable bands and not run my phone battery down since you have it set up with bluetooth and location services to get the full features.”


On-screen workouts • 15+ workout modes • Female health tracking
Time ranges not customizable enough
The Fitbit Versa has a comprehensive on-screen workout program and will get you closer to your fitness goals, plus it has great app support and a special female health tracking function.

10. Fitbit Versa

The Fitbit Versa is best for those who need some extra guidance in the gym, and thanks to its comprehensive array of on-screen workouts, you’ll get exactly that.

  • Warranty:
    1 year
  • Smartphone Compatibility:
    Yes
  • Battery Life:
    4 days
  • Weight: 5.12 ounces
  • What you’ll get:
    Fitbit Versa, charging cable, manuals
Some of us need a little extra guidance when it comes to hitting the gym (okay, more than some of us), but we can’t all afford a personal trainer to show us just what the hell we’re supposed to do. Next best thing? On-screen workouts courtesy of the Fitbit Versa
They’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to make the most out of your fitness routine and get you closer to your goals. This wearable can track your activity, heart rate, and sleeping habits all on a four-day battery life (and you can leave it on while you swim laps in the pool, too). Connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth for even more detailed tracking stats. 
It’s also got all the apps you’ll need, including sports, weather, messaging, calendar, and music (more than 300 songs can be stored on the device). There’s even a special female-health-centric function that help log periods, record symptoms, and track cycles over time to discover patterns and trends. 
Amazon reviewer JC writes:

“I was really debating between this and Apple watch but so glad that I bought this Versa. I bought this only for fitness reasons and didn’t want to be bothered with constant notifications/messages/calls, etc. So far this Versa does exactly what I need it to do and gives me all the data which helps me stay healthy and motivated.You really need to keep this on you 24/7 in order for you [to get] accurate data over time. I did not know if sleep data would help me but it has become one of my favorite features of the watch. Also love the fact that this watch is so light, battery life is long and doesn’t get in the way while in the gym.”


Battery lasts a whole year • Water- and sweat-proof • Runs with third party apps • Personalized heart rate training
You have to pair it with a smartphone for it to be helpful.
If you want to keep your arms and wrists totally bare during your workouts, the Wahoo TICKR’s chest strap will be most suitable for you — plus, it’s got great heart rate training programs and a killer battery life.

11. Wahoo TICKR

Won’t take up precious real estate on your wrists and will provide personalized heart rate training, as well as an unbeatable 12-month battery life.

  • Warranty:
    1 year
  • Smartphone Compatibility:
    Yes
  • Battery Life:
    1 year
  • Weight:
    2.4 ounces
  • What you’ll get:
    Wahoo TICKR, battery, manuals
Okay, before you laugh at the name, give us a moment to tell you why the Wahoo TICKR is a great, albeit out of the ordinary, fitness tracking device. 
First off, people who don’t love wearing accessories on their wrist while they exercise will be happy to know that you actually wear the TICKR on your chest instead — your arms will be completely free. Pair it with your smartphone, download the companion app, and you’re ready to receive in-depth hear rate, GPS, and fitness tracking stats right to your device (watch it all in-real time, too). It can also pair with third party apps like Nike+ Running and Apple Health for better results within any program. You can also pair it with a fitness watch, but in our opinion, stick to buying just one.  
The real kicker? The battery will last you a whole year of regular usage — of course, you’ll have to replace it after it runs out of juice.
Amazon reviewer D. Couse writes:

“After doing research on these devices, the TICKR stood out heads and shoulders above other devices based on Amazon reviews. I wanted to use something with my Apple Watch rather than the built in sensor during workouts. Especially since several of the readings from the watch, even during basic running were jumping all over the place. One registered 215 bpm, that is when I knew I needed a separate sensor if I was going to take fitness seriously. I got the device open, and looked for awhile for an on/off switch. Didn’t find one. Then I snapped into the strap and viola! the blue light started flashing letting me know we were powered up and good to go. Pairing on my Apple Watch was a breeze. Go to settings (on the watch) Bluetooth, and this device shows up under Health Devices. Tapped connect and I was good to go. The readout while running was very consistent and didn’t bounce all over. The log sheet from the health app verifies what I was watching on the screen of my watch during the run. The only confusion I had was the how it powers on and off.”

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The Trump campaign celebrated a growth record that Democrats downplayed.

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The White House celebrated economic growth numbers for the third quarter released on Thursday, even as Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential campaign sought to throw cold water on the report — the last major data release leading up to the Nov. 3 election — and warned that the economic recovery was losing steam.

The economy grew at a record pace last quarter, but the upswing was a partial bounce-back after an enormous decline and left the economy smaller than it was before the pandemic. The White House took no notice of those glum caveats.

“This record economic growth is absolute validation of President Trump’s policies, which create jobs and opportunities for Americans in every corner of the country,” Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign said in a statement, highlighting a rebound of 33.1 percent at an annualized rate. Mr. Trump heralded the data on Twitter, posting that he was “so glad” that the number had come out before Election Day.

The annualized rate that the White House emphasized extrapolates growth numbers as if the current pace held up for a year, and risks overstating big swings. Because the economy’s growth has been so volatile amid the pandemic, economists have urged focusing on quarterly numbers.

Those showed a 7.4 percent gain in the third quarter. That rebound, by far the biggest since reliable statistics began after World War II, still leaves the economy short of its pre-pandemic levels. The pace of recovery has also slowed, and now coronavirus cases are rising again across much of the United States, raising the prospect of further pullback.

“The recovery is stalling out, thanks to Trump’s refusal to have a serious plan to deal with Covid or to pass a new economic relief plan for workers, small businesses and communities,” Mr. Biden’s campaign said in a release ahead of Thursday’s report. The rebound was widely expected, and the campaign characterized it as “a partial return from a catastrophic hit.”

Economists have warned that the recovery could face serious roadblocks ahead. Temporary measures meant to shore up households and businesses — including unemployment insurance supplements and forgivable loans — have run dry. Swaths of the service sector remain shut down as the virus continues to spread, and job losses that were temporary are increasingly turning permanent.

“With coronavirus infections hitting a record high in recent days and any additional fiscal stimulus unlikely to arrive until, at the earliest, the start of next year, further progress will be much slower,” Paul Ashworth, chief United States economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note following the report.

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Black and Hispanic workers, especially women, lag in the U.S. economic recovery.

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The surge in economic output in the third quarter set a record, but the recovery isn’t reaching everyone.

Economists have long warned that aggregate statistics like gross domestic product can obscure important differences beneath the surface. In the aftermath of the last recession, for example, G.D.P. returned to its previous level in early 2011, even as poverty rates remained high and the unemployment rate for Black Americans was above 15 percent.

Aggregate statistics could be even more misleading during the current crisis. The job losses in the initial months of the pandemic disproportionately struck low-wage service workers, many of them Black and Hispanic women. Service-sector jobs have been slow to return, while school closings are keeping many parents, especially mothers, from returning to work. Nearly half a million Hispanic women have left the labor force over the last three months.

“If we’re thinking that the economy is recovering completely and uniformly, that is simply not the case,” said Michelle Holder, an economist at John Jay College in New York. “This rebound is unevenly distributed along racial and gender lines.”

The G.D.P. report released Thursday doesn’t break down the data by race, sex or income. But other sources make the disparities clear. A pair of studies by researchers at the Urban Institute released this week found that Black and Hispanic adults were more likely to have lost jobs or income since March, and were twice as likely as white adults to experience food insecurity in September.

The financial impact of the pandemic hit many of the families that were least able to afford it, even as white-collar workers were largely spared, said Michael Karpman, an Urban Institute researcher and one of the studies’ authors.

“A lot of people who were already in a precarious position before the pandemic are now in worse shape, whereas people who were better off have generally been faring better financially,” he said.

Federal relief programs, such as expanded unemployment benefits, helped offset the damage for many families in the first months of the pandemic. But those programs have mostly ended, and talks to revive them have stalled in Washington. With virus cases surging in much of the country, Mr. Karpman warned, the economic toll could increase.

“There could be a lot more hardship coming up this winter if there’s not more relief from Congress, with the impact falling disproportionately on Black and Hispanic workers and their families,” he said.

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Ant Challenged Beijing and Prospered. Now It Toes the Line.

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As Jack Ma of Alibaba helped turn China into the world’s biggest e-commerce market over the past two decades, he was also vowing to pull off a more audacious transformation.

“If the banks don’t change, we’ll change the banks,” he said in 2008, decrying how hard it was for small businesses in China to borrow from government-run lenders.

“The financial industry needs disrupters,” he told People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, a few years later. His goal, he said, was to make banks and other state-owned enterprises “feel unwell.”

The scope of Mr. Ma’s success is becoming clearer. The vehicle for his financial-technology ambitions, an Alibaba spinoff called Ant Group, is preparing for the largest initial public offering on record. Ant is set to raise $34 billion by selling its shares to the public in Hong Kong and Shanghai, according to stock exchange documents released on Monday. After the listing, Ant would be worth around $310 billion, much more than many global banks.

The company is going public not as a scrappy upstart, but as a leviathan deeply dependent on the good will of the government Mr. Ma once relished prodding.

More than 730 million people use Ant’s Alipay app every month to pay for lunch, invest their savings and shop on credit. Yet Alipay’s size and importance have made it an inevitable target for China’s regulators, which have already brought its business to heel in certain areas.

These days, Ant talks mostly about creating partnerships with big banks, not disrupting or supplanting them. Several government-owned funds and institutions are Ant shareholders and stand to profit handsomely from the public offering.

The question now is how much higher Ant can fly without provoking the Chinese authorities into clipping its wings further.

Excitable investors see Ant as a buzzy internet innovator. The risk is that it becomes more like a heavily regulated “financial digital utility,” said Fraser Howie, the co-author of “Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise.”

“Utility stocks, as far as I remember, were not the ones to be seen as the most exciting,” Mr. Howie said.

Ant declined to comment, citing the quiet period demanded by regulators before its share sale.

The company has played give-and-take with Beijing for years. As smartphone payments became ubiquitous in China, Ant found itself managing huge piles of money in Alipay users’ virtual wallets. The central bank made it park those funds in special accounts where they would earn minimal interest.

After people piled into an easy-to-use investment fund inside Alipay, the government forced the fund to shed risk and lower returns. Regulators curbed a plan to use Alipay data as the basis for a credit-scoring system akin to Americans’ FICO scores.

China’s Supreme Court this summer capped interest rates for consumer loans, though it was unclear how the ceiling would apply to Ant. The central bank is preparing a new virtual currency that could compete against Alipay and another digital wallet, the messaging app WeChat, as an everyday payment tool.

Ant has learned ways of keeping the authorities on its side. Mr. Ma once boasted at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, about never taking money from the Chinese government. Today, funds associated with China’s social security system, its sovereign wealth fund, a state-owned life insurance company and the national postal carrier hold stakes in Ant. The I.P.O. is likely to increase the value of their holdings considerably.

“That’s how the state gets its payoff,” Mr. Howie said. With Ant, he said, “the line between state-owned enterprise and private enterprise is highly, highly blurred.”

China, in less than two generations, went from having a state-planned financial system to being at the global vanguard of internet finance, with trillions of dollars in transactions being made on mobile devices each year. Alipay had a lot to do with it.

Alibaba created the service in the early 2000s to hold payments for online purchases in escrow. Its broader usefulness quickly became clear in a country that mostly missed out on the credit card era. Features were added and users piled in. It became impossible for regulators and banks not to see the app as a threat.

ImageAnt Group’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China.
Credit…Alex Plavevski/EPA, via Shutterstock

A big test came when Ant began making an offer to Alipay users: Park your money in a section of the app called Yu’ebao, which means “leftover treasure,” and we will pay you more than the low rates fixed by the government at banks.

People could invest as much or as little as they wanted, making them feel like they were putting their pocket change to use. Yu’ebao was a hit, becoming one of the world’s largest money market funds.

The banks were terrified. One commentator for a state broadcaster called the fund a “vampire” and a “parasite.”

Still, “all the main regulators remained unanimous in saying that this was a positive thing for the Chinese financial system,” said Martin Chorzempa, a research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

“If you can’t actually reform the banks,” Mr. Chorzempa said, “you can inject more competition.”

But then came worries about shadowy, unregulated corners of finance and the dangers they posed to the wider economy. Today, Chinese regulators are tightening supervision of financial holding companies, Ant included. Beijing has kept close watch on the financial instruments that small lenders create out of their consumer loans and sell to investors. Such securities help Ant fund some of its lending. But they also amplify the blowup if too many of those loans aren’t repaid.

“Those kinds of derivative products are something the government is really concerned about,” said Tian X. Hou, founder of the research firm TH Data Capital. Given Ant’s size, she said, “the government should be concerned.”

The broader worry for China is about growing levels of household debt. Beijing wants to cultivate a consumer economy, but excessive borrowing could eventually weigh on people’s spending power. The names of two of Alipay’s popular credit functions, Huabei and Jiebei, are jaunty invitations to spend and borrow.

Huang Ling, 22, started using Huabei when she was in high school. At the time, she didn’t qualify for a credit card. With Huabei’s help, she bought a drone, a scooter, a laptop and more.

The credit line made her feel rich. It also made her realize that if she actually wanted to be rich, she had to get busy.

“Living beyond my means forced me to work harder,” Ms. Huang said.

First, she opened a clothing shop in her hometown, Nanchang, in southeastern China. Then she started an advertising company in the inland metropolis of Chongqing. When the business needed cash, she borrowed from Jiebei.

Online shopping became a way to soothe daily anxieties, and Ms. Huang sometimes racked up thousands of dollars in Huabei bills, which only made her even more anxious. When the pandemic slammed her business, she started falling behind on her payments. That cast her into a deep depression.

Finally, early this month, with her parents’ help, she paid off her debts and closed her Huabei and Jiebei accounts. She felt “elated,” she said.

China’s recent troubles with freewheeling online loan platforms have put the government under pressure to protect ordinary borrowers.

Ant is helped by the fact that its business lines up with many of the Chinese leadership’s priorities: encouraging entrepreneurship and financial inclusion, and expanding the middle class. This year, the company helped the eastern city of Hangzhou, where it is based, set up an early version of the government’s app-based system for dictating coronavirus quarantines.

Such coziness is bound to raise hackles overseas. In Washington, Chinese tech companies that are seen as close to the government are radioactive.

In January 2017, Eric Jing, then Ant’s chief executive, said the company aimed to be serving two billion users worldwide within a decade. Shortly after, Ant announced that it was acquiring the money transfer company MoneyGram to increase its U.S. footprint. By the following January, the deal was dead, thwarted by data security concerns.

More recently, top officials in the Trump administration have discussed whether to place Ant Group on the so-called entity list, which prohibits foreign companies from purchasing American products. Officials from the State Department have suggested that an interagency committee, which also includes officials from the departments of defense, commerce and energy, review Ant for the potential entity listing, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Ant does not talk much anymore about expanding in the United States.

Ana Swanson contributed reporting.

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