Review of LifeTrak Activity Monitor Watches

LifeTrak Brite R450 Watch
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LifeTrak activity-tracking watches can keep your life, fitness, and health on track in several ways. Not only do they track your steps, calories, and workouts, you can see your heart rate and heart rate zone with or without a heart rate monitor strap. They track sleep and workouts. Best of all - there is no recharging, they are waterproof for swimming and they connect via Bluetooth to an app.

Is the LifeTrak Right for You?

If you want to track your activity, heart rate, workouts, and sleep but want a real watch rather than a fitness band, Lifetrak may be a good choice. If you don't like having to go to an app to see your data as with many fitness bands (such as the Fitbit Flex and Jawbone UP), you'll like how LifeTrak keeps them all up front. The display shows time and date, including seconds, and an activity bar and numbers to keep you always updated with how you are progressing towards your daily goals. It's easy to wear, with reversible and changeable bands. It also has a backlight for night viewing.

It lacks many sports watch features such as recording lap times, stopwatch, etc. It isn't a speed and distance monitor like a GPS watch. If you are looking for those features, a Garmin or a Fitbit Surge would be a better choice.

LifeTrak Zone R420

The LifeTrak Zone R420 watch has these common features with the other models:

  • Finger-touch heart rate on demand: You can take your heart rate whenever you wish by pressing the center button. Not only do you see the heart rate, but also the percentage of your maximum heart rate and ECG waveform. You can store multiple measurements. It's a good way to take your resting heart rate in the morning and to check on your heart rate during exercise.
  • Link to a Bluetooth heart rate monitor strap for continuous heart rate display and recording. If you have a strap already, such as the Polar H7, simply link them and then you can see and record your heart rate during exercise sessions. This sets you free to go for a walk, run or cycling workout without having to bring your phone along, you can sync the data later. However, it doesn't have zone alerts when you are under or over a chosen workout zone.
  • Activity: Steps, distance, and all-day calories burned. You can keep up with how you are progressing towards your daily goals with the bar and stats on the watch as well as in the app. On the watch itself, you can see hourly, daily and weekly graphs of your steps, distance, and activity/sleep. These are also nicely displayed in the app when you sync. You can calibrate the step sensitivity and the distance estimate to make it more accurate for you.
  • Automatic Sleep Tracking: You don't have to start or stop it, the LifeTrack detects when you are sleeping and when you are awake and reports sleep duration and quality. You can also start a sleep period manually or add one from the app if it got missed or you weren't wearing the LifeTrak.
  • Workout Tracking: Record your exercise sessions, stopping and starting this function via a button on the watch. A timer shows your elapsed time in hours, minutes, seconds and hundredths of seconds. During your workout, you can view your workout steps and workout calories, as well as switch back to the all-day view. You can take an on-demand exercise pulse by pressing the central button. Or, you can link to a Bluetooth heart rate monitor and see your heart rate continuously. You can pause and resume by pressing a button, and then finally end the workout. You can review 10 workouts on the watch, and see stats for each when synced to the app.
  • Connects with Apple and Android system apps. Sync on demand to transfer your data to the app. View your data in the app.

LifeTrak Brite R450

This model has all of the features of the Zone R420 and adds a few more features.

  • LightTrak: Are you getting enough ambient light to start your day and brighten your mood? Are you getting too much light at night that might prevent good sleep? You get alerts via the LightTrak feature to help you get enough bright light but not too much at the wrong time of day. You see how much bright light exposure you have for the day as well as an hourly graph in the app, both all light and blue-rich light. You can set a goal for the bright light duration and see when you have achieved it.
  • SleepTrak 2.0: Automatically detects sleep and naps. It has a vibrating Intelligent Wake-Up alarm. It senses when the best time to awaken you is within a chosen time period.
  • Notifications: You can display notifications from your phone on the watch. You can choose which ones to display, including calls, SMS, IM/Social, schedule, voicemail, mail, and news. You can choose to get them always, never, or only when awake.
  • Vibrating Inactivity Alerts: Get a vibration if you haven't logged your chosen amount of steps in your chosen period of time. For example, 200 steps in 45 minutes. You can choose from 1 to 999 steps and from 1 minute to 4 hours, 59 minutes. You also set the time window of the day when this alert is active. This is some of the best customizations we've seen, but it doesn't yet have any goals or achievements based on reducing inactivity. You see total active time per day and an actigraph, but it doesn't highlight when you sat too long.

Bottom Line

We liked the function of the on-demand finger pulse monitor, which matched very well for us with our Apple Watch heart monitor and my Fitbit Charge HR heart rate. It paired very easily with a Bluetooth Polar heart rate monitor strap. The automated sleep tracking worked well, as we otherwise forget to start and stop that function. The inactivity alert function of the Brite R450 is excellent, we love how flexible it is in choosing your own inactivity period to get alerts rather than a standard hour as with the Apple Watch and Fitbit Alta.

We think it would work best for a person who wants to wear a watch and also get all of the benefits of the data, especially the pulse monitor.

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Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. 

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