Nike and Adidas both have fitness trackers, so why not Skechers? In the GOwalk, Skechers offers a simple wristband that tracks your movement and sleep, and syncs with both Android phones and the iPhone. At $79, this fitness band is one of the most affordable options available, but that doesn't make it the best value.
Made by Sports Beat, the GOwalk is one of the plainest-looking fitness bands we've seen. Some will like the GOwalk's simplicity, but its lack of any distinguishing design features makes it feel like a throwaway gadget.
The 0.75-ounce band (available in white, black or pink) is made of a soft, silicone-like rubber, and bulges out on the top, where there's a single LED and button. The underside has two metal contacts that connect to an included USB charger.
The LED light, which only turns on when you press the button on the band, changes color based on how close you are to reaching your fitness goals for the day. Red means you're below 50 percent; yellow is for 51-89 percent; green is 90 to 99 percent, and blue indicates you're at or over 100 percent. It's a simple, but effective way to view your progress.
When you enter sleep mode, the LED will briefly turn purple, and when you pair it with your smartphone, the band's LED will flash blue.
The GOwalk, which syncs via Bluetooth 4.0, works with the iPhone 4S and higher, Samsung Galaxy S4 and other Android devices running 4.3 or higher.
Like the band itself, the Skechers app is pretty bare bones. There's a black background with blue charts. The home screen shows your profile at the top, along with the battery life remaining in the band. Below that, a bar charts your progress for the day. We like that the app shows both the percentage of your fitness goals you completed and the number of minutes you were active.
Below the progress bar are stats for the number of steps taken, calories burned and distance in miles. Slide the home screen to the left, and you can see your sleep stats.
An icon in the bottom center of the app shows you your stats charted in a day, week, month or year view. We appreciate that when you turn the phone into landscape mode, the chart changes orientation and shows a more detailed view.
However, the app needs some work. We noticed that in the Week view, the bars that show Saturday and Sunday's results are only half as wide as those of weekdays. Also, if you're looking at the Week view for sleep time, you can't select an individual night. To do so, you have to go back to the Home screen, select the current day and then scroll back in time.
And unlike other leading fitness apps, such as Jawbone, Fitbit and Fitbug, the Skechers app lacks diet tracking.
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Through a week of testing, we found the GOwalk to be accurate as we walked and went on our typical running routes. Unlike the Jawbone Up24, however, the GOwalk lacks a calibration tool to measure your distance more accurately.
The GOwalk was comfortable to wear during the day as well as at night. The rubber strap never caught on anything and didn't chafe our wrist at all.
The GOwalk's sleep tracker shows the total amount of time you slept and were in bed, and how long it took you to fall asleep. Unlike the Up24, though, Sketchers' device doesn't show when you were in deep or light sleep, and it also lacks a built-in vibration to wake you up, like the Fitbit Force has.
After a week of use, we still had two-thirds battery life remaining. That's much better than most other fitness trackers, which need to be recharged after about seven days.
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Available at various online retailers for around $79, the Skechers GOwalk is one of the cheaper fitness trackers, but still doesn't provide enough value for the money. The Fitbug Orb, which costs just $49, offers all the same features as the GOwalk, in addition to food tracking, and you can wear it on your belt or wrist.
A lot of companies are getting into the fitness tracker business, but, as the Skechers GOwalk proves, you need a lot more than name recognition.
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