Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Gadgets for the Fitness Fiend
If you're shopping for an exercise lover, getting a dainty phone isn't a great idea -- instead, look for gadgets for an active lifestyle, and designed for those who love to get their blood pumping.
Holiday Gift Guide points you to the most appropriate phone picks for every lovely person in your life.
Phones for an Active Lifestyle
Smartphones serve many purposes: communication tool, entertainment portal, music player, camera... the list goes on. But only some smartphones have features making them perfect candidates for boosting workouts.
For a top-tier phone capable of running the widest variety of fitness apps, stick with Android and Apple, since Windows 8 doesn't have as strong an app selection. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is a wonderful all-around phone, with a sleek yet sturdy body that won't weigh you down if you want to take it out for a jog or strap it to your arm while you bike. It's large, yes, but it's not hard to handle.
And you won't have any trouble glancing at the 4.8-inch display, since it's large and sharp enough to see what you need to see even if you're sprinting on a race track or bumping up the incline on the elliptical.
Aside from the well-constructed body and display, the Galaxy S3 comes with a top-notch 8-megapixel camera capable of taking photos in motion, especially if you use "Burst Mode." The "Burst Mode" captures many shots in quick succession, making it ideal for taking photos on the go. Coupled with a powerful image stabilization feature, the S3's shooting capabilities are great for active lifestyles. And if that's not enough to convince you, maybe the price will be the kicker: since the S3 is older than the iPhone 5 and other cutting-edge devices, it's less expensive.
If you're looking for a rugged phone -- something that may come into focus if you're shopping for an extreme sports enthusiast or outdoorsy type -- Samsung's Galaxy Rugby Pro is a great buy.
The Rugby Pro is fantastic for the rough-and-tumble set because it meets military standards for water, dust and other elements: it's not going to break if you drop it in a puddle. And you can tell how hardy it is just from looking at it, since it's coated in a mix of rubberized and hard materials that can withstand some abuse.
In addition to the tough exterior, the Rugby Pro is great for athletic types because you can set up a hardware shortcut for its 5-megapixel camera, which lets you snap a shot without pausing to open the camera app. And the Rugby Pro has a push-to-talk feature, for off-network walkie-talkie communication, so if you're a Tough Mudder fan or engaged in team activities, you can stay in touch.
Ultimate Running Buddies
If you're looking for a running accessory and not a handset, check out the FitBit Zip. It keeps track of how many calories you burn, how many steps you take and how far you go in a day, and it transfers the information to your smartphone or computer. It's an awesome motivation tool, and it's small and easy to tote around. The FitBit comes in a variety of bright colors, so it won't clash with your workout gear. You can set goals or create challenges for yourself, making FitBit perfect for someone who enjoys physical activity but sometimes lacks the drive and discipline to do it. And even the fittest of the fit like to monitor their progress.
If you like the idea of FitBit, but you'd rather just wear a wristband, check out Nike's Fuelband. It's like FitBit, but it closely monitors your physical activity, offering options to turn exercise into a fun game or challenge. It also syncs to the Nike+ Connect app to keep track of your calorie intake and the amount of energy burned.
For the Wet and Wild Athlete
We recommended it last year and we'll recommend it again: the Lifeproof iPhone case is a fantastic buy for an Apple fan who likes water sports. Or just doing outdoor activities, since unexpected rain can turn a beloved gadget into a useless hunk of metal.
Lifeproof has completely waterproof iPhone cases for the iPhone 5 as well as a discounted version for the iPhone 4 and 4S. These cases are slim, so they won't add a lot of extra weight or bulk to the phone, while protecting it from snow, water and dirt.
Fascinating Fitness Apps
If you don't want to spend a lot but want to get a fitness-loving loved one something cool, don't despair: there are awesome fitness apps on the market.
For instance, RunKeeper can help you analyze your afternoon jogs or Sunday sprint sessions, telling you distance, pace, heart rate and a number of other exercise statistics. If you want to see whether you're improving or losing steam, it's a wonderful tool. And to sweeten the deal, it's free for Apple and Android, so you won't have to spend any money to use it.
If you're looking for someone just getting into the fitness game, check out Ease Into 5K, an app designed to help novice runners. It's a nine-week program for beginners, and it provides motivational advice and tailored workout plans. It's only $3 and available for Apple and Android, so it won't break the bank, though it may end up lightening your scales if you follow the program.
If you like to conquer one challenge at a time, get the Hundred Push-Ups app. It has one function, but boy, is it a worthy one: it trains you to increase the number of push-ups you can do over a six-week period. Even if you don't make it to 100, you will still likely boost your upper body strength with this app. And, like the other apps on this list, it's cheap at $2.
And the P90X app is great if you love exercise: it's an intense training program designed to burn fat and whip bodies into tighter shape. It's not for the weak of heart, but it will appeal to you if you like to test your limits. P90X is a popular training program centered on home exercise, so the app takes the well-respected workout regime and condenses it into iPhone-appropriate videos. ♦
Categories: Gadgets & Gear