The criteria used as the basis of these reviews are grouped into categories to make it easier to compare products across similar dimensions. In the case of Activity Monitors, the categories (and brief definitions) are:

  • Data & Connectivity refers to data quality, the visual presentation to the user, how the device transfers its data, and integration with other data feeds, devices, and brands.
  • Functions describe what the devices actually measure, or “do”, e.g., steps, heart rate, sleep, etc.
  • Personalization measures the opportunities that people have to enrich the data gathered by their devices. For activity monitors, essential forms of personalization include height, weight, age, and gender. As self-tracking products increasingly enter the mainstream of health and wellness, integrating and using self-entered personal data will become increasingly valuable.
  • Support measures how the respective brands interact with customers seeking answers to basic questions. Channels measured include phone support, email support, and the presence of Web-based knowledge bases and communities designed to engage and motivate. A basic assumption here at is that people buy products backed by brands/companies, not just devices that appear spontaneously out of nowhere.

People are likely to emphasize one or some categories over others. If you’re a very self-sufficient person you may be indifferent about the quality of support and instead, be very concerned with functionality. If so, such an approach might affect the product you choose. Likewise, if you care greatly about both categories, you might reach a different purchase conclusion.

Finally, the criteria themselves will change and evolve over time to reflect advances in these products, their roles in healthcare, and how people use them in their daily lives.