Three indispensible gadgets for a healthier lifestyle in 2017

We take a look at the latest tech for sporty types: the Garmin fenix Chronos smartwatch, Sony’s FDR-X3000 Action Cam and Jabra’s Elite Sport earbuds

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 January, 2017, 7:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 January, 2017, 3:16pm

It’s the start of a new year, and there are undoubtedly many of us who have made a resolution to eat more healthily and adopt a less sedentary lifestyle. If this sounds like you, then you will want to take a closer look at the following indispensable gadgets for a more active and sportier new year.

Garmin fenix Chronos

No matter what your favourite sport is, the Garmin fenix Chronos is a sophisticated multisport watch that promises to keep track of your new lifestyle. Housed in a rugged metal housing with a tough scratch-resistant sapphire lens, this waterproof device will shrug off sand, sea and spray and can still work at a depth of 100 metres.

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The beauty of the fenix Chronos goes beyond skin deep. The smartwatch is packed with technology including a built-in heart rate sensor, an altimeter, a barometer, and a three-axis electronic compass. In addition, built-in GPS and Glonass receivers ensure that you always know where you are.

There is no need to manually calibrate any of the many sensors; the fenix Chronos auto-calibrates all its onboards sensors using GPS, and sets its time based on the current location.

Like other smartwatches it will count your steps and monitoring your sleep.

The watch uses the heart rate sensor to provide information on calories burned to help you track the intensity of your fitness activities. And it can track a long list of activities, including running, cycling, hiking, climbing and swimming.

To track your swimming workouts, enter the size of the pool before your workout, and the fenix Chronos will automatically log metrics such as distance, pace and stroke count. Hikers will appreciate the GPS track log feature to create a digital trail as they move, while gym runners will find that it tracks treadmill runs reasonably well.

The transflective colour display uses external lighting and is highly readable in bright sunlight, although the colour isn’t as bright as that from OLED or AMOLED displays. The screen of the fenix Chronos is not touch sensitive, which may be an issue for some. On the plus side, the watch has a claimed battery life of almost a week – depending on usage. Its clip charger ensures a snug fit during charging.

The fenix Chronos eschews Google’s Android Wear platform, relying instead on the company’s own Garmin Connect app to receive notifications such as incoming emails, WeChat messages and other alerts from your smartphone. Garmin Connect is available on Android, iOS and the Windows Phone.

Price: US$1,000 (Brushed stainless steel band)

Sony FDR-X3000 Action Cam

While you’re having fun, why not record it in 4K? The Sony FDR-X3000 Action Cam is the latest iteration of Sony’s Action Camera family that lets you record footage in 4K with advanced image stabilisation.

Like the previous models from Sony’s Action Cam family, the compact FDR-X3000 resembles a miniature camcorder and weighs just 114 grams including the supplied battery. The camera records at 30fps at 4K, though you can get up to 120fps at 1080p for some slow-motion fun.

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Aside from the obvious ability to record images without draining your smartphone, the FDR-X3000 has impressive optical image stabilisation. This comes courtesy of Sony’s Balanced Optical SteadyShot (Boss) technology which mechanically stabilises the entire optical path to keep recording silky smooth when walking or cycling.

An improved Live-View Remote connects wirelessly to the Action Cam for a real-time view of what the camera is recording. You can pop it into the included watch strap to see what you are recording directly from your wrist.

From our tests, it can sometimes take several seconds for the Remote to connect to the Action Cam, although video streaming is generally smooth once connected.

The battery life of the FDR-X3000 is rated at just over two hours at 1080p and an hour at 4K resolution with Wi-fi switched off. The battery is removeable, so you can bring spare batteries.

The Action Cam is splash proof and freezeproof, but remember to pop it into the included waterproof case before you use it underwater. The waterproof case also gives the FDR-X3000 dust and shock protection and all buttons remain accessible, albeit at the expense of making it a little bulkier.

Ironically, the sheer versatility of the Sony Action Camera also means that you will be hard pressed not to buy a whole bunch of accessories. For instance, mounting the Live-View Remote onto your bike or onto the back of the Action Cam requires two different accessories. There is a clip to mount the Action Cam to your cap, or to get a separate shooting grip or monopod to more comfortably hold it for lengthier shoots. Throw in an extra rechargeable battery or two, and the cost adds up quickly.

Price: HK$4,280.00 with the Live View Remote kit.

Jabra Elite Sport earbuds

If you like your sports with music, then the Jabra Elite Sport is just what the doctor ordered. Arguably the most advanced sports earbuds you can buy today, they come with a built-in heart rate sensor, and are completely wireless.

An array of silicone and foam tips, and wing tips is included in the Elite Sport package to let you the perfect fit. The Jabra Elite Sport is rated to IP67, which means it can withstand being submerged in a metre of water for up to 30 minutes. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should take them swimming. Jabra has a bold three-year warranty against failure from sweat.

Jabra Elite Sport offers high quality music playback with solid bass that doesn’t compromise the mid and high frequencies. Integrated media controls on the earbuds let you adjust volume and skip tracks on one, and to accept or reject calls and play music with the other.

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When in use, the Jabra Elite Sports offers up to three hours of music and talk time. This won’t get you through a full marathon, though the included charging case will recharge the earbuds up to two times – and helps reduce the chances of losing the earbuds between use. Just 15 minutes of charging gives you up to an hour of use.

To help you exercise more effectively, the in-ear heart rate monitor works with the Jabra Sport Life app to track and analyse your fitness as well as provide personalised audio coaching during your workout.

Heart rate is recorded in real time for later reference, though the obvious downside is that you will need to look at your smartphone to know your current heart rate.

Price: HK$1,825

Editor’s note: This story was updated on January 18 to add a photo of the Sony FDR-X3000 camera, replacing the photo originally used, which was of a different model, the Sony Action Cam HDR-AS300