Apple watch vs body media link fitness tracker review comparisonPIN THIS
So I wanted to post a little review and comparison between my bodymedia link (bodybugg) fitness tracker and the Apple Watch. I will soon be testing out and comparing a fitbit surge so be sure to check back for my review. but today I wanted to compare two of my favorite fitness trackers.

I’ve been using the bodymedia link armband on and off over the past couple years and have been using my apple watch for fitness tracking for a little over a month now.

First lets talk about the body media link arm band.


The bodymedia claims to have the most accurate calorie tracking abilities and says its accuracy is >90% accurate. They measure your calorie burn based on a skin temperature sensor, heat flux sensor, perspiration sensor (galvanic response sensor), and 3-axis accelerometer.

You wear it on your arm 24-7 and it tracks sleep in addition to steps taken and calories burned.

First lets review the PROS:

Sync via Bluetooth to your iPhone and get live up to date counts of your calorie burn.

Integrates with my fitness pal so that you can easily log your food and scan your food, which then sends the data to the body media app so that you can really make sure that you are hitting your calorie deficit.

Great battery life. I charge mine once a week and usually upload my data through Bluetooth a couple times a day.

Tracks your sleep, shows you time you were laying down vs time asleep.

Love the fact that it just tracks 24-7, no need to start a workout or specify that you’re working out, it collects data and shows you in awesome graphs.

Highly accurate calorie count that I trust

Next lets talk about some of the CONS:

No heart rate tracking data

Monthly subscription of $6.95 required

Not waterproof, would never go for a swim in the body media or take a shower with it on.

No digital display, must sync with iPhone to see your current status.

APPLE WATCH ~$349-$399 for the sport version depending on face size

Next lets talk about the Apple Watch

If you haven’t heard about the apple watch yet you must be living under a rock. It’s apples latest and greatest product that functions as a watch, fitness tracker, and a million other functions via built in and third party apps.

First the PROS:

Sexy design with multiple functions via all the cool apps.

Water resistant. Although I wasn’t brave enough to fully test this one, there have been several youtube tests where they went swimming with the watch fully submerged for 5 minutes and it came out working perfectly still. We claim no responsibility should you decide to swim with your apple watch so do so at your own risk. Tiffany was brave enough down in Zion National Park this summer to swim with her apple watch on and stayed in the pool for at least an hour with it in and out of the water and it survived. Here’s a picture of the apple watch underwater taken with my go pro. We both have the apple care plus protection plan that covers us, but again I urge you to use caution and we bear no responsibility for any damage incurred from doing the same as we have.

apple watch underwater water resistantPIN THIS

Convenient being able to see text and phone call notifications while working out and responding to texts with Siri.

Heart rate tracking real time, which is nice when you are going for different burn goals, you can pace yourself and see live how your heart rate is doing.

Integrated with a ton of apps that I use often like RunKeeper, Nike Running. Able to start and stop runs and see live distance and pace information without having to whip out my gargantuan iPhone 6+.

Notification settings that remind you to get up and move around.

Fun badges and awards to earn, I always love a challenge and it’s motivating to collect each badge they offer.

Now onto the CONS:

No sleep tracking

Limited battery life, must charge nightly.

Must start workouts for most accuracy, so if you forget to start a workout, I don’t feel it’s as accurate. I forgot to start the apple watch workout app before a 60 minute cross fit session and the calories burned for the day were super low even though I worked my butt off and it didn’t count my workout as exercise minutes. So kind of a small hassle to remember to start the workout app before hitting it hard and activating beast mode.

Limited fitness activities in the workout app, the items to choose from are pretty basic. Hoping they add more options in the future.

Permanent watch farmers tan. haha Wearing this bad boy all day long and out in the sun means that when you do finally remove it, you are rocking a perma farmers tan which is harder to conceal than the body media tan light which can be covered with a shirt sleeve. I guess if you wore long sleeve shirts they could also conceal it. Not a huge issue, but given the choice, I would prefer a tan line up my sleeve versus on my wrist.

Other than that I really have enjoyed my apple watch so far and really hope they continue to come out with more 3rd party apps and even more tracking abilities with the watch.

Workout Comparisons

Here are some screenshots showing calorie and fitness tracking on identical workouts where I wore both the apple watch and the body media link armband to compare how closely they both tracked the same activity in reference to calories burned.

Workout #1:  a quick 1.3 mile jog

This workout had the biggest variance but was still pretty close. The apple watch calculated 170 calories burned and the body media tracked 200 calories burned.
Apple workout comparison accuracy reviewPIN THIS


Workout #2: A 1 hour 10 minute crossfit workout including cardio jogging and lots of burpees and jump roping. This one it seemed like the apple watch was going in and out with the heartbeat monitoring so I was worried after that it wouldn’t be too accurate but I was very surprised that it tracked the workout so accurately. The apple watch tracked 680 calories while the body media tracked the workout at 674 calories burned.

Apple workout comparison accuracy reviewPIN THIS

Workout #3: A quick 40 minute gym workout with Tiffany. We started out with a quick warmup on the treadmill and then did some upper body workouts in the free weights area. This one tracked pretty dang close with the apple watch coming in at 260 calories burned and the body media tracking 268 calories.

Apple workout comparison accuracy reviewPIN THIS


Overall I am very impressed with the apple watch in terms of how accurate it is at calculating calories burned. I honestly didn’t think it would do as well as the body media link and Im an accuracy snob. I’ve loved my body media fit and I think it finally has met it’s match in the apple watch.

If you are looking for cool gadgets and more functions and aren’t as concerned about sleep tracking, then I highly recommend getting the apple watch, you won’t be disappointed, and they have many more apps than I talked about here.

If sleep tracking and battery life is more up your alley, you will love the body media link, it’s nice not having to charge it nightly and having visuals of not only how long Im sleeping but how well.

Both are excellent tools and both have served to motivate me to be more on top of my fitness. You can’t go wrong with either one. Hope you have enjoyed this review and found the information helpful.


  • Christin Hall - July 26, 2015 - 10:46 am

    Thank you so much for doing this comparison and publishing it! I am a fitness instructor, and I have been using the dotFIT exerspy (I think the older version of the BodyMedia – doesn’t even sync with iPhone, you have to upload to PC via USB) for almost 6 years, since it first came out. I, too, am an ‘accuracy snob,’ so I have shot down every other tracker to come along, and I recently borrowed a friend’s FitBit to test its accuracy for caloric expenditure – which, by the way, was WAY off, although not in the direction I expected. It actually UNDERestimated my burn by a ridiculous amount. Like you, I trust the exerspy/BodyMedia – my body is pretty much proof of its accuracy – so I have been dying to see how the Apple Watch measures up. From past experience, I have learned not to get my hopes up, but a fellow instructor in the MOSSA FB group made a comment about the Apple Watch that made me wonder if, just maybe, there was finally a device that could match my exerspy’s accuracy. Not having access to an Apple Watch to test (and not wanting to shell out all of that money just to be disappointed), I decided to see if any such comparisons existed – lo and behold, I found your article, which has now given me hope! (And an excuse to go out and get a shiny new Apple Watch!)ReplyCancel

  • Brooke - July 31, 2015 - 6:39 am

    I”ve had a bodymedia armband for a few years. I’ve worn it off and on over that time. I was wondering if you had worn body the apple watch and the body media all day to compare total number of calories burned instead of just during exercise. I”d love to know a comparison of every day life numbers too. I’m considering purchasing one but I’ve read so many reviews where people say they are estimating too high. I’m just curious to see how well it matches body media, if you’ve done a test day on that. TIAReplyCancel

  • wuschl - September 14, 2015 - 8:26 am

    Love the comparison here, but I think you got an error.

    You compared Apple Watch’s Active Calories to Bodymedia’s Calories. In fact you have to sum Apple Watch’s Active Calories and Resting Calories to get the number of all calories burned in a workout.

    Since I interpret Bodymedia’s calories as active plus resting calories the comparison has to look like that:

    Workout #1:
    Apple Watch: 209
    Bodymedia: 200

    Workout #2:
    Apple Watch: 841
    Bodymedia: 674

    Workout #3:
    Apple Watch: 354
    Bodymedia: 268

    So, the running workout seems to be the closest, while the “other” workput are far off. This fits my experience with using Apple Watch for HIIT/Strength workouts.ReplyCancel

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