Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/runningfeatco/public_html/components/com_k2/models/item.php on line 596


Does Aldi's budget activity tracker step up to the expensive Fitbit?


Wearable technology has been all the rage in recent years with Fitbit being the brand of choice for many famous faces who want to track their activity with the gadget.

Popstar Britney Spears, actor Ryan Reynolds and even President Barack Obama have been seen sporting a Fitbit on their wrists, accelerating interest in the high tech pedometer. 

Not only does it measure how active the wearer has been, it can also track their sleep and estimate the number of calories they have burned in a day. 

Lucy Waterlow heads goes for a walk with the Aldi activity tracker, black, and Fitbit Charge, blue, seen on her wrist tracking her steps

But the brand's products don't come cheap with Britney and Ryan's choice - the Fitbit Flex - costing £79.99. Meanwhile the President's arm candy is at the top of the range with his Fitbit Surge 'super watch' costing £199.99.

To meet demand for those who want to track their steps without walking their bank balance into the red, supermarket Aldi have launched their own activity tracker as part of their New Year Fitness range for just £24.99.

The product is part of their flash sale - in stores now while stock lasts but and a similar version will be on sale again later in the year for anyone who misses out.

So how does the budget version compare to its pricey counterparts? 

I put the Aldi gadget made by Crane to the test alongside the Fitbit Flex and Fitbit Charge to find out...


On first look, the Aldi activity tracker does not look much different from the Fitbit Charge which is four times the price.

Both are a slim watch style with a screen displaying the time and button on the side to scroll through to see the details of activity such as steps taken, calories burned and distance travelled.

The screen on the Aldi version is slightly bigger although the numbers displayed are a similar size. 

The Fitbit Charge, left, and Aldi product, right, both double up as a watch as well as giving details of steps taken in a day, calories burnt and distance travelled as you scroll through using the buttons on the side

The Fitbit Charge, left, and Aldi product, right, both double up as a watch as well as giving details of steps taken in a day, calories burnt and distance travelled as you scroll through using the buttons on the side

The Fitbit Flex, left, only displays the steps taken in a day in the form of flashing lights while the Aldi one, right, gives a more accurate display with the bar across the top saying how close you are to your goal

The Fitbit Flex, left, only displays the steps taken in a day in the form of flashing lights while the Aldi one, right, gives a more accurate display with the bar across the top saying how close you are to your goal

In contrast, the Fitbit Flex has the appearance of a bangle and only an indication of the numbers of steps taken can be seen on the display, shown in the form of flashing lights.

Each light represents a number of steps with more lights appearing the more steps you take until you reach your target.

Both of the Fitbits come in a variety of colours but once you have made your decision you have to stick with it unless you spend more to change it. 

However, the Aldi version comes with both a black and a pink strap so you can take the pedometer chip out and swap it between the two.

The Aldi product comes with the option of wearing a black or pink strap

The Aldi product comes with the option of wearing a black or pink strap

Of the three, the Fitbit Flex looks the most feminine and is a more a fashionable piece of jewellery, whereas the Charge and Aldi gadgets scream their functionality. 

The lights on the Flex also make it look more fun and funky over the counterparts - although with all three, I couldn't shake the feeling that I looked like I had been electronically tagged.

If you don't want to wear the gadget on your wrist to avoid the criminal look, you can detach the tracking chip from the Flex and the Aldi gadget and insert it on a clip to attach to your clothing instead. 

Note that while the Aldi product comes with the clip accessory as part of the £24.99 price, with the Fitbit, from some retailers you have to pay extra to get the clip as an additional accessory. 



Both the Fitbits are worn like a bracelet with teeth gripping into grooves so you can determine how tightly to fasten it. These are secure and I never felt I was in danger of losing the gadget as I put it through its paces as I ran a muddy cross country race and walked the dog with it on my wrist.

The Aldi version fastens with a traditional watch strap and this meant the tail of the strap stuck out, often catching on my coat when I took it on and off.

The Fitbit, blue, fit more like a bangle and are more comfortable and stylish in comparison to the Aldi version, black strap

The buckle of the strap also dug in a little and as a result, I often felt conscious of the fact I was wearing the Aldi gadget whereas with the Fitbits, you quickly forget they are there.

At times my skin occasionally became irritated under the Aldi product, a sensation I didn't experience with the Fitbits.  

This is also an issue if you want to wear the gadgets to monitor you sleep - the Fitbits were much more comfortable to wear in bed compared to the budget buy.



The Fitbit Flex and the Aldi version have identical features with both tracking steps taken per day, calories burnt, distance travelled, time active per day and sleep.  

The Charge has the additional features of tracking stairs climbed and caller ID - when synced to a smartphone the screen will tell you who is calling without you looking at your mobile.

While the Flex RRP is £80, it can now be bought for much less (now discounted to £55 in some stores) whereas the Charge is closer to £80 even when discounted. It is debatable whether it is worth paying extra for the additional two features.

The gadgets measures the steps taken and the Fitbit can feed this information via an app to friends who also have the app

Taking the Fitbit Flex (pink) and Aldi activity tracker (black) on a dog walk

Where the Charge does trump the Flex is in showing all the details including the time on the screen - so it can double up as a watch which the Flex can't. It also means you have a more accurate idea of the steps taken per day made without checking the app or guessing from the flashing lights.

The Aldi version has the best of both having all the features of the Flex but the addition of the screen like the Charge to show the time and up to date information on steps taken. 

So in terms of functions and value for money, the Aldi wins hands down.

Both the Fitbits and the Aldi come with a rechargeable battery that lasts at least a week and are splashproof and water resistant in the shower.



While the Fitbit Charge and the Aldi product both give you details of your activity on the watch, with the Fitbit Flex you need to download the app, compatible with smartphones, to get the full picture.

Both are free but the Aldi version has received numerous complaints about its reliability with many complaining it keeps crashing on their phones. I found it kept crashing on my iPhone 6 until I downloaded the latest software, meanwhile I had no technical glitches with the Fitbit app.

You can use the Aldi product quite happily without the app if you just want to keep a personal daily record of your movements. The app will give you extra details of your activities though and gives an analysis of your sleep. 

This is based on your movement in bed so it isn't an entirely accurate reflection of your sleep, for example, the app said I was in a 'deep sleep' prior to getting out of bed presumably because I wasn't moving when in fact I was awake but delaying getting out of my warm bed.

With the Fitbits, the app enhances the experience of wearing the trackable technology as you can link up and compete with friends and family who also have a Fitbit.

You can set up challenges for one another and see who can complete the most steps in a day or a week. It's a stalker's dream as you can monitor when loved ones are on the move.

Tracking your friends movements in this way can be both a blessing and a curse depending on how competitive you are. 

Lucy wears the Fitbit and Aldi tracker as she takes part in a cross country race to up her number of daily steps

Wearing the Fitbit and Aldi tracker as I take part in a cross country race

On the plus side, it can drive you to use the product more often to keep up with your friends and it makes you more accountable for the activity you do. 

You can message your friends via the app and 'cheer' them on if they have racketed up the steps or send them a 'taunt' if they haven't moved for a long time.

Thanks to the Fitbit app, your friends will know when you have smashed your target (the recommended is 10,000 steps a day), whereas with the Aldi version, only you will know when you have reached your daily goal.

On the other hand, it can make you a slave to your Fitbit, pacing the room at night before you go to bed to ensure you get some extra steps in to overtake your rival before the counter resets again at midnight (of course, I didn't do this!).  



If you are after an activity tracker and don't want to spend too much money then I would definitely recommend the Aldi version.

It does nearly all of the same things as its expensive Fitbit Flex and Charge, although you sacrifice some comfort and style with the money you save.

I feel you also get what you pay for in terms of durability, whereas some friends' Fitbits are still going strong a year after they bought them, I would be surprised if the Aldi one wears as well, as the plastic around the chip is already showing some signs of wear after a week on my wrist. 

If you only want to keep a personal record of your activity then the Aldi product is also good for this but if you prefer to make it a more sociable experience then the Fitbit is much more fun.

Using the app to compete with friends adds to the experience of wearing the activity tracker and makes you more likely to try and increase your daily step count. 

In this regard, both gadgets should make you fitter in theory as during the time testing them I made more effort to take the stairs over the lift and to walk journeys I may have otherwise jumped in the car to do in order to increase my step count.