If anyone on your Christmas list is a fitness fanatic or wishes he or she were, the Fitbit Force is a great gift. It tracks steps taken, miles covered, calories burned, stairs climbed, and active minutes. All these data, along with the current time, can be displayed on the wristband device itself with the touch of a button, as well as on a smart phone app (synced via Bluetooth) or Fitbit's website. You can input other info -- such as calories eaten and activities that are harder to track via wrist movement -- via the app or website. I've been wearing one for just over a month and anyone who's been around me (some much to their annoyance) can attest to the fact I am obsessed. I will park farther away from my destination, or climb 8 flights of stairs rather than take the elevator, just to increase my stats. I particularly like the way it's made me more aware of the correlation between my level of activity and my diet. I lost about 5 pounds in the first 3 weeks of wearing it, which is particularly impressive since Thanksgiving fell within that period. The app interface is clean and easy to use, and I am a sucker for the smiley face feedback when I hit a goal. Another optional source of inspiration is the ability to compete with friends (you can control what information any friends you link to can see).
The Force costs $130, which is $30 more than the Flex, Fitbit's previous wristband tracker, and the One, their non-wristband tracker that clips to your clothes. The Force is a bit bulkier than the Flex, but it is still pretty unobtrusive, and the added bulk allows you to view more information on the display. Some reviews complain about the difficulty of closing the strap, and they should -- it is very hard to close, and easy to pop off. Fortunately, if you are obsessed enough about it you will quickly notice if it falls off. It may be too late to order it online in time for Christmas, but you can buy it at lots of places, including Best Buy, sporting goods stores, and phone stores. It comes in large or small, and the two colors shown above (black and slate). (Unlike the Flex, you cannot swap out different color wristbands.) It does not include a heart rate monitor, which evidently some other brands include. Supposedly they will be adding a caller id feature (showing calls coming in to a synced iPhone), though I'm not sure why I would want that. I do love the silent alarm, which wakes me with a gentle buzz rather than the screech of an alarm clock, and the sleep-tracker is eye-opening. You can find a detailed review of the Force at cnet. One word of advice: know your potential giftee's interest in using a pedometer. No one wants to be told they should step up their exercise.