I got a bit of a technology craving recently, which lead me to come across a number of fitness/ activity trackers – Nike fuel band, Jawbone Up, and the Fitbit Flex. I looked into these activity trackers because I was looking for something to help monitor my activity and distance whist doing my running training.
I researched them, compared them, and chose the Fitbit Flex for a few key reasons:
Nike Fuel band
– Expensive, £130!
– No Sleep tracking or alarm
– Short battery life
– Needs to plug in to PC to sync data
– Small parts fall off/ easy to lose
– Software counter-part has terrible reviews
– Product has a ‘rushed’ feel about it
– Cheapest (£75, but it now looks like it is going for £90ish now)
– Waterproof! (I like to swim)
– Syncs with PC whilst on my wrist
– Subtle/ looks cool
– Longest battery life
– Good computer software (which links with apps such as Endomondo)
– Fitbit have experience in digital fitness trackers (famous for the Fitbit One which is a digital pedometer style tracker).
So, now I have had a go with my Fitbit flex, here is my review
Out of the box it looks pretty cool and fits comfortable on my wrist. Setting it up with the PC was very easy, literally plug in the adapter and sync. You then create a Fitbit account online where you can set goals for your activity – very easy. The meal planner is very similar to MyFitnessPal, and you can sync your account with that app too which will recover past data – very happy so far.
So I went for a run with it, and tracked it with Endomondo (which you can also sync with Fitbit), fitbit was very accurate and measured the same distance as Endomondo did – very happy. I then decided to set the alarm for the morning, which wasn’t very obvious to do, (need to go into settings tab instead of sleep tab) but I managed to and it worked well at waking me up. Battery has lasted 6 days now, so I guess it is about time to charge it!
Looking at my activity history there are some obvious errors. During my drive to work I managed to get 10 steps, and whilst sat at my desk now I have clocked 4 more steps in an hour of no activity. nothing serious, and in fact, it is more accurate than I had expected. All these error are probably due to me moving my arm a bit too enthusiastically; they will add up – I’m not concerned though. This is a problem that all wrist mounted activity trackers will experience.
Only down side so far it getting out of sleep mode. getting it into sleep mode is easy (tap rapidly for 1 or 2 seconds), getting out (for some reason) isn’t so easy – something I think will get easier the more familiar I get with it.
So in short I am very happy with the Fitbit Flex – does every I want it to and is a useful tool in tracking activity and will be useful and seeing progress. Out of the Nike Fuel band, Jawbone Up and Fitbit Flex, I am definitely happy I chose the Fitbit Flex.
Update a few months later
I have noticed a rash has come up on my wrist where I wear the Flex. I also wear charity bands, and thought one of these wristbands had caused the rash. I took off my charity bands and switched wrist for my Flex, and within a day the rash had come back on my other arm. There is no doubt in my mind that the material the Flex is made off caused this rash (probably in conjunction with the warm weather/ sweating). I do not have sensitive skin, and never had a rash from any material before, so this is a serious concern for me. I had a break from the Flex for a couple of days to let the rash go down, and put it back on and within hours the rash was back.
I contacted Fitbit about this, and was very disappointed in their slow customer service and lack of responsibility. I was essentially told that it was not their fault that their product caused me to develop a rash. I cannot wear the Flex anymore, rendering it useless. Disappointing.
Image courtesy of zanshin