I'd heard about Fitbit, the activity tracking devices that are used to promote health and track exercise, but I didn't really know much about them until a few weeks ago. I work for a health care organization, and they worked out some deal where employees could buy one for half price. Intrigued, I did a little digging online and talked to a friend of the family that I had heard used one, and decided to make the purchase.
Choosing My Fitbit Model
I looked at the various options and decided to go with the Fitbit Flex. The Flex is a device that is wearable, in that it goes on your wrist, similar to a wristwatch. This is fine for me because I stopped wearing my watch regularly a few months ago after getting tired of how fast the battery wore out, and realizing that I didn't really use it anymore, something that I'm sure many smartphone users realize.
They have other options, both more and less expensive. The more affordable models seemed to require the device to be clipped on to your clothing somewhere, which I did not like at all. I knew that I would either regularly forget to clip it on, or eventually lose it…and realistically, probably both would eventually happen. The more expensive options have additional tracking options that the Flex doesn't have, but as I was really looking for something just to track activity, none of them stood out enough to warrant spending extra.
The retail cost of a Flex is $99. When I looked around, the typical cost seemed to be around $95. I was able to purchase mine for $53. I believe they factor in shipping costs, which is why it's slightly over the 50% advertised price. Still, it's a great deal that I could not find anywhere.
Fitbit Flex Features
The Flex has a few features that are noteworthy.
- Step Tracking – The main point of a Fitbit is to track your activity, and that's my main usage as well. I did not default from the standard goal of 10,000 steps. By tapping the device, it will show you dots corresponding to 20% increments of reaching your goal, and when you hit your goal, it will buzz to let you know you've reached it.
- Sleep Tracking – You can tap your Fitbit a few times before you go to sleep and again in the morning to let it know that you're sleeping, and it will track your movements to let you know how often you woke up and how often you had restless sleep. If you forget to tap it to let it know you're sleeping or have woken up, you can enter your sleep time manually on the dashboard.
- Dashboard – Speaking of the dashboard, this is where you interface on a computer to see your progress. There's a small USB dongle that you plug in, and just have to the software to sync your device when you're nearby, after which you can log in to see your steps and sleep information. You can also manually enter what you've eaten and drank to have it calculate your total net calories based on eating and exercise, though I have not taken advantage of this yet.
- Mobile Sync – Your Fitbit can sync with your phone or tablet with a free app that can be downloaded. You just need to enable Bluetooth, and your device will sync on a regular basis, or when you tell it to. It's cool to have the app running and walk around and see your step count update in real time.
- Accuracy – I've seen varying reports on the accuracy of the Fitbit. My intention is to use it for high level information, and I don't expect that the usage is anywhere near 100%. Still, when I watch it real time during a live phone sync or just look at the activities I've done during the day and the corresponding steps, my gut feel tells me that it's definitely in the range to add value and provide good information.
- Battery Charging – The Fitbit I have is advertised as holding a charge for five days. If you have it synced to a phone, you'll get an alert when the battery is low. It takes about 2-3 hours plugged into a USB port to recharge the device.
- Waterproof – The device is advertised as waterproof. So far I've only taken it off to charge it, and it's had no issues.
- Skin Compatibility – Fitbit has had issues with some devices causing reported skin rashes. I worried about this, as I suffer from eczema and certain areas do seem prone to getting rashes more if something is touching them, but so far there have not been any changes to my wrist or surrounding areas.
Fitbit Flex Results
I've been getting in some good workouts at the gym, and I pretty much exclusively run on the treadmill for my workouts. As such, I've been routinely hitting my 10,000 step daily goal which is the default. In fact, if I get a good workout, and I workout first thing in the morning (which I often do), I can count on getting my Fitbit completion buzz as early as 7:00am or so. That's a nice start to the day!
So far, I'm very pleased with my Fitbit purchase. I especially love it because of the great deal that I was able to get through my employer. If I had to pay the going price, I'm not sure it'd be on my wrist right now, but if you feel the price is worth it, I would have no problems at all recommending the Fitbit Flex.
Readers, do you have any wearable technology such as a fitness tracker, Smart Watch, or otherwise? Do you have any plans to bring this technology to your life?