The FitBit is an ugly piece of technology - there's just no denying it. Even so, I think the minimal, slimline design of the Flex is about as attractive as possible for what it is. I knew I wanted the plain black version from the beginning and, as far as I know, there are plenty of more colourful, patterned bands available from third-party sellers should I wish to experiment a little in the future. It's not something that I relish wearing, but I don't feel any real need to hide it either.
FIT + COMFORT
Taking my watch and jewellery off is the first thing that I do as soon as I walk in the front door, so initially I was a little skeptical about owning a band that needs to be worn around the clock. Actually, I've been really surprised about just how little I notice it. The flex comes with two bands - one large, one small - and I find the small to be just about the perfect fit. It's easy to adjust and feels incredibly light, so much so that I tend to forget I've got it on throughout the day.
The FitBit is charged via a USB connector, making it really easy to plug in for an hour or so in the evening while I'm working on my laptop. FitBit boast a 5 day battery life for the wristband itself, but I've actually found mine to last significantly longer. I've never allowed it to run out completely before recharging, but it takes about a week before it even needs topping up.
The FitBit Flex is the cheapest wrist-worn model of the bunch - I managed to pick mine up for a little under £40 via Amazon. I wasn't particularly fussed about having a clock function included as I wear it next to my watch anyway and - aside from caller ID - there really isn't much difference between the features included on this and some of the more expensive models. The features I tend to get the most use from include:
- Activity tracker | the most basic function of the FitBit is that it tracks the numbers of steps you take during each day. It also measures how far you've walked in km.
- Calorie tracker | the FitBit Flex detects how many calories you've burned each day, including the ones that are taken up by the basics such as breathing, sleeping and general movement. You're also able to log your calorie intake. They have a huge selection of foods listed and it's easy to add your own if you can't find exactly what you're looking for.
- Water tracker | much the same as the calorie log, the FitBit enables you to log how much water you consume in a 24 hour period. My goal is set at 1,800 ml and it's amazing to see how much my intake varies from one day to the next.
- Sleep tracker | probably the most interesting feature of the lot, the sleep tracker enables you to see what time you fell asleep/woke up, how long it took you to get to sleep and whether you had any periods of restlessness during the night. My sleep goal is set at 8 hours, but you can change it depending on your personal preference.
EASE OF USE
I rarely ever touch the FitBit itself, instead everything is logged on my iPhone. Setup was quick and easy and the (free) app is fairly simple to navigate, although I have needed to google a couple of things along the way. Another slight issue that I've had is that my FitBit has a tendency to think I'm asleep when I'm not. Admittedly I can be incredibly lazy, but assuming that I've dozed off at 4.30 on a weekday afternoon and slept through my entire commute home is a little much. I also don't really understand the lights on the FitBit itself, which is why I never really touch it once it's on my wrist.
It's not without its problems, but I have to admit to being so impressed with the FitBit so far. A month down the line and I've hit a little bit of a wall where I often feel like I can't be bothered to log everything that happens in my day, but once I do I realise that the results are well worth it. For the most part it's all really straightforward and, once you're used to how the app works, it only really requires checking in once or twice a day to log what you've been eating and check how many steps you've taken.
The biggest surprise so far has been how varied the results can be from day to day. For instance, on a typical day when I'm out and about it really doesn't take any extra effort to hit my 10,000 step goalpost, whereas days spent working from home rarely see me topping the 3,000 step mark. There's also a lot of discontinuity with my eating habits - I can no longer hide from my tendency to snack on sweet things during the day.
At this point I'd honestly recommend the FitBit to anyone. My intention isn't to lose weight, but to make small changes to my lifestyle in order to feel a little healthier and happier. The FitBit Flex is ideal for that as it allows you to keep a track of what you're already doing and set simple targets to help you improve. I'll definitely write another update post somewhere down the line - perhaps at the 6 month stage.