I've always been a fan of Fitbit. Ever since my sister and I got FitBit Ultras for Christmas two years ago and immediately started competing with each other to see who could rack up the most amount of steps in a day, I've been addicted to step counting. (She was a vicious competitor and mostly kicked my butt.)
When I lost the Fitbit Ultra, I upgraded to its successor, the Fitbit One. This is when I really started using everything it had to offer and fell in love with the wireless syncing dashboard which records your sleep, calories expended, steps and miles walked, floors climbed, most active time of the day, and connects you with fellow fit friends. You can even log your food and make other health goals for yourself. I was hooked.
So naturally, when I saw the Fitbit Flex ($99.95, FitBit.com), the brand's newest wristband pedometer, I had to give it a test. As a seasoned Fitbit user, these are my thoughts.
4 Things To Love
1. It's a wristband. Its most defining factor is what I like most about it. Because it's a wristband, you don't have to worry about throwing it in the washer in a pair of jeans or accidentally dropping it in the toilet.
2. It vibrates and flashes a small light when you've reached your step goal. There's no guessing game when you've accomplished your daily goal. The first time I experienced this, I nearly jumped out of my skin when I felt the vibration on my wrist, but then I realized what was happening. "Oh… cool!" I said to myself standing in a crowd of people waiting to cross a busy New York City street. (I got stares. It's all good.) I was instantly pleased with myself and now look forward to it buzzing and lighting up every day. Hey, any encouragement is good encouragement.
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3. You can wear it in the shower. You seriously never have to take the thing off.
4. It's super easy to track sleep. You just tap it for one to two seconds rapidly and it goes into slumber, then in the morning you tap it again. And because it lives on your wrist, you don't have to maneuver taking it off and putting it back on once you're dressed for the day.
4 Things That Bug
1. No step count!? I'm obsessive compulsive. So yes, I like to know exactly how many steps I've walked. I know that's not the point—the point is just to be more active. Who cares if you've walked 9,456 rather than 11,203 steps in a day? Um, this girl. Instead of displaying exactly how many steps you've walked, the Fitbit Flex just displays small lights that show you how active you've been. (The more lights, the more active.)
Of course, you can go to Fitbit.com and set up the aforementioned awesome dashboard and see your stats that way. But on runs, I had the habit of clicking my Fitbit One to see how many miles I had logged, which was helpful when half-marathon training. Instead, I now have to look it up on my phone. Not totally inconvenient, but a change of pace. Literally.
2. No more encouraging messages. Because it doesn't have a screen, the Fitbit Flex can't flash little encouraging words at you when you hit a milestone. (Am I no longer a "STEP GEEK"? Fellow Fitbit One users know exactly what I'm talking about.)
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3. Not the best black-tie affair accessory. Don't get me wrong, I love the five different colors they offer, but it's not exactly a beautiful bangle. Plus, since you wear it around your wrist, it's always in plain sight. I felt a little self-conscious holding a glass of champagne at a party last weekend when I wore it with a little summer dress. I did find a simple solution though: I slipped it off and put it in my purse. Hey, it was still tracking!
4. It doesn't track floors climbed. This is not huge for me, but it's still reality. I don't really care if I've climbed the height of Godzilla; as long as I know the distance I've traveled and the calories I've burned, I'm good. (And perhaps I just know that I'm never lacking when it comes to climbing stairs since I live in a sixth-floor walk-up in New York City.)
In general, I prefer the Fitbit Flex over the Fitbit One—and other pedometers I've used. I know it's tracking every movement and wink of sleep, and I never have to think about it since it lives on my wrist. (Okay, unless I'm going to a fancy party and want to hide it in my purse. But let's be real, I'm usually hitting a running path, not a swanky fête.)