Fitbit Flex Review
Alright, I know that the Fitbit isn’t exactly a golf device, but I’ve been using mine for the last couple weeks – and I know there are some of you out there who like to think of your golf outings as exercise, so I figured it kind of relates.
I’d been thinking about some kind of wearable fitness device for awhile, but just hadn’t really looked into them that much.
That was until a couple weeks ago when I was in Vegas, and in the midst of being hungover from too many fireball shots (did you know they were free at the Craps table?!), my buddy I was with started showing me the Fitbit app.
I was pretty impressed by the clear, easy to use home screen which showed: steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, “active minutes”, exercise log, weight, food, sleep, and water intake.
Seemed like a chance to kill a bunch of birds with one stone, and start forming all of those positive habits I’ve been talking about for months.
So due to all of this I downloaded the app, picked up a Fitbit for myself and my fiance, and even convinced my sister to grab one as well.
Because it’s way more fun to compete, and that was one of the big draws of this particular device.
I decided on the Fitbit Flex, but I’ve gotta admit I was super disappointed to see that there was a recall on the higher tech Force, and that they weren’t selling them anymore.
The Flex came out over a year ago, and I would have expected by now that they’d have come up with a suitable replacement for the Force (which had some extra features like elevation change).
But upon receiving it, was surprised to find it came with two sized bands, as well as a usb adapter for charging. Getting it setup was a cinch with their setup guide, and after I had it charged I was ready to rock.
Simply for basic use, you put it on and are pretty much good to go. I like that you can track as much or as little information as you want. I chose not to do food logging, just because it’s a bit tedious and not worth it to me at the moment.
It seemed to do exactly as advertised and keep track of my basic movements, and give me that little extra push I need to go for a run or get outside and be more active.
They say it’s water resistant, which I’ve found to be true. I wear it in the shower with no problems, and yesterday even took it standup paddle-boarding and it had no issues when I hopped in the water for a swim.
GPS and Exercise Tracking
You pretty quickly forget that it’s on your wrist, and one of the first things I did was go for a run with it.
It was easy to setup, the GPS seemed really accurate, and just like the Nike Running app that I’ve been using for a few years, I could get split and mileage information.
The one thing I was disappointed with here, however, is that the voice giving me the info doesn’t fade the music when it talks.
I use Spotify rather than MP3s when I run, and the Nike app would turn the music down whenever it gave me updates. The Fitbit app didn’t do this, and as such, I could barely hear what was being said over the music. A small issue, but a frustration nonetheless.
It is nice that you can easily search for different types of activities and easily add them into your exercise log. For instance, I can find “golf, walking, pulling clubs” and then enter a time frame, and it tells me roughly how many calories I burned.
It then shows on the calendar I exercised that day, and once you get a few days in a row its motivation to keep going so that you don’t break the streak.
That said, every time I enter exercise data, it for some reason deceases my “active minutes” essentially rendering that stat a little bit useless.
Step Tracking and Accuracy
While obviously a $100 device isn’t going to be the absolute most accurate thing in the world, I’ve been a little bit disappointed that it isn’t a bit more accurate.
Often times it doesn’t seem to track some steps, and then other times (like when I’m brushing my teeth) it goes crazy. Again, the purpose of the whole thing is more to promote activity than to calculate everything down to the closest step or calorie, but I still hoped it would be a little bit better.
This is one of the things I’ve been most excited for. In the past I had friends with Zeo sleep trackers who loved it, and on the budget end of things I’ve used the 99 cent Sleep Cycle app – which works surprisingly well, and tracks the light sleep vs deep sleep, and wakes you up with vibrations based on when you’re in “light sleep.”
I was expecting the Fitbit to do the same thing, but largely the sleep tracking has been inaccurate, and not in depth.
It tells you when you were awake and/or restless at night – but I’ve found it to be pretty in correct. I’ll get up and go to the bathroom and walk around the house in the middle of the night, and it will never register me as awake. It will say I’m restless, but if you’re going to have a whole separate category for awake, you’d think they could tell when I’m moving about.
It also has silent alarms, but it’s not based on my wakefulness. You can just set a time and it vibrates on your wrist – which can be handy, it just wasn’t quite what I expected it to be.
Food and Water
The calorie burned counter seems to take into account the calories I’d burn naturally based on my height and weight which is good. That said, I haven’t felt compelled to use the diet log, as for something like that it’s easier to just keep a notebook, rather than try and track down exactly what I ate within their database of 350k different foods.
What I do really like however is the ease of logging oz. of water drank. It has made me more conscious of the fact I don’t drink enough water, and has provided motivation to drink more.
Another moderate disappointment is in the social aspects of the Fitbit.
I was really excited to compete with friends in every aspect of what the Fitbit offers. Whether it be who is drinking the most water, or who traveled the farthest distance each day.
As far as I can tell the only thing I can see is the weekly track of how many steps a friend has taken. While its still good for competition, it isn’t quite the epic fitness battle royale I was expecting.
Also there’s no way to see the badges you earn within the app – which essentially makes them worthless.
Ultimately, I think the best way to put it is that I’ve been slightly disappointed by the Fitbit. It doesn’t do quite as much as I’d hoped it would, but with that said, it’s still on my wrist.
If you’re looking for something to help you exercise more, form better habits, and analyze your daily routines, this is an excellent way to do it – especially at under $100.
So as long as your expectations are in check, then I’d say definitely pick one up. Even though I’m a total Nike guy, it does seem to do a bit more than the Fuelband, and is quite a bit cheaper, even if it doesn’t look quite as cool.
Note: I normally break down my reviews by performance, price, presentation, and personal affinity. This time I’m going to add in a couple extra categories that are relevant to this device.
- Fits Well
- Fantastic App Design
- Builds Positive Habits
- Sleep Tracker Disappointing
- Social Could Be More Robust
- Still No High End Replacement Model