Fitbit Flex

Being fit is really important to me. This is why I, like thousands of other people, use mobile apps or dedicated hardware to keep tabs on things like daily calories burned or heart rate. On a whim, I picked up a Fitbit Flex earlier in the week. For those unaware, the Fitbit is a tiny device that acts as a pedometer that resides inside a rubber bracelet that you wear on your wrist. In addition to tracking the steps you take, the software allows you to set daily fitness goals as well as monitor your sleep patterns — waking you gently via its vibration motor. It does not offer everything I need, but does what it says on the package quite well. Once you get your account setup, you can see a nicely laid out visual dashboard that you can customize to show different kinds of data: e.g., your weight, calories burned, total steps made, water consumed, and much more.

The Fitbit hardware and software integration is wonderful. Their iOS app is delightful, providing access the data being collected, but also to the silent alarms that can wake you in the morning. I like the social angle as well. You can invite other friends of that use a Fitbit and see their progress or cheer them on. After using the device for a few days, I found the data it knew about my daily activities quite eye opening. The Fitbit Flex is an entry level product with limited functionality. If all you need is a dedicated pedometer, it works spectacularly well for that. What I really want is a wearable accessory that offers everything the Flex has, plus acts as a watch and can receive push notifications from my iPhone. Fitbit has another product called the Force which offers the functionality of the Flex, with the addition of an OLED display to show time and other future potential information. They advertise that an upcoming firmware update will allow iOS 7 users receive call notifications. Whilst I have no reason to believe they won’t be able to ship this functionaity, I have no intention of purchasing a product that promises undelivered features.

I’m not sure if there are any other good options at this point. I checked out the Nike Fuelband, but that offers pretty much the same feature set as the Force. There’s also the Pebble watch, which does include an accelerometer. My reluctance to get the Pebble is that dedicated devices like the Fitbit or Nike products have solid complimentary web apps that provide ways of storing your health data in the cloud. I don’t want my logged data residing solely on the device, but also accessible online.