In an effort to keep track of my daily steps and my nightly sleeping patterns, I purchased the Fitbit Flex several weeks ago. I’ve been playing around with it for some time now, and wanted to give my unbiased opinion for those of you who might be considering making a similar purchase.
Look and Feel
It’s pretty light…I wear it right next to my road ID (which I wear ALL the time), and you really can’t notice that it’s there. The set comes with two different sized bands, a larger and smaller one. I think the default is the larger one, but for those with smaller wrists, no need to go and purchase a separate set. The Flex also comes in several colors – bright green, pink, blue, and black. I opted for the simple black one, since I really didn’t want any flashy colors this time around…surprising, right? It’s waterproof as well, so if you want to wear it in the shower or while washing dishes, it seems to hold up just fine. However, sometimes I’ve noticed a little bit of condensation in-between the tracking device and the bracelet. Nothing major though, because it ends up drying.
To set up the flex I had to go to Fitbit’s website and follow their prompts. It was pretty simple, each step was illustrated and clear to understand. When it came to syncing the Flex wirelessly, the set up prompt would not let me advance until it could verify that the sync was established – I liked that. Depending on the kind of phone you have, you can even sync the Flex wirelessly to that as well. Otherwise, you’d use the little device that’s included with the Flex to sync it wirelessly to your laptop. The Flex came out of the box with a charge already, so I didn’t need to charge it immediately, but it seems like the battery itself will last about a week or so fully charged. Charging it only takes a couple of hours, so I would just charge it overnight so as to not interfere with tracking steps. I was able to find a copy of the Owner’s Manual online here.
For those of you who use GymPact app, good news! You can sync the activity tracked on your Flex to GymPact and it will count as a work out as long as you hit over 10,000 steps in one day. Not too shabby! Also, for those of you who use MyFitnessPal (app or site) you can sync the Flex to that as well and between the two apps you can see the calories you’ve burned and calories you’ve eaten too! You will want to look at the walkthrough that MyFitnessPal does for syncing the two apps, as they do have certain tips and rules that you’ll want to follow to make sure that your activities and food are not double counted in the two apps. For iPhone users, the Fitbit app will enable you to see your progress as you go throughout the day. Even more awesome is the information from MyFitnessPal will also sync to the Fitbit app, allowing you to see the calories you’ve eaten in comparison to calories burned. There are a ton of other apps that will sync with the Fitbit, and you can check them out here.
Literally, I put the thing on and don’t take it off unless I need to charge it. In order to track your progress throughout the day, all you have to do is tap the Flex screen quickly two times and a display of dots will appear. Each dot represents 20% of your progress for the day. Meaning, if I’m checking it and 3 dots show up, then I’m 60% to my 10,000 step goal (you can adjust your goal too btw!). Once you’ve reached your goal for the day, the bracelet will “do a little dance” and vibrate on your wrist. For when you want to go to sleep, you’ll have to tap the display on the Flex about 5-6 times quickly and the display will change to two dots on either side of the screen. Then, just got to bed! When you wake up, just hit the display 5-6 times again to turn off the sleep tracking. Oh, and if you forget to turn the sleep tracking off until mid-morning (like I’ve done a few times), no worries! Just turn the sleep mode off when you remember, as it will still be tracking your steps regardless. In regards to accuracy of steps taken, I must warn you that it is not 100% accurate. I’ve done a couple of “test walks” and have found that the steps I’ve counted do not match with the number of steps the Flex says I’ve counted. On average, the difference seems to be about 1.56 steps (Flex) to every 1 step (actually taken). Now, you can do with that what you will, but it’s not a major thing for me. As long as I have a general approximation of the steps I’ve done, I’m ok with it. Actually, If you want to adjust the goal to compensate for the difference you could adjust your daily goal to about 15,600 steps, which should be the amount the Flex would track for your to actually hit about 10,000 steps. I haven’t done that, but it’s not such a bad idea.
All in all, I like the Flex. It’s simple, easy to use, and does what I need it to do. For $99, I would say it’s a good investment for someone who wants to begin tracking their steps and sleep in a more meaningful way. Also, the app integration makes it a lot of fun and can provide some pretty useful information!