The Fitbit Flex – and others on the market like it – are wearable computers that put technology into your fitness regime effortlessly. They include statistics, alerts, prompts & guidance so you can keep track of how you’re going and, for some, will help motivate you to do better.
What does it look like?
The Fitbit Flex is like wearing a thick rubber watch – if you can imagine wearing such a thing! This is good because it makes it more difficult to lose, easier to monitor and, after a while it’s just like a watch; you forget you’re wearing it. In fact, it is probably less intrusive than many watches (except for the colour) as it’s lighter.
However, please note that it isn’t an alternative for a watch as it doesn’t give time but there is a more expensive option, called the Fitbit Force, that does have a watch function.
It comes in black, teal and hot pink. The idea is that you keep it on all the time and it is waterproof, but this may not suit everyone from a practical or style perspective.
There are two wristbands in the package of different sizes.
What does it do?
I haven’t used any of the other similar products on the market, so I cannot directly compare. Like most tech gadgets, it is fun.
It tracks how many steps you’ve taken, what distance you covered, what calories you’ve burned and your sleep.
During the two weeks I tried it, I did my usual daily activity. I walk quite a bit as I do not have a car. I also:
- went for three runs
- swam 6 laps of the pool in one session
- went cycling in the gym and on the road twice
- did two gym sessions which include cycling, rowing and weights, and
- two yoga sessions.
Unfortunately, the Fitbit didn’t count the swimming, the cycling (either indoors or outdoors) or the yoga as much effort, which was very disappointing – especially as I’m not a strong swimmer and I worked so hard to swim those 300 metres!
It also monitors your sleep, as long as you remember to tap on it five times (and again when you wake up), letting you know how many hours sleep you got and how restless that sleep was. I’m a good sleeper so I couldn’t vouch for the ‘restlessness’ measure: it said I wasn’t restless and I wasn’t.
How does it work?
The Fitbit Flex works easily by synching your activity data to your PC or Mac using the supplied wireless dongle, once you’ve downloaded the Fitbit Conncect application. The App gives you access to a dashboard full of stats and graphs tracking your activity – it’s sort of scary as well as fun. The stats and graphs are really good and it’s one of my favourite aspects of the whole set-up.
It’s also got a smartphone and tablet App which is very easy to use. The good thing about synching to your phone is that you can also get notifications when you’re out doing something and are close to any goals you may set for yourself.
A small tracker inside the wristband needs charging every 3-4 days.
If you’re the competitive type, and your friends have Fitbit also, you can track your exercise against one another. There’s a leaderboard on the website and on the App.
It’s fun and I enjoyed tracking my activity. But even though I’m active and fit, I don’t think I’m in to it so much that I would want to wear this all the time. It might be something I would return to if I had a specific fitness goal I wanted to work towards – eg. getting ready for the next football season.
However, this means it could be almost the perfect present. For me, it’s one of those things I wouldn’t buy for myself at a RRP of $130, but I’d be happy if someone gave it to me.