Fitbit Flex review – Everyone has a desire to be healthy (who wants to get sick or die young)? The real problem, is motivation.
Ask everyone you know and I’m sure deep down they want to be healthy, but some find it hard to take that actual steps to be healthy. I’m talking about eating healthy food, going on a good diet, drinking enough water, and doing exercises daily. I have to be honest that I’m that type of person.
Fitbit Flex is a smart wristband that doesn’t make you healthy directly, but serves as a tool that monitors you 24/7 (minus the time to recharge it) to keep your health in check and motivate you daily.
Inside the packaging, you’ll find the Fitbit Flex tracker, 2 wristbands (a small and large size), a charging cable (to charge the unit), and a USB wireless dongle to sync with your PC/Laptop.
The band comes with a variety of colors that suit your personality and style. My review unit is in Black. If you get bored with one color, you can always get a different color and swap it over anytime.
The design is made so that it’s easy to swap between one band to the other (the team separates the Fitbit Flex main unit with the band). The band is also water resistant so you can wear it in the shower (yes, I tried) or when you jog outside. It’s also fairly comfortable to wear and I can barely realise that it’s there on my wrist. In short, you’d find no reason to take it off the wrist, except when you need to charge it or go diving deeper than 10 meters.
Due to this design approach, however, you have to take the unit out of the band to charge (you can’t just plug the whole thing in). You also have to charge it with the charger unit that comes with it. Lose that and you’ll have to re-buy the charger. The battery lasts around 5 days and will keep track of the last 7 days of activity within the main unit.
The data will be synced to a cloud/online account (free to register) automatically when Fitbit Flex is in range with the wireless dongle (which you have to plug into a spare USB slot in your computer and preferably leave it there). You can also sync the Flex to your smartphone via Bluetooth – which will then update the stats to their server online. You can also view your stats at Fitbit.com.
Syncing, in my experience, works great and seamless. It never gets confused in finding out which data is more recent and how to aggregate them together.
There isn’t much to display on the Fitbit Flex unit itself apart from the 5 white LED indicators. These indicators will lit up individually to indicate how far you are from your set goal or when you change mode from one to the other. I set my goal to have 10,000 steps a day and at any point in time, I can double tap the unit to find out how far away I am from the goal. Once you reach a goal that you have set before, all LEDs will lit and you’ll also get a nice celebratory vibration to the wrist. It feels like a pat on the back (wrist?) for achieving your goal.
Fitbit Flex can track:
Steps Taken (The number of steps you take throughout the day)
The Flex has a built-in accelerometer to track and measure your motions accurately. As such, you are not required to connect it to a smartphone to track your steps.
Distance Traveled (The distance you’ve traveled throughout the day)
This is done by calculation (obviously to avoid misinformation such as when you are driving or taking buses) automatically using the number of steps you take and your walking/running stride strength (by using your height and gender information).
Quality of Sleep (your sleeping pattern throughout the night)
Fitbit Flex cannot automatically track when you are sleeping, so you need to let it know that you are going to bed (by tapping on the unit for a few seconds non-stop). You also have to do this after you wake up. If you forget, however, you can manually enter your sleeping hours in – though you will not get the fun part of seeing whether you have a restless night or not.
In my experience, the Flex could somewhat accurately track when I had a restless sleep (such as waking up a few times in the middle of the night on bed – which was recorded as being “restless”).
You can set multiple alarms on Fitbit Flex, which will vibrate when the alarm is set off. This silent alarm is great if you are sharing a bed with your partner. Fitbit Flex, unfortunately, cannot detect your sleeping pattern like the Jawbone UP I reviewed (whether you are in deep sleep or not), so the alarm will go off exactly as you set it to.
Fitbit Flex automatically calculates the number of calories burned based on your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), that can be estimated from your weight, age, height, and gender. It will also add the number of steps you’ve taken and other statistics to further enhance the total calories you burned throughout the day.
(Manual input) The amount of water you are drinking.
A way to keep healthy is to drink a sufficient amount of water each day. Fitbit Flex can help you out by showing how many litres of water you have been drinking on a given day. You have to enter this data manually but there is a handy preset (such as a standard glass, bottle, etc) to make a quick input. It’s also a great reminder for me as I struggle each day to fill the quota.
(Manual input) Calories Eaten
If you want to gain or lose weight, you can track the amount of calories you’ve eaten in Fitbit app. Though there are presets to search and select (such as a short Latte from Starbucks coffee), you’d probably end up having to enter them manually. It is a tedious process but I know a friend who weighs everything he eats, so this is a good practice and Fitbit gives a good place to consolidate everything in one app. That way, it’s easier to maintain your health and goals in one place.
I didn’t end up using this feature as I don’t normally weigh my calories but some of you may find it super useful.
There are also lots of other potentials that can be delivered through an app update. For example, the recent version 2.3 made these following features available:
- Route history, spoken distance and mile markers while on a run, allowing users to monitor improvement or push themselves further in the moment
- Stats tracked integrate seamlessly with the main Fitbit dashboard, giving credit for steps taken, calories burned and active minutes during routes
- New Exercise Frequency calendar keeps users on track towards their workout goals – it automatically displays the days they have worked out by pulling in the frequency of MobileRun routes and logged exercises
- Users can now conveniently play and switch songs from their iTunes playlists without leaving the Fitbit app, keeping the focus on their workout.
More will certainly be coming in the future!
Fitbit Flex Review Conclusion
Overall, Fitbit Flex provides a one place to monitor and keep you motivated to stay fit. Goals can be set and tweaked to your needs and bad lifestyle (whether it’s the number of steps you need to take per day or the amount of water you have to drink). Fitbit Flex does not only track the crucial data but also, most importantly, motivates you to achieve your daily goal.
I like how it encourages you as you get closer to your daily goal by using a push notification, a long vibrate signal on the unit, weekly stats, and through a healthy competition with friends online.
Fitbit Flex does not directly make you healthy, but it gives you plenty of reasons and motivations to be.
Disclosure: Review sample was sponsored, but all opinions are mine and not paid.