Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fitbit One Review

My husband got me a Fitbit One for my birthday 2 weeks ago, and after more than a week of wearing it and debating about it, here are some of my thoughts on it.

If you're not familiar with it, Fitbit is a company that makes various body trackers. They come in various styles, including bracelets and, like mine, one you clip to yourself via a holder, and they track things like steps, stairs, calories burned, and sleep.

-Sleek, compact design makes it so I don't notice when it's clipped to me. (I keep it clipped to my bra, but you can wear it at your hip, etc.)

-It does keep me moving since I am always trying to get at least the daily goals (10k steps, etc.) or badges, and will find creative ways to do so. I have been known lately to walk around and around and around my kitchen to get more steps, or run up and down the stairs, and have also started taking walks on my breaks at work. So this is very, very good.

-The Fitbit interface makes it very easy to track calories in and out. So easy, in fact, that I actually care and remember to do so every day (so far), as opposed to my maintaining my ideal of "not counting calories, but make each calorie count". (Which, by the way, I think is very important for people who are not trying to lose weight, but maintain. You don't need to stress about every single calorie, but you should work on making the calories you consume count and be productive.) Fitbit interface keeps track of most logged food and recently logged food, so if you are a creature of habit like me and can eat the same thing every day, it is right there and easy to click on to log it. It also allows you to create meals to track multiple foods at once-for example, husband makes turkey wraps for me and after I created the meal and logged the food the first time, I no longer have to find/click every ingredient when I need to log it.

-As mentioned above, the Fitbit awards badges for activities, such as 10,000 steps or 10 flights of stairs,  and increases the amount you need to earn the badge as you keep earning them. So, if  you like to make a game of things, this is a great way to get extra movement.

-Syncs very easily, as long as all things are working correctly. It syncs approximately every 15-20 minutes when you are within 15 feet of the USB and have internet connection.  I have sometimes had to refresh the dashboard once or twice to see the new steps, but otherwise had not had problems.

Updated 09/05/2014 to add: Last night, I could not get it to sync automatically. I followed the trouble shooting steps in the help, including removing USB and reentering, etc. I was able to finally manually sync it by reopening the main platform and "Restarting" it, and then it did automatically sync on it's own after that. So I am glad for that, but it does make me a little twitchy that it had to have that done so early on. We'll see how it goes.

-It sometimes has questionable accuracy. There was an instance last week that, from 6:30pm to 8:15pm, it said I took zero steps. I knew this was inaccurate because I had just come from an hour long cardio class, and to get home required walking down stairs, to my car, out of my car, up apartment stairs, and I was walking around the apartment during that time (grabbing dinner, using bathroom, etc.) So it should have tracked at least 200-300 steps during that period.  It occasionally also goes in the opposite direction and, depending on where you wear it, may pick up extra steps than actually occurred. I mostly see it pick up less than actuality though, which is OK.  For the most part, it seems accurate within reason. (No device will ever be 100% accurate 100% of the time.) But when it's off, it seems to be off a bit, as demonstrated above.

-Stairs are not accurate. There is no way around this, at all. Since it is elevation based, and not actual stairs based, it will record flights very differently than what stairs you actually climb. In the Help/FAQ for Fitbit, it shows that it equates 1 flight to 10 feet in elevation gained. So if you are walking in a hilly area, you get credited with flights of stairs, which is awesome. But it's annoying when you spend time climbing up and down stairs over 20 times in a row, which I have done, and get credited with only one or two flights.  So, realizing that, I kind of of gave up on the stairs thing. If I see that I am close to the goal (10 flights/day), I will still go climb a few times to get those in, but don't really rely on the stairs part.

-It is very inconvenient to have to put the tracker in the bracelet it came with at night to track sleep, and then back into the carrying clip in the mornings to track steps, etc.  It requires finagling with Velcro wrist strap at night, which occasionally falls off during the night, and then fidgeting with it in the morning to get it back in the clip in the morning. This is specific to my device, but there are others, so if you get a bracelet style (which I believe is named Fitbit Force), you don't have to worry about this issue.

-Sleep tracking is not accurate. While it is kind of fun to set the timer and then see the numbers, it is not an accurate way to determine sleep patterns. Nor can it be. The Fitbit devices "track" sleep patterns by movement. So if you toss and turn in your sleep, it will track that as restless, which can be good to know, but does not actually have a way to track sleep vs. awake, since you can be wide awake but if you are lying perfectly still, it will count it as asleep.  I do not know if you stopped and restarted the timer each time you awoke, if it would count it as awake.  I was thinking that I would test this soon to find out, but is a matter of remembering to do so during the night. If I ever test this, I will update this post with that information. In the mean time, I will say it's good to get a general idea of sleep times, but would not recommend someone with sleep problems to rely solely on the information you get from the Fitbit devices.

Though it does have some things that are...quirky...about it, I did decide to go ahead and keep it.  It did, after all, get me moving more and help me track calories in a convenient way so I knew I wasn't taking in too few or too many. And because of those things, it allowed me make this exciting statement:

I finally broke my 2-month long Plateau and lost just over 5 pounds last week! Hooray!!!

So that's where I stand on the Fitbit One. I hope this helps if you are deciding if you should get one or not.  Do you  have any cool fitness tools that have been helping you? Please share below!

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