I wrote late last year how I had a Fitbit Force on my Christmas list, but unfortunately Santa didn’t leave one under my tree. Thankfully Amazon was running a sale on the previous version of the Fitbit Force. The version I picked up is the Fitbit Flex and its features are virtually identical to the Fitbit Force, save for the OLED screen found on the Force and the ability to count stairs climbed which is also lacking on the Fitbit Flex. Still, I had never used a fitness tracker before, so I thought I’d take advantage of the sale.
The first thing I did when I opened up the Fitbit Flex was remove the small device from its wristband and connected it to my computer to charge with the included USB cable. The Fitbit can run for around five days total when fully charged. Then, I went to the Fitbit website to download the software and began configuring the device. It didn’t take too long for the device to get to 60% charged, as the software recommends. After filling out a profile and answering some questions, I was ready to use the Flex for the first time. So far, so good!
The Flex slid easily back into the wristband (two sizes of wristbands are included in the box) so I could track my activity. I then installed the Fitbit app on my Android phone and was able to sync the Fitbit with my phone using Bluetooth 4.0. With Bluetooth turned on, I can check my phone throughout the day to see how many steps I’ve taken, how far I’ve walked, and how many calories I’ve burned. You can also check your progress by tapping the wristband twice to activate a series of LEDs which tell you how far along you are with your progress. Five dots means 100 percent–you’ve completed your goals! Each dot is 20 percent and each blinking dot is about a 10 percent.
One of the more interesting features of the Fitbit Flex is the ability to log your sleep. Using the phone, you turn on the sleep mode feature of the Fitbit. For the duration of your sleep, it will monitor when you’re awake, when you’re asleep, and the times you were sleeping restlessly. When you wake up, you just grab your phone, push the button that says you’re awake, and then it’s back to regular monitoring. You can then view your sleep data in the app, and it’s pretty interesting to see this information visualized on a graph.
Along with your sleep, you can view your steps, distance, calories burned, and very active minutes. There is also the ability to log how much water you drink and how many calories you’ve eaten, though this info needs to be added by you manually. Unfortunately these fitness trackers aren’t sophisticated enough to know exactly what you’re eating. It can also keep track of your weight manually, but Fitbit does have a wifi scale that can connect with your profile and keep track of your weight for you. That’s an extra $120 or so on top of the cost of the Fitbit.
So far, I’m pretty happy with the Fitbit Flex. I’ve only used it for a day or two thus far, but I like seeing how much I’m walking and how well I’m actually sleeping. I can see how motivating it can be to see from day to day when you aren’t doing much. I haven’t yet explored the food or water trackers yet, but I plan to in the future and will write another blog post when I do.